12. April 2003

Canadians should exercise caution in Venezuela. The security situation remains volatile due to the ongoing conflict between the government and its opponents. The two-month national strike is over, although the petroleum sector has not resumed normal operations. Political demonstrations are still frequent in Caracas and in other major cities. The latest demonstrations were peaceful, but the potential for violence remains. Bombings of embassies have occurred in Caracas, increasing the threat of further violent acts.

Various service interruptions can be expected. Fuel supply is sporadic throughout the country. Local transportation services have been disrupted due to road closures and shortages of gasoline. Foreign exchange controls are being implemented. Foreign credit cards should not be affected, although using traveller's cheques or exchanging currency could be a problem.

Canadians should not travel within 80 km of the Venezuela and Colombia borders due to the increasing threat of kidnapping. Colombian guerrillas, who frequently operate on both sides of the border, are suspected of several kidnapping cases. They are now openly targeting foreign citizens in Venezuela's Amazonas state, specifically near the border with Colombia. Cross-border violence, kidnapping, smuggling, and drug trafficking occur frequently in remote areas, specifically in Venezuela's Zulia, Tachira, Barinas, Bolivar, Apure and Amazonas states.
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade



19. Februar 2003

This Travel Warning is being issued to inform U.S. citizens that the tense political and security situation in Venezuela has eased slightly, although shortages of goods and difficulty providing services continues. This replaces the Travel Warning of December 10, 2002.

Although the Department of State has rescinded ordered departure for non-emergency personnel and eligible family members, U.S. citizens should be aware that there are continuing concerns about the situation in Venezuela. Businesses, schools and other services have re-opened but shortages of fuel and key goods, and difficulty in providing essential services, are likely to continue for several weeks as the country attempts to normalize economic activity in the wake of the general strike that crippled Venezuela for over two months. Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA has not resumed normal operations and, though fuel supplies have improved, fuel shortages continue to impact local public transport severely. Opposition leaders have vowed to continue to disrupt oil production. Local airlines have resumed normal service, but international flight schedules have been scaled back. U.S. citizens in Venezuela should confirm their flights are on schedule before departing for the airport.

Tension between pro-Chavez and opposition supporters remains high and the potential for violent clashes continues. Further demonstrations are expected. Additionally, the Government of Venezuela has introduced rigid exchange control mechanisms in an attempt to protect the Bolivar, the national currency, as economic conditions continue to deteriorate. The availability of U.S. dollars in Venezuela is very limited.

The Embassy’s Consular Section will resume limited visa services to Venezuelan citizens in mid-February as staff members return to post. Consular personnel are available to provide emergency information and services to American citizens. In the case of an emergency or for the latest security information, the U.S. Embassy can be reached at 58-212-975-6411.

Bureau of Consular Affairs of the United States of America




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