An unsettling cloud of war is gathering in northern South America following the announcement by unpopular and isolated Nicolas Maduro to annex Guyana's disputed Essequibo region. The Venezuelan dictator's announcement was supported by a referendum of dubious turnout and result, last Sunday. In response, the Guyanese government summoned the U.S. Southern Command, which on Thursday reported that it will conduct military exercises in the region.
Brazil added to the tension with another announcement: the mobilization of Venezuelan troops in the area.
The number of Venezuelan soldiers on the border with the Brazilian state of Roraima has increased in recent days, in the context of tensions between Caracas and Guyanese authorities over sovereignty over the Essequibo.
Brazilian army sources explained that the state of Roraima borders Venezuela and Guyana, which have been disputing for more than a century the territory of the Essequibo, rich in oil, mineral and environmental resources.
However, according to Brazilian sources cited by CNN, there is still no precise data on the extent of the deployment of Venezuelan soldiers and military equipment in the region.
In any case, the Brazilian army has ordered an increase from 200 to 400 in Boa Vista, the capital of Roraima. In addition, the military base in this city will be transformed into a cavalry regiment with the arrival of 22 armored vehicles of the Guaicurus model. At the same time, the military contingent in Pacaraima, on the border with Venezuela, will increase from 30 to 130 soldiers.
Commenting on this reinforcement, Defense Minister José Mucio Monteiro declared that "our borders are secure and we will not allow the passage (of Venezuelan troops) through Brazil."
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mauro Vieira, said during the meeting of Mercosur foreign ministers that "the maintenance of peace is essential for the economic development" of the region and that, therefore, "the need for dialogue" is fundamental for South America "to continue on this path of peace."