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Colombia to Chavez: Maybe 'spy plane' was Santa

AP 12/22/2009 15:16
Colombia to Chavez: Maybe 'spy plane' was Santa - Colombia - Defense - Venezuela - South America - Gabriel Silva - Freddy Padilla - Hugo Chavez

BOGOTA — Colombia's defense chief joked Monday that Venezuelan troops might have mistaken Santa's sleigh for a spy plane, dismissing accusations by President Hugo Chavez about drones flying over Venezuela.

Chavez on Sunday accused the United States of violating Venezuela's airspace with an unmanned spy plane and ordered his military to be on alert and shoot down any such aircraft.

The Pentagon has declined to comment on Chavez's accusations.

Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva and armed forces commander Freddy Padilla told reporters Monday that Colombian aircraft couldn't fly the kind of espionage mission described by Chavez.

"Colombia doesn't have that capability," said Silva. He quipped that perhaps "Venezuelan soldiers mistook Father Christmas' sleigh for a spy plane."

Padilla said Colombia has only small, unmanned surveillance planes that it uses to monitor pipelines and other installations against sabotage by rebel groups.

"They don't have any firepower and what they do is observe to prevent attacks on electrical towers," Padilla said.


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