The United States on Wednesday suspended all commercial passenger and cargo flights between the US and Venezuela, saying the political unrest and tensions there pose a risk to flights, the AP reports. The announcement by the Department of Homeland Security affected a dwindling number of flights between the two countries, since US airlines no longer fly to Venezuela. The measure reflected the increasingly sour relationship between the Venezuelan government and the US, which is leading a campaign to oust President Nicolás Maduro. Conditions in Venezuela "threaten the safety and security of passengers, aircraft, and crew," the department said. It said the flight suspension will continue indefinitely, though the decision will be reviewed if the situation in Venezuela changes.
American Airlines stopped its flights in mid-March after union leaders told pilots not to go there due to safety concerns. Some other international airlines quit flying to Venezuela years ago because of the country's deteriorating economy. Some Venezuelan airlines had been operating commercial flights to and from Miami, though those were already affected by the upheaval in the South American country, including after a failed call for a military uprising by the opposition on April 30. Also Wednesday, Venezuela's opposition-controlled congress returned to its chamber a day after security forces prevented legislators from entering the National Assembly building for a debate. Assembly leader Juan Guaidó and other legislators gave speeches denouncing Maduro's government, which has accused them of conspiring with the United States to stage a coup.
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