The economic war against Venezuela continues to escalate as several international commercial carriers suspend flights to the South American nation.
U.S. air carrier Delta Air Lines announced Saturday that it would discontinue its once-weekly flight from Atlanta to Caracas, joining a long list of flight carriers that have suspended flights into Venezuela.
"Delta will suspend its once per week service between Atlanta and Caracas, with the final southbound flight scheduled for Sept. 16, 2017. Delta is in the process of contacting customers booked for travel after Sept. 16," Elizabeth Wolf, Delta spokeswoman told Reuters.
The announcement comes after the Colombian airline Avianca said it will cancel all flights to Venezuela effective immediately. The airline cited, "operational and security limitations registered during the last few hours" as the reason for its decision.
Over the past year, United, LATAM, Lufthansa, Aeromexico and Air Canada have stopped flights into the country, increasing Venezuela's isolation as it grapples with the crippling effects of the U.S.-led economic war.
While some airlines have cited safety as their primary concerns for discontinuing the flights, many airlines said they are financially unable to maintain routes to the South American country.
The International Air Transport Association said last month Venezuela owes airlines more than US$3.8 billion, Reuters reported.
Only 10 international airlines currently operate in Venezuela — American Airlines, Air Europa, Air France, Caribbean Airlines, Copa Airlines, Cubana, Iberia, Latin American Wings, Tame, TAP and Turkish Airlines.
The flight suspensions come amid a broader a campaign to hurt the Venezuelan economy.
Citing lack of raw materials availability, many companies including Clorox, Colgate, and Kimberly-Clark shuttered their operations. Pepsi sold at stores and restaurants in Venezuela, closed their business operations in October 2015. General Mills and Cheerios, the cereal giant, also cut their ties. Bridgestone, the tire giant, left Venezuela last year.
In one of the Empire Files episodes, acclaimed journalist Abby Martin exposed the media bias behind "distorted" depictions of Venezuela's food and political crisis. Martin spoke to Pascualina Curzio, the Venezuelan economist to understand the crisis.
"We cannot call it a generalized economic crisis, it's an economic war," Curzio told Martin. "In the past four years, Venezuela's per capita has been 9 percent higher compared to the per capita in the last 30 years. The unemployment rate is 6.6 percent. So we can't call it a generalized economic crisis," the economist said.
Talking about some of the missing items from the stores' shelves, such as toilet paper, oil, flowers — products that have "high consumption and are under the control of huge monopolies," she explained: "There is a difference between the economic crisis and the economic warfare. These products are very particular, and they have very specific characteristics. These are responsible for food lines and even illegal markets due to the scarcity being caused."