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In South America, close to the borders of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the threat of war hangs in the air. Authoritarian-ruled Venezuela is on the verge of annexing the Essequibo region of democratic Guyana, which would result in the loss of two-thirds of Guyana. Venezuela’s troops are already stationed along the border with Guyana. Guyana with 800,000 inhabitants has no chance against Venezuela with 29 million inhabitants and must therefore be protected. It is up to NATO and other neighboring countries to advocate peace now and put pressure on Venezuela before it is too late.
On December 3, the citizens of Venezuela will take part in a referendum on whether Venezuela should include the oil-rich Guyanese territory of Essequibo as an integral part of the country. The Venezuelan government is strongly urging people to vote in favor, so the result is now as good as known. Venezuela will receive a mandate from its people to invade another sovereign country.
The international treaties are clear about the fact that Essequibo belongs to Guyana, but Venezuela does not care about that. Venezuela’s troops are already stationed along the border with Guyana, but according to Venezuela, Guyana should not see this as a threat. Exactly what Putin also claimed before he had his troops invade Ukraine.
Venezuelan President Maduro can also use a war to divert attention from internal problems, such as hyperinflation, human rights violations, extreme poverty and many other troubles. Not entirely unimportant is the oil that Essequibo brings with it. Venezuela can use it well.
In the past, we have seen this tactic, in which a weaker neighbor is invaded by a strong neighbor in order to hide internal problems in that strong neighbor, among authoritarian regimes. Russian President Putin, former Iraqi President Hussein, and former Argentine President Galtieri have all used this tactic. Invading a neighboring country to unite the people and make it seem as if internal problems disappear. However, all they have brought is long-term instability and destruction. Hussein’s plan failed, Galtieri’s plan failed, Putin’s plan has all but failed and Maduro’s plan is also doomed to failure.
Yet it is not entirely incomprehensible that Maduro chooses this moment to strike. The world currently has several flashpoints, which has distracted the United States and NATO. Ukraine is fighting for its right to exist against Russia, Israel and Hamas are engaged in a war that concerns the entire Middle East and China still has Taiwan in its sights. The American peace era, Pax Americana, appears to be coming to an end, and the opportunities for authoritarian leaders to increase their power are therefore increasing.
Guyana wants peace and the US Department of Defense will visit Guyana next week to review all options. However, it may already be too late. Venezuela does not seem to be stopping and war therefore seems inevitable.
NATO did not intervene in time in Ukraine due to fear of Putin’s nuclear weapons. There is no need for that fear in Venezuela, because Venezuela is a country without nuclear bombs. NATO must seek cooperation with other South American countries to prevent this war with unnecessary deaths and extreme consequences. It is starting to look like there is a domino effect of war in the world since Putin was able to invade Ukraine undisturbed. Stop that effect now and protect the Guyanese people. Appeasement politics does not work.
#Prevent #war #Caribbean #borders #Joop #BNNVARA