Country Report Guyana
- ID: 2138721
- September 2015
- Region: Guyana
- 28 Pages
- The Economist Intelligence Unit
The president of Guyana, David Granger, has claimed that Venezuelan military presence is building on the border between the two countries, escalating an ongoing dispute over ownership of the Essequibo region in western Guyana.
Mr Granger reported that his country had noticed an "extraordinary escalation" of Venezuelan military activity to the west of Essequibo in September. Media in Venezuela reported that the country's minister of defence, Vladimir Padrino López, had stated that the Venezuelan army was conducting operational exercises. Mr Padrino López did not specify a precise location, or the level of troops and equipment involved.
News of increased Venezuelan military presence appears to represent the latest escalation of a border dispute that had long lain dormant until an announcement in May by ExxonMobil (US) that it had discovered oil in the Stabroek block, situated just off Guyana's coastline. The announcement of the discovery, which would provide an economic boon to Guyana, led the president of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro, to claim that the find had been made in Venezuelan rather than Guyanese waters. In July Venezuela withdrew its ambassador to Guyana and announced that it would stop sourcing rice from the country (Venezuela had previously imported 40% of Guyana's rice crop).