Venezuela says US bans Maduro from flying over Puerto Rico

September 20, 2013 03:30

CARACAS - Venezuela said on Thursday the United States had banned President Nicolas Maduro's jet from flying through US airspace over Puerto Rico en route to a state visit to China.

Maduro is due in Beijing this weekend for bilateral talks. China has become a major lender to his government, and Chinese firms are heavily involved in the OPEC nation's oil industry.But Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said a flight plan filed by Venezuela that would have routed Maduro's plane over Puerto Rico had been rejected by US authorities.

"We received the information from the US authorities that they have denied us the overflight through US airspace," Jaua told reporters. "We denounce it as yet more US aggression against the Bolivarian Government of Venezuela."

Jaua said Washington had no right to deny airspace to any presidential plane, but that the move would not stop Maduro from visiting China.

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