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article imageUS carries out freedom of navigation operation off Venezuela

By Ken Hanly     Jul 17, 2020 in Politics
The US Navy has sent another warship, the USS Pinckney to sail off the coast of Venezuela for what it euphemistically terms a "freedom of navigation" exercise.
The freedom of navigation operations are meant to contest claims to territorial waters
The US has commonly used this type of operation against China. For example in late April the US Navy carried out such an operation in the Spratly Islands: "The guided-missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill on Wednesday "asserted navigational rights and freedoms in the Spratly Islands, consistent with international law," said Cmdr. Reann Mommsen, a spokesperson for the Navy's 7th Fleet, in a statement."
The US Southern Command said in a statement: "Today, the US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) challenged Venezuela's excessive maritime claim in international waters during a successful freedom of navigation operation in the Caribbean Sea."
This is second US Navy operation in Venezuela
This is the second freedom of navigation operation against Venezuela within the last three weeks. Navy officials claim that they do not like what they call the "excessive maritime claims" of what they call the illegal regime of President Maduro. The US and many of its allies recognize the self-declared Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela as part of a US-led coup against Maduro which has been unsuccessful so far. The PInckney was sent to challenge Venezuelan claims.
On June 23, the US Navy carried out a similar Freedom of Navigation exercise, deploying the guided-missile destroyer USS Nitze off the Venezuelan coast. The US claims its warship was more than 12 miles off the Venezuelan coast in international waters and was in compliance with international law.
Venezuela objects but without any result
Venezuela warned after the last US operation that they considered the incursion of the US ships a provocation. The US appears to be betting that this time Venezuela will again do nothing or at least anything of significance. Venezuela no doubt wants to avoid outright war with the US and would not want to encourage hawks in the US administration.
The US plan
The US is banking upon Venezuela not acting to defend their territorial water claims. This will be used to argue that their claims are not justified. US Admiral Craig Faller says the US will continue to carry out freedom of navigation operations to show that the territorial water claims of Venezuela are unlawful.
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More about US venezuela relations, freedom of navitagion, Venezuelan territorial waters, venezuelan territorial wat
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