You can read 9 more articles this month
BRITAIN’S navy and marines are conducting military exercises close to Venezuela, the Morning Star has discovered.
The Mounts Bay, a giant Royal Fleet Auxiliary landing ship, spent New Year in Miami embarking a US coastguard helicopter for the first time.
It then sailed south to within 50 miles of the Venezuelan coast and had docked in Caracas Baii, on the tiny Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao, by January 21.
The Royal Navy claims the vessel is working on counternarcotics “take-down” operations with the US Southern Command – though it is this branch of the Pentagon that would lead any attack on Venezuela.
Meanwhile, British marines are conducting jungle warfare training in Belize. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has described their deployment as “routine.”
They arrived there in mid-January, when Britain was ratcheting up its diplomatic and economic campaign against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Initially, the marines were based at British Army Training Support Unit Belize, a permanent base adjacent to the country’s international airport.
Photos show the marines carrying out battlefield drills, including casualty evacuation.
The marines are from 40 Commando’s A Company, a highly trained unit that specialises in close combat and is “held at very high readiness by UK MoD for crisis response.”
Marines from 40 Commando were among the first British troops to land in Iraq during the 2003 invasion.
Late last year they practised amphibious landings in the Gulf state of Oman, whose royal dictator is a British ally.
In Belize, they are currently accompanied by sappers from the Royal Engineers’ 59 Commando Squadron, who provide “close combat engineer support,” as well as members of Condor Troop, a unit normally based in Scotland.
Photos show that by January 17 the marines had left the Belize barracks and were practising river crossings at a jungle location in crocodile-infested waters.
This training appears to have continued into this month.
Britain’s air force is also active in the region. Flight data shows an RAF transport aircraft from Brize Norton landed in Belize after dark on January 23.
On February 2 the RAF released aerial photos of the Belize coastline, saying that its personnel were supporting “army exercises in Central America.”
Venezuela Solidarity Campaign secretary Francisco Dominguez told the Morning Star: “We are extremely concerned that Britain may join any military attack unleashed by the US against Venezuela.”
Stop the War Coalition campaigner Mayer Wakefield echoed this concern, saying: “Britain’s recent history of catastrophic military interventions should rule out any UK participation in Donald Trump’s attempts to destabilise a democratically elected government in Venezuela.”
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.