Venezuela is critical of the “provocation” of the United States after a naval operation

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PHOTO FILE: USS Nitze, a destroyer lance-missiles, is photographed in the port of New York, may 24, 2006. REUTERS / Peter Foley / File Photo / File Photo

CARACAS (Reuters) – The venezuelan minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino, has called on Wednesday, an incident this week in which a ship of the u.s. navy sailed near the coast of the South American country as an ” act of provocation “.

On Tuesday, the southern command of the us army stated that the destroyer lance-missiles Nitze had carried out an operation of “freedom of navigation” along the coast of Venezuela. The Southern Command said that the ship sailed in an area outside the territorial waters of Venezuela – which extend about 12 nautical miles of its coasts – but in an area on which the venezuelan government ” claims falsely to have the control “.

Padrino has declared that Venezuela was “not offended” by the law of the long-time foe of the country. The United States imposed sanctions on the oil sector of the nation OPEC in the framework of its efforts to oust the socialist president Nicolas Maduro, who has overseen an economic collapse and has been accused by Washington of corruption and violations of human rights.

“This is a victory empty,” said Padrino in a speech broadcast on national television, adding that the ship had reached 30 miles of the venezuelan coast. “It is an act of childlike. ”

In a press release, the u.s. army colonel and spokesman for the Southern Command, Amanda Azubuike, said that the operations of the freedom of navigation of the Navy were intended to preserve the maritime navigation and the access rights in the world.

“This region is no different, and we will continue to exercise our right to contest the excessive claims,” said Azubuike.

The campaign of sanctions and diplomatic pressure, Washington has not managed to force Maduro to power. While president Donald Trump said that “all options are on the table” to withdraw, us officials have clearly indicated that there was little appetite for military force.

Padrino stated that any vessel in the u.s. military entering the territorial waters of Venezuela would receive a response “overwhelming” of the armed forces of the south american country.

Reporting Mayela Armas; Writing by Luc Cohen; Editing by Rosalba O’brien and Alistair Bell

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