All commercial passenger and cargo flights bound to Venezuela suspended by US government

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • The United States has suspended all commercial and cargo flights to Venezuela on Wednesday for safety reasons.
  • Homeland Security issued a statement saying: “Conditions in Venezuela threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew.”
  • There is an ongoing crisis in the South American nation as Venezuelans, the military and police have continued to clash in the streets in nationwide protests.



On Wednesday, the Trump administration suspended all commercial passenger and cargo flights to Venezuela due to the worsening social unrest and political turmoil occurring in the country.

In a DHS statement, Kevin McAleenan, acting secretary of Homeland Security said that “conditions in Venezuela threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew.” The suspension was approved by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo  and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao implemented it.

“This determination is based on the ongoing political instability and increased tensions in Venezuela and associated inadvertent risk to flight operations,” according to the statement.

Several U.S.-based airlines have already stopped flying to the South American nation due to security concerns in and around its airports. In March, American Airlines was the last to cancel its flights following the State Department’s warning to travelers to stay away from Venezuela. Delta Airlines has suspended its flights to Venezuela since 2017.

The Federal Aviation Administration banned pilots from flying below 26,000 feet in Venezuelan airspace.

The State Department ordered all nonessential staff at the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela to leave the country earlier this month.  President Nicolas Maduro said diplomats had 72 hours to leave.

The announcement came as Venezuelans have continued to clash in the streets with military and police in nationwide protests. The oil-rich nation has been beset with rising inflation and shortages of food and medicine, according to Fox News.

Over 3 million Venezuelans have escaped the nation in recent years.

Maduro has been fighting to remain as the country’s leader amidst the outcry of growing opposition and international pressure for him to give up his presidency. National Assembly president Juan Guaido declared himself as Venezuela’s leader some months ago and is recognized as the interim president by at least 50 nations, including the United States.

Last week, Washington expanded sanctions on Venezuela to its defense and security services sectors, according to Reuters, in an effort to put more pressure on Maduro.

The Department of Homeland Security added that the flight suspension will remain in effect until conditions in Venezuela improve.

 

Source: Fox News

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