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Venezuela Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Dec 23, 2002

This Travel Warning is being issued to alert U.S. citizens to severe shortages of goods and services, including acute fuel shortages, and the continuing deterioration of the political and security situation in Venezuela. The Department of State has ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel and all eligible family members of the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela. U.S. citizens are warned to defer all travel to Venezuela at this time and those already in Venezuela are urged to depart. This replaces the Travel Warning of December 10, 2002.

On December 20, 2002, the Department of State ordered the departure of non-emergency personnel and all eligible family members of the U.S. Embassy in Venezuela due to the severe shortages of fuel and food supplies and the deteriorating political and security situation. Opponents of President Chavez began a general strike on December 2. Resulting conflicts have led to some deaths and injuries, and there is a potential for further violence. Strikers in the oil sector have not heeded a Venezuelan court ruling that their strike is illegal and must end.

The strike has crippled the operations of PDVSA, the Venezuelan state oil company, and caused shortages and outages of gasoline and other fuels. Delivery of key goods and services has been dramatically affected both by the strike and related transportation difficulties. Fuel and basic food supplies are critically low, and ground transportation throughout the country is operating on a very limited basis. Local airline services have been suspended, and international flights have been scaled back.

U.S. Consular personnel remain available to provide emergency information and services to American citizens and will provide assistance to any Americans who need help departing the country. In the case of an emergency or for the latest security information, the U.S. Embassy can be reached at 58-212-975-6411.

For further information, please see the latest Consular Information Sheet for Venezuela and the latest Worldwide Caution that are available on the Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet home page at http://travel.state.gov.

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