‘Do not travel’: The US government is warning Americans that if they fly to Venezuela they could be at risk of homicide or arbitrary arrest

Protest in Caracas, Venezuela. Reynaldo Riobueno/Shutterstock
  • The US Department of State issued a level-four travel warning for Venezuela on Tuesday, telling Americans not to travel to the chaos-stricken country.
  • The advisory said food, electricity, water, medical supplies, and other essentials are in short supply, while violent crime is “common.”
  • It also said Americans are being arbitrarily arrested.

The US Department of State issued a level-four travel warning for Venezuela on Tuesday to tell Americans “do not travel” to the chaos-stricken country, and that all Americans in the country should leave. It’s the highest travel warning that the department issues.

The advisory pointed to “crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and arbitrary arrest and detention of US citizens.”

The announcement aligns with a top-level warning that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention issued in May. That warning said outbreaks of measles, malaria, diphtheria, and other infectious diseases are contributing to “an increasing humanitarian crisis affecting much of the country.”

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The Department of State noted on Tuesday that, throughout Venezuela, “there are shortages of food, water, electricity, medicine, and medical supplies.”

Political rallies and demonstrations occur with little notice, the warning said. And these rallies attract a strong police response with “tear gas, pepper spray, water cannons, and rubber bullets against participants and occasionally devolve into looting and vandalism.”

“Security forces have arbitrarily detained US citizens for long periods,” the warning said. “The US Department of State may not be notified of the detention of a US citizen, and consular access to detainees may be denied or severely delayed.”

After this warning was issued, American Airlines announced on Friday that they would suspend flights into Caracas and Maracaibo. “Our corporate security team has a collaborative partnership with all of our union leaders and we will continue to do so to evaluate the situation in Venezuela,” the airline said in a statement.

Read more about the travel warning here.