The U.S. Department of Transportation on Wednesday suspended all passenger and cargo flights coming from and going to Venezuela, citing civil unrest around the country’s airports.
The Department of Homeland Security said in a letter requesting the suspension that it is because conditions exist that threaten “the safety or security of passengers, aircraft, or crew traveling.”
American Airlines, the largest carrier that was providing flights between the two countries, announced in March it would indefinitely suspend services to and from Venezuela.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in April issued an order banning U.S. air operators from flying below 26,000 feet in Venezuelan airspace.
The move is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Trump’s administration against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
The U.S. has thrown its support behind an ongoing military uprising aimed at ousting Maduro from power led by opposition leader Juan Guaido.
Last week, the administration sanctioned Venezuela’s defense and security services sectors, in an attempt to further isolate Maduro.
Venezuela has been in the throes of humanitarian and economic crises amid the political deadlock between Guaido and Maduro as Washington has ramped up diplomatic and economic pressure on Caracas, including sanctioning the state-run oil company in a bid to get Maduro to relinquish power.
The political stalemate comes as Venezuela grapples with an economy that has been torn asunder by the global decline in the price of oil — Venezuela’s chief export.