U.S. interferes with right of Venezuelan Presidential aircraft to fly over Puerto Rico

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOppose U.S. imperialist hooliganism and violation of laws and norms governing international relations!

THE Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) condemns the recent attempt of the U.S. imperialists to once again interfere with the right of the president of a sovereign nation to free passage in the skies. This time, the U.S. took on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and the Executive Branch of the Venezuelan government.

On September 19, President Maduro, who was about to fly to China in order to attend bilateral meetings on September 21 and 22, was informed that the United States refused his presidential plane access to Puerto Rico’s airspace as per the flight plan. This attempt to undermine the strengthening of relations between the Venezuelan and Chinese governments was in vain. A few hours later, President Maduro informed that he was en route to China.

A U.S. State Department spokesman said that following a delay, President Maduro’s plane had ultimately been granted permission to fly over Puerto Rico after negotiations were held with officials from the Venezuela embassy, in order to grant flight approval within hours. A diplomatic statement from the U.S. Embassy in Caracas tried to justify the delay with the pretext that the request was not filed in time and that “the [presidential] plane in question was not a state aircraft, which is required for diplomatic clearance.” The statement also indicated that the Embassy had offered Venezuela, which has had active foreign relations with many countries for years, advice “on the correct way to get the clearance …”

The spurious statement by the U.S. Embassy, a den of intrigue from which the U.S. foments counter-revolutionary activities within Venezuela, was fully refuted by the Venezuelan Ambassador to the U.S. Calixto Ortega. “The permission was denied. I have the denial in writing. We had to have a series of conversations [to gain clearance for the flight],” he said. He added that the plane, route and flight request were exactly the same as in June when Maduro passed over Puerto Rico en route to Italy for a diplomatic tour of Europe, when the request for flight clearance was immediately approved.

As soon as word of the U.S. provocative act reached Bolivia’s President Evo Morales, he said he would propose that the presidents of the member nations of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) boycott the meetings of the UN General Assembly this week in New York, in protest over the incident. “The United States must know that if it messes with Maduro, it messes with the whole Latin American people because this is about the unity and sovereignty of our peoples,” he said. Morales, whose own presidential plane was subject to a similar act of U.S.-instigated aggression while returning from Europe earlier this year, requested that the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) hold an emergency meeting to consider the incident. Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parilla called the U.S. conduct “unjustifiable, arbitrary and unfriendly, which offends the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean.” He added that CELAC members were discussing the issue and would raise the issue at the UN General Assembly. Cuba is currently the pro tempore president of the CELAC.

Also on September 19, President Maduro publicly denounced a second U.S. imperialist act of aggression. The U.S. refused to grant visas to Venezuelan government ministers who were to be part of a presidential delegation to the Africa-South America Cooperation Forum being held within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly. “We are not traveling to New York as tourists on vacation…we are going to a UN function. I cannot accept that they have denied a visa to Major General Wilmer Barrientos,” said Maduro.

The serious concerns raised by the U.S. aggressive acts against heads of state, their aircraft and delegations was confirmed the following week. Following President Maduro’s meetings in China, news agencies report that rather than attend the General Debate of the 68th General Assembly in New York on September 25, where he had been scheduled to speak at 3:00 pm, the President had returned directly to Caracas. The change of plans followed U.S. requests that President Maduro’s entourage be inspected by U.S. authorities, a totally inappropriate request outside the norms of international relations. Earlier this week on September 23, Foreign Minister Elias Jaua stated that the Venezuelan delegation could not confirm Maduro’s attendance at the UN Assembly, and that he needed a guarantee that they would be respected by the U.S.

These assaults by the U.S. imperialists constitute further violations of the laws and norms governing international relations between sovereign states. These latest acts are carried out in the same vengeful spirit as those perpetrated against Bolivian President Evo Morales and his presidential plane just three months ago.

These acts show just how much the private interests that have usurped state power in the U.S. are committed to making gangsterism the new standard in international relations in order to serve their private interests, regardless of consequences they may have on peaceful relations between countries.

The fact that the United Nations headquarters is on U.S. soil in no way authorizes the latter to prevent the full participation of a delegation of a member country. These revenge-seeking retaliatory methods have no place in international relations and must stop.

No to U.S. Gangsterism!
Condemn U.S. Imperialist Acts of Aggression Against President Maduro and the Sovereign Government of Venezuela!

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