HomeNewsBriefVenezuela Shoots Down Planes, Mexico Asks Questions
BRIEF

Venezuela Shoots Down Planes, Mexico Asks Questions

MEXICO / 12 DEC 2014 BY DAVID GAGNE EN

Two Mexican aircraft — one of which was suspected of transiting illicit drugs — were shot down in Venezuela for reportedly illegally entering the country’s airspace, underscoring the potential dangers involved in these type of interdiction operations.

On December 8 and December 9, Venezuela’s Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez posted on Twitter (see below) photos of planes with Mexican licenses that were reportedly shot down by the Venezuelan military. Both planes were taken down in Venezuela’s northwest department of Apure, according to La Jornada.

One of the planes, “violated [Venezuelan] airspace, presumably for drug trafficking purposes” Padrino’s December 8 tweet reads.

Mexico’s Secretary on Foreign Relations has requested confirmation from the Venezuelan government of the social media reports, reported BBC Mundo. The status of the pilots of the two planes remains unclear, reported Excelsior.

InSight Crime Analysis

Policing airspace is difficult. Policing those who police airspace is sometimes even more difficult.

The latest shoot-down incident in Venezuela is eerily similar to a 2013 case in which Padrino also posted photos on Twitter of two suspected drug planes taken down by Venezuela’s military in Apure, near the Colombian border.

As in the current case, it is not entirely clear who authorized the take-down of the suspected drug planes, and on what grounds. The evidence is filtered, tightly controlled. We are left with Twitter pictures and public declarations. It’s not clear what evidence the Mexican government will obtain.   

Venezuela — a popular departure point for planes trafficking Colombian cocaine — approved a shoot-down law in 2012 of any aircraft thought to be carrying illicit drugs.

SEE ALSO: Venezuela News and Profiles

The incident highlights the inherent risk associated with shoot-down policies, even as an increasing number of countries in the region adopt such measures. As seen in the 2001 case of a plane carrying US missionaries that was shot down in Peru and the take-down of two civilian planes in Honduras in 2012, these policies can have severe unintended consequences. 

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Related Content

AYOTZINAPA / 24 MAY 2016

Mexico's Miguel Agustín Pro Juárez Human Rights Center reports that impunity over human rights violations in the country generates an unconscionable…

MEXICO / 15 JUL 2011

The Mexican Army found a 120-hectare plot used for growing marijuana in north Mexico, the largest such plantation ever discovered…

BELTRAN LEYVA ORG / 15 JUN 2020

New court documents allege that a top-level criminal enforcer in Mexico served as an informant prior to his arrest, but…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Strategic Communications Manager Job Description

12 FEB 2021

InSight Crime is looking for a full-time strategic communications manager. This person needs to be able to work in a fast-paced world of daily news, high-profile investigations, national and international…

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …