Citing safety concerns, the Trump administration on Wednesday announced it has suspended all commercial passenger and cargo flights between the United States and Venezuela.

The country is experiencing unrest, with violent protests and food and medicine shortages. The Department of Homeland Security said Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan found “conditions in Venezuela threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew, requiring an immediate suspension.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo approved halting flights, and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao implemented the order. Delta already paused service to Venezuela in 2017, and American Airlines suspended flights from Miami to Caracas in March.

Supplies, including much-needed food and medicine, are being sent to Venezuelans from friends and family in the United States, but packages will now have to go through other countries like Panama, costing more money and taking additional time. The United States does not recognize President Nicolás Maduro, and security expert Martin Rodil, who sends groceries and medicines to his mother in Venezuela, told The Wall Street Journal he doesn’t see how grounding planes “hurts Maduro. But it hurts ordinary Venezuelans. In my office, all four of us send packages every month.”

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Source:: The Week – Business


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