Inexcusable Provocation by U.S. Southern Command in Venezuela’s Contiguous Zone

Ministry of Peoples’ Power for Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

In a press release on July 15, U.S. Southern Command stated that one of its warships, allegedly engaged in an “enhanced counter-narcotics operations” in the Caribbean had “challenged Venezuela’s excessive maritime claim in international waters” in what it called a freedom of navigation operation. In response, the Venezuelan government has issued the following communiqué:

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The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela addresses the national and international community on the occasion of its denouncing of the infamous statements issued by the United States Southern Command through its official social media accounts, in which it points out that Venezuela is exercising “excessive control” over its jurisdictional waters, while the war vessel USS PINCKNEY (DDG-91) was sailing in our Contiguous Zone at a distance of sixteen point one (16.1) nautical miles from the Venezuelan coast.

The illegal entry of the U.S. vessel into Venezuelan jurisdictional waters is a clear violation of International Maritime Law and can only be described as an inexcusable act of provocation — erratic and childish — which is being carried out as a result of the recent visit of Donald Trump to the aforementioned military command in Florida, in his desperate campaign to attract the Latino vote in that state in exchange for permanent and illegal aggression against Venezuela.

The institutions of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, particularly its Bolivarian National Armed Forces, will ensure respect for the sacred sovereignty and territorial integrity of Venezuela at all costs according to international law, contemplating all actions deemed necessary, without falling into absurd provocations intended to affect the peace and tranquility of Venezuelans, as well as the Latin American and Caribbean peoples.

Caracas, July 16, 2020

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