In an escalating diplomatic spat between Venezuela and Panama, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has banned Copa Airlines from flying to the Bolivarian Republic.
Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela shrugged over the news. Although word of the ban sent Copa stock tumbling on Friday, Varela asserted Venezuelans would be far more hurt by the news than the airline.
Panama is a logistic route. Venezuelans rely on Panama to supply medicine and food that they lack.
What happened? Per Reuters:
Maduro targeted Copa along with other Panamanian companies, Varela himself and other government officials one week after Panama put Maduro and some 50 Venezuelan nationals on a list of those considered “high risk” for money laundering and financing terrorism. In announcing its action on Thursday, Venezuela said those on its list pose a risk to its financial systems.
Both nations have also recalled their ambassadors.
This move further isolates Venezuela from the world. While many foreign carriers have eliminated service to Venezuela in recent months, Copa had maintained regular service to the troubled nation.
There is hope that the ban is temporary. Both sides are working behind the scenes to offer a face-saving compromise that will restore flights. One thing is certain, though: Venezuelans certainly need Copa more than Copa needs them. Sadly, many Venezuelans lack basic necessities like food and medicine. Another supply line has been cut…
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