Venezuela accuses US embassy of smuggling

Venezuela defended its decision to seize the cargo of a US Embassy convoy for alleged smuggling, while Washington formally protested the incident as a flagrant violation of diplomatic protocol. Justice Minister Jesse Chacon said Friday that Venezuelan National Guard troops did not violate international diplomatic conventions when they stopped trucks carrying cargo from a US military aircraft to the American embassy on Wednesday. He also backed earlier accusations that US officials may have smuggled military equipment into the country. "It's not the Venezuelan government that is violating (diplomatic conventions), it's the US embassy that's violating them," Chacon told a news conference Friday evening. The State Department earlier Friday lodged a formal complaint with Venezuela over the seizure, saying it violated international diplomatic laws.