Venezuela reacts to the presence of English vessel in Guyana

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By Marco Echevarria

Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, ordered a ‘defensive action’ in response to the arrival of the warship.

Venezuela’s president, Nicolas Maduro, ordered on Thursday a defensive action – in the Atlantic Ocean in response to the arrival of a British warship on the coast of Guyana, which has again triggered tension between the South American countries for its territorial dispute.

“I have ordered the activation of a joint action by the entire Bolivarian National Armed Forces (Fanb) over the Eastern Caribbean of Venezuela, on the Atlantic facade, a joint defensive action in response to the provocation and threat of the United Kingdom against the peace and sovereignty of our country,” the president said.

The announcement was made in the face of the military leadership, during a meeting that was broadcast on a mandatory basis on radio and television, in which it communicated with a group of military personnel who specified the first phase of this operation, which consisted of a deployment on land and waters of the Sucre state (northeast).

Maduro did not give details about the scope and duration of this operation, but insisted that the arrival of the British HMS Trent is an unacceptable “threat” that implies a break from the agreements he signed with his Guyanese counterpart, Irfaan Ali, on 14 December, when they promised not to threaten each other and avoid incidents related to the dispute.

Venezuela cannot stand idly by in the face of a threat, we are responding to the proportional measure,” he said after reiterating that he is committed to diplomacy and peace.

The Chavista leader criticized Guyana’s failure to disobe from Caracas’s requests not to accept the arrival of the British ship on its shores.

The controversy escalated after Venezuela approved on December 3, in a unilateral referendum, annexing the area under litigation, an area of almost 160,000 square kilometres under Guyana’s control and whose dispute is in the hands of the International Court of Justice.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in Panamerica