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Venezuela on alert as the UK sends a warship to Guyana, seeing it as ‘provocations’

Venezuela's Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino attends a press conference held by Vice President Delcy Rodriguez at Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas on Oct. 31, 2023. (Federico Parra/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

Declaring it a threat to regional stability, the Venezuelan government said it will keep an eye on a British warship sent to Guyana to participate in a joint exercise as tensions continue to linger despite both South American nations recently agreeing to de-escalate over a border dispute.

HMS Trent was reported to have made a stop in Bridgetown, Barbados, after leaving its homeport at Gibraltar earlier this month. The vessel is scheduled to head towards Guyana this week and anchor off Georgetown to participate in a series of training exercises with the country’s navy and other allies, the BBC reported.

Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino López said the warship’s presence brings into question Guyana’s sincerity in agreeing to lower tensions amid the resurgence of a centuries-old border dispute.

“A warship in waters yet to be demarcated?” questioned Padrino López in his X account. “How does that fit with the commitment to good neighborliness and peaceful coexistence? And the agreement not to threaten or use force against each other under any circumstances?”

“We remain alert to these provocations that put the peace and stability of the Caribbean and our America at risk!” he warned.

Armed with a 30mm cannon, two mini-guns and several machine guns, the 297-feet long HMS Trent is mostly used to combat piracy and anti-smuggling operations. It normally carries a helicopter and a detachment of Royal Marines.

Seeking to lower tensions, Guyana President Irfaan Ali and Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro met two weeks ago in St. Vincent and the Grenadine and pledged not to use force to resolve the dispute over which nation is the rightful owner of an oil- and mineral-rich region bordering the two countries, roughly the size of Florida.

The border dispute, which has been going on since the beginning of the 19th century,gained intensity following a referendum held on Dec. 3, in which the Caracas socialist regime asked Venezuelans to green-light the use of force to annex three-quarters of Guyana.

The Maduro government said that 95% of Venezuelans voted in favor of the forced annexation, but independent observers questioned the results saying that the empty polling stations seen during the vote did not support claims that more than 10 million people participated.


© 2023 Miami Herald

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