Air Canada has decided to suspend its flights to Venezuela because it “cannot guarantee the security of its operations due to the tense situation in the country” - the Louis Riel Bolivarian Circle and HOV Canada explain the real reasons behind this decission. 


aircanadaThis was a unilateral decision taken with no consultation whatsoever with Venezuelan authorities and, breaking international regulations, not giving previous notice to The National Institute of Civil Aviation (INAC). Its last flight took place on March 15.

It is strange indeed that Air Canada decided this on March 18, when the street protests had already been under control! If they were afraid of the protests why did they not do this in February when they were in full swing?

It is even stranger because the paid protesters were carrying out their violence in very localized areas of the “nice” parts of the cities where the rich live, as they knew full well that the common people would oppose them on the other side of the tracks. Furthermore, there were absolutely no incidents in or near any of the country’s airports.

It is even stranger yet because the Government of Canada – no friend of Venezuela- only issued a mild, sensible, travel advisory on March 5:” Avoid all demonstrations, large gatherings and public areas where disturbances or violent incidents could occur, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local developments.” This is very different from its advice respect to Ukraine:” We advice against non-essential travel to Kkyiv and Crimea due to the tenuous security situation.”

So what is behind this slap in the face to Venezuela? There are two possibilities. One, that Air Canada is again in financial difficulties. In the year 2000 Air Canada had 77% of the Canadian market, but in 2013 it dropped down to 50%. Last year’s strike had them cancel 68 flights. Could Air Canada be preparing to make Venezuela a smokescreen for its poor economic performance?

The other explanation is that Tony Tyler, Director General of IATA (International Association of Air Transport), to which Air Canada is member, speaking from the studios of CNN, that bastion of right-wing broadcasting, backed Air Canada and said in the same breath that airlines were not going to negotiate with the Venezuelan government about some outstanding debts. He thus stepped into a political role not a commercial role as he arrogantly acted as if he could speak for all airlines, as if Venezuela had ever reneged on any debt, and as if the Minister of Transport had not been having numerous meetings with the international airlines that fly into Venezuela. Tyler is serving a multinational pressure group to destabalize the country.

The Venezuelan government has interpreted Air Canada’s decision as political interference. President Maduro warned on March 14th that any international airline that refuses to operate in the country now – there being little or no danger- will have the doors of Venezuela closed to them indefinitely; they will not be able to come back. On March 18th the Minister of Transport confirmed that Venezuela ended its commercial relationship with Air Canada.

There are 21 international airlines that regularly operate in Venezuela.

Its Air Canada’s loss, and since it is widely -although erroneously- believed that Air Canada is a state enterprise, it ends up being Canada’s shame.

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