Venezuela suspends Panamanian businesses, airline - InfoNews

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Venezuela suspends Panamanian businesses, airline

Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro waves to supporters during an event marking 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King, at Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
April 05, 2018 - 4:03 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela - Venezuela temporarily banned a group of Panamanian businesses from operating within its borders Thursday, retaliating for a recent financial crackdown by its Central American neighbour.

Officials said the suspension protects Venezuela's economy even as it spirals deeper into historic crisis.

Last week, Panama put Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and several other high-ranking officials on a watch list as being at "high risk" for laundering money.

Venezuela's ban targets Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela and Copa, one of the few airlines still operating within Venezuela.

Caracas justified its suspension by saying it adds a "measure of protection of the financial, economic and commercial system."

The 90-day ban restricts commercial activities within Venezuela by 22 business leaders and 46 companies in Panama.

Panama identified 16 Venezuelan companies and 55 individuals suspected of money laundering.

The list also includes Venezuela's vice-president, socialist party leader Diosdado Cabello and Attorney General Tarek William Saab.

Venezuela is increasingly isolated. The United States has sanctioned Maduro and dozens of top officials, accusing the country of human rights abuses and sliding into a dictatorship.

The European Union has also imposed economic and travel sanctions on seven senior Venezuelan officials accused of breaching the rule of law.

News from © The Associated Press, 2018
The Associated Press

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