A Venezuelan frigate
A Venezuelan frigate carrying the message "Essequibo is ours" conducts military exercises near the border with Guyana AFP

The Venezuelan military continues to conduct actions near the Essequibo, a vast swath of territory controlled by Guyana but reclaimed by Caracas.

Now, Escenario Mundial reported that a Venezuelan ship was deployed close to the border to carry out new drills in the Kaituma area. It is the second time since April that such exercises have been carried out.

The outlet also reported the army is building a bridge close to the border, with a video posted on social media showing a military member saying a new pillar had been planted. In early May, troops also built a makeshift bridge over the Cuyuni River, close to the border, and deployed armored vehicles there.

Caracas also deployed armored vehicles, including Scorpion-90 light tanks, V-100 armored vehicles used for transporting troops, 8x8 tactical trucks as well as supply vehicles They were taken into the Ananoco Island, still in Venezuelan territory.

The increased drills have led Guyana to increase its level of alert, with the country's vice president, Bharrat Jagdeo, saying Georgetown is "highly attentive" to the latest developments and "working with allies" about it. "Our main occupation is keeping our territorial integrity and sovereignty," he added in a press conference.

Bharrat went on to confirm Venezuela has been beefing up its military presence in the Ananonco island and the Punta Barima area, which he said Caracas "took by force."

"We have notified the relevant agencies about Venezuela's continued attempts to increase its presence in our border and in a threatening way. This is inconsistent with what we agreed, we want this region to remain peaceful," he said.

A recent report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies has discussed the possibility that president Nicolás Maduro will "manufacture" an escalation with its neighbor to secure his grip on power.

The report analyzes potential scenarios where the government could escalate tensions in its favor. It discusses using a sense of "militarized patriotism in peacetime" to increase its standing, noting the government has "saturated Venezuela with propagandist claims about Guyana's government and that any move by Guyana to bolster its defenses should be interpreted as an offensive preparation for war."

A more drastic scenario considers the possibility that Maduro engages in a "true gambit to manufacture a regional crisis in the aftermath of a stolen election." "In such a scenario of a post-election crisis, Venezuela's rhetoric risks crossing a Rubicon beyond which it cannot return without taking some kind of action against Guyana," the report adds.

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