US Coast Guard intelligence plane violates Venezuelan air space – defense minister
An “intelligence” airplane reportedly belonging to the US Coast Guard has violated Venezuela’s airspace, its Defense Minister said on Sunday.
“Forty-eight hours ago an intelligence plane of US Coast Guard raided Venezuelan region,” Minister of Defense for the National Armed Forces of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Vladimir Padrino Lopez told the local media.
The incident took place in the south of the country, the official said, without specifying the details.
#ÚltimaHora Anuncian que hace 48 horas avión de inteligencia de guardia costera de EE.UU incursionó en región venezolana— La Radio del Sur (@laradiodelsur) November 8, 2015
"It is quite unusual for this type of aircraft to approach our area," the minister added.
The military official said that other planes with the ability to collect information were also close to Venezuela and that a US aircraft carrier would be “very close” to the Latin American country on the day of its parliamentary elections in December, adding “This deserves our attention.”
Padrino informed Caracas’s foreign ministry about the incident, so that it can decide how to proceed diplomatically.
There has been no immediate comment from US officials, Reuters reported.
Relations between the two countries have been deteriorating since the late 1990s, when late Hugo Chavez was elected Venezuela’s president. The US has recently imposed sanctions against Caracas’s senior officials, following allegations that anti-government protesters have been abused. Although the recent US-Cuba talks reportedly inspired the states to begin negotiations aimed at improving relations, the efforts seem to have brought about few positive results.