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Argentina seizes Venezuelan cargo plane held in Buenos Aires at US request |  International

Argentina seizes Venezuelan cargo plane held in Buenos Aires at US request | International

Workers of Venezuelan airline Conviasa protest in front of Argentina’s embassy in Buenos Aires, Caracas, on Thursday to claim delivery of an Emtrasur flight.Yuri Cortez (AFP)

An Argentine judge granted the US request and ordered the seizure on Thursday Venezuelan airline Emtrasur’s flight from June 8 to Buenos Aires. The Boeing 747 will now be under the jurisdiction of federal judge Federico Villena and his colleague Michael Harvey of the District of Columbia, who are accused of violating export control laws applied by the White House to countries suspected of terrorism. The plane is owned by Mahan Airline, which has been under a US embargo since 2008 and is not authorized to sell it to third parties. It cannot be purchased without Emtrasure authorization. Extension of Judiciary Further stoking diplomatic tensions between Buenos Aires and Caracas, It considers the plane’s retention a “hijacking” and Argentine President Alberto Fernandez a “puppet of the empire”.

After the court seizure, FBI agents showed up at Ezeiza International Airport on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, inspected the Venezuelan plane and drew the inventory requested by Judge Harvey. Judge Villena authorized the US Marshals Service, which carries federal prisoners, to coordinate custody and maintenance of the aircraft. Argentina and the United States have a mutual judicial cooperation agreement, which does not require that the facts investigated constitute a crime in both jurisdictions at the same time. Therefore, Judge Villena considered the request from Colombia through Argentina’s Ministry of Justice “appropriate”.

Villena, however, decided to process it as a separate file from the mother case, where the plane’s 19 crew members — 14 Venezuelans and five Iranians — were allegedly linked to terrorism. As the practice unfolds, Venezuela and Emtrasur’s Boeing 747 owner, Canviasa, a state-owned company, has lost the ability to appeal.

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The key file should determine whether the purpose of some members of the group is different from that communicated in the itinerary. The plane was carrying car parts from a multinational company and the cargo was delivered, but one complaint Representatives of Argentine Israeli Associations (DAIA) He kept an eye on the five Iranians on board. His presence has troubled the South American country’s Jewish community, which has asked for an explanation as to whether they are related to some of the accused. A 1994 attack that destroyed the AMIA headquarters in Buenos Aires85 deaths with balance.

Emtrasure’s retention of Boeing 747s has strained bilateral relations between Caracas and Buenos Aires. This Thursday, Chavismo organized a protest in front of the Argentine embassy in the Venezuelan capital, chanting “Return the plane and the crew”. The case was already part of the propaganda machine of the large Chavismo media, and was repeatedly commented on with irritation by prominent revolutionary leaders in announcements and legislative debates. stamp #ReturnThePlane A spot with a powerful speech by Nicolás Maduro questioning “imperialism” is being advertised on state television, Venezolana de Televisión.

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Ramón Velázquez, Venezuela’s transport minister, attended the rally at the Argentine embassy in Caracas, along with several pro-government representatives, and workers from state airline Canviaza took part. The newly appointed Argentine Ambassador to Caracas, Oscar Laborde, welcomed the minister. “We believe that the reality of Argentina’s justice system will prevail,” Velasquez said.

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“Now they want to seize a plane from us in Argentina because of a court decision in the state of Florida,” Maduro previously complained. “In other words, now a court in Florida or New York decides to take a ship, plane or any property from Venezuela or any country. No sovereign domain? No respect for sovereignty? No respect for international law or do US courts rule in Argentina?” The President added.

Anger in Caracas has grown rapidly in recent days, although there has been no official statement from the Venezuelan government since the judicial seizure decision. Argentina has not directly responded to Venezuela’s accusations. On Wednesday, in a meeting with journalists at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Buenos Aires, the Undersecretary for Latin American Affairs, Gustavo Martínez Bandiani, told this newspaper that “the issue of the plane does not change the relationship with Venezuela.” . “It’s a judicial issue and the executive branch doesn’t have much to do. We’re not going to interfere,” he said. “The link with Venezuela has been normalized, we’ve made the decision to elevate the relationship to diplomatic status, and whatever is said is at the discretion of the speaker,” he added.

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