Guyana puts troops on alert amid Venezuela tension

GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) The government of Guyana says it has placed its troops on alert after a report Venezuelan soldiers might cross into territory held by Guyana.

Defense Secretary Roger Luncheon says Guyana's military was told to remain "vigilant," during a planned visit by Venezuelan opposition officials under military protection to a Guyana-held area claimed by both South American countries along the Essequibo River.

Guyana's government has not taken such a step since 1982, when Venezuelan military planes flew over an area it has claimed in a border dispute that goes back decades.

Luncheon said Thursday there has been a surge of nationalistic rhetoric among candidates in Venezuela's upcoming municipal elections.

In October, Venezuela detained a ship chartered by a U.S. oil company that had an exploration concession from Guyana in disputed waters.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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