A major row has erupted between the Venezuelan regime and Portugal after ‘would-be president’ Juan Guiadó is believed to have boarded a TAP flight from Lisbon to Venezuela – accompanied by his uncle allegedly carrying explosives.
Said a statement put out by the Russian-backed regime of Nicolás Maduro, Guiadó boarded the plane using a false identity “which represents a violation of the international organisation of civil aviation”, while his uncle “transported prohibited materials and explosive substances, incurring an even more serious violation of aeronautic safety regulations”.
Venezuela has demanded that Portugal undertake a rigorous inquiry.
Said the statement: “Venezuela requires Portuguese authorities give proper explanations and open a rigorous investigation with regard to these (two) people, bearing in mind the situation could only have gone ahead with the consent of (Portuguese) police”.
Head of diplomacy Augusto Santos Silva tried to calm the gathering storm last Friday, suggesting the Venezuelan complaints “made no sense”, but his comments only served to irritate the regime even more.
The statement criticised Portugal for “trying to minimise a very serious situation without knowing the risks it carried for other passengers (on the TAP flight, on February 12) and the peace of the Venezuelan people.”
Guaidó’s uncle was apparently stopped by Venezuelan authorities when he arrived with his nephew in Caracas.
He was allegedly carrying “tactical pocket flashlights” with “explosive chemicals in the battery compartment”, as well as a bullet-proof vest and an Internet ‘pen’ hidden within his vehicle’s telecommand that carried “plans for terrorist attacks, written in English”.
The story became further confused when Venezuelan authorities accused TAP of ‘conniving to introduce explosives” into the country and Portuguese ambassador Carlos Sousa Amaro of “interfering in internal matters” by trying to find out what had happened subsequently to Guiadó’s uncle – now held by the regime, despite international calls for his release.
Sábado described Diosdado Cabello the president of Venezuela’s constituent assembly as saying “the Portuguese think we are idiots” and TAP “is no saint” either.
Guiadó meantime continues to be backed by the United States and at least 50 other countries (Portugal included). He has been striving to oust Nicolás Maduro from power for over a year.