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Montevideo, March 24th 2023 - 03:31 UTC



Maduro picks Air Force man linked to Emtrasur for Tehran embassy

Thursday, July 28th 2022 - 09:30 UTC
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The departing Air Force Chief and former Chávez aide Silva Aponte has been slated for the strategic diplomatic mission The departing Air Force Chief and former Chávez aide Silva Aponte has been slated for the strategic diplomatic mission

Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro has picked a new ambassador to Teheran, who happens to be a military colleague of one of the crew members of the Emtrasur Boeing 747-300 held in Buenos Aires since June, it was reported.

A document submitted last week by National Assembly Secretary Rosalba Gil to Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Timoteo de Jesús Zambrano showed Maduro was seeking Congressional approval for the appointment of José Rafael Silva Aponte as Ambassador to Iran. The man chosen for the job used to be the military chief of the air base where the state-owned cargo subsidiary of the flag-carrier Conviasa is headquartered.

Silva Aponte is a career military officer who participated in the 1992 coup attempt against Carlos Andres Pérez, led by the late Hugo Chávez Frías. Between 2017 and 2018 he was commander of the El Libertador air base in Palo Negro, Aragua, where Emtrasur's base is.

Both Emtrasur and Conviasa, as well as the Iranian Mahan Air which previously owned the aircraft involved in the case, are blacklisted by the US Treasury Department for their alleged involvement in terrorist operations worldwide through logistics support.

The aircraft seized at Buenos Aires' Ezeiza international airport featured an unusually large crew of 19 (5 Iranians and 14 Venezuelans).

In July 2020, Silva Aponte was appointed as commander general of the Military Aviation. He has also held the position of commander of the Strategic Region of Integral Defense Los Llanos and director of the Directorate of Operational Readiness of the General Staff of Military Aviation. He was also Hugo Chávez's aide-de-camp.

Last Tuesday, Maduro appointed Santiago Infante as the new General Commander of the Bolivarian Military Aviation in lieu of Silva Aponte.

The Foreign Policy Committee Wednesday greenlighted the appointment of seven new ambassadors. In addition to Silva Aponte, Caracas will send new mission heads to the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Syria, Qatar, and Russia, as well as to the International Criminal Court's Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Categories: Politics, Venezuela.

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