President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday that his navy detected a foreign, unauthorized submarine in Venezuelan waters and that it quickly sped off.
The submarine was detected on Tuesday near the Venezuelan island of La Orchila in the Caribbean north of Caracas, where Venezuelan troops are participating in training drills near the island, Chavez told state television by telephone.
“The submarine was pursued. It escaped because it’s much faster than ours”, Chavez said, referring to Venezuela’s diesel powered submarines. He said that judging by its speed and size, “it’s a nuclear-powered submarine”.
Chavez said his government was unable to say what nation might have sent the warship. “We can’t accuse anyone yet”, Chavez said, adding that his government is investigating.
This isn’t the first time Venezuela has denounced unauthorized intrusions in its maritime territory by foreign war ships and planes. In late 2010, President Chavez revealed his Air Force had detected several illegal flyovers by US unmanned drone planes coming from the US air base in Curaçao, just miles off Venezuela’s coastline.
“Now you know how the empires (the US and UK) are used to going around the Caribbean Sea and going everywhere, and they also use their satellites for espionage. It’s espionage”, Chavez said.
The US maintains several operative military bases on different Caribbean islands. Chavez praised Venezuelan navy troops for their handling of the incident, saying they had driven off the submarine.