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Maduro expands his military presence on the Guyana border, possibly preparing to suspend the presidential elections

The CSIS director for America warned about the imminent conflict with Guyana that would buy Maduro some time.

This handout photo released by the Venezuelan Presidency shows Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro looking through binoculars during a military exercise in Cojedes state, Venezuela on May 3, 2024. (Photo by MARCELO GARCIA / Venezuelan Presidency / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT ""AFP PHOTO / VENEZUELAN PRESIDENCY / MARCELO GARCIA"" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

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According to a report from the bipartisan Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), the Nicolás Maduro regime significantly strengthened the military presence on the border with Guyana and ordered the expansion of a military base on Anacoco Island, located right in the disputed area.

The report, prepared by the director for the Americas of CSIS, Ryan Berg, reveals several satellite images that expose the military mobilization on the border with Guyana by the Nicolás Maduro regime.

"The constant drumbeat proclaiming that 'Essequibo is ours,' along with the creation of new military commands and legal structures to oversee the defense of the region, is helping to institutionalize a perpetual sense of a pre-war situation," the report reads.

Although the regime of Nicolás Maduro and the Government of Guyana, chaired by Irfaan Ali, agreed in December 2023 in a pact in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines that both countries "will not threaten or use force against each other under any circumstances," the recent military mobilizations suggest otherwise.

Likewise, they agreed "that both States will refrain, whether in word or deed, from escalating any conflict or disagreement arising from any controversy."

However, the Nicolás Maduro regime has strained relations in recent weeks with continuous threats. The CSIS revelations confirm this trend.

"At least two Iranian-made Peykaap III (Zolfaghar) missile fast boats were seen at Venezuela's small coast guard station at Punta Barima, 'placing Venezuelan missiles and naval forces within reach of Guyana-administered Essequibo.'"

Elections at risk

For Ryan Berg, although Maduro "has little to gain and a lot to lose" in an eventual "full-blown" conflict with Guyana, the reasons could be more political than territorial. According to the analyst, given the unstoppable movement that the opposition candidacy represented by Edmundo González Urrutia and led by María Corina Machado, The Nicolás Maduro regime could be considering suspending or postponing the presidential elections, scheduled for July 28.

It is speculated that "Maduro's escalation against Guyana over the Essequibo territory is an internal strategy intended to distract attention from his multiple leadership failures."

"As Maduro's internal position has eroded, challenged by a more effective opposition led by the generational figure of Machado, Maduro has become more dubious of the armed forces (...) Maduro could turn to the armed forces to repress and guarantee the security of the regime after July 28."

On his X account, Berg wrote that "cancelling the July 28 elections is being considered by the Nicolás Maduro regime."