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Venezuela Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

Jan 11, 2006

This Public Announcement is being issued to inform U.S. Citizens traveling to and residing in Venezuela of the serious impact on travelers of the indefinite closure of the first bridge on the Caracas-La Guaira highway. The highway is the principal link between Caracas and Maiquetia Simon Bolivar International Airport (CCS), as well as between Caracas and the country's principal seaport, La Guaira. The Venezuelan Ministry of Infrastructure determined the bridge was unsafe as a result of recent rainfall and soil shifting and closed the bridge to all traffic. This Public Announcement expires on June 5, 2006.

Due to concerns regarding the safety and security of the alternative routes, including narrow, unlit mountain roads passing through isolated areas or crime-prone neighborhoods (as noted in the Consular Information Sheet), the Embassy has determined that Embassy employees and their dependents must restrict their time on the roads to daylight hours in official vehicles. Excessive delays are expected between Caracas and the Maiquetia Simon Bolivar International Airport.

It is possible that some flights will be rerouted and/or rescheduled. The most likely destination for rerouted flights is Arturo Michelalena International Airport in Valencia, approximately 75 miles west of Caracas. Travelers to Caracas are therefore advised to contact their airline or flight operator for an updated schedule of flights and airports and allow considerable extra time for travel to the airport.

Travelers in overnight transit via Maiquetia Simon Bolivar International Airport are advised to remain in hotels located near the airport and avoid traveling to Caracas if possible. American citizens are urged to remain abreast of this situation and to develop personal contingency plans as appropriate. In addition to local media, American citizens may consult the Embassys web page for current situational guidance. The Embassys web page can be found at http://venezuela.usembassy.gov. As additional information becomes available the Embassy will disseminate it via the warden registration system. American citizens traveling or residing overseas are encouraged to register with the appropriate U.S. Embassy or Consulate on the State Departments travel registration website at https://travelregistration.state.gov.

Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States, or, for callers outside the United States and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. The U.S. Embassy in Caracas can be reached at (58) 212-975-6411.

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