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Panama to temporarily ban Venezuelan airlines in retaliation
[PANAMA CITY] Panama will ban several Venezuelan airlines from working in the country for at least 90 days, the government said on Tuesday, the latest twist in a dispute that began when Venezuelan officials were put on a"high risk" money laundering list.
The suspension of Venezuela's major carriers in a regional hub further isolates the crisis-hit country, after most international airlines pulled out, citing economic and security concerns.
The targets are companies that have struggled to fill the travel vacuum, including state-owned Conviasa and Aeropostal, as well as private companies Avior, Laser, Santa Barbara and Turpial.
In March, Panama put more than 50 Venezuelans, including President Nicolas Maduro, on a "high risk" list for laundering money and financing terrorism.
In response, Venezuela last week halted commercial relations with Panamanian officials and companies, including airline Copa , for alleged involvement in money laundering, prompting both countries to recall their ambassadors.
Panama's government said in a statement on Tuesday that the airlines would be suspended for 90 days from April 25.
The Venezuelan government did not respond to a request for comment.