U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., Samantha Power, aims to “crackdown on civil society” abroad, including in Venezuela
Sep 19th 2013, by RT News
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Elias Jaua told media that an aircraft carrying President Nicolas Maduro was denied travel over Puerto Rico’s airspace.
President Maduro’s flight, which was en route to China, was forced to find an alternate path according to Jaua, who denounced the act as “an act of aggression.”
“We have received information from American officials that we have been denied travel over its airspace,” Jaua said, speaking to reporters during an official meeting with his South African counterpart.
“We denounce this as yet another aggression on the part of North American imperialism against the government of the Bolivarian Republic,” he added.
"No one can deny airspace to a plane carrying a president on an international state visit." There is “no valid argument” for denying travel through American airspace, Jaua said, adding that he expected the US to rectify the situation.
President Maduro was due to arrive in Beijing this weekend for bilateral talks with the Chinese government. Jaua was adamant that the Venezuelan leader would reach his destination, regardless of any perceived interference.
Though the US has yet to issue an official response, the latest incident will likely add to the already strained relations between the two countries.
In July, the Venezuelan president announced that his government was halting attempts to improve relations with the US. The move was in response to comments made by the newly appointed US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, who told a Senate committee that her new role would include challenging the “crackdown on civil society” abroad, including in Venezuela.
Relations under former President Chavez had been acrimonious, as he had long held suspicions that the US had actively intervened on behalf of an attempted coup in 2002. Since his election in April, President Maduro has often made pointed criticisms at alleged US interference in Venezuelan affairs.
Bolivian President Evo Morales, who's own plane was grounded this summer allegedly due to suspicions by US authorities that the aircraft was transporting whistleblower Edward Snowden, has said ALBA bloc nations should consider a boycott of the upcoming UN General Assembly in New York as a response.
"We cannot accept that the U.S. carries on with politics of intimidation and the prohibition of flights by presidents," said Morales, adding that the latest incident "demonstrates the country's predisposition to humiliate other governments" and committing crimes against other nations.