A Portuguese cruise ship, that was supposed to carry armed US mercenaries to Venezuela, rammed a Coast Guard vessel near the island of La Tortuga.
The Venezuelan patrol ship “Naiguata” located a Portuguese cruise ship, the “RCGS Resolute,” in Venezuelan territorial waters and ordered the vessel to accompany it to port.
However the “Resolute” allegedly refused the instructions and proceeded to ram the “Naiguata,” which subsequently sank as a result of the impact.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro suggested the ship “was being used to transport mercenaries.” He also claimed that “someone from the north called” to prevent Dutch authorities from inspecting the “Resolute” at its current mooring in the Curacao port of Willemstad.
Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva, for his part, has pledged to collaborate with Venezuela and Holland in the investigation of the “unfortunate” incident.
Washington’s naval operation comes days after the controversial sinking of a Venezuelan coast guard boat off the coast of the Caribbean island of La Tortuga.
The Trump administration is dispatching US Navy warships to the Caribbean Sea in an effort to turn up the pressure on Venezuela.
The move is allegedly part of a wider so-called “anti-narcotics” operation in the region, which in addition to Navy destroyers will reportedly involve AWAC surveillance aircraft and on-ground special forces units.
The Associated Press reported that the operation is one of the largest in the region since the 1989 invasion of Panama.
The military deployment came on the heels of the Department of Justice (DoJ) levying “narco-terrorism” charges against top-ranking Venezuelan officials, as well as a “democratic transition” plan unveiled by the State Department.
On March 26, the DoJ accused President Nicolas Maduro, National Constituent Assembly Diosdado Cabello and several other officials of conspiring with FARC rebels to “flood” the USA with cocaine?
Critics have pointed to the dearth of concrete evidence implicating top Venezuelan leaders and to the fact that data from US agencies shows that only a small fraction of drug routes pass through Venezuela, with most cocaine entering US territory via Central America and Mexico.
However, the US State Department unveiled a “framework for a peaceful democratic transition in Venezuela,” calling for Maduro’s resignation and the establishment of a transition government headed by opposition and Chavista officials to oversee new elections.
The Trump administration pledged to lift sanctions against Venezuelan individuals and key economic sectors, but only after Maduro left office and all defense agreements with Russia and Cuba were terminated?
The US regime has vowed to ramp up unilateral sanctions until the Maduro administration accepts the deal and left the oil- and gold rich Latin American country.
For its part, the Venezuelan government blasted the military deployment, with Communications Minister Jorge Rodriguez calling it “an attempt to attack Venezuela with lies and threats.
ABC Flash Point News 2020.