Photo: Do 228 of the Dutch Coast Guard at Berlin Schönefeld Airport. Photographer: “Wo st 01/Wikipedia”
We have a report that Venezuela is claiming a USCG aircraft violated their air space and further they suspect this may have had something to do with an upcoming election.
“Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino said Sunday the Dash-8 aircraft flew out of Curacao, a Dutch island not far off Venezuela’s Caribbean coast. He said that during a 30-minute period the plane twice entered Venezuelan airspace over the tiny archipelago of Los Monjes on Friday while performing what appeared to be a reconnaissance mission in the Gulf of Venezuela, which is also bounded by Colombia…he said the timing of the apparent maneuvers, as the country prepares for key legislative elections next month, was suspicious, recalling other U.S. military exercises that allegedly preceded a brief coup in 2002 against then President Hugo Chavez.”
Of course the USCG does not operate the Dash-8, but I suppose in the right circumstances an HC-144 might be mistaken for a Dash-8. The Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard which operates out of Curacao does operate Dash-8 aircraft, and they, like the USCG, make their aircraft with diagonal stripes as seen in the photo above.
This sort of misunderstanding is very unfortunate, because it impugns the motives of the Coast Guard. The USCG has worked effectively with Cuba, Russia, and China, and I am sure there are reasons to work with Venezuela as well, but this sort of thing gets in the way.