According to a statement, the military exercises are based on “in routine operations to improve security partnership” between countries. Here is the full text (PDF – 43 kB, in English).
The initiative also aims to “strengthen regional cooperation”. The North American diplomatic representation also said that the US Southern Command “will continue your collaboration” with the Guyana Defense Force “in the areas of disaster preparedness, air and maritime security and combating transnational criminal organizations”.
“The US will continue its commitment as Guyana’s trusted security partner and in promoting regional cooperation and interoperability”he stated.
The Embassy does not mention the conflict between Guyana and Venezuela in the statement. However, the military exercise will be carried out amid tensions between countries in dispute over the territory of Essequibo.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro claims the region that corresponds to 74% of Guyana’s territory and has been the subject of dispute for more than a century.
On Tuesday (Dec 5), Maduro announced measures to create a Venezuelan province in Essequibo and released a new map of the country that includes the region. The measure was carried out after the Venezuelan population approved the annexation of the territory in a referendum held on December 3.
Guyanese President, Irfaan Ali, stated in a speech on Tuesday (Dec 5) that Maduro’s actions are a “imminent threat to territorial integrity” of Guyana and that the country “will intensify precautionary measures to protect its territory”.
He also said that the Guyana Defense Forces are “on full alert” and briefed military counterparts, including U.S. Southern Command, on the situation.
Venezuelans voted on Sunday (Dec 3) in a referendum on the annexation of part of Guyana’s territory. The measure, of a consultative nature, was announced by Maduro on November 10.
Essequibo has 160 thousand km² and is administered by Guyana. The area is rich in oil and minerals, and has access to the Atlantic Ocean.