The Copa Airlines at the Simon Bolivar International Airport in Maiquetia were bare today as anxious travelers sought news from the carrier following yesterday’s announcements of sanctions against the company. Copa Airlines, which is based out of Panama, was one of 46 businesses expelled from Venezuela by the Maduro regime in retaliation for Panama’s sanctions against it last week.
Yesterday’s sanctions by the regime, which took effect today, mean that Copa Airlines is no longer allowed to operate in Venezuela. The unexpected move from Caracas blindsided ticket-holders, who flocked to the airline’s main office in the Lido supermarket in the capital.
According to El Universal, ticket-holders said that the airline was offering refunds. The newspaper claims that some individuals expressed dissatisfaction with the measure, since it may take as many as 60 days for the refund to appear in their bank accounts. The refund timeline guarantees that the money will be virtually useless when it appears in people’s bank accounts.
The sanction banning Copa Airlines and 45 other Panamanian companies from conducting business in Venezuela will remain in effect for the next 90 days, with the possibility that they may be extended further.
Copa Airlines Apologizes For Refund Timeline
In a statement issued late last night, Copa Airlines announced that it would offer refunds to travelers affected by the regime’s sanctions, and apologized for the length of time that it may take for the refunds to go through.
On the refunds, the statement reads:
Copa Airlines offers refunds without any penalty for the full value of your unused tickets. At the same time, travelers who had begun their trip [when the sanctions came into effect] will be able to receive a refund without any penalty for the parts of the trip that were not completed.
If travelers do not wish to receive a refund, Copa Airlines is also offering the ability to change the final destination of their ticket from a Venezuelan location.
The airline also offered an apology for the lengthy timeline for the refunds, citing the large number of affected passengers.
Panama Warns of More Sanctions
Panamanian president Juan Carlos Varela announced today that his government may levy more sanctions against the Maduro regime in response to it “limiting” Panamanian economic activities in the country.
At the same time, Verela said that he did not want to engage Maduro in “diplomatic escalation” and that he hoped that “reason would impose itself” on the situation.
Varela said that any new sanctions against the Maduro regime would be “coherent”, and that they may be deployed in the coming days and weeks. He said:
We will not allow the rights of our companies to be limited, as is the example of Panamanian companies transporting passengers to Venezuela.
UNHCR: 800+ Venezuelans Fleeing Into Brazil Each Day
The United Nation’s Refugee Agency(UNHCR) revealed today that according to its figures, more than 800 Venezuelans stream into Brazil each day as a result of the catastrophic collapse of their country.
The UNHCR also said that approximately 52,000 Venezuelans have arrived in Brazil since the start of 2017, and that as many as 40,000 of them are living in Boa Vista, the capital of Brazil’s northern Roraima state.
The agency also revealed that out of the 52,000 Venezuelans living in Brazil, approximately 25,000 are applying for refugee status in the country, while another 10,000 have obtained temporary resident status. The rest are undocumented.
Regime Accepts Humanitarian Aid from Russia
The Maduro regime broke with long-standing tradition today by accepting 8.5 tonnes of medical humanitarian aid from Russia. The aid, which is destined for 10 Venezuelan hospitals, is slated to be brought into the country and distributed by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
During a press conference at the Ministry of Health in Caracas, Russian ambassador to Venezuela Vladimir Zaemskiy announced the move by saying:
Thanks to the very valuable assistance of the Pan American Health Organization, we are giving several Venezuelan hospitals medical materials donated by Russia.
The head of the PAHO in Caracas, Jose Moya, told Sputnik that the aid comes in the form of medical “kits” that include a variety of pieces of equipment and medicine. Zaemsky said that the kits could benefit as many as 330,000 individuals.
Despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, the Maduro regime has been unwilling to publicly accept that the country is suffering from any type of crisis. As a result, it has also been unwilling to accept any kind of humanitarian aid, as doing so would be tantamount to admitting that the crisis does in fact exist.
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