Security Message for U.S. Citizens: Demonstrations throughout Venezuela

The U.S. Department of State informs U.S. citizens of the increased risks of travel to and within Venezuela due to the ongoing political unrest and increasingly violent clashes between Venezuelan security forces and protesters.  There have been incidents of violence between protesters and Venezuelan security forces since February 19.  The Embassy advises all citizens to maintain a low profile and to avoid all areas of civil disruption.

Since demonstrations began across Venezuela on February 12, there have been additional marches daily throughout the country.  Continued civil unrest in the western state of Tachira has led to a cessation of public transportation, and a prohibition on the carrying of firearms by civilians.  In Caracas, Merida, Valencia, and many other large population centers across Venezuela, there are roadblocks disrupting traffic and creating supply problems within local markets.

While many politically motivated marches in Venezuela are peaceful, incidents of violence have occurred, resulting in fatalities and numerous injuries.  The situation in Venezuela is fluid and could change quickly.  Demonstrations and counter-demonstrations are expected to continue.  The majority of protests are not advertised in advance and additional violent clashes between demonstrators, counter-demonstrators, and Venezuelan security forces are possible.

U.S. citizens are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations, and large gatherings, and to remain inside in the evening.  U.S. citizens whose residences or hotels are located in the vicinity of the protests should exercise caution and plan for the possibility of traffic and other potential disruptions and to plan for the possibility of remaining indoors, should incidents of violence increase.

Review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Venezuela enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at travel.state.govSTEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website, where you can find current Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning for Venezuela, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Venezuela.  For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. Embassy up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App to have travel information at your fingertips.

The U.S. Embassy in Caracas is located on Calle F con Calle Suapure, Lomas de Valle Arriba. The telephone number during business hours (8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) is (011) 58-212-975-6411. For after-hours emergencies use (011) 58-212-907-8400. The fax is (011) 58-212-907-8199.  Please check the Embassy website for additional information.