US Begins Military Exercises Off Venezuelan Coast
Above Photo: A video screen grab shows Adm. Kurt Tidd at the Atlantic Council in Washington, D.C., July 13, 2016. | Photo: Reuters
The United States Southern Command began military exercises Tuesday with 18 other nations and about 2,500 soldiers on the island of Barbados, 670 miles from Venezuela’s coast.
The military organization reported that the so-called “Tradewinds 2017” is a “multinational exercise of security and response to maritime disasters in the Caribbean,” with the participation of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana , Haiti, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, as well as military personnel from the US, Canada, France, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
According to the Commander of the U.S. Southern Command Kurt W. Tidd these military maneuvers ensure the security of the region. However, the military force has been accused of intervening and threatening governments in the region, such as Venezuela.
In April, Tidd submitted a report to the U.S. Senate warning that Venezuela could be a “destabilizing” element for the region. The official’s statements have been denounced by the Venezuelan government amid other actions by the U.S. to put pressure on the South American country, including OAS attempts to apply the Democratic Charter against Venezuela, led by Secretary General Luis Almagro.
In addition, the Barack Obama administration decree declaring Venezuela an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to the national security of the United States,” was renewed by the out-going president in January.
The Venezuelan government has repeatedly stated that the decree only seeks to justify foreign intervention.
The military maneuvers are composed of two phases. Tradewinds Phase I that is being conducted in Barbados from June 6-12; and Phase II to be held in Trinidad and Tobago, which is about 373 off the Venezuelan coast, from June 13-17.