Whatever Happened to that Plane? U.S. Unilateral Sanctions & the Saga of Venezuela's Emtrasur Cargo 747

31m | May 19, 2023

EPISODE:   Whatever Happened to that Plane? U.S. Unilateral Sanctions and the Saga of Venezuela’s Emtrasur Cargo 747

GUEST: Orlenys Ortiz, citizen journalist joining us from Venezuela

TRANSLATION: Carmelo Valasquez, Velasquez Translations, Buenos Aires, Argentina


On May 3, 2023, the Argentinian press reported a US prosecutor requested the US Justice Department to order the definitive execution of the seizure order of Emtrasur’s Boeing 747-300. (Empresa de Transporte Aerocargo del Sur). The plane arrived in Argentina in June 2022 in what was supposedly a routine cargo flight. Nonetheless, the aircraft, its cargo, and its crew quickly raised the alarms across Argentina, and it was seized by local authorities. Shortly after, US authorities got involved claiming the sale of the aircraft by the Iranian state carrier Mahan Air to Venezuela’s Conviasa was a clear violation of the US Export Control Laws. Conviasa deployed the 747 on its cargo subsidiary Emtrasur.

Almost a year has passed; the crew has been released, but the plane remains grounded in Buenos Aires. Venezuela’s government has repeatedly requested the return of Emtrasur’s Boeing 747. In the meantime, the US government has conducted a process to seize the aircraft. Argentina’s Ministry of Justice has received a letter sent by the US Justice Department requesting that the aircraft be handed over to it.

Argentina is now in a complex geopolitical spot. On the one hand, it can support the US’ claims and deliver the aircraft. On the other hand, it can choose not to pick a fight with Venezuela and Iran, which is said to be closely watching the development of the crisis.

Emtrasur acquired the aircraft in 2022. It operated a few cargo services across Latin America in 2022 before its grounding in Buenos Aires. According to the Department of Justice, Mahan Air violated the temporary Denial Order and US export control laws when it sold the aircraft to Emtrasur without the US Government's authorization. Other violations of US laws occurred between February and May 2022 when Emtrasur flew the aircraft between Caracas, Venezuela; Tehran, Iran; and Moscow, Russia, without US Government authorization.






Emtrasur’s 747 Detained in Buenos Aires: U.S. Attorney Requests Immediate Execution of Seizure

US Official Requests Seizure of Emtrasur’s Grounded Boeing 747

Diosdado Cabello


WTF is Going on in Latin America & the Caribbean is a Popular Resistance broadcast in partnership with Black Alliance for Peace Haiti/Americas Team, CODEPINK, Common Frontiers, Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Friends of Latin America, InterReligious Task Force on Central America, Massachusetts Peace Action and Task Force on the Americas.

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