Venezuela Takes a Step Closer to War With US

Following Sunday’s referendum, Venezuela’s Maduro government de facto “annexes” the oil-rich Essequibo region. Guyana calls for help from friends, including US Southern Command. Military exercises are already under way. 

Three and a half weeks ago, we warned that the next major geopolitical flash point in this year of living dangerously could be in Washington’s “backyard” (or as the Biden Administration likes to call it, front yard). Sad to say, it looks like we were right. Like most geopolitical flash points, the region affected, Essequibo (or Guayana Esequiba), boasts a wealth of energy and mineral resources. In 2015, a consortium of energy firms led by Exxon Mobil discovered huge deposits of oil in the region’s disputed waters — and what’s more of the sweet crude variety that is easiest to refine, commanding the highest price on the global market.

In doing so, they reignited a diplomatic conflict that has been blowing hot and cold for the best part of the last two centuries.

Essequibo has been administered by the former British colony of Guyana, of which it constitutes more than two-thirds of its territory and hosts 125,000 of Guyana’s 800,000 citizens, since 1899, when its frontiers were defined by an arbitration panel in Paris. Venezuela eventually accepted the ruling, albeit grudgingly, until 1949, when one of the US lawyers who had defended its case had a memorandum published posthumously that strongly suggested that the ruling had been rigged in Britain’s favour.

Redrawing the Map

Following Sunday’s referendum, Venezuela’s government has de facto annexed the 159,000 square kilometre territory, as well as its oil-rich waters. While it has not sent troops to the region, it is moving fast to make this new change a reality. On Wednesday, President Nicolás Maduro ordered the immediate publication of new maps of Venezuela showing Essequibo as part of its territory (rather than as a disputed territory). The maps will then be distributed to schools community councils, public establishments, universities and all homes.

This is what the new map looks like (as NC reader Joe Well pointed out in the comments thread to a recent post, there is a common saying in Venezuela that the country is shaped like an elephant, with Essequibo forming the hind and back leg):


Al Jazeera helpfully explains why the Essequibo region is so important, from a geographic, environmental and economical standpoint:

The area is located in the heart of the Guiana Shield, a geographical region in the northeast of South America and one of the four last pristine tropical forests in the world mined with natural and mineral resources, including large reserves of gold, copper, diamond, iron and aluminium among others.

The region also has the world’s biggest reserves of crude oil per capita. Just last month, Guyana announced a “significant” new oil discovery, adding to estimated reserves of at least 10 billion barrels – more than Kuwait or the United Arab Emirates.

With these resources, the country is set to surpass the oil production of Venezuela, and by 2025, according to projections, the country is on track to become the world’s largest per-capita crude producer.

The Venezuelan government’s “annexation” of Essequibo followed a consultative referendum held late Sunday on the fate of the oil-rich region, which Venezuela has claimed as its own since winning full independence from Spain in 1823, (for more historical background to this long-simmering dispute, read my previous post, The Drums of War Are Growing Louder in South America). In the referendum, more than 10.5 million Venezuelan voters, just over 50% of the eligible total, participated, with around 95% casting ballots in favour of annexing the region, according to country’s electoral authorities.

The voters also overwhelmingly voted to reject the conditions “fraudulently imposed” by the British Empire in the Paris Arbitration Award of 1899; to “support the 1966 Geneva Agreement as the only valid legal instrument to reach a practical and satisfactory solution to the territorial dispute; to not recognise the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice in resolving the dispute; and to oppose, by all legal means, Guyana’s claim to unilaterally dispose of a disputed maritime area, illegally and in violation of international law.

From “Non-Binding” to “Binding”

Before the referendum, the Maduro government insisted that the vote was purely consultative and non-binding; now that it has secured the result it was seeking, it is claiming the opposite.

“The word of the People is popular command,” tweeted Maduro on Wednesday. “We will enforce the decision the Venezuelans made in the consultative referendum to guarantee the development and well-being of our Guayana Esequiba. Venezuela has raised its voice!”

Also on Wednesday, Maduro presented the National Assembly with a draft law for recognising Guayana Esequiba as a province of Venezuela. As provisional authority of the new territory he appointed a deputy from the ruling party, Major General Alexis Rodríguez Cabello, and authorised the creation of subsidiaries for the region of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela and the state-owned Venezuelan Corporation of Guayana Essequibo, which will be granted licenses for the exploration and exploitation of oil, gas and mineral deposits.

What motives does Maduro have for doing all of this? It depends, of course, who you ask.

In most Western media, the stock response is that the move on Essequibo is a desperate attempt to shore up political support at home as the country faces the prospect of new elections next year amid a slightly improving albeit still hyper-inflationary economy. The Essequibo claim is one of the few issues on which almost all Venezuelans, including many members of the political opposition, can unite around. It has also been argued that the Maduro government is desperate to get its hands on Essequibo’s sweet crude oil — hence the speed with which it is granting exploration and exploitation licences for the region.

While there may be a kernel of truth in both of these explanations, they completely ignore the spark that set off this latest escalation: Exxon Mobil’s discovery of oil in Essequibo’s disputed waters in 2015. As I documented in my last piece, Exxon Mobil has had a strained relationship with Venezuela’s government since 2007, when Chavez nationalised ExxonMobil’s considerable assets in the country, and the company’s discovery and subsequent exploitation of oil in Essequibo was an extremely provocative step. In a 2017 article, the Washington Post described it as “revenge” for Exxon’s then-CEO Rex Tillersen.

For Exxon Mobil, Guyana is a key cog in its plans for the future. Last year alone, the oil major and its two partners, Hess Corporation and China’s CNOOC Petroleum, earned nearly $6 billion in Guyana. That is expected to grow significantly in the years to come.

As Exxon has expanded its influence in the tiny country of Guyana, to such an extent that “it’s become hard to distinguish where the oil company ends and the government begins,” as Amy Westervelt reported for The Intercept in June, it was just a matter of time before US troops and military bases began arriving. The US and Guyana already signed an agreement in 2020 to undertake joint military patrols in the Essequibo region, ostensibly for “drug interdiction” and to provide “greater security” to the South American country.

As we warned last week, the drums of war are beating louder, though there is still room for diplomacy. Even as tensions rise, Venezuela and Guyana have agreed to “keep communication channels open”, according to Caracas. The Maduro government is calling for a reset in its relations with Washington and an end to all sanctions on Venezuela. There are also doubts as to whether the Biden administration wants another war on its hands, especially one on its doorstep and so close to next year’s elections.

Brazil, which shares a border with both Venezuela and Guyana, is not taking any chances The government, which has extensive economic interests in and with Guyana as well as close ties (until now at least) with the Maduro government, already sent reinforcements to its northern border before the referendum. It bolstered those reinforcements this week with an additional 600 troops and had intensified its surveillance and defensive operations along the border.

So far, “movement on the Brazilian side of the border has been normal,” reported an army dispatch a couple of days ago. Some Brazilian media outlets have warned that if Venezuela were to actually attempt a land invasion of Essequibo, some troops may end up trying to go through Brazilian territory, most likely the state of Roraima.

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said he was following developments between Guyana and Venezuela with “growing concern”. He also suggested at a Mercosur summit that multilateral bodies such as CELAC (the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) and UNASUR should contribute to a peaceful solution. “We do not want and we do not need war in South America,” he said.

Venezuela already sent a military contingent to Puerto Barima, close to Venezuela’s Atlantic border with Essequibo, before the referendum. The country boasts the fourth largest military force in Latin America, with 137,000 military personnel, and is closely allied with both Russia and China.

Powerful “Friends”

By contrast, the Guyana Defence Forces (GDF) number just 4,600, according to the GDF’s official website. But the oil-rich nation, which accounts for almost 10% of Exxon Mobil’s global oil production, has friends (if one can call them that) in high places. And the Guyanese government is asking for their help. In a recent interview with CBS News, Guyana’s President Mohamed Irfaan Ali said his government, while much preferring peace and diplomacy, is, along with its friends, prepared for the alternative.

“We take this threat very seriously, and we have initiated a number of precautionary measures to ensure the peace and stability of this region,” Ali said on Wednesday. “Should Venezuela proceed to act in this reckless and adventurous manner, the region will have to respond. And that is what we’re building. We’re building a regional response.”

That regional response includes mobilising the support of the largely US-controlled Organisation of American States (OAS), the same organisation that fully backed Washington’s disastrous attempt to unilaterally impose Juan Guaidó as Venezuela’s “interim” president. It also played a key role in facilitating Jeanne Añez’s bloody 2019 coup d’état in Bolivia. The organisation enjoys little support among the region’s left-leaning governments, who are working together to strengthen the regional body CELAC  as an alternative.

Guyana can also count on the support of Caricom, a political and economic union of 15 Caribbean and Central American nations, as well as the British Commonwealth. He also claims to have the backing of France (quelle surprise!), the UK (ditto), and Brazil, which, if true, would actually be a surprise.

But it is the US that will be providing the bulk of the military support, if needed. From the US State Department:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Guyanese President Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali to reaffirm the United States’ unwavering support for Guyana’s sovereignty. The Secretary reiterated the United States’ call for a peaceful resolution to the dispute and for all parties to respect the 1899 arbitral award determining the land boundary between Venezuela and Guyana, unless, or until, the parties reach a new agreement, or a competent legal body decides otherwise. Secretary Blinken and President Ali noted the International Court of Justice order issued on December 1, which called for parties to refrain from any action that might aggravate or extend the dispute.

Guyana has also presented its case to the United Nations Security Council, where it is being discussed today.

“By defying the (International) Court (of Justice), Venezuela has rejected international law, the rule of law generally and the preservation of international peace and security,” said Ali on Thursday. “They have… declared themselves an outlaw nation. Nothing they do will stop Guyana, however, from pursuing its case at the ICJ or stop the ICJ from ultimately issuing its final judgment on the merits of this case”.

Venezuela will presumably be able to count on vetoes from China and/or Russia in the event of a vote on the dispute.

US Southern Command is already on standby. On Thursday, it announced that it will be conducting flight drills over Guyana, in collaboration with the Guyana Defence Force. This is after Guyana’s Vice President strongly hinted last week that Southcom will also be setting up military bases in  Essequibo.

But let’s not kid ourselves here: this is not about protecting Guyana’s sovereignty from a hostile neighbour; it is about protecting US interests in the region and boxing out both China and Russia from the region’s resources, as the Commander of SOUTHCOM Laura Richardson reiterated last week at the Reagan National Defense Forum:


The Guyanese government’s decision to invite SOUTHCOM to set up military bases in Essequibo, which, as already mentioned, was probably a long time coming, elicited a furious response from Caracas (translation my own).

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela condemns the recent statements by President Irfaan Ali, who has recklessly given the green light to the presence of the United States Southern Command in the territory of Guayana Esequiba, over which Guyana maintains a de facto occupation and a territorial dispute with Venezuela, which is supposed to be resolved through the Geneva Agreement of 1966, the only valid legal instrument between the parties.

Venezuela denounces before the International Community, in particular the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), the reckless attitude of Guyana, which, acting under the mandate of the American transnational Exxon Mobil, is opening the possibility of an imperial power installing military bases, threatening the Peace Zone that has been established in this region.

Whereas Guyana may have plenty of “allies” to call upon in its time of need, Venezuela appears to be far more isolated. Even its long-time ally, Cuba, is on close terms with Georgetown. Havana is a fellow member of CARICOM and recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Guyanese government on forestry and agriculture. Both China and Brazil are heavily invested in Guyana’s rapidly growing energy industry and neither are likely to look favourably on Venezuela’s territorial designs in Essequibo. Other regional allies such as Gustavo Petro’s Colombia and AMLO’s Mexico have so far stayed silent on the issue.

One country that may be willing to step up its support of Venezuela is Russia. As already mentioned, both countries already have close military ties. They also have close ties in both energy and tourism that date back to the mandate of Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez. It is also hard to imagine Maduro’s government raising tensions with the US in such an aggressive manner if it wasn’t backed by another military superpower such as Russia.

Not so long ago, Vladimir Putin offered Russia’s allies in Latin America, as well as Asia and Africa, advanced Russian weaponry during his speech at the opening ceremony of the International Military and Technical Forum 2022 and the International Army Games-2022 — all in the name of safeguarding “peace and security” in the emerging multipolar world. As I noted in an article at the time, it was one of a number of signs that Latin America is back on the grand chessboard, as the race for the region’s resources and strategic influence heats up in the new Cold War.

What better way for Russia to raise the stakes in its escalating conflict with the US than to provide military support to Venezuela’s government, one of the biggest thorns in Washington’s side, as it pursues its territorial conquest (or in the views of most Venezuelans, reconquest) of Essequibo. And if that is what ends up happening and this does indeed escalate into military conflict (still quite a big “IF”), Russia will probably not need to send its own troops into the meat grinder. Instead, it would be the US and presumably its allies in Latin America that would be providing much of the cannon fodder in this proxy war. And that would suit Putin just fine.

All of this is pure conjecture for now. But it is worth highlighting that Venezuela has been an unflinching ally of Russia during the conflict in Ukraine. And coincidentally, Maduro is scheduled to spend a few days in Russia this December, though the exact dates have not yet been set. Meanwhile, the US is already considering reimposing sanctions on Venezuela’s oil, gas and gold.


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  1. John

    The probability that the arbitration award in 1907 was tilted to Britain approaches certainty. The probability that the US would choose the threat /the use force to lay hands on a huge reserve of “light, sweet crude” in the neighborhood is 100% certain. After all as Smedley Butler said he was used as muscle for corporations. It an all-American tradition. Worked before, why not now and that dreadful Maduro person is involved.

    This has nothing to do with right, wrong, or justice although I do expect to hear pious words in that regard. All about “national intere$t”, of course, $ecurity … now there is an overused and abused word.

    By the way, did someone mention the Monroe Doctrine? Nice to drag it out on its 200th birthday.

  2. earl

    10 billion barrels “more than Kuwait or UAE”


    where does this come from?

    Kuwait and UAE each have proven reserves of 10 times this amount

    1. Troy

      Well, if by proven, you mean “proven”, then you’re right. Kuwait and UAE probably don’t have that much in reserve. A decade ago, there were reports both countries (well, all petro states) were considerably overstating their reserves.

  3. panurge

    Those evil Russkies: “Ehi, if ‘muricans outsource the war by throwing Ukraine at us, why don’t we do the same in the Monroe’s backyard?”

    I’m getting Gulf War I vibes with Maduro poised to invade the geographically insignificant but extremely rich Guyana and getting ready to have is a** handed to him by Uncle Sam.

    Sure, behind Venezuela there is a big boy unlike Saddam’s case, and despite the mild – so far – rumbling, I guess even China would welcome seeing some “resources” diverted over there instead of ending up in Eurasia.

    1. furnace

      Two mistakes: first, the US of 2023 is a pale shadow of the US of 1991 (or even 2003). Weapons are, when available, rusting and old. Morale is so low the army can’t fill its quotas, being forced to accept any volunteers, regardless of fitness. And for all its ills this is a national imperative for Venezuela: both situation and opposition are in favor of war.

      Besides that, war has dramatically changed. Cheap drones can make mincemeat of heavy armor; missiles are becoming ever more effective and thus making air power a very risky business (ask the Russians how many airplanes they have lost. Not a few. Doesn’t matter much in their case because they can more or less easily replace the planes; not so much the pilots, though, which take time to train). The US can barely produce artillery shells, is embroiled in 3 proxy wars and fomenting a fourth one. The Pentagon literally doesn’t have money to keep the Ukraine war going. How in the hell is the US supposed to be able to beat the Venezuelans? Here is a nice quote from 2019:

      “There are three air defense systems in service with Venezuela: Thor, Buk, S-300. Together, these three complexes can create a so-called echeloned defense system. This will repel means of air attack. Each complex performs its tasks: S-300 works on large targets, such as airplanes, including stealth planes, reconnaissance planes, ”said Alexey Leonkov, editor of Fatherland Magazine, in an interview with RT.

      “Buk” and “Thor” work with other goals: with tactical aircraft, with cruise missiles, the expert added.

      “With proper use of these air defense systems, it is possible to build the very layered air defense system that will allow significant damage to the attacking side,” Leonkov said.

      At the same time, the expert believes that if the attacking side creates total air superiority, the air defense system will not be able to completely prevent the attack, although it will “cause the enemy significant damage”.

      Is the US willing to get a bloody nose in its own backyard? Now that would be humiliating.

      1. Polar Socialist

        The Essequibo may be rich in natural resources, but tank country it isn’t. Most of it is basically jungle with no roads passing between the two countries. So even if the only one with any serious hardware (tanks and self-propelled artillery) in the area is Venezuela, it would have to first build roads to use them.

        Somehow I can’t see most of the actors having the resources to conduct much of a campaign there in the near future. Unless it’s something like Venezuelan marines asserting control of the coastline and the 5th Jungle Infantry Division crossing the border in the middle of nowhere for a flag waving photo-op in some remote jungle village in Essequibo.

    2. Greg

      I imagine China will do what China does, and continue to do business with all sides for as long as practical.
      In the longer term, a USA that spends its Navy in South America is one that probably can’t do much in Taiwan, so it may be in Chinese interests to foment conflict there.

      As Polar Socialist comments below, it’s not likely to be much of a ground war, so it’ll be Navy and Airforce. This is also evident in the SouthCom actions being mostly naval in the region.

      USN and USAF are both in good shape because they haven’t had to send too many resources to Ukraine, but losing a carrier to a cheap missile off the coast of South America would end any ideas about defending Taiwan. Venezuela might, therefore, find itself able to purchase some of the newer Chinese missile systems as well as a bunch of drones.

  4. The Rev Kev

    I would hazard a guess that Venezuela has made a calculation. That there will be a de facto annexation of Essequibo – but that it will be done by the US. And once all that oil and gas is being pumped direct to the US, then they will no longer have that much need of Venezuela’s oil any more as a matter of urgency. And at that point a suitable casus belli could be found to launch an all out attack on Venezuela made easier by the fact that a US force will be stationed on the Essequibo-Venezuela border. Shipments from Essequibo will ease the situation while the US proceeds to demolish that country. So at the moment, with the US distracted by the Ukraine, Gaza and Taiwan as well as a Presidential election, then this is as good as time as any to make their move.

    1. david

      The US fought a war in a jungle and lost in Vietnam. Today the “potentially committed” human resources of Venezuela in and out of its borders are enormous, compared to those in the US willing to die for …Exxon.

      Smedley Butler’s words will be repeated endlessly in the next year. In addition in neighboring countries places like Columbia have ready made equivalent to ISIS in former cocaine fueled protection groups channeled and recruited with pensions committed based on oil cash flow that can become Venezuelan Citizens overnite. Agent Orange again / Jellied gas bombs again / napalm agin – I dont think so ?

      Washington has shown in Ukraine and the MEast its objective are purely economic, trumping the rhetoric of democracy / freedom or nationalism. Difficult sell around the world for US intervention and the oil is fungible – doesnt matter to Americans who actually owns it – they will eventually get higher supply and lower cost.

      so why die or commit treasure for Exxon?

      1. ConcernedCeltiberian

        Hi David, respectfully: since when has this been an impediment in the USA for launching new wars?

    2. ConcernedCeltiberian

      I think you might be close to the truth of the matter…

      I do not buy the facile explanation of “Its for the elections”. That’s cheap Gringo projection.
      One thing that the Chavistas are good at is surviving in a risky environment. Also: a move of this magnitude must have been thoroughly planned and gamed. Not only by Venezuelans, but also by the Russians, Chinese and Cubans. (BTW Maduro visited China last September)

      I could believe in an scenario in 2-3 years time where the, badly damaged after losing Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan, and rapidly losing ground elsewhere in the world, decides that it’s time to cut losses in far away continents and concentrate on “managing” more directly its backyard. Or front yard. Or Ibero-American satrapies. Whatever. Such a move would fit extremely well into your scenario.

    3. Synapsid

      Rev Kev,

      US refineries are equipped to handle heavy crude, which is what Venezuela has and Guyana lacks. We’ll still need Venezuelan crude. The reason so much of US production is being exported is that what is produced in the Permian Basin (west Texas and southeast New Mexico) and the other centers of fracking is light, sweet crude, and not what the refineries, mostly on the Gulf Coast, are configured to handle well.

      It’s worth keeping this in mind when we see the ballyhoo about the US being an oil superpower. We have to ship out much of what we produce because we aren’t equipped to handle it. Energy security this is not, but it’s a money earner for the oilpatch.

  5. Valenzuela

    If the invasion does happen, what are the odds that it’ll be a slow-boil thing rather than the all-out war most people’s imaginations seem to be defaulting too? Have border skirmishes with raiding parties that push the border forward a few acres at a time, keep it relatively low-intensity so that Guyana’s allies won’t be too pressured to act, trust that Venezuela can weather whatever limited aid they do end up sending and that eventually they’ll lose their appetite for an endless intervention so that Venezuela can go and solidify control over the land with minimal resistance. Of course that all depends on the US not pushing to escalate the conflict every step of the way, which it very well could.

    1. SteveB

      Well Guyana could offer refreshments to both sides. I’ve heard their Koolaid is to die for !!!!!!!!!

      1. ambrit

        The original “Jonesing!”
        What are the odds that Guyana doesn’t exist in three or four year’s time? The west part to Venezuela and the east part to Suriname. I mean, these small countries are all relics of the colonial days.

      2. ambrit

        The original Jonesing!
        I wonder if Guyana is still a country in three or four years. The east side to Suriname and the west side to Venezuela. Those borders, indeed, the countries themselves, are relics of the colonial period.

      3. Eclair

        Thank you, SteveB. There is a reason than a mention of ‘Guyana’ sets off ripples of apprehension in my mind. 1978. Almost one thousand people commit suicide there, ordered by US cult leader Jim Jones, by drinking poisoned Koolaid. (My kids were devastated because Koolaid was banned from our house.) The news at that time was saturated by the horrific event. And we didn’t even have CNN and 24-hour news channels and internet.

  6. Carolinian

    Other reports I’ve seen say that the Biden people do not want an armed conflict over this. And while they may put bases it would only take a few missiles to take out offshore oil platforms. If the dispute is really about oil then surely some kind of negotiated settlement must be the real outcome.

    Of course if the aim is, a la Trump, to take out Venezuela then Katie bar the door. Is Biden, however erratic, likely to start yet another war?

    1. ambrit

      At this point, we must admit to ourselves that it is not Biden making the decisions. The Ukraine is a place to watch here. The Congress is finally taking back it’s function as the arbiter of war and peace for American policy via the ‘Power of the Purse?’
      It would be ironic fun to see if the Administration has to declare a “Special Military Operation” in Venezuela to “legally” circumvent Congress.
      As mentioned above, destroying the offshore oil platforms in the disputed region would do the trick. Let America have the jungle, deny them the light sweet crude.
      In all this, what do the locals in Essequibo want? (Not that that has stopped anyone before.)

  7. Gully Foyle

    TPTB sees the world as a big balloon.If it fails to pop with the first squeeze, Ukraine then they try another.
    Now Guyana.
    Are Ethiopia and Eritrea on the Path to War?
    The enemies became allies to fight the TPLF, but old grievances and new disputes are threatening to revive the conflict.
    ( That European thing still going on? Two of those ex Albanian nations and a border dispute, I think same area. So much smoke and no explosions to save the failed economic collapse.)
    “I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
    ― Smedley D. Butler, War is a Racket

  8. JonnyJames

    “…But let’s not kid ourselves here: this is not about protecting Guyanan sovereignty from a hostile neighbour; it is about protecting US interests in the region and boxing out both China and Russia from the region’s resources…”

    That’s it in a nutshell. Great information provided here, thanks for posting.

    The US imposed economic siege warfare (so-called sanctions) have resulted in large-scale displacement, death and suffering of millions. One could say that the US has been at war on Venezuela for a decade or more. It has also fueled more immigration into the US “homeland”. But we aren’t supposed to blame the perps, the US gov. and MassMedia blames the victims as usual.

  9. Jeremy Grimm

    I think a war between Venezuela and the u.s. might qualify as asymmetric warfare. Asymmetric warfare “typically involves the use of unconventional weapons and tactics (such as those associated with guerrilla warfare and terrorist attacks.” [Merriam Webster Dictionary] The u.s. has a lengthy and leaky Southern border with Mexico. I suppose a war with Venezuela might prove profitable to the MIC and Big Oil but also provide big payoffs to the many agencies of Homeland ‘Security’ — while also providing another reason to stay at home besides the Corona flu and the many random shooter events already troubling the u.s.

    1. JonnyJames

      That would be great, but: this is hardcore geo-strategic pursuit of power and interests. The US and vassals are willing to bring the world to the brink of nuclear war in order to maintain a degree of hegemony. The oligarchy clearly don’t give a toss about the plebs or the environment.

      The Neo-Malthusians and sociopath elites might want a nuclear war to reduce the “surplus population” and curb emissions, but that’s probably not a good idea. Besides, nuclear winter won’t ameliorate global warming.

      1. mrsyk

        That would be great, but: this is hardcore geo-strategic pursuit of power and interests Isn’t it always? I would add to your observation that all parties involved want the same thing. That “same thing” needs to be left in the friggin ground.

    1. Joe Well

      It wasn’t very valuable until the new petroleum discovery. Which is probably a big reason why Venezuela did not push its claim harder back when they were one of the wealthiest countries in the Americas and more or less could have bought Guyana.

  10. JustTheFacts

    I would be surprised if China supported Venezuela. They don’t much like people claiming bits of other people’s territories. Donbass was different, because 1. The Ukrainians were repressing and shelling the Russian speakers there, 2. The locals wanted out, 3. Russia’s rather important to China. As far as I know, 1 & 2 are not true for Guyana, and Venezuela is far away and not that important. Frankly, I’d even be surprised if Russia intervened on Venezuela’s side in this war of aggression. That presumes they have something to gain from doing so, and I don’t see what it would be — annoying American officials is not their mission in life.

    And although oil platforms can be taken out by missiles, so can tin-pot presidents and their presidential palaces.

    1. ambrit

      The Russians also have very good missile forces, plus two years of on the ground testing and tactical doctrine experimentation. If Russia can upgrade the Venezuelan missile forces sufficiently to do major damage to the American naval forces, and shore installations, in the Caribbean Sea, watch out.
      The first American bombs to fall on Caracas will be the turning point. Therefor, I wonder if America can “influence” Brazil to be it’s proxy in this fight? Arms length deniability and all that.

    2. fjallstrom

      Regarding the local population, I tried to find out who lives there. About 120 000 according to wikipedia. No idea about how they feel about the situation.

      1. Daniil Adamov

        Yes, and I doubt strongly whether China or America cares about that (or about the people of the Donbass, for that matter).

  11. Amfortas the Hippie

    a war with anywhere in Latin America has been one of my nightmares for a long time….ever since i married Tam and became an honorary mexican.
    it was bad enough after 9-11 when all these nutters mistook mexicans for iraqis.
    the only venezuelans ive met in real life(much like cubans and colombians) are part of the diaspora…which means folks who (or whos famila) benefited from whatever dictatorship was in place before.
    and every one of those vezuelans have looked rather pale, to me,lol.
    not gonna be mistaken for mexican green card holders.
    if this goes forward, i expect a lot of local rancor and a renewed overt acrimony with the brown skinned population(which, last i looked, was between 35% and 45%)
    can the average amurkin find venezuela on a map?

    1. ambrit

      It’s an artifact of “La Layenda Negra.” Racial discrimination inside of Latin and South American countries is strong, but the degree of racial mixing in the populations seems to be greater than here Up North.
      Everyone wants to feel “superior” to someone. Silly Terran humans.

  12. Gulag

    Just the Facts, couldn’t agree with you more about China.

    In my opinion, China seems to use a “realist” framework for its foreign policy moves. China wants to dominate Asia the way the U.S. has historically dominated the Western Hemisphere.

    It may just be the case that Smeldly D. Butler ignored another primary reason why the U.S. is one of the most aggressive nation-states on the planet–the anarchic structure of the international nation-state system itself, as a key motivating factor for why all nation-states try to do what they do– accumulate more power in foreign policy moves in order to increase their chances of survival in an environment in which their is no higher authority than individual nation-states.

  13. Michael

    The oil in question at this point is offshore. I wouldn’t think there would be much jungle fighting. Just ships and missiles.

  14. Grateful Dude

    “…Washington’s “backyard” (or as the Biden Administration likes to call it, front yard) …”
    Or as the Rockefellers called Venezuela, “the ranch”.

    I heard that long ago. No idea if it’s true.

    1. The Rev Kev

      BlackRock has an island resort-slash-dude ranch in the South Pacific. They call it “Australia”

      1. ambrit

        Isn’t “BlackRock” supposed to be referred to now by it’s ‘First People’ name of “Nagh?”

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