US Reissues Warning Against Travel to Venezuela

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( – The State Department has once again advised Americans against traveling to Venezuela by renewing its highest level of travel warning, “Level 4: Do Not Travel,” due to the significant risks posed by crime and civil unrest under President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist regime.

According to the State Department’s notice, the travel advisory highlights the dangers because of “crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, and the arbitrary enforcement” of the rules. The advisory also warns travelers to reconsider travel as a result of “wrongful detentions, terrorism,” and inadequate “health infrastructure.”

The advisory details that violent crimes such as homicides, armed robberies, kidnappings, and carjackings are prevalent in the country. It also notes an elevated risk of wrongful detentions of people from the US by Venezuelan security forces, which have in some cases held U.S. citizens for up to half a decade without notifying the U.S. or granting consular access.

The political climate in Venezuela is described as volatile with frequent and sometimes spontaneous demonstrations and rallies, particularly against Maduro. These demonstrations can quickly escalate with security forces often responding strongly.

The advisory further states that Venezuela continues to suffer from severe shortages of basic necessities like water, electricity, and more.

Amid these conditions, Maduro is running against Edmundo Gonzalez, an experienced ex-diplomat and the main opposition candidate, endorsed by Maria Corina Machado after she was banned from holding office. The U.S. had condemned this ban when it was upheld by Venezuela’s Supreme Court. Recent polls indicate that a candidate supported by Machado would significantly outperform Maduro, prompting concerns that the ruling Socialist party may attempt to prevent Gonzalez from appearing on the ballot.

The advisory also highlights the operational presence of terrorist groups along Venezuela’s borders with Brazil, Colombia, and Guyana, adding to the region’s instability.

The notice comes in the context of a mass exodus of Venezuelans to the U.S., with numbers increasing significantly from 50,000 in fiscal year 2021 to nearly 335,000 in fiscal year 2023, as reported by the Federation for American Immigration Reform. This report also raises concerns about the potential entry of gang members from Venezuela into the U.S., as well as issues related to terrorism, given Venezuela’s connections with Iran.

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