Published: 20th of April, 2023. Guyana, South America. GSA News. Guyana News.Last updated: April 20, 2023 at 20:39 pm
The likelihood of a Venezuelan incursion into the disputed Essequibo territory is relatively low at the moment, but it is still dreadfully present. And to answer the question: no, Guyana should not fear a Venezuelan incursion, but it should nevertheless be prepared for it.
In this context, the Guyana Government would be well-advised to strike a deal with a country of greater military capabilities, power and prowess for defense in the event of a Venezuelan incursion. The presence of EXXONMOBIL in Guyana is no guarantee of defense from the United States.
With such a small population and under-equipped military, Guyana cannot stand against the Venezuelan military which has, as Maduro put it, “a glorious history in the battlefield.” Even if Guyana were to build up its military capabilities for the next ten years, it would still not be a match for what the Venezuelan military is presently.
The International Court of Justice has overruled Venezuela’s objection to the border dispute case which was submitted by Guyana, setting the stage for a Guyana victory in the months ahead. Although we cannot be 100% sure of it, it is very likely that the ICJ will rule in favor of Guyana, declaring that the Essequibo is indeed Guyana’s territory.
But when this happens, what next? Who knows what will be Caracas’ move after the ICJ rules in favor of Guyana? Simply assuming that the international community will defend Guyana without any written agreement is dangerous. We can learn a bitter lesson from the fact that the United Nations left Ukraine on its own when Russia attacked. NATO even refused to close the airspace over Ukraine citing fear of Russian retaliation. Some things are better not left to chance.
The Venezuela/Guyana border dispute coupled with the humanitarian crisis in Venezuela puts Guyana between a rock and a hard place. While it is unthinkable to deport Venezuelan refugees and migrants, the fact remains that they indeed pose a security risk to the country should the dispute escalate into an armed conflict. However, we can try to find more workable solutions to the Venezuelan refugee crisis and security risks than deporting them back home. These include naturalizing them and asking them to pledge allegiance to the flag of Guyana and openly declare their loyalty to Guyana.
The fear of a Venezuelan incursion, whether real or imaginary, should never push us to resort to such inhuman acts as deporting Venezuelan refugees. Many of the refugees are innocent civilians who have nothing to do with the Venezuelan military or government, and who are simply seeking to earn an honest dollar to provide for themselves and their families.
Although the likelihood of a Venezuelan incursion is small, it is dreadfully real, and deserves more attention than a simple shrug of the shoulders. We can’t just make ourselves sitting ducks by assuming that it will never happen. Many Ukrainians never believed that Russia would invade, but it did. The Government of Guyana needs to take definitive actions to safeguard the country and the people and to ensure that Guyana’s borders remain secure.