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Watching Venezuela? US spy plane spotted above Colombia as Washington fuels anti-Maduro coup

Watching Venezuela? US spy plane spotted above Colombia as Washington fuels anti-Maduro coup
A US spy plane has been spotted flying secret missions in Colombia, fueling suspicions that it might be eavesdropping on the neighboring Venezuela, which has been targeted for regime change and attempted coup by Washington.

A US Army EO-5C reconnaissance aircraft has been spotted by flight-tracking groups on Thursday. The plane, designated as N177RA, appears to be busy flying missions over Colombia.

The EO-5C spy plane is based on a Canadian DHC-7, a four-engine turboprop aircraft, suitable to carry some 50 passengers or a load of cargo. Aircraft of such type appear to usually lack any large military markings and overall look more like a regional airliner rather than a spy plane that one would expect to be packed with large and distinctive sensors.

This plane is said to be loaded with various spy equipment and it can detect and intercept transmissions on the entire radio spectrum, as well as take high-resolution imagery, both infrared and visible-light.

Back in 2014, the secretive plane was reportedly spotted in skies above Libya – apparently gathering intelligence in the country locked in a perpetual war after the 2011 NATO regime change intervention.

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The planes of such type have also been used in counter-insurgency and anti-drug missions by the US military in South America. Back in 1999, a US O-5A – an earlier model based on the same airframe – crashed in Colombia near the border with Ecuador during an "anti-narcotics patrol," killing everyone on board.

The rise in surveillance activities above Colombia come as the neighboring Venezuela is facing a major political crisis, actively fueled from Washington. Last week, the US recognized National Assembly chairman Juan Guaido as a legitimate acting head of the country, after he declared himself an "interim president."

A number of regional US allies, as well as Israel, soon followed suit and recognized Guaido. On Thursday, the EU parliament also voted for the recognition of the National Assembly head as a de-facto leader of the country, despite disagreements between EU states on the matter. The EU is calling for new elections within 90 days and is threatening economic sanctions.

The elected Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, has already rejected the ultimatum, stating that the next elections are scheduled for 2025 – and that they will be held in due time.

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Other hostile foreign moves included the decision by the Bank of England to block Maduro from withdrawing $1.2 billion worth of gold, while Washington decided to hand over control over some of Venezuelan assets to Guaido. In response, the Venezuelan judiciary barred the "interim president" from leaving the country while freezing all his financial assets until an investigation into "serious crimes that threaten the constitutional order" is completed.

Russia and China among several other world nations have rallied behind the legitimate authorities of Venezuela, slamming the attempts of an externally-fueled coup and urging other countries to stop their interference into Venezuelan affairs.

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