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Venezuela Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

Jun 22, 2007

This Public Announcement is being issued to alert American citizens planning travel to Venezuela for the Copa America tournament (June 26 to July 19, 2007) to continuing serious security concerns and possible changes to official entry requirements during that period. This Public Announcement expires July 20, 2007.

U.S. citizens contemplating travel to Venezuela should carefully consider the risks to their safety and security. Violent crime, including express kidnappings, has increased in Venezuela, particularly in major cities and along the border with Colombia. In Caracas, violent crime has become an everyday occurrence.

In June, an American citizen was kidnapped in front of her Caracas apartment. Many Americans resident in Caracas, including many embassy employees, were victims of assault, armed robbery, theft, break-ins, or express kidnappings. The murder rate in Caracas is one of the highest in Latin America. Carjackings are frequent and often result in murder. Armed robberies occur in broad daylight throughout the city, including areas generally presumed safe and frequented by tourists. Americans planning to travel to Venezuela for Copa America should be aware of uncertainties in availability of tickets for the games, an issue which has sparked local protests. Political marches and demonstrations are frequent in Caracas. Americans are reminded that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn violent.

Notice has appeared in the "Official Gazette" that travelers entering Venezuela during the Copa America tournament should present proof of vaccination against yellow fever and German measles. The Ministry of Popular Power for Health recently clarified that the notice is a recommendation and not mandatory. Vaccination kiosks will be set up in international arrival terminals to provide vaccinations to travelers who do not present proof of immunization. The Ministry has not made a detailed announcement about vaccination requirements, but travelers should monitor their website at http://www.mpps.gob.ve/ms/index.php for further developments. Travelers also may direct inquiries to the Venezuelan Embassy at 1099 30th St. N.W., Washington D.C. 20007, tel: (202) 342-2214. The Embassy of Venezuelas web site is http://www.embavenez-us.org. Travelers also may contact the Venezuelan consulates in New York, Miami, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Houston, San Francisco, or San Juan for information.

The U.S. Government remains concerned about the heightened threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests abroad. Any large-scale public events like the Copa America, therefore, could be the focus of terrorist acts or other forms of violence. U.S. citizens planning to attend matches or participate in other large-scale public gatherings during the Copa are advised to use caution and stay alert to their surroundings at all times. Practicing personal safety measures can effectively reduce the risk of being a victim of violent crime or extortion.

In light of the circumstances, U.S. citizens are advised to consider the risks before traveling to Venezuela. American citizens already in Venezuela should monitor regularly the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov, where the current Consular Information Sheet for Venezuela, the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, and other travel information can be found. Up-to-date information on security also can be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States and Canada. Callers outside the United States and Canada may call a toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are answered from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

All Americans in Venezuela are urged to register either online at https://travelregistration.state.gov, or by phone or in person directly with the U.S. Embassy in Caracas. Registering gives U.S. citizens access to updated information on travel and security within Venezuela and makes it easier for the Embassy to contact citizens in case of emergency. Security updates are e-mailed to all registered Americans with an e-mail address.

The U.S. Embassy is located at Calle F con calle Suapure, Urb. Colinas de Valle Arriba. The 24-hour telephone number is (58) 212-975-6411. The U.S. Embassy website is http://caracas.usembassy.gov/. In the event of an after-hours emergency, please call the above number and ask to be transferred to the duty officer.

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