SOUTHCOM Commander: We Will Continue to Fly “Wherever International Standards Apply”

U.S. Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, commander of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), rejected claims of a U.S. “provocation” from Nicolás Maduro regime, concerning an incident involving a U.S. aircraft and a Russian-made aircraft over international waters.
VOA | 2 August 2019

Transnational Threats

U.S. Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller rejected claims of a U.S. “provocation” from the disputed government of Nicolás Maduro, concerning an incident involving a U.S. aircraft and a Russian-made aircraft over international waters. (Photo: U.S. Southern Command.)

In an interview with Voice of America (VOA), Adm. Faller said U.S. forces throughout the hemisphere “have operated in international airspace” according to “recognized flight safety standards.” “Whatever Maduro is saying is in line with all the other lies and false narratives” he preaches, Adm. Faller said.

The week of July 22 SOUTHCOM reported that an aircraft of the Venezuelan Air Force “endangered” the crew and one of its military aircraft over international waters in the Caribbean, when approaching “at an unsafe distance.” Venezuela, for its part, claims it responded to a U.S. fighter jet that breached Venezuelan airspace.

“Our military will continue to fly and operate wherever international standards apply, and that includes around Venezuela, South America, and the world,” said the SOUTHCOM commander to VOA.

Adm. Faller also warned that narcotrafficking rings, terrorist organizations, and dissidents of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia “benefit from Maduro’s inept leadership and anarchy in Venezuela.”

“Venezuela is a lawless region that allowed threats to emanate, accelerate, and impact the entire hemisphere,” Adm. Faller said.

The military leader also reiterated the U.S. government’s support for Venezuelan Interim President Juan Guaidó, and said his command is prepared to support “whatever the legitimate government requests” and that arises from a “political decision” of the U.S. government.

However, he said that until now, the U.S. military approach “has been supportive,” including humanitarian efforts, such as those of U.S. Navy Hospital Ship USNS Comfort, which has provided assistance to more than 4 million Venezuelan immigrants in different countries of the continent.

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