Venezuela threatens war with Guyana

Is a threat by Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro to annex Guyana’s oil fields a prelude to war in Latin America? Or is the strongman merely trying to rally his own nation ahead of a presidential election next year? No one really knows for sure, The Miami Herald reports, but American officials are “increasingly concerned over how far Nicolas Maduro may be willing to go.”

Maduro’s claim over the Essequibo region of Guyana “would give Caracas a claim to offshore oil riches that Guyana recently found and that Venezuela clearly covets,” Alexandra Sharp explained at Foreign Policy. A weekend referendum in Venezuela supposedly received the backing of 95 percent of voters in favor of annexation, though it’s important to note the government this week also ordered the mass arrest of annexation opponents. Maduro’s aim in all of this is to “give him a claim to big oil, bolster support for his United Socialist Party, and pigeonhole the opposition into appearing anti-patriotic.”

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