Washington orders suspension of all flights between US & Venezuela

Sergio Conner
May 16, 2019

Homeland Security announced Wednesday it was suspending flights between the US and Venezuela, saying the security situation has deteriorated so badly that the safety of passengers and crew can not be guaranteed.

American Airlines was the last major USA carrier to suspend flights to and from Venezuela, back in March.

Earlier this year, the State Department ordered all nonessential staff at the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela to leave the country, a day after President Nicolas Maduro said he was giving diplomats 72 hours to leave.

Many global airlines had stopped flying to Venezuela anyway because of security concerns and disputes over money they say the government owes them.

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Conditions in Venezuela "threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew", the department said. Some other worldwide airlines quit flying to Venezuela years ago because of the country's deteriorating economy.

In an effort to put more pressure on Maduro, the Trump administration last week expanded sanctions on Venezuela to its defense and security services sectors, Reuters reported. Repeated attempts by Guaido to seize power have failed, however, and his latest bid involves inviting the US Southern Command to invade Venezuela.

Tuesday's flights between Miami and Caracas on Venezuela's Laser Airlines included a stop in the Dominican Republic, according to the airline.

Assembly leader Juan Guaido and other legislators gave speeches denouncing Maduro's government, which has accused them of conspiring with the United States to stage a coup. Maduro was elected president but the US says it recognizes Mr. Guaido.

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