TRINIDAD-CAL cancels flights to Venezuela

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The state-owned Caribbean Airlines (CAL) Monday said that it had cancelled all flights to Venezuela on Monday following an electricity blackout that has hit the South American country where the opposition is seeking to force President Nicolas Maduro out of office.

In a brief statement, CAL said it had taken the decision “due to no electricity or back-up electricity supply at the Simon Bolivar International Airport”

It said that its flights BW 300 (Trinidad to Venezuela) and BW 301 (Venezuela to Trinidad) for Monday “are cancelled” and that “the affected passengers will be accommodated on other services”.

The airline gave no indication as to how long it would cancel its flights to the South American country.

The Trinidad and Tobago government has long indicated that it would not interfere in the internal affairs of Venezuela and has adopted the position of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping of non-interference and urging dialogue in the ongoing political and economic turmoil in that country.

Venezuela Monday suspended schools and businesses as a result of the blackout that began on Thursday last week with President Maduro blaming “an international cyber-attack” for the blackout.

“We are in the process of investigation and correcting it all because there are many infiltrators attacking the electrical company from within,” he said, telling supporters that his administration has “defeated their coup” a, reference to the efforts by the United States to topple his socialist administration.

Opposition Leader, Juan Guaido, who has declared himself as interim president and is supported by Washington said at least 17 people had been killed as a result of the blackout.

He said the private sector had lost at least US$400 million from power outages.

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