Did Venezuela Invade Guyana’s Airspace?

venezuela-fighter-jet-in-guyana
A Venezuela military jet had been captured in Guyana's airspace as seen in this video screen grab. (INews Guyana image)
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News Americas, GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Thurs. Mar. 4, 2021: Reports from Guyana indicate that Venezuela may have invaded the South American CARICOM nation’s airspace.

Two fighter jet belonging to Venezuela were caught operating, unauthorized, in Guyana’s airspace. The event is reported to have occurred in Region Seven-Cuyuni-Mazaruni. A video reportedly captured by a miner shows the jet flying over some trees is making its rounds on social media. The video was reportedly captured by a miner.

Guyana’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hugh Todd, says authorities are currently investigating the reports. He noted that the top officials are being briefed by the country’s security forces.

Guyana’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that two Venezuelan army Sukhoi SU 30 fighter jets had flown over the community of Eteringbang and a nearby airstrip along the countries shared border at a “very low altitude of 1500 feet” on Tuesday at about 1:20 p.m. They circled once before flying back into Venezuela, the statement added.

The incident comes after a Venezuelan navy vessel detained two vessels that were fishing in Guyana’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in January.

EEZs are maritime areas in which countries have special rights with regards to the exploration and use of marine resources.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro earlier this month issued a decree creating a “Strategic Zone for the Development of the Atlantic Facade” in an area that Guyana says encompasses its EEZ and its territorial waters.

“The Government of Guyana condemns this latest act of aggression by the Venezuelan armed forces as a violation of the sovereignty of Guyana over the air above its territory,” the Guyana ministry statement said, adding that the action indicated Venezuela “is prepared to use aggression and intimidation to accomplish … the surrender by Guyana of its patrimony.”

The incident is the latest in a long-running border conflict between the two South American nations.

Caracas says much of eastern Guyana is its own territory, a claim rejected by Georgetown. The conflict has flared up in recent years as Guyana has started developing oil reserves near the disputed area.