US Orders Suspension Of Flights Between US And Venezuela

Venezuela's opposition leader and interim president Juan Guaido speaks during a press conference at his campaign office in Caracas on May 14

The U.S. Department of Transportation issued an order Wednesday to suspend air service to and from Venezuelan airports.

Amid continuing unrest in Venezuela, the U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday suspended all flights between the U.S. and the troubled South American nation. Repeated attempts by Guaido to seize power have failed, however, and his latest bid involves inviting the US Southern Command to invade Venezuela.

But numerous millions of Venezuelans who have fled the crisis in recent years use US -based companies to ship goods to relatives in the country via cargo planes, and the measure prohibiting direct flights could raise costs, said Marcos Gomez, Amnesty International's Venezuela director.

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. Others have halted their flights over the past two years.

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Many global flights to Venezuela have already stopped service to the country due to the safety concerns and disputes with the country's embattled leader Nicolas Maduro. But domestic airlines, including Laser Airlines and Avior Airlines, had been offering services to Miami. The assembly's vice-president, Edgar Zambrano, was arrested May 8.

On Tuesday, police sealed off the National Assembly, purportedly to search for any hidden explosives.

The activists, who have ignored trespassing warnings, consider Maduro to be Venezuela's rightful leader. Maduro was elected president but the USA says it recognizes Mr. Guaido.

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