On May 15th, the US Department of Homeland Security suspended all commercial passenger and cargo flights to Venezuela.
“This determination is based on the ongoing political instability and increased tensions in Venezuela and associated inadvertent risk to flight operations,” the statement said.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin K. McAleenan determined that conditions in Venezuela threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew. The decision was approved and backed by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
This is mostly a formal action, since most US-based airlines stopped flying to Venezuela earlier. The last one to suspend its flights was American Airlines, which did so in March, after the US State Department issued a warning to stay away from Venezuela.
The suspension is indefinite, “if and when the conditions in Venezuela change, and if in the public interest, the Secretaries will revisit this determination.”
US-Proclaimed President Juan Guaido continues to take part in talks with various officials from Canada, Britain, Norway and others, despite the apparent standstill the US-backed opposition is in.
Grupo de Contacto, Canadá, Reino Unido, Noruega, Grupo de Lima, ademas de otras iniciativas, nos apoyan para lograr una solución a la crisis. Para los venezolanos la ruta es clara y la mantenemos: cese de la usurpación, gobierno de transición y elecciones libres. pic.twitter.com/DJTiVsXGbg
— Juan Guaidó (@jguaido) May 15, 2019
“Reiterate: Contact Group, Canada, United Kingdom, Norway, Lima group, in addition to other initiatives, support us to achieve a solution to the crisis. For Venezuelans the route is clear and we keep it: cessation of usurpation, transitional government and free elections.”
He accused the Venezuelan authorities of “harassing” National Assembly members by not letting them in the Federal Legislative Palace on May 14th.
Lawmakers weren’t let inside the building due to a purported bomb threat. A quorum of 87 members was eventually achieved and the session got under way. But security forces barred the media from the chamber, including a crew from online channel Capitolio TV, which usually provides a live feed of legislative proceedings.
Guaido blamed the Maduro government of prosecuting 96 of the National Assembly’s 112 members.
On May 14th, the UNSC met in closed consultations on Venezuela, in them the US raised alarm over the arrest of Edgar Zambrano, the First Vice President of Venezuela’s National Assembly.
“We are concerned Zambrano’s arrest is a major escalation of the ongoing crackdown by the Maduro regime against the National Assembly, the sole remaining democratic institution in Venezuela. The regime has intensified efforts to jail opposition leaders in a campaign that media outlets in Venezuela have dubbed, “Operation Scorched Earth.” The United States calls on all member states to be prepared to take concrete actions in response to the Maduro regime’s repression throughout Venezuela.”
Finally, on May 15th, AP reported that representatives of the Maduro government and the US-backed opposition travelled to Norway to take part in negotiations to resolve the Venezuelan crisis.
Unnamed opposition officials said that both sides had received separate invitations to take part in negotiations in Oslo.
In his televised address on May 15th, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro made no mention of any such negotiations, but did say Information Minister Jorge Rodriguzes was outside of Venezuela on an “important mission.”
Separately, Rev. Jesse Jackson brought food and water to the Code Pink activists barricaded inside the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington.
— Rev Jesse Jackson Sr (@RevJJackson) May 15, 2019
The remaining Embassy Protectors and the activists are fearing after the Secret Service was reportedly preparing to raid the premises in breach of the Vienna Convention.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- US-backed Venezuelan Opposition Continues Asking For Foreign Interference To Overthrow Maduro Government
- Venezuelan ‘Opposition’ Asks For US Military Support Against Maduro Government And ‘Foreign Forces’