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Venezuela Public Announcement

Issued by US Department of State

May 17, 2002

This Public Announcement supersedes the Travel Warning of April 16, 2002 and the Public Announcement of March 22, 2002 to reflect an improvement in Venezuela's political and security situation. It also reflects the termination of Authorized Departure status for the U. S. Embassy. This Public Announcement expires on August 15, 2002.

The Department of State cautions U.S. citizens in Venezuela to avoid demonstrations and to take appropriate precautions to protect themselves from common crime. Because of the continued threat of kidnapping near Venezuela's border with Colombia, the Department of State advises against travel to that region.

Following the April 11-14 attempt to remove President Chavez from power, the political situation remains fluid. In mid-April, clashes between pro- and anti-Chavez groups resulted in multiple deaths, injuries, and looting. There is an increasing trend of American citizens being singled out for threats or harassment. Demonstrations and blocked streets and roadways may take place at any time.

The international airport in Caracas is open, and airlines have resumed regularly scheduled flights. American citizens traveling from Venezuela should confirm their flight before leaving for the airport. Travelers should be aware that there are increasing incidents of robbery of arriving passengers within the airport terminal and in the airport parking area.

Colombian terrorist groups are openly targeting U.S. citizens in Venezuela's Amazonas State for kidnapping, specifically near the border with Colombia. The State Department recommends that United States citizens avoid travel to Amazonas State, and to any area within 50 miles along the Venezuelan border with Colombia until further notice.

The Embassy will continue to provide consular services to American citizens. However, from time to time, the Embassy may temporarily close or suspend public services as necessary to review its security posture. Emergency assistance to American citizens during non-business hours (or when public access is restricted) is available through Embassy duty personnel, who can be contacted by telephone at 011-58-212-975-6411.

For further information, please see the Department of State's current Consular Information Sheet for Venezuela, available at the Bureau of Consular Affairs' Internet web site: http://travel.state.gov. Current information regarding services at the U.S. Embassy is available on the Embassy's web site: www.embajadausa.org.ve.

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