Venezuela freezes airfreight traffic with Colombia

VENEZEULA has banned Colombian airfreight companies from flying into the country. Those affected include Aerosucre, Lineas Aereas Suramericanas and Tampa. In addition, Colombian passenger airlines have had to reduce their number of flights to Venezuela. The only company unaffected is Venezuela’s sole cargo carrier, Vensecar Internacional.

The ban is the result of a tangled three-way disagreement over the drugs trade. Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez (right) broke off relations with the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) four years ago after he accused it of political espionage against him and of being involved in the drug trade. Now Chavez is claiming Colombia’s security service is itself “an important drug-trafficking cartel” and frozen bilateral relations between the two.

Just before the ban, Colombia’s president, Alvaro Uribe, agreed to allow US troops to operate anti-drug operations from his country, a situation that Chávez takes is so highly suspicious of he has considered making it a declaration of war.

Venezuela and Columbia are each other’s primary trading partners, after US, a trade worth about US$7 billion last year.

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