The U.S embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, issued a warning that American travelers visiting the South American country could risk being stranded there due to the drastically reduced number of flights to the country.
The Associated Press reports that the three largest U.S. carriers -- Delta, American and United Airlines -- have all slashed their services to Venezuela in recent months. The reason behind the dispute is $4 billion in earnings of foreign carriers that are stuck in Venezuela, due to the country's strict currency controls, which, according to Bloomberg, prevent airlines from repatriating earnings from tickets sold in the country without government authorization.
In addition to some carriers scaling back their service from the U.S. to Venezuela, Italy's Alitalia and Air Canada halted all flights to Venezuela earlier this year over the dispute.
Reuters reports that the Venezuelan Airlines Association said in late March that the government had promised to allow foreign airlines to repatriate ticket sales revenues that had been stuck in the country for over two years. President Nicolas Maduro had assured that his government would make good on its promise, but he also threatened to permanently keep out carriers that suspend service to the country.
Mashable reports that the airline exodus has left many Venezuelans feeling trapped in their own country. Even Venezuela's top soccer club said last week that it was unable to find a flight to an international tournament in Peru and would have to spend several days traveling by alternate modes of transport as a result.
The U.S. State Department issued a travel warning for the country in June, citing "frequent demonstrations," and "violent crime," as its reasons.