Another Potential Flashpoint

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary

by Daniel Nardini

As if there are not already more than enough flashpoints in our world today, here is one more possibility. About two years ago, I reported that Venezuelan border guard ships detained a private exploration vessel trying to search for oil just off Guyana’s coast. The vessel was released after a week, but there is still a major dispute between Guyana and Venezuela who owns the waters where the vessel did research for oil. But then the larger problem is that Venezuela not only claims the waters around Guyana but also a lot of Guyana itself. In fact, Venezuela claims two-thirds of Guyana. Needless to say, these two countries do not get along. Now the oil corporation ExxonMobil will build an oil rig in Guyana’s coastal waters in an effort to explore, locate and possibly extract oil. This could make Guyana an oil rich country.

There is no question that Venezuela does not want this. On top of claiming Guyanese territory, Venezuela’s socialist government is far from stable. As if the country does not have enough problems with food and consumer goods shortages, a spiraling crime rate, and a poor relationship with its other neighbor Colombia, the Venezuelan socialist government of President Nicolas Maduro is claiming that Guyana is “violating” its territory by having an oil rig being put up off Guyana’s coast. The danger here is that with all of the problems Venezuela is having, Maduro may try to distract peoples’ attention by creating an “incident” where by hostilities could occur with Guyana. This happened, we must remember, with Argentina in 1982 when it seized the Falkland Islands from Great Britain.

Such things do occur when one country is looking for an excuse to commit aggression. It is well within the possibility of what Venezuelan President Maduro might do. His measures to control the Venezuelan people may not work, and committing aggression against a neighbor might just be in his plans. Let us hope this is not the case, but who is to say that this will not happen?

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