(Opinion) – Guyanese are often misguided into believing that the United States would launch military action against Venezuela if Caracas should launch a military offensive on Guyana to take the Essequibo.
Hence, they mistakenly believe that it is the United States that is deterring Caracas. But they are certainly wrong.
The reality is that the United States would not intervene militarily in such a stand-off, and for more reasons than a lot of us would want to accept.
After all, basic research would show that ironically, it was the United States that had backed Venezuela in the past, and encouraged them to lay claim to the Essequibo.
As a matter of fact, the United States President Grover Cleveland had made it clear in an address to the US Congress on 17 December 1895, that the US was willing to go to war with Britain if necessary over the Essequibo.
An extract of his speech provoked that belief in which he had pressed for a commission, “to resist, by every means in its power as a willful aggression, upon its rights and interests any British attempt to exercise jurisdiction over a territory the United States judged as Venezuelan”.
And at that time, US public opinion and its political views were centered around the belief that Essequibo was Venezuelan territory.
Moreover, the US government had repeatedly indicated back then that the United States has more economic interest in Venezuela than the then British Guiana.
But fast forwarding to today, the US’s economic views on both countries practically remains the same.
And while the United States does not support the current policies and regime in Caracas, the US remains Venezuela largest trading partner, while Venezuela has the largest number of American-owned or American backed investments in South America.
Some may also feel that the US position would change with Exxon Mobil discovery of oil offshore Guyana.
But if one is to consider that Venezuela has the largest oil reserve in the world, and the largest bloc of Western investment in the oil and gas sector than any other country in South America, they may change their views (especially since the US is Venezuela’s largest customer on the oil market).
So at best, all the Americans really care about is a regime change in Caracas to suit their interest, and a change of policy that is benefiting to all of the American investments that are stalled up there.
Hence, launching a military strike on Caracas would never be a priority for the Americans.
Therefore, it begs the question who then would help to defend Guyana if there is to be a serious military confrontation with Venezuela.
The answer to that question is definitely Brazil, Colombia, and Great Britain.
First of all, Brazil has the most powerful and most equipped army in South America, and is a military proxy of the United Nations and the West, tasked with ensuring that Venezuela and any other rogue nation is kept in line.
It is a silent task that was long handed to the Brazilians, which has since granted them some previously unexpected powers at the UN.
Venezuela knows this, and was often diplomatically warned by Brazil whenever it threatens to move any military force in large numbers to the border; – thus making it clear that the Brazilian military will most likely intervene in the interest of regional peace if necessary.
On the other hand, Colombia has been one of the most outspoken countries against the Venezuelan government; a fact that has seen the country’s President repeatedly expressing his support to use force if necessary to remove Venezuelan leader Nicholas Maduro from power.
A strong ally of the West, Colombia will be looking for any form of excuse to launch a military strike against Caracas if it is called upon to do so, and in an effort to bring some balance of power within the region.
And since Colombia has one of the most powerful armies in South America, and an army that has more firepower than Venezuela, Caracas knows that it will not worth the risk to open itself to a battle with the Colombians who may very well use any Venezuelan attack on Guyana as an excuse to militarily force out Maduro.
For sure, it is a risk that Maduro would not want to take, either way.
Last but not least, England was the mother country that had benefited from the arbitration settlement with Venezuela regarding the Essequibo.
Still a part of the EU, they have been collectively placing pressure on Venezuela military generals, while pushing for more sanctions.
And any military breach of the arbitration agreement would allow the EU and Great Britain to utilize existing laws to launch a military assault against Caracas, if it feels that its influence and interest is being threatened.
And since England is another Western country that wants to see the back of Maduro, you bet that Great Britain would be inclined to use a Venezuelan attack against Guyana as an excuse to use military force to topple the current socialist regime in Venezuela.
After all, Britain knows that Guyana’s military, rated as the weakest in South America (see that article here) obviously does not have the resources to engage in a direct military clash with Caracas.