US suspected of building ‘secret military bases’ in oil-rich Latin American region — RT World News

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro considers Washington's actions near his country's borders to be “aggression”

The United States has installed “Secret military bases” Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced on Thursday that clashes had taken place in the disputed Essequibo region.

The Latin American leader was speaking at a ceremony commemorating a recently passed Guyana Essequibo Defense Act. The oil- and mineral-rich 62,000-square-mile region around the Essequibo River is at the heart of a territorial dispute between Venezuela and Guyana, a former British colony.

“We have information proving the existence of secret military bases belonging to the armed forces in the territory of Guyana’s Essequibo, which is temporarily administered by Guyana.” [US] “Southern Command…a CIA staff has been installed.” Maduro said.

Form the rules “aggression” Against the people of southern and eastern Venezuela, it was built “To prepare for escalation against Venezuela” he added.

United States Southern Command, part of the Department of Defence, maintains an Office of Security Cooperation in Guyana and serves as a military advisor to the Guyana Defense Forces, providing military support and training.

Following the national referendum at the beginning of December, Caracas claimed Guayana Esquipa – a forest area that Venezuela has claimed for more than a century. Guyana protested, noting that the area was two-thirds of its internationally recognized territory, and requested assistance from the international community.

The dispute over the Essequibo region escalated in 2015 after US-based energy giant ExxonMobil discovered oil deposits there. After the referendum in December, US forces conducted joint US-Guyana military exercises. The British Royal Navy deployed the patrol ship HMS Trent to Guyana in January to show its support for the country.

According to Maduro, the disputed area is controlled by the Southern Command, the CIA and ExxonMobil, which seeks to seize Venezuelan resources.

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