Venezuela objects to US fighter jets flyover of Guyana

Last Updated on Thursday, 9 May 2024, 21:48 by Writer

Venezuela on Thursday reacted sharply to two United States (US) fighter jets overflying Georgetown and surrounding areas as part of defence cooperation, accusing Washington and Georgetown of conspiring to provoke regional peace.

“The Bolivarian National Armed Forces strongly reject these repeated provocations by the Southern Command, sponsored by the government of Guyana, which has assumed the role of a new North American colony.

Our Comprehensive Aerospace Defense System remains activated against any attempt to violate Venezuelan geographical space, including our Essequibo Territory. Alerts!,” Venezuela’s Defence Minister, Vladimir Padrino said on X, formerly Twitter.

The Guyana government said it approved the flyover of the two US Navy Aircraft F/A-18F Super Hornets in Georgetown as” part of the defense cooperation pact between Guyana and the US and seeks to deepen the ongoing security cooperation programme between our two countries.”

The exercise, which was coordinated by the Guyana Defence Force in collaboration with the US Southern Command, lasted from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. local time.

However, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Yvan Gil denounced the military exercise and deemed it “further proof of the provocations made to Venezuela by the US Southern Command”. Gil accused Guyana of violating the December 2023 Argyle Declaration by President Irfaan Ali and his Venezuelan counterpart, Nicolás Maduro.

“The desires of Exxon Mobil have no limits, after appropriating Guyana they intend to destabilize the region and threaten the Peace Zone agreed upon by the CELAC countries, while the Government of Guyana violates its international commitments, including the Argyle Agreement of 2023, by ceding its sovereignty to the North American power that threatens an entire continent,” Gil said on X.

The US Embassy in Georgetown said Thursday’s exercise built “upon our routine security cooperation and expanding bilateral defense partnership with Guyana.” “The exercise builds upon our routine security cooperation and expanding bilateral defense partnership with Guyana,” the diplomatic mission said.

The embassy said the US Navy aircraft carrier USS George Washington and Carrier Strike Group 10 are in the region as part of a two-month transit to the Pacific. During its transit, the embassy said the USS George Washington will conduct exercises and exchanges with longstanding defense partners to increase interoperability, build capacity, and support hemispheric security and stability. These engagements reflect what General Laura Richardson has described as “Team USA’s unwavering commitment to partner with like-minded nations who represent Team Democracy,” the embassy added.

As part of its worldwide defense mission, U.S. Navy vessels routinely transit international waters around the world, conducting similar exercises and exchanges with partners and allies.