While Venezuela may have spent a lot of money building up its military, it is no position to sustain a full scale war. With its stockpile of 5,000 Russian-made MANPADS surface-to-air weapons, Venezuela may be very capable of defending itself against an attack and stave off an incursion into its own territory. But while its defense capability may be strong, its collapsed economy has weakened the military’s attack capabilities. In spite of this, Venezuela’s dictator president, Nicolas Maduro, is threatening to annex the Essequibo region of Guyana and occupy it by force.
In the video below, Venezuela’s Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, says that the military is ready to “defend the Essequibo.”
Good Morning Venezuela, 07-December it’s 9:55hrs working early. Late last night our commander in chief President Nicholas Maduro Morros authorized the designation of the generals who will occupy the position of commanders in the Guayana Esequiba integral defense cooperative zone and the three commanders of the integral development areas. They are tremendous generals. They are patriots with a high sense of ethics and commitment, and I am sure that they will fulfill the task as the people of Venezuela are demanding. The people of Venezuela expressed themselves last Sunday, December 3, and that for us is literally a mandate. So well, we are heading towards the conquest of Guayana Esequiba because Essequibo is ours, it belongs to us Venezuelans. We will win!Transcript from video below by Venezuela’s Minister of Defense.
So far, Venezuela seems to be laughing into the face of some of Guyana’s friends and allies, specifically, the United States and CARICOM, but yesterday, 7th of December, 2023, a new player entered the game: the United Kingdom.
In video above, United Kingdom Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, says that the borders between Guyana and Venezuela were settled in 1899, and that Venezuela has no case for unilateral action against Guyana. He further makes a strong statement that should be especially worrying for the Maduro Regime. Cameron said he will be talking to other leaders to make sure that this “very retrograde step by Venezuela does not lead any further.”
Venezuela maintains that the British stole the Essequibo from them, and Nicolas Maduro has said that the Venezuelan military men and women are an army of “liberators” who will liberate and defend the Essequibo from “British Imperialism.” Nevertheless, Venezuela seized the opportunity to reopen the border dispute just as Guyana was about to gain independence from Britain, and never directly threatened or challenged the British Empire for control of the Essequibo after 1899.
The United Kingdom is perhaps the only country which Venezuela is genuinely afraid of in this conflict despite its “anti-imperialism” rhetoric, and such a strong statement from David Cameron is enough to make Maduro shake in his boots. The Maduro Regime is nevertheless moving forward in its military campaign with new steps announced today, 8th of December 2023. Perhaps Maduro thinks that the United Kingdom is bluffing, that they will not get directly involved in the conflict. But what if he’s wrong? Then the consequences would be catastrophic for Venezuela. The question here is: Is Nicolas Maduro daring enough to test the resolve of the United Kingdom?