The USS Abraham Lincoln and his escort of cruisers and destroyers began naval exercises. According to the official site of the vessel, they are intended to certify the combat capacity of the fleet and prior to the start of a mission, whose final destination is unknown.
The Navy of the United States has deployed an Attack Group with Aircraft Carrier (CSG) in the Atlantic Ocean and off the coast of Florida in the midst of the political crisis in Venezuela, a country divided between the government of the Nicolás Maduro regime and the opposition Juan Guaidó, recently proclaimed interim president.
A fleet composed of the aircraft carrier USS Abrahm Lincoln (CVN-72), a missile cruiser and four destroyers, as well as a frigate of the Spanish Navy invited to participate, began on January 25 the COMPTUEX exercises, designed to prepare the training prior to a military deployment.
“GSGs have cross-platform capabilities to operate wherever and whenever required, and in addition to having the flexibility and sustainability to fight large-scale wars and ensure the freedom of the seas, CSGs are visible and powerful symbols of US commitment to their Allies, partners and friends, “said an official press release from the US Navy.
The USS Abraham Lincoln and his escort left the port of Norfolk, in the state of Virginia, to begin the exercises in the Atlantic Ocean, where this training usually operates.
Although its current location and the fate of its deployment are unknown, military consultants Stratfor and Southfront have located the GSG somewhere in the Atlantic off the coast of the state of Florida.
In addition to the aircraft carrier, which has just emerged from a long period of modernization that took it to spend years in port, the Ticonderoga USS Leyte Gulf missile cruiser and the Arleigh Burke class destroyers USS Bainbridge, USS Gonzalez, USS Mason and USS Nite were deployed. . The Spanish navy vessel is the ESPS Méndez Núñez.
While aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, the Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier, operates the Embarked Air Squadron (CVW) 7, equipped with the Lockheed F-35C Lightning II, the most advanced fighter-bomber in the US arsenal.
The ships and planes participated in COMPTUEX Compound Training Exercise, which seeks to integrate different units in the same group and certify their ability to initiate a deployment. The process usually lasts about a month, and was initiated in this case on January 25. In recent days it was reported that the group had tried a crossing of straits, a necessary maneuver to enter the Caribbean Sea.
The difficult context in Venezuela
Although their final destination and mission are unknown, the exercise and deployment occur amid a very strong deterioration of the political situation in Venezuela, after the opposition leader Juan Guaidó was proclaimed interim president by the National Assembly in January, with the goal of leading a power transition and calling for free elections.
The legislative body is controlled by the opposition since the 2015 elections, but Nicolás Maduro’s Chavista regime declared it in contempt, effectively leaving it without power.
In this context, Maduro, who was re-elected President 2018 in a questioned election marked by the repression of opponents, accusations of fraud and very little participation, rejected the designation of Guaidó and clings to power.
The situation has divided the international community. The United States, Canada, the European Union and most of Latin America have recognized Guaidó based on the legitimate power of the National Assembly, and are calling for a transition.
In turn, they have begun to send humanitarian aid to the country, affected by hyperinflation, enormous poverty, record levels of violence, huge falls in GDP and a generalized deterioration of the social situation that deepened with the arrival of Maduro to power in 2014 and that has generated an unprecedented exodus of its inhabitants. The Chavez regime, however, has rejected this humanitarian aid.
Meanwhile, Maduro maintains the control that Chavez has over the Venezuelan Armed Forces and has obtained the support of Russia, China, Turkey and Iran, among other countries.
A third number of countries, led by Mexico, have called for a renewed dialogue between the opposition and the government, although the previous process initiated in 2014 with the participation of the Vatican and mediation by the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), today virtually powerless, ended in failure.
Since then, the threat of the situation degenerating into an inter-state armed conflict, a civil war or an uncontrolled increase in violence has grown. In this regard, Colombia and Brazil, which share the border with Venezuela and are