State Department Issues Urgent Warning for Americans Traveling to Venezuela
Following the Trump Administration’s recognition of Juan Guaido as the rightful leader of Venezuela, the State Department issued an urgent travel advisory to all Americans who are in Venezuela or plan to travel to Venezuela, warning that the “U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Venezuela due to extremely limited infrastructure and poor security conditions.”
The State Department has ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. government employees and family members from Venezuela. Moreover, the State Department urges all other Americans in Venezuela to return to the United States, and that those who plan to travel to Venezuela “[r]econsider travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.”
The situation in Venezuela is only becoming worse with each passing day:
Violent crime, such as homicide, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking, is common.
Political rallies and demonstrations occur, often with little notice. Demonstrations typically elicit a strong police and security force response that includes the use of tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons, and rubber bullets against participants and occasionally devolve into looting and vandalism.
Security forces have arbitrarily detained U.S. citizens for long periods. The U.S. Embassy may not be notified of the detention of a U.S. citizen, and consular access to detainees may be denied or severely delayed.
The State Department also advised that there “are shortages of food, electricity, water, medicine, and medical supplies throughout much of Venezuela,” which has led the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to issue a Level 3 – Avoid Nonessential Travel notice “due to inadequate healthcare and the breakdown of the medical infrastructure in Venezuela.”
If you are a citizen of Venezuela living in the United States without status, this may be the time to consider a possible claim for asylum protection. If you are a U.S. employer with employees in Venezuela or employees about to travel to Venezuela, it is imperative to consider evacuating your non-essential employees and reconsider any future plans to travel to Venezuela.
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