“Many have relied on courier services from Miami to obtain hard-to-come-by medication, spare parts and foods.”
from Zero Hedge
Though all of the major US carriers have already ended their flights to Caracas, the Department of Homeland Security has officially suspended all air traffic – passenger and cargo – between the US and Venezuela due to the “ongoing political stability and increased tensions.”
The decision follows a failed uprising spurred by opposition leader Juan Guaido, who is recognized as the legitimate ruler of Venezuela by the US and about 50 other countries, and growing speculation that strongman Nicolas Maduro will hold on to power, since the country’s military and pro-government militias have firmly backed him, the FT reports.
One of the worst humanitarian crises in the world has been festering in Venezuela for about five years now, spurred by chronic mismanagement under the Maduro regime, and that of his predecessor, Hugo Chavez. Because of security concerns, rapid inflation, the difficulty of moving capital out of the country, and a shortage of passengers, most US airlines have already suspended flights.
Of the 32 foreign airlines operating in Venezuela in 2013, only about one-third remain active in the country, and the number of seats on international flights have fallen by 80%. American Airlines was the last major carrier to suspend flights to VZ, which it did in March.
While a few small carriers will be impacted by the ban, Venezuelans who rely on donations or remittances from relatives living abroad to survive, will be hurt by the decision, according to the New York Times. Many have relied on courier services from Miami to obtain hard-to-come-by medication, spare parts and foods.
“This will be a catastrophe for a lot of people,” said Feliciano Reyna, head of the health nonprofit Acción Solidaria, which receives medical donations from the United States through air courier services. “This will complicate enormously the transportation of humanitarian aid to the country.”
Accion Solidaria and other groups will now be forced to import their meds by sea or ship them through other countries, which will raise the cost and further restrict supply.
One airline that will be impacted: Avior Airlines, Venezuela’s largest private airline, which has operated daily flights to Miami from Caracas and the eastern city of Puerto La Cruz.
Editor’s Note: The DHS press release, in its entirety –
DHS Determines that Conditions in Venezuela Threaten the Safety and Security of Passengers, Aircraft, and Crew, Requiring an Immediate Suspension of Air Transportation
Release Date:May 15, 2019
Under 49 U.S.C. § 44907 Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan determined that conditions in Venezuela threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew, requiring an immediate suspension of all commercial passenger and cargo flights between the United States and Venezuela. In accordance with the statute, the Secretary of State has approved flight suspension, and the Secretary of Transportation has implemented the determination.
This determination is based on the ongoing political instability and increased tensions in Venezuela and associated inadvertent risk to flight operations.
In coordination with the Department of State and the Department of Transportation, the Department of Homeland Security will continue to monitor this situation. If and when the conditions in Venezuela change, and if in the public interest, the Secretaries will revisit this determination. Until then, the flight suspension will remain in effect indefinitely.