US Military Boosts Guyana’s Security Preparedness Amid Border Tensions

Georgetown, Guyana – In a bid to bolster Guyana’s readiness to respond to security threats amid growing tensions with neighboring Venezuela, top American and Guyanese military officials concluded a two-day series of talks, according to a statement released by the US Embassy in Georgetown on Tuesday.

Bharrat Jagdeo

The discussions, held on Monday and Tuesday, come just days before Venezuela is set to hold a controversial referendum regarding the annexation of Guyana’s western Essequibo County. This region has been a longstanding point of contention between the two nations, with Venezuela laying territorial claims to it for decades. The vote, scheduled for Sunday, has escalated tensions as Guyana has reported a significant Venezuelan troop buildup along the Cuyuni River, which separates the two countries.

The talks involved representatives from the US Army’s 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade (SFAB), a specialized unit tasked with advising and assisting partner nations in enhancing their military readiness and capabilities to address security threats.

Guyana has taken its border dispute with Venezuela to the World Court in The Netherlands in a bid to find a definitive resolution. In addition to this, Guyana has sought an injunction from the court to prevent Venezuela from proceeding with the controversial referendum, which is seen by Guyanese authorities as an attempt by Venezuela to gain international legitimacy for its territorial claims.

Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana expressed confidence in receiving support from international allies in the event of hostilities. “We are interested in maintaining peace in our country and our borders but we are going to be working with our allies,” he said. “We will have support from the United States Department of Defense.”

Guyana’s strategic importance has been heightened in recent years due to the discovery of significant oil and gas reserves, with daily production now reaching 600,000 barrels. ExxonMobil, a major American energy company, leads operations in these fields, with ongoing disputes with Venezuela over the concessions granted by Guyana.

The United States has also shown interest in strengthening its military presence in Guyana. Earlier this year, the US Southern Command conducted military exercises in the country, involving several Caribbean Community nations. However, Guyana’s government has denied allegations by Venezuela that the US intends to establish a military base on its soil.

As the situation continues to evolve, international attention remains focused on this South American region, with many hoping for a peaceful resolution to the long-standing border dispute between Guyana and Venezuela.