Venezuelans protest US sanctions against state-owned Conviasa airlines

Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro expressed his solidarity with the workers of Conviasa. He has also said that his government will take the matter to the International Court of Justice (ICJ)

February 12, 2020 by Peoples Dispatch
Venezuelans protest against US sanctions on Conviasa airlines_
Conviasa workers march through the streets of Caracas against the US sanction. (Photo: Screengrab/Ruptly)

On February 10, Monday, hundreds of Venezuelans marched through the streets of Caracas to protest against the sanctions imposed by the United States government on Venezuelan state-owned airline, Consorcio Venezolano de Industrias Aeronauticas y Servicios Aereos (Conviasa). 

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the US Treasury Department had imposed a set of sanctions against the airline on February 7, and included 40 Conviasa planes on the Foreign Assets Control list. reported that the sanctions against the state-owned airlines call for punitive measures against any US or non-US citizen or firm dealing with Conviasa. This will affect plane maintenance, refueling, insurance and a host of other operations. Passengers may also be sanctioned under the measure.

Joined by Conviasa airline workers, the protesters marched through the Venezuelan capital before gathering outside Miraflores Palace. The protesters rejected US’ imperialist tactics to cripple the Venezuelan economy by imposing harsh economic sanctions.

At the Miraflores Palace, Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro addressed the march, expressing his solidarity with the airline workers. 

According to Ruplty, Maduro addressed the protesters saying, “We are going to pursue international justice [International Court of Justice (ICJ)] with a lawsuit against the Government of Donald Trump, I have ordered it and I ask for all the support of the national public opinion, all the support for this international lawsuit action.” 

Venezuela has been facing a hybrid war, with US-backed opposition groups attempting to organize a coup d’etat against the democratically elected socialist government of Maduro. At the same time, the US had been imposing various economic sanctions on the Venezuelan government and its assets to support  the right-wing opposition groups led by Juan Guaidó.

“And we have to point the finger at the person responsible for these sanctions: His name is Juan Guaido, he’s the one directly responsible, who sought these sanctions,” accused Maduro in his address. 

On February 11, the National Assembly of Venezuela rejected the US imposed sanctions against Conviasa. The assembly also expressed solidarity with the airlines’ 2,102 workers. 

Conviasa was created in 2004 after the national airline VIASA was liquidated in 1997. The airline connects various domestic destinations in Venezuela and also flies to many international destinations including Cuba, Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia.