Guyana should ask US, Brazil for military assistance to deter Venezuela- former Foreign Minister, AFC

Last Updated on Friday, 17 November 2023, 19:30 by Denis Chabrol

Mr Clement Rohee

Former Foreign Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee on Friday said the United States (US) should be asked to provide military assistance to deter neighbouring Venezuela from possibly invading Guyana after the December 3, 2023 referendum that calls for the annexation of the Essequibo County.

“All things being equal, it is only the United States Guyana can turn to, to provide the military assistance and political support needed. And Guyana should insist that the support is prompt and visible otherwise Venezuela will conclude that in this hemisphere America’s bark is worse that it’s bite,” said Mr Rohee, an Executive Committee member of the governing People’s Progressive Party (PPP).

He said if the US heeds Guyana’s request and deploys its soldiers off Guyana’s north-western coast, neighbouring Venezuela would most likely be forced to back off from expanding its land mass and territorial sea at Guyana’s expense.

“The arrival of an aircraft carrier along with an acceptable size of the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit and the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group stationed at the northwest district would prove a powerful deterrent to any military actions contemplated by Venezuelan on land or at sea,” he said. Mr Rohee served as Foreign Affairs Minister from 1992 to 2001 and was appointed Home Affairs Minister (internal security) from 2006.
He recommended that before asking the US for assistance, Guyana should first approach the United Nations Security Council for UN-backed military assistance “to forestall any preemptive military incursion by Venezuela into Guyana’s territorial land or sea” though that would entail prolonged negotiations with the five permanent UNSC members- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The other option, he suggested, would be, following consultations with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to go the bilateral route by requesting a friendly country to provide the assistance needed. In this regard, only one of the five UNSC permanent members could be considered.

Mr David Patterson

At a news conference, AFC Executive Member David Patterson said Guyana should speak with its partners and say to them “in the unlikely event” that the situation escalates and ask whether this country could count on them for their support. “It is not only the United States but it is Brazil probably would be our better, faster ally to prevent any such intrusion and I see no harm in us speaking with them,” he said. Mr Patterson said due to increased Venezuelan military activity on its border with Guyanese living near the border with Venezuela are “incredibly scared and worried.”

Guyana is awaiting an International Court of Justice (ICJ) decision on its request for provisional measures to block Venezuela’s referendum with questions that could lead to irreparable harm. One of the questions asks Venezuelan to vote for government’s decision that the ICJ does not have jurisdiction to hear Guyana’s case that the land boundary with that Spanish-speaking neighbour is a full, final and perfect settlement. Another question is for the Venezuelan government to declare Guyana’s county of Essequibo a State of Venezuela to look after the welfare of current and future inhabitants and grant them citizenship and identification cards.

The People’s Progressive Party Civic-led administration and the People’s National Congress Reform-led A Partnership for National Unity have taken a united stand against Venezuela’s recent aggression. CARICOM, the Organisation of American States, Commonwealth, United States and Canada have all backed Guyana.