“This whole thing is absurd”

It's kind of like having Zapp Brannigan as your president...
It’s kind of like having Zapp Brannigan as your president…

There’s an elemental sadness to this story about the Imperialist Aggression involved in “denying” Maduro the use of U.S. airspace to fly to China via Europe (which, they didn’t), don’t you think?

Seriously, isn’t it just sad, this cloying, desperate ploy to fabricate an international incident out of nothing at all?

Take it away, Willie Neuman…

On Thursday, Mr. Maduro and Foreign Minister Elías Jaua accused the United States of barring Mr. Maduro from American airspace, calling it an act of aggression.

But on Friday, Roberta S. Jacobson, the United States assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs, said that was not true and that the request had never been denied.

American officials said that, instead, Venezuela had not followed normal procedures in submitting its request to enter American airspace and that Washington had granted it anyway.

A State Department statement said that Venezuela had made the request on Wednesday, just a day before Mr. Maduro’s scheduled departure, when such requests are supposed to be made three days in advance.

Officials also said that Mr. Maduro was flying in a Cubana Airlines jet [y qué habrá de la vida del chupadolar?!] and that diplomatic flight requests were supposed to involve official state aircraft.

The statement said that, despite all of that, the United States had worked with Venezuelan officials to get the approval done quickly.

“This whole thing is absurd,” Ms. Jacobson said.

“This was a request that came in very late for an aircraft that is not a Venezuelan state aircraft and therefore would not normally get diplomatic clearance, and we got it done as quickly as we could so we don’t understand this reaction.”

Willie Neuman’s story in the NYTimes ferrets out one final, extra-gobsmacking detail. It’s not just that Maduro did, in fact, get permission to use U.S. airspace despite screwing up the request, it’s that you don’t actually fly over Puerto Rico when you go from Caracas to Paris!

Robert W. Mann Jr., an airline industry analyst in Port Washington, N.Y., said that the most direct route from Caracas to Paris was over the Lesser Antilles and that flying over Puerto Rico, which is farther north, added about 100 miles to the flight path.

Just to recap: this major international aggression consists in Maduro turning in, late, a messed-up request to use air space he wasn’t actually going to fly through…and having that request approved!

¡Vamos bien!

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