The simmering dispute between Venezuela and Guyana over the resource-rich Essequibo Region is reaching a critical juncture. With Venezuela’s announcement of a referendum set to take place on December 3, 2023, the stage is set for a significant escalation in an already tense Geo-political drama. This controversial move, condemned by Guyana and the international community as illegal, threatens to destabilize the delicate balance of peace in the Region.
The Guyanese Government is grossly incompetent where it comes to defense. There is no plan of action, no contingency plans, no mutual defense arrangement, and no material military equipment acquisition. It’s mostly believing in hopes and prayers that the western world comes to its aid…which they might, but at what cost to the people of Guyana?
The Guyanese government philosophy so far seems to be peace through some sort of diplomatic strength and gross military weakness that did not work out too well for Ukraine. Should a good part of the oil wealth not be spent on defense to protect said wealth and the people? So far, the United States, England, Brazil, or any country for that matter has not indicated that are ready to face off with Venezuela if it attacks Guyana, nor have they issued any warnings to the Maduro Regime in an attempt to deter aggression.
With both nation’s futures, and potentially the stability of South America, at stake, the world holds it breath in anticipation of what might unfold.
Current President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, has made it absolutely clear that he plans to use military force to reclaim the Essequibo Region after the December 3 referendum. Over the last month or so, there have been daily rallies and media campaigns urging the people of Venezuela to vote in favor of the referendum. Polls and popular opinion suggest that the referendum will be successful, empowering the government of Venezuela to annex the Essequibo and occupy it. The Venezuelan military has already moved soldiers, tanks, and other military assets near to the borders with Guyana from as far as the Pakaraimas in Region 8 to Eteringbang in Region 7.
Fearing an invasion, the Guyana Government has barred all officers of the Guyana Defense Force from leaving the country. But can the Guyana Defense Force as it presently stands really deter a Venezuelan invasion, or can it stand up to the Venezuelan military? How long do you suppose the GDF can last fighting against Venezuela?
Looking on the positive side, we can say that the Venezuelan military is already at a disadvantage because of the thick jungles separating Guyana from Venezuela to the west, and the fact that Brazil will not allow it to come through its border to Guyana’s south and southwest. The Maduro Regime is emboldened at the thought that the Guyana Defense Force is unprepared to face the Venezuelan military. However, investments in a few tanks, fighter jets, and anti-aircraft defense system is enough to make the Venezuelan government think twice about invading Guyana. Nicolas Maduro is a bully, and bullies only attack whom they perceive to be weaker than them. Investing in Guyana’s military will make Venezuela think twice about a military incursion, and potentially save both countries a costly, painful, and devastating war.
A country with a strong military deters aggression, but a country with no military is like a person without an immune system.