Guyana is concerned about reports that Russia is considering setting up an air base in the Caribbean saying such an action contradicts an existing agreement.
The country’s Foreign Minister Carl Greenidge referred to the 1968 Treaty of Tlatelolco for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean of which Guyana is a signatory, during a press conference at Takuba Lodge, in Georgetown, on Friday.
“This Treaty was seen as making Latin America and the Caribbean a Zone of Peace,” he said.
This treaty obligates Latin American parties not to acquire or possess nuclear weapons, nor to permit the storage or deployment of nuclear weapons on their territories by other countries.
Russian media reported that Moscow is eyeing a strategic air base off Venezuela’s coast. This followed the arrival of two Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers to last week— a situation Guyanese authorities said it was monitoring.
“If the rest of the world is having problems and if the superpowers are unable to speak to each other, then we should not willingly or unwillingly (especially unwillingly) be part of an arrangement where powers fight each other by proxy or directly,” Greenidge related is his understanding of a regional position.
The Guyanese Foreign Minister mentioned that the Treaty of Tlatelolco followed a post Cold War agreement between the United States and Russia and according to him the region has no interest in reliving that era.
The Cold War involved decades of geopolitical tension between the US and then Soviet Union (Russia) and their allies. There were fears that the war based on two dominant political ideologies (communism and liberal democracy) would end in actual war involving nuclear weapons.
Today, tensions remain heightened between Moscow and Washington.
Russian media quoted Military and Diplomatic sources saying they intend to create a semi-permanent base for the Russian long-range aviation on one of Venezuela’s islands in the Caribbean Sea.
The Venezuelan island of La Orchila, which is some 160 km from Caracas, hosts a Venezuelan airfield and a Navy base and was already visited by the Russian military ten years ago.
Guyanese have also been on alert given the ongoing border controversy with Venezuela and the fact that the Spanish speaking country has used military force in the past to detain a vessel and crew performing a seismic study in Guyanese waters