Venezuela intercepts Colombian ship as part of the Bolivarian Shield operation

The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has come to the knowledge of a Communiqué from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia dated July 16th, 2020, in which they refer to the alleged “arbitrary detention” of three Colombian citizens by the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), while they were allegedly carrying “humanitarian aid” donated by the “Norwegian Refugee Council” in the vicinity of the río Negro.

On the matter, it is necessary to report that in the framework of the Bolivarian Shield operation, the Bolivarian National Guard carrying out patrols to detect and combat paramilitary and mercenary incursions from Colombia, as well as the smuggling of fuel and strategic material, inspected a allegedly Colombian vessel named “Cejal I” in the Caño Guzmán sector, in Venezuelan territory.
The inspection revealed that the vessel, which was manned by three Colombian nationals, did not have any documentation to support the cargo, which included forty-seven (47) bags of food, forty-five (45) kilos of metallic material, presumably copper, and thirty-eight (38) drums for transporting fuel, which occupied 80% of the vessel, among other items. Given this evidence, the vessel and its crew were taken to the town of Maroa, in order to carry out complementary investigations.

It draws the attention of the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela the fact that the Norwegian Refugee Council and the Colombian Red Cross are jeopardizing the possible humanitarian status of a cargo by hiring transports which, on the basis of the evidence, are undoubtedly used for criminal purposes.
The Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela expresses its willingness to provide the Colombian Red Cross or the Norwegian Refugee Council with the food intended to support indigenous communities in Colombia. However, by virtue of the alleged commission of offences under national law, the vessel and crew members will be subject to the orders of the national courts for legal proceedings.

Caracas, July 16th, 2020.

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