Is Venezuela Willing to Start a Caribean War?

nationalinterest.org - 01-02

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The timing of Russia sending two long-range bombers to Venezuela earlier in December has Washington wondering what Caracas is thinking. On December 22, 2018, the Bolivarian Navy of Venezuela “intercepted” the ExxonMobil research ship, the Ramform Tethys, in the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana. The ship is flagged by the government of the Bahamas and was contracted to conduct seismic work by ExxonMobil and has a crew of seventy. Relations between Guyana and Venezuela have deteriorated considerably since Nicolas Maduro came into office in 2013, following the death of Hugo Chavez. This incident could be the beginning of a more sustained push by the authoritarian Maduro regime to stir up nationalism in the run-up to the beginning of a new presidential term in January 2019.