Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced on Sunday that an unmanned reconnaissance aircraft flying from Colombia violated Venezuelan airspace over the northwest state of Zulia near the countries’ shared border. According to Mr. Chávez, who yesterday described the incident as an act of war, the plane uses U.S. technologies.
In response, Chávez has ordered his military to be on alert in the future and to shoot down any such aircraft if they violate Venezuelan airspace. A U.S. Embassy spokesperson has said the mission has no information about any flyover and had not been contacted by Chávez’s administration.
These most recent allegations follow a particularly tense period in Colombian-Venezuelan relations and a rise in anti-U.S. rhetoric. Last month there were reports that Venezuela would destroy border bridges if Colombia moved forward with plans to escalate its military presence on the border and Chávez last week accused the Netherlands of allowing the United States to use the Dutch islands of Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire, off Venezuela’s coast, to prepare a possible military attack against his country.