by Eva Golinger
Postcards from the Revolution
20 December 2009
Caracas, 20 December – Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez revealed today on his Sunday television and radio program, Aló Presidente, that unmanned aerial vehicles UAVs, also known as drones, have illegally entered Venezuela’s airspace during the past several days. “A few days ago, one of these military planes penetrated Venezuela as far as Fort Mara,” a Venezuelan military fort in the State of Zulia, bordering Colombia. The drone was seen by several Venezuelan soldiers who immediately reported the aerial violation to their superiors. President Chávez gave the order today to shoot down any drones detected in Venezuelan territory. Chávez also directly implicated Washington in this latest threat against regional stability by confirming that the drones were of US origin.
On Thursday, President Chávez denounced military threats against Venezuela originating from the Dutch islands Aruba and Curazao, situated less than 50 miles off Venezuela’s northwest coast. Both small islands host US air force bases as a result of a 1999 contract between Washington and Holland establishing US Forward Operating Locations (FOLs) in the Caribbean colonies. Originally, the contract stipulated US military presence in Aruba and Curazao solely for counternarcotics missions. However, since September 2001, Washington uses all its military installations to combat perceived terrorist threats around the world. The military bases in Aruba and Curazao have been used for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions against Venezuela during the past several years.