May 30, 2008
Venezuela wants the U.S. ambassador to explain a violation of its airspace by a U.S. Navy plane, the foreign minister said Monday.
The S-3 jet was detected in Venezuelan airspace on Saturday night near the Caribbean island of La Orchila and was questioned by the Caracas airport control tower, said the defense minister, Gen. Gustavo Rangel Brice¿o. Venezuela has a military base on La Orchila.
"This is just the latest step in a series of provocations," Rangel said.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said the plane "may have strayed inadvertently into Venezuelan airspace" while conducting a counter-drug mission.
The jet identified itself and told the Venezuelan authorities that a possible navigation error had occurred, the Pentagon said.