US Navy Jet Buzzes Curacao, Venezuela Furious

Drug patrol jet violation 'deliberate,' officials claim
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2008 3:19 AM CDT
US Navy Jet Buzzes Curacao, Venezuela Furious
Venezuela's Defense Minister Gen. Gustavo Rangel Briceno accused the US of deliberately provoking Venezuela by violating its airspace.   (AP Photo/Gregorio Marrero)

A US Navy drug-patrol plane violated Venuzuelan airspace Saturday night, exacerbating  the  already-tense relationship between the two nations. The S-3 Viking, used to spot and attack drug-running ships, flew over the line near the island of Curacao, reports CNN. The pilot realized he made a navigational error, contacted a Venezuela tower to acknowledge that, and returned to international air space—but the Venezuelans are furious and insist the fly-over was intentional.

"We believe this was a conscious action on the part of the United States Navy, that it's another link in the chain of provocations," Venezuela's defense minister said yesterday. "It's probable, too, that they are testing us, but we should make it clear that we do have the equipment to confront them and to cover all of our airspace." (More Venezuela stories.)

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