June 17, 2015 / 12:07 AM / 4 years ago

Venezuela gives landing permission for Brazil senators

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Venezuela gave landing permission on Tuesday for a Brazilian Air Force plane set to carry a group of Brazilian senators to visit jailed Venezuelan opposition leaders, the head of Brazil’s opposition party said.

An apparent delay in granting the permission, which had been requested last Friday, had led to speculation Venezuela might be seeking to block the visit scheduled for Thursday.

“After firm action by the Senate, the Venezuelan government authorized the landing in its territory of a Brazilian Air Force plane,” Senator Aecio Neves, head of the PSDB party, said on Twitter.

Earlier on Tuesday, Neves was quoted in the Estado de S.Paulo newspaper as saying Venezuela had “vetoed” the landing.

Representatives from the Venezuelan government were not immediately available for comment.

Support for Venezuelan opposition leaders is a sensitive issue for the government of President Nicolas Maduro. Last week, Caracas demanded Colombia’s ambassador explain why the neighboring country flew former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez out on one of its Air Force planes after Gonzalez had traveled to Venezuela to support the opposition. (ID:nL1N0YV32K)

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff and her Workers’ Party have faced increasing criticism for maintaining close ties to Maduro. Earlier this month, Brazil’s Senate passed a resolution criticizing Maduro’s government for arbitrarily imprisoning opponents.

Reporting by Stephen Eisenhammer, additional reporting by Diego Ore in Caracas; Editing by Ken Wills

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