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Venezuela to Shoot Down Drug Planes

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #804)

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro warned last week this his government will shoot down planes using Venezuelan air space to smuggle drugs. The National Assembly passed a law allowing for such actions in May, but it did not go into effect until this month.

"Let drug traffickers know that starting today any plane that enters Venezuela (to smuggle drugs) will be forced to land in peace, or else it will by shot down by our Sukhoi, our F-16s and the entire Venezuelan Air Force," Maduro said in a speech last Wednesday. "I will begin applying this law immediately in coordination with our armed forces," he added.

While Venezuela is not a drug-producing country, it has become a key transit route for cocaine produced in neighboring Colombia, only this year displaced by Peru as the world's leading coca and cocaine producer. The US government has placed Venezuela and its South American ally Bolivia on its annual list of countries not complying with US drug war objectives, a charge both countries categorically rejected. (Oddly enough, neither Colombia nor Peru are on that list, nor Mexico, the country from which the most drugs are imported to the US.)

The drug plane shoot-down law, known officially as the Law of Control for the Integral Defense of Airspace, was originally proposed in 2011 by the late President Hugo Chavez. After Chavez's death last December, the law was approved by the National Assembly.

While an apparent violation of international civil aviation law, the shooting down of civilian planes suspected of drug running led to the downing of at least 30 planes by Peruvian authorities in the 1990s. The US suspended its cooperation with Peru in that effort after Peruvian fighter jets working with CIA spotters blasted a plane carrying American missionaries out of the sky in 2001, resulting in the deaths of Veronica Bowers and her infant child. Brazil also has had such a policy in place since 2004.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


kickback (not verified)

Wonder how many planes fly over Venezuela everyday ? If you only shoot down , say , 4 or 5 a day , you have to take action to get that US $$$ you know . What law has been broken ? Who`s going to complain ? Maybe a plane has a communication breakdown . It could be the ghost of bin laden ! Maybe the pilot is drunk and passed out w/ auto-pilot on . Well , let`s just shoot it down and snowball it . The drink`s are on the house .

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 2:11am Permalink
MALANDRO (not verified)

In reply to by kickback (not verified)

You won't believe this but the new Russian fighters  that Chavez bought as well as the ageing US jet fighters are not armed nor loaded as he (Chavez) feared that the military would stage a coup d' etat/putsch against him with armed and loaded warplanes.... That is why there have been so many flights flying through Venezuela's air space with a high degree of impunity... So, it is just all another one of Maduro's stupid bravados and much ado about nothing..... So the illegal flights will carry on flying through unharmed...

Tue, 10/08/2013 - 11:31am Permalink

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