New elections to be held in Guyana as government falls but that may not be the country’s biggest problem

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Russian Air Force Tupolev Tu-160. Aeroprints/Wikimedia

By Caribbean News Now contributor

GEORGETOWN, Guyana — The government in Guyana suffered an unexpected defeat in parliament on Friday on a motion of no confidence, following the surprise defection of a member of the ruling coalition, which now automatically triggers a new general election.

However, that may not be biggest problem the country faces following the recent deployment of Russian Tupolev Tu-160 nuclear-capable bombers to neighbouring Venezuela, with whom Guyana has had a territorial dispute going back over 100 years.

Although Russian bombers have paid short visits to Venezuela in the past, they have never been accompanied by an estimated 10,000 support personnel or significant fighter escorts and other aircraft.

According to a US government source, intelligence assessments were submitted to the Trump administration and Congress as long ago as early last year that, as a result of US President Donald Trump’s ill-defined threats of military action against Venezuela, the country’s president, Nicolas Maduro, would eventually react in undesirable ways that were not in the best interest of the US.

However, as a result of the continuing paralysis and dysfunction in Washington, little or no attention was paid to these warnings.

Now, one senior US intelligence analyst told Caribbean News Now that Russia has clearly grasped the opportunity to extend its presence and influence in the region by adding some greatly increased military muscle to the ambitions of the Maduro regime in Venezuela.

“This has all the makings of a second Cuban missile crisis,” he said, “but without the rational and measured response of the Kennedy administration.”

Venezuela’s territorial claims against Guyana have recently become more significant following the discovery by ExxonMobil and others of an estimated five billion barrels of recoverable oil offshore Guyana.

If Maduro decides to seize the disputed part of Guyana by force in order to shore up Venezuela’s dire economic situation and/or his own political standing, he is likely to be encouraged rather than deterred by Russia, given its own recent history of military expansion into the Crimea.

The gravity of the situation was reinforced by a news report over the weekend that a Venezuelan naval vessel “intercepted” a ship exploring for oil on behalf of ExxonMobil in Guyanese waters over the weekend, while Venezuela said the incident occurred within its territory.

The Ramform Tethys vessel, which belongs to Norwegian company Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) and was conducting seismic survey work on behalf of Exxon, stopped exploration and turned east after being approached by the Venezuelan navy, PGS spokesman Bard Stenberg said in a statement.

“Guyana rejects this illegal, aggressive and hostile act,” Guyana’s foreign ministry said in a statement late on Saturday, adding that the move “demonstrates the real threat to Guyana’s economic development by its western neighbour” and “violates the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our country.”

In recent months, the possibility of military support for Guyana from Brazil has been mooted but this would now appear to be far less likely following the election of a new president who is an equally vocal proponent of racist nationalism as Trump.

Britain, the former colonial power, is hardly likely to pay any attention to incursions by Venezuela given its current preoccupation with the Brexit debacle.

The question facing the outgoing and future governments of Guyana is can they rely on US support and intervention. The answer is probably not, given the unpredictability of the Trump administration and its support of Russia, especially now that all the “adults in the room” have left with the imminent departure of defense secretary, james mathis.

In the meantime, of equal concern to the Caribbean as a whole, US intelligence has indicated that Russia, along with China and Iran, may be planning joint military exercises in the region, with an eye on the obvious choke point for trade along the entire US eastern seaboard — the Panama Canal.

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Wow. An article that managed to demonize Russia, ignore (or condone) historical Yankee expansionism, support the “adults in the room” narrative of the US military industrial complex/political establishment and stoke absurd hysteria at the same time. Very thoughtful and original! The CIA could not have said it better itself.

  2. When they throw in Iran into the mix of nations planning joint military exercises in the region, you can tell this is just a propaganda move. The Trump Administration would like to attack Iran for Trump’s own political needs and inserts Iran into anything negative coming out of Washington.
    There is no reality to it.

    • Dr. Dexter Lewis;
      Keep in mind the size and complexity of the US-Government’s Troll and Dissident programs’, which run rampant on this site.
      The people from the countries’ that form the bulk of the audience of Caribbean News Now, are no more informed politically, than the average American Citizen, who has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA of what nasty deeds THEIR government is capable of, (and IS currently practicing) in countries all over the world, let alone what is happening in their OWN country, any more than 30-miles away from their place of abode.
      This IS the reality of the situation Doctor Lewis, I’m sorry to say.
      Don D.

  3. Being obviously incompetent in global politics, the region cannot trust the Trump administration concerning the fallout from the Venezuelan crisis.
    The Dutch have kept the Maduro/Russian threat quiet trying to ignore the Kingdoms responsibility towards refugees.
    I think the Caribbean Nations should stand up and make some noise in order to draw more attention towards threats like Maduro and the Russians that will then make them think twice. And let’s not forget the Chineese that are playing Santa by spreading their money everywhere…

  4. Third Presentation of this post to Caribbean News Now without any acknowledgment of the truth of this post.

    What hinted toward the preceding sentence was the following statement in the post.
    “. . . accompanied by an estimated 10,000 support personnel or significant fighter escorts and other aircraft.”
    There were only 100 Support Personnel, NOT 10,000. There were several fighter jets escorting the two bombers. These planes were part of a training mission for the Venezuelan Air Force, which occurred a day or two after the Russian planes landed in Venezuela.

    This event had nothing to do with the Venezuela vs Guyana border dispute, that I can see.
    It was purely a training visit for the Venezuelan Military and Air Force.

    The added feature that came with this show of modern Russian air force capability, was the visual benefit of showing the United States, SOME of the weaponry that is available to counter the USA talk of invading Venezuela.

    This is a similar scenario that the USA uses as a ‘show of force’, in any of the numerous countries that they initiate their infamous, ‘Regime-Change-Tactics’ against.

    After listening to Pompeo’s calumnious rant about the Russian Bombers’ landing in Venezuela, the whole world had a good laugh, indeed.
    ‘What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander’, an old adage that rings incredibly true.

    As an aside, did you notice the proximity of the date of the Russian Bombers landing in Venezuela, to Trump’s announcement of the US troop withdrawals in Syria and Afghanistan?
    Food for thought, isn’t it!

    Don D.

  5. “racist nationalism ” Whenever I see this non-sensical phrase inserted in an article, I immediately discount anything written as mere anti-American propaganda. IMHO there is nothing racist about a country wanting to once again secure its borders and contrary to the assumption of regime change, to bring its military home after years and years of money expended and lives lost in this futile attempt.

  6. Richard;
    Since the second world war, the USA’s Military/Industrial/Complex, has caused the deaths of nearly 20-million citizens’ worldwide.

    Not a very enviable record, is it?

    Perhaps now you understand why I report the US Governments ‘activities’.
    Don D.

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