On Sunday, Venezuelans will vote in Presidential and local council elections. Despite the dire economic situation and widespread unrest, President Maduro is unlikely to lose the election – regardless of how the people vote. Against the long backdrop of decline, this makes for a security situation that is volatile. Protests are very likely, and have potential to become violent without warning.
Plan ahead, stay safe
If you are in Venezuela, we strongly urge you to review your travel risk management plan.
Additionally, you might want to –
- Make sure you have a solid communication plan in place that includes redundancies should your initial forms of communication fail.
- Make sure you have food and drinking water stockpiled, as well as any other necessities such as medication, candles and matches. Locate your first aid kit and review the contents.
- Make sure you have emergency contact information stored on your phone and keep a paper copy to hand. Include relevant information for your insurance, any responders, your friends and family emergency contact(s), and your embassy or local consulate.
- Monitor the local media and official Twitter channels, as well as websites like the US Embassy in Venezuela.
- If you have to leave your accommodation, avoid crowds and gatherings. Be aware that these could turn violent without warning. Do not attempt to cross security lines.
We have included further official travel advice below.
Recent Headlines + News
President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela is up for re-election on Sunday, but there is a catch: The most popular opposition candidates have been banned from running or jailed. Enter Henri Falcón… https://t.co/cHHenwZipb
— New York Times World (@nytimesworld) May 18, 2018
— Reuters Venezuela (@ReutersVzla) May 18, 2018
Allegations such as this one underline the tinderbox security situation.
Venezuelan military officers met at soccer matches to plot a coup. They were caught and jailed. Discontent remains high. https://t.co/temGnvbnnz
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) May 18, 2018
Venezuela’s presidential election is this weekend. Who cares, you say? Here’s my story on why you should care about the election and the crisis that’s gripping the country @CNN https://t.co/nns4L8V6pQ
— Doug Criss (@CNNDoug) May 18, 2018
— CNN International (@cnni) May 17, 2018
#Venezuela : We deplore the severe beating of activist Gregory Sanabria in #Helicoide prison. We call for the humane treatment of ALL prisoners and urge an investigation into the use of torture and other ill-treatment. All political prisoners must be released. pic.twitter.com/boLLoBorlj
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) May 17, 2018
There were regular large political demonstrations and protests in Caracas and other cities throughout 2017, which led to arrests, injuries, and deaths. There have been smaller spontaneous protests in 2018.
Presidential and state-council elections are taking place in Venezuela on Sunday 20 May. The Armed Forces’ Plan Republica security operation is already in place, and will remain active until Monday 21 May inclusive. Schools are closed from 15 to 21 May inclusive.
If you intend to vote on 20 May, we recommend that you do so early; and that you limit your movements for the rest of the day. Demonstrations and protests remain possible and may be dispersed with the use of force. You should avoid crowds and should not cross security-force lines or barricades.
You should remain vigilant and informed, particularly in the run-up to the presidential elections on 20 May. Avoid protests and demonstrations, which can turn violent with little warning. During and ahead of demonstrations, there’s often travel disruption as a result of road closures. The authorities often use tear gas and buckshot/plastic pellets to disperse protests. In case of renewed prolonged protests, you should take precautions by securing several days’ worth of food and water provisions.
The Venezuelan government has ordered the temporary closure of the border with Colombia (open to foot traffic only). Contact your tour operator before you travel for more information.
Please click here for the rest of the advice.
Political and other tensions between groups on either side of the Colombia-Venezuela border contribute to significant security threats in the border region. The Venezuelan Government has closed the land border with Colombia on a number of occasions, often without notice, due to security and smuggling concerns. The border crossings in the states of Tachira, Zulia, Apure and Amazonas could reopen and close again at short notice. Special measures have been implemented in border municipalities in these states which include restrictions on the right to free movement, assembly and protest.
- Avoid all demonstrations, protests, political activity and large public gatherings.
- If you are in an area where a protest or similar is occurring, leave if it is safe to do so.
- Monitor the media and other sources for news of planned or possible unrest. Avoid affected areas.
- Be particularly vigilant during days of national or commemorative significance.
- Follow the instructions of local authorities.
- Keep spare supplies of food, water, medicines and other necessities.
- Do not travel to within 80 kilometres of Venezuela’s border with Colombia.
- Don’t attempt to cross the Venezuela-Colombia border by land.
Please click here to read the rest of the advice.
Further advice on Venezuela from the following governments –
Background + Opinion
Venezuela’s corrupt, incompetent autocrat Maduro can violently crush the opposition but can’t, despite massive oil reserves, deliver water to the capital. Still, the ideologues defend him. https://t.co/QZksUnlGnW pic.twitter.com/T4a0MhZK2G
— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) May 13, 2018
“I’ve forgotten what it is like to bathe in running water”, says Soledad Rodríguez, a graphic designer https://t.co/03GdLD0RxK
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) May 13, 2018
Venezuela’s economic crisis has an unexpected effect: Many employees are either quitting or regularly skipping work.https://t.co/q6oLhoY1Gm
— NPR (@NPR) May 13, 2018
Oil-rich Venezuela was once Latin America’s wealthiest country. Today, it boasts skyrocketing poverty, rampant food shortages and a critical lack of urgently needed medical supplies. How did this happen? pic.twitter.com/e9OJ8Ta0uY
— dwnews (@dwnews) May 18, 2018
Yesterday we launched our first @WSJ Films piece. Words can’t describe this powerful and heart wrenching story @RobLibetti, @WSJForero and Maya Tippett have produced. Please bookmark and watch when you have 14 minutes. You won’t regret it. https://t.co/omo1DYvKJC
— Joanna Stern (@JoannaStern) May 18, 2018
While the press takes the #IMF‘s forecasts as gospel, they should be more interested in the actual measured inflation rate, which I release daily. Forecasting the course & duration of hyperinflation in #Venezuela is a fools game.https://t.co/9m12OeiwRB
— Prof. Steve Hanke (@steve_hanke) May 13, 2018
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