US to Increase Military Aid to Guyana Amid Tensions With Venezuela

The US will help Guyana acquire new helicopters, drones, and radars

The US will increase military aid to Guyana amid tensions with neighboring Venezuela over the disputed Guayana Essequibo region, The Associated Press reported on Monday.

The AP report did not detail how much the US will provide but said the US will help Guyana acquire new helicopters, a fleet of military drones, and radar technology for the first time.

In 2023, the US provided Guyana with about $2.7 million in total aid, including over $400,000 from the Pentagon’s International Military Education & Training program, which trains foreign militaries. Guyana is a small country with a population of only around 800,000. According to AP, the Caribbean nation’s military numbers less than 5,000 troops.

News of the new military aid came after US Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer met with officials in Guyana. The US has been stepping up military cooperation with Guyana after Venezuelans voted in a referendum late last year to make the Essequibo region a Venezuelan state.

Guyana Essequibo region as claimed by Venezuela

Venezuela and Guyana agreed in December not to use military force to resolve the dispute, but tensions remain high as Venezuela deployed 6,000 troops to its border with Guyana.

The resource-rich border territory is under Guyana’s control, but Venezuela has always disputed an 1899 American-British tribunal ruling that Essequibo belonged to the British Empire, which controlled Guyana at the time. In 1966, the opposing sides signed the Geneva Agreement that said they would pursue a mutually satisfactory solution to the dispute.

Tensions have risen over Essequibo in recent years as more oil discoveries have been made. The American energy giant ExxonMobil discovered massive oil reserves off the coast of Guyana in waters claimed by Venezuela and has been involved in a major offshore drilling project.

Diplomacy between the US and Venezuela recently broke down as the US reimposed oil sanctions that were briefly eased in response to the Venezuelan supreme court barring an opposition candidate from running. Venezuela has been under crippling US sanctions since 2019, when the US backed a coup that failed to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the news editor of, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.