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Reports from Cuba’s Venezuela: Sky-High Excuses

By Gustavo Hernandez Acevedo in Caracas Chronicles:

Sky-high excuses

So, what kind of passenger planes can you get in exchange for this 14-year old custom-made aircraft?

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has made it crystal clear: Venezuela could lose much of its aerial connectivity because of the large debt the government has with several international air carriers.

But Economical VP/Oil Minister/PDVSA Chairman (and apparently an international air travel expert as well) Rafael Ramírez … disagrees.

“No one is leaving the country. (The airlines) are just diverting planes for the World Cup (to be held in Brazil three weeks from now), but they’re not leaving the country.”

How he reached that conclusion, I don’t know. And the fact that no other country has said anything similar doesn’t support his case. Why are they diverting planes from Venezuela and not, say, Colombia?

Anyway, some people don’t let facts get in the way of their excuses, so Nicolás Maduro is now backing Ramírez’s claims.

Yet, the government wants to present itself to the public as the solution instead of the problem: For example, they want to assume the Caracas-Rome route to be left by Italian air carrier Alitalia, through their own airline Conviasa. But that hasn’t stopped Maduro from repeating this threat to the airlines: “Anyone that leaves Venezuela in the middle of this economic war, won’t return ever again.”

I guess Venezuelans will be stuck with local airlines. The problem is that there is an alarmingly decrepit, increasingly squalid fleet of passenger planes for local airlines. But don’t worry, they’re about to get a couple of new ones. How exactly? They’re going to sell the Airbus A319 that serves as our own Air Force One. It will be interesting to see how that unfolds, as Nicolas Maduro denounced last September that the same aircraft had “serious problems” and that he was considering suing its maker Airbus. But looks like that lawsuit simply went cold.

My only piece of advice for them: better avoid E-Bay. They’re having serious security problems right now.

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