One of the crew members of the Venezuelan plane seized in Argentina lambastes the US for the kidnapping not only the Venezuelan asset, but innocent people, too.
“It is something unprecedented because I believe that for the first time in history a situation like this is experienced, of a kidnapping not only of the asset, but also of human beings, yes, directly affecting people,” said Mario Arraga, manager of Administration and Finance of the Venezuelan airline EMTRASUR in an exclusive interview with the Lebanese news outlet Al-Mayadeen, published on Saturday, August 28.
Arraga is one of the 19 crew members —14 Venezuelans and five Iranians— of the Venezuelan Boeing 747-300 cargo plane held since June at the request of the United States on Argentine soil. At the beginning of June, an Argentinian judge ordered the retention of the passports and prevented the crew members from leaving the country within the framework of a baseless case for alleged links to international terrorism.
Arraga denounced the Argentinian Nautical Security authorities for raiding the plane with an entire anti-drug, anti-explosive and security team without a justified reason, without any court order, while accusing the Argentinian justice system and the authorities of that country of having acted “outside the law” in that case.
The FBI, behind everything
The interviewee accused the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) of directing the case, and has tried every means to link, without success, the crew members with any kind of crime.
“We had access to the file and everything there was something like this: if the FBI, the FBI, the FBI said… My God, it will be that here there is no state investigative body that really gives a reason or responds to these concerns, because 132 measures of evidence that were requested by each and every one of us. 132, an outburst to see if they found an iota of crime on any of us,” he added.
Iran-Venezuela ties unsettle the US
Arraga said that the 19 crew members of the Venezuelan plane are “victims of the abuse of US imperialism and its lackeys in the region,” but stressed that despite Washington’s attempts to separate Venezuela and Iran, both countries must strengthen their political and diplomatic relations, and mainly their brotherhood to defend their “sovereignty as a State.”
The Venezuelan also lamented that the press, influenced by the West and the Argentinian judiciary, had “vituperated against the five Iranian brothers,” especially the captain of the aircraft, Qolamreza Qasemi, whom an Argentine prosecutor subjected to a criminal investigation to determine if he flew to the South American country for business purposes or for “illicit activities.”
He described the five Iranian comrades as wonderful, while calling the accusations against Captain Qasemi false and absurd.
“It has been a wonderful experience to have shared with them, for me the captain, I feel like he is my father, a wonderful man, what a beautiful personality we have been able to discover in him and in the other four as well,” said Arraga, adding that the detention in Argentina “has built a brotherhood” among all of them.
Both Iran and Venezuela have carried out extensive diplomatic and judicial efforts to free their citizens. Both have asked the Argentine government to facilitate the release of its citizens and not give in to US pressure in this case.
Translation: Orinoco Tribune
orinocotribunehttps://orinocotribune.com/author/orinocotribune/December 10, 2023
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