Venezuela Deploys Air Patrols in Response to US Over Flight of Guyana

On May 11, the Venezuelan Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino Lopez, announced that Venezuela had deployed air patrols in response to the overflight of two US Navy planes over the capital of Guyana. 

The Minister of Defense said that an “organized deployment” of SU-30, F-16, and K-8 aircraft occurred within “a matter of an hour” according to Alertas 24. It was not announced where this air patrol was deployed. 

Venezuela and Guyana have a long-standing territorial dispute over the Essequibo region. It is controlled by Guyana but has been claimed in some part by Venezuela since 1876. 

The Essequibo region is “rich in oil and forestry reserves” according to Bloomberg. A 2015 offshore survey by Exxon Mobile found oil deposits that would be able to provide around 11 billion barrels of oil and gas. 

The region also likely has sizable mineral deposits of bauxite, gold, diamonds, and manganese, according to Vitalis.

Venezuela and the US have a poor relationship. The leader of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro has consistently fought against US influence in Central and South America. In turn, the US has accused the Maduro administration of violating human rights and propping up corruption within Venezuela.