Storm in a teacup over “Mystery flight” from Venezuela in Athens

There are many unanswered questions about the thriller of the arrival and stopover of a Venezuelan government aircraft at Athens’ Eleftherios Venizelos Airport.

According to media reports, the plane flying out of Caracas, as it became finally known, landed on Saturday, March 2nd, at Eleftherios Venizelos Airport in Athens, after earlier several European countries had refused it landing. The first information reported that the thriller began when the aircraft took off on 24 February from Caracas. Destination was one of Venezuela’s most popular destinations, Margarita Island.

According to information available to defence-point, the Venezuelan government aircraft (belonging to Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA) arrived from the Middle East, namely the United Arab Emirates (UAE), from where it took off and moved northwest.

Secure information about the rest of the trip, for other destinations that were visited before returning to Venezuela, are at least not at our disposal for the time being. The range of the aircraft, according to the same information, was not enough for a long trip, so that an airport would have to be found where the aircraft could be refueled, while some other information indicated that a technical issue had arisen, resulting in the intervention of experienced personnel  on the ground to support the aircraft.

The solution was simple. The Venezuelan embassy mobilized and “secured” (an ordinary procedure, provided for anyone wishing it, for a fee) the Airport VIP Room in order for the safe stay of Venezuela’s Foreign Minister.

His stay, due to the seemingly small technical problem that arose, was extended and reached a total of three hours. In order to counter the … natural journalistic momentum (ours and our colleagues’), we attempted unsuccessfully to find out whether the Venezuelan Foreign Minister had been receiving guests during his stay in El. Venizelos.

The plane took off early Saturday night from Athens, as we were told, for Cape Verde, west of Senegal off the coast of Africa, a destination that is justified as the last stop before crossing the Atlantic and returning to troubled Venezuela.

Reports that countries refused to accept the aircraft, has not been verified. Since Greece, typically at least, has kept slightly more relaxed attitudes towards Nicholas Maduro’s regime, it would have no reason to deny the arrival of the aircraft, as would be the case with any aircraft seeking refueling and technical support.

Obviously, the picture would change, politically, if there were contacts during the country’s stay in the country that were kept secret, though we still would not have evidence in our hands

Initial silence from the government and barbs from the main opposition

From the PM’s office, there was silence despite the leak and disclosure of information on the arrival of the aircraft from Venezuela and its secret stay on Greek soil. However, pressure from main opposition New Democracy for answers has forced the government to at least admit the fact.

New Democracy (ND): The government must give answers

“According to an exclusive reportage by SKAI (broadcaster), a Venezuelan government aircraft landed Saturday at Eleftherios Venizelos airport, and stayed in Athens for 4 hours during which the Foreign Minister of the Maduro government conducted some meetings,” ND said in a statement, adding: “The questions to the government are obvious: why exactly did it give grounding permission to this aircraft, when most European countries refused it, and who exactly met Mr. Maduro’s representative?”

The announcement of the PM’s office, the irritation and the attack on SKAI and ND

The PM’s office at the Maximos Mansion, after the matter had taken on dimensions, was essentially obliged to admit the arrival and stay of the aircraft from Venezuela at the airport in Athens. Without giving any clarification, the government attacked SKAI, which brought the matter to light, and said the aircraft hade landed in Greece for refueling, and then it attacked ND. Answers, however, were not forthcoming.

Non paper

“The ‘hounds’ of SKAI have discovered us again. From the landing of an aircraft that came from Asia to Eleftherios Venizelos Airport for the purpose of refueling, SKAI constructed a theory of conspiracy that would even be the envy of Artemis Soras (a fraudster). ND obviously rushed to adopt it, as we obviously expected. The question is whether you have to laugh or cry with the downfall of an erstwhile serious party. ”

The announcement of ND

Earlier, an announcement concerning the mysterious flight of the government aircraft of Venezuela in Athens was issued by ND. In its announcement, the party states: “According to the exclusive reportage of SKAI, a Venezuelan government aircraft landed Saturday at Eleftherios Venizelos airport and stayed in Athens for 4 hours during which the Foreign Minister of the Maduro government made some meetings. The questions to the government are obvious: Why exactly gave this landing license to this aircraft, when most European countries refused it, and who exactly met Mr. Maduro’s representative? ”

The one-hour that became four

The Falcon belonging to the state oil company of Venezuela departed Caracas on February 24. Its original destination was Margarita Island in the Caribbean, according to Greek media. The same reports, said that on the same day, the crew of the aircraft, essentially threatening Portugal, landed there for refueling. They would not give permission and the pilot said they would crash because they had no fuel left. Then, two days later, the aircraft was found in Switzerland and landed in Geneva. Earlier several European countries had forbidden its approach, it was reported.

Eventually, on Saturday 2 March, the aircraft was found to have landed in Athens at 14:06. The crew allegedly informed the control tower that it was not an official government flight. Indeed, they said they would stay for 1 hour for refueling, but eventually, the stay of the Venezuelan government aircraft lasted a little longer about 4 hours. It is worth noting that no flight plan had been submitted.

Was the Venezuelan Foreign Minister on board and who did he meet in Athens?

According to SKAI’s reportage, aboard the plane was the Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Jorge Aresa, who disembarked, went to the VIP room of “El. Venizelos “and had a meeting with a person for at least two hours. It is worth noting that, according to Bloomberg, Areasa was in Geneva last week – when, according to the SKAI report, this Venezuelan government aircraft had landed there. Maduro’s Foreign Minister, who is married to Hugo Chavez’s eldest daughter, wanted to defend the legitimacy of the Maduro government before the UN, Bloomberg said. The same report points out that Maduro’s narrow circle is traveling to the regime’s remaining allies in an effort to gain time.