May 21, 2008
Chavez said that a U.S. Navy plane that flew into Venezuelan airspace during a recent anti-drug mission was actually involved in reconnaissance, and he threatened to dispatch fighter jets the next time a U.S. military aircraft enters Venezuela's airspace.
"They are spying, even testing our capacity to react," Chavez said during a televised speech.
U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy has acknowledged that a S-3 Navy plane on an anti-drug mission accidentally flew into Venezuelan airspace last week, saying it was due to a navigational error.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro gave Duddy a protest letter on Tuesday, saying that Venezuela cannot accept violations of its sovereignty.
The plane was detected by Venezuelan authorities on Saturday near the island of La Orchila, and its crew was questioned over the radio by the Caracas airport control tower.