The US military has effectively surrounded Venezuela, ahead of a possible military intervention.
We've reported in the past that the Pentagon is jointly working with Colombia, Brazil and other regional partners on how to crush Venezuela's economy so that President Nicolás Maduro would step down.
Now there's a new report that the US military has been deployed to the impoverished South American nation of Guyana, the first time in a decade. The country is located on South America's North Atlantic coast and borders Venezuela to the West.
The four-month-long deployment, led by the US Air Force, is called New Horizons humanitarian outreach – is intended to serve as "a stepping-stone toward a prolonged relationship" with the Guyana military forces, reported Military.com.
Strengthening Partnerships: @USAirForce #Airmen & @ForceGuyana members build a community center during #NewHorizons19 in #Guyana. The 3-month exercise trains U.S. military civil engineers & medical personnel as they provide care & services to local communities. #EnduringPromise pic.twitter.com/QYfBlNRneb— U.S. Southern Command (@Southcom) June 13, 2019
The Air Force hopes relationships with the country can firmly develop amid the increasing influence of Russia and China in the region.
"Guyana is going to become a larger player in this region, both economically and politically in the future, so it's important that we are closely tied with them," said 12th Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Andrew Croft in an interview.
"What we leave is an enduring, physical presence in addition to the partnerships that we build," Croft boasted, citing medical facilities and schools built in 1997 that are still being used today.
The latest deployment is about 600 US military service members. Their purpose, as per Military.com, will be to construct community centers and a women's shelter.
"Guyana sits is in a strategic location on the north edge of South America and on the Caribbean," the US commander further highlighted. "That's what makes it important. Also, as political change happens in the nation and they become more aligned with us, it's important for us to make those personal relationships not only through the embassy, but also through the military and the Guyana defense force, which is currently about 3,000 strong with the intent to nearly double it in the upcoming years."
Croft said the deployment, carefully planned under US Southern Command, can act as an "insurance policy" if regional conflicts break out in the region.
"It builds a foundation for the future so that we're not stuck in a situation that we're in the Middle East, where we're actually doing full-up combat operations," he added. "The more we can help them build rule of law, education and services functions, the more we can then help them build the foundation of a workforce."
Changing lives in #Guyana: U.S. military & local officials celebrated 2 newly built community centers in Guyana during #NewHorizons19. The 3-month humanitarian exercise is training U.S. military engineers & medical professionals as they improve local communities. #EnduringPromise pic.twitter.com/wzyWdAS1Gb— U.S. Southern Command (@Southcom) August 8, 2019
Croft warned about the growing presence of China and Russia in South America, noting that Guyana communication networks use Huawei.
He also said local bauxite mines, mostly mining for aluminum, could be under new control as both Russia and China have heavily invested into these operations within the country.
With Guyana secured, the US military has effectively surrounded Venezuela with personnel building up in Colombia and Brazil; both countries border Venezuela. The groundwork for a military intervention is being set; it's only a matter of time before an invasion could be seen.