RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A U.S. Air Force military plane violated Venezuela’s airspace on Thursday, denounced Friday the Bolivarian National Armed Forces (FANB), through a statement signed by Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino.
“The Bolivarian National Armed Force denounces the violation of Venezuelan airspace by a C-17 heavy military transport aircraft belonging to the United States Air Force, which occurred last night (…) from 20:47 (00.47 GMT on Friday) until 20:50 (00.50 GMT),” reads the communiqué.
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The plane reportedly made “a route of about 14 nautical miles (almost 26 kilometers) over the westernmost area of the Sierra de Perijá,” in the northwestern state of Zulia (on the border with Colombia), according to the armed forces.
Padrino considered this case as a “flagrant provocation” that “occurs within the framework of the combined military exercises carried out by the Colombian Air Force and Army in the departments of Antioquia and Cundinamarca”.
In these exercises, according to the version released by Venezuela, “there is also the presence of US “F-16 and RC135 strategic exploration fighter jets”.
The communiqué also highlighted that, so far in 2021, “U.S. aircraft have violated on 21 occasions the Flight Information Region (FIR) of Maiquetía”, a coastal area that houses the airport serving Caracas, as well as the port of La Guaira, one of the largest in the country.
This is “a serious violation of international aeronautical norms”, the message added.
On the other hand, Padrino reiterated “before the international community and multilateral organizations that the presence of U.S. bases in Colombian territory” represents “a permanent threat and constitutes an atrocious interference mechanism that significantly affects the stability of the Caribbean and Latin American region.
“We are aware that, as part of the aforementioned exercises, reconnaissance tasks are being carried out in the Venezuelan geographic space, the reason for which we do not rule out other possible hostile actions against our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the communiqué stressed.
For this reason, it assured that President Nicolás Maduro “had given precise orders to remain alert and respond forcefully to any act of aggression.”