02.09.18: Planting Doubts

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The ruling Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela (United Socialist Party of Venezuela, PSUV) is holding a rally tomorrow in Caracas in a show of repudiation against the sanctions levied last week by Washington against Conviasa, the country’s state-owned flag carrier.

The sanctions target forty Conviasa aircraft, including at least three airplanes that are known to be in the personal use of Maduro regime officials. However, the overwhelming majority of aircraft on the list–as many as 37–appear to be engaged in the airline’s legitimate operations.

Yesterday, Tarek El Aissami, the vice president of the economic development, spoke at an event during which he called the sanctions “a great mistake”, and part of an ongoing economic war that the regime maintains the White House is waging against the country.

Tomorrow’s march is scheduled to start at 10:00 AM in Caracas’ Parque Carabobo in front of the Public Ministry. From there, the march is scheduled to move towards the Miraflores Palace.

Conviasa’s Role in Transporting Regime Officials is Complex

While these latest sanctions appear to disproportionately affect Conviasa’s commercial operations, they may be rooted in the knowledge that Maduro regime officials use aircraft painted with the airlines’ livery to move around the world incognito.

One such aircraft has the registration number YV3016. At first sight, the airplane looks like an ordinary commercial airliner, no different than any other that transports paying customers around the region:

However, commercial flight tracking data reveals that YV3016 is in the exclusive use of individuals connected to the Maduro regime, including top-ranking officials. This is because YV3016 is a Embraer Lineage 1000, a luxurious private jet. Twitter is replete with aircraft spotters who have tracked YV3016 transporting regime officials across the world in comfort, including once in 2019 when the aircraft flew government officials to Turkey and then Kazakhstan:

These kinds of activities, which are meant to conceal the movements of Venezuelan government officials and their allies, are possible given the control that the regime has over the airline.

However, given the fact that the movements of aircraft like YV3016 can be traced using commercially-available flight tracking data, discerning between aircraft like YV3016 and others in Conviasa’s fleet involved in its legitimate business is not a difficult task.

Madrid: Stance Towards Venezuela Unchanged as New Details of VIP Meeting Emerge

Spain’s El Mundo reported today that Minister of Transport Jose Luis Abalos met Venezuelan vice president Delcy Rodriguez at a VIP lounge in Madrid’s Barajas airport on January 20. The meeting took place during the overnight ours during a stop in Rodriguez’s trip to Turkey, despite the fact that she is the target of travel sanctions by the European Union.

Today, Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha Gonzalez Laya said that her government’s stance towards Venezuela “has not changed”, but that “the terrain in the country has”. The comment appeared to be an implicit justification for the fact that the meeting took place at all.

Gonzalez Laya also said:

[We] have not stopped supporting the efforts to find a solution, nor [have we stopped] giving asylum to hundreds of people without making [that effort] public.

Gonzalez Laya also suggested that the ongoing controversy in Spain over the meeting was unhelpful, since it “plants doubts” about the government’s stance on the situation.


Questions/Comments? E-mail me: invenezuelablog@gmail.com

This post was originally posted on Giancarlo Fiorella – In Venezuela – View Original Article

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