Guyana started military exercises on Friday, a move that could be seen as provocative by bigger neighbour Venezuela, with whom Guyana is in a longstanding territorial dispute that has been exacerbated by this year’s discovery of huge potential offshore oil resources, according to the Associated Press.
Guyanese troops assembled for manoeuvres in the capital Georgetown and other cities while airborne forces were preparing to conduct parachute jumps.
The exercises could be seen as a tit-for-tat measure after Venezuela moved some of its troops to a border region earlier in the week.
Relations between the countries have been fraught since May this year when ExxonMobil made a vast oil find in an offshore concession granted by the Guyanese authorities.
That prompted Venezuela to warn that it would not accept the interference of a multinational company in the disputed territory.
The territory in question is in the Essequibo region and has been claimed by Venezuela since the 19th century. It comprises about 40 percent of Guyana’s current area and the oil-rich waters.
Guyana is a former British colony and the only English-speaking country in mainland South America.