WorldAware is monitoring the security situation in Venezuela. Below are the alerts that have been released regarding civil or political instability in the nation.

Navigate to each of the alert updates below:

April 4 | Warning Alert: Anti-Maduro groups to protest across Venezuela, April 6. Expect heightened security, transport disruptions. Credible threat of violence.

March 29 | Warning Alert: Anti-Maduro groups plan to protest in Caracas and other cities in Venezuela, March 30. Expect heightened security, transport disruptions.

March 23 | Warning Alert: Opposition leader plans large protest in Barcelona, Anzoategui State, Venezuela, from 0900 March 23. Disruptions likely, clashes possible.

March 19 | Warning Alert: Opposition group planning protests in Caracas, Venezuela, March 19. Expect heightened security; clashes possible.

March 15 | Warning Alert: Opposition activists to protest throughout Venezuela, March 16. Disruptions likely; violence possible, especially in major cities.

March 14 | Local authorities detain dual-national journalist in Caracas, Venezuela, March 11. Threat of wrongful arrest and detention remains high.

March 11 | Warning Alert: Opposition protests planned throughout Venezuela, March 12. Disruptions likely; violence possible, especially in major cities.

March 7 | Informational Alert: Local authorities detain US journalist in Caracas, Venezuela, March 5. Threat of wrongful arrest and detention remains high. 

March 3 | Warning Alert: Opposition protests planned throughout Venezuela March 4-5. Likely disruptions, possible violence, especially in major cities.

February 28 | Warning Alert: Opposition supporters plan to rally outside the Diario El Nacional headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela, March 1. Expect heightened security.

February 27 | Warning Alert: Pro-government march planned in Caracas, Venezuela, from 0900 Feb. 27.

February 23 | Warning Alert: Significant protests likely throughout Venezuela beginning Feb. 23, especially in major cities and border areas; violence possible.

February 22 | Warning Alert: Air France to suspend all flights to Caracas' Simon Bolivar Airport (CCS) in Venezuela Feb. 23-25 over security concerns. 

February 21 | Warning Alert: Venezuela to close its border with Brazil as of 2000 Feb. 21. 

February 20 | Warning Alert: Transport workers to rally outside the Ministry of Ground Transport in Caracas, Venezuela, from 0900 Feb. 20. 

February 20 | Warning Alert: Venezuela closes its maritime border with Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, Feb. 19. 

February 19 | Warning Alert: Opposition protests planned throughout Venezuela Feb. 23.

January 28 | Warning Alert: Opposition protests likely to continue nationwide in Venezuela, through Feb. Protests planned Jan. 30, Feb. 2.

January 24 | Warning Alert: Political instability in Venezuela likely to prompt violent protests through late January.

January 23 | Warning Alert: Rival political groups to demonstrate in multiple locations across Venezuela, Jan. 23.

January 22 | Warning Alert: Violent protests continue across multiple parts of Caracas, Venezuela, early Jan. 22, in support of earlier National Guard mutiny.


April 4: Anti-Maduro groups to protest across Venezuela, April 6. Expect heightened security, transport disruptions. Credible threat of violence.
 

This alert began 04 Apr 2019 12:10 GMT and is scheduled to expire 07 Apr 2019 02:00 GMT.

  • Event: Protests
  • Location: Nationwide, especially Caracas 
  • Date: April 6
  • Impact: Heightened security, business, and transport disruptions; possible clashes

 

Summary

President of the National Assembly (AN) Juan Guaido has called for nationwide protests across Venezuela, April 6. The protests are the latest to be held against the administration of Nicolas Maduro and its handling of the electricity crisis in the country. Organizers have not announced details, but the largest rallies will likely take place in major cities such as Barquisimeto, Maracaibo, Maracay, Puerto Ordaz, San Cristobal, Valencia, and especially the capital, Caracas.

The protests will likely be well attended, with gatherings in Caracas potentially drawing thousands of participants, some of whom could build roadblocks. Avenida Francisco de Miranda is a common protest location in the capital; however, protesters could also march along avenidas Libertador or Urdaneta. Public services may be disrupted.

There is a high threat of clashes between demonstrators and members of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB), the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), and other security forces at any protests that materialize. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations. Supporters of Maduro's administration could stage counterprotests. During an outbreak of spontaneous protests in Caracas, March 31 over power outages, a group of suspected pro-Maduro colectivos fired live ammunition at protesters on Avenida Fuerzas Armadas; however, no major casualties were reported, and the action was likely a form of intimidation. Similar tactics are possible at upcoming protests.

 

Background and Analysis

Critics of the Maduro administration have held numerous rallies since the beginning of 2019 when the AN declared Maduro's presidency illegitimate and made Guaido interim president. Maduro and his allies maintain control of all Venezuela's territory, the armed forces, and the courts, but more than 60 countries have recognized Guaido as interim president. Organized protests are likely to continue over the coming weeks as part of Guaido's strategy to force Maduro out of office. Any attempts at arresting Guaido could also trigger an escalation in protests; the threat of such an arrest has increased since the pro-Maduro National Constituent Assembly (ANC) voted to strip Guaido of immunity, April 2.

Spontaneous protests triggered by prolonged power outages and associated water supply disruptions are highly likely. On March 31, Maduro announced a 30-day electricity rationing plan to address the electricity crisis. The plan would include reducing the working day until 1400 and maintaining the suspension of school activity; however, further details on any timing and location schedules have not been disclosed.

 

Advice

Exercise extreme caution if operating in Venezuela. Avoid all protests. Do not attempt to cross roadblocks due to the threat of violence. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and take shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Seek updated information on road and destination security conditions in Caracas and other major cities before attempting travel in the coming days. Maintain contact with diplomatic missions.
 


March 29: Anti-Maduro groups plan to protest in Caracas and other cities in Venezuela, March 30. Expect heightened security, transport disruptions.
 


This alert began 29 Mar 2019 21:20 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Mar 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Protests
  • Location: Nationwide, especially Caracas 
  • Date: March 30
  • Impact: Heightened security, business and transport disruptions; possible clashes

 

Summary

Supporters of National Assembly President Juan Guaido plan to hold protests in Caracas and other cities in Venezuela, March 30. Guaido's supporters are demanding the removal of Nicolas Maduro's administration. Organizers have not announced details, but demonstrators are likely to rally on Avenida Francisco de Miranda in Caracas, as well as along major roads and in central squares in other cities, including Maracaibo, Barquisimeto, San Cristobal, and Puerto Ordaz.

The protests will likely be well attended, with gatherings in Caracas potentially drawing thousands of participants, some of whom could build roadblocks. There is a high threat of clashes between demonstrators and members of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB), the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), and other security forces at any protests that materialize. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations.

 

Background and Analysis

Critics of the Maduro administration have held numerous rallies since the beginning of 2019, when the National Assembly declared Maduro's presidency illegitimate and made Guaido interim president. Maduro and his allies maintain control of all Venezuela's territory, the armed forces, and the courts, but more than 60 countries have recognized Guaido as interim president. Protests accompanied by calls for early elections are likely to continue in the coming weeks as part of Guaido's strategy to force Maduro out of office. 

 

Advice

Exercise extreme caution if operating in Venezuela. Avoid all protests. Do not attempt to cross roadblocks due to the threat of violence. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and take shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Seek updated information on road and destination security conditions in Caracas and other major cities before attempting travel in the coming days. Maintain contact with diplomatic missions.
 


March 23: Opposition leader plans large protest in Barcelona, Anzoategui State, Venezuela, from 0900 March 23. Disruptions likely, clashes possible.

The locations affected by this alert are: 

  • Caracas
  • Carupano

This alert began 23 Mar 2019 10:40 GMT and is scheduled to expire 23 Mar 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Anti-government protest
  • Location: Avenida Intercomunal, Barcelona 
  • Start Time/Date: 0900 March 23
  • Impact: Heightened security, localized transport disruptions; possible clashes

 

Summary

Opposition leader and President of the National Assembly (AN) Juan Guaido has called for a protest in the port city of Barcelona, the state capital of Anzoategui, March 23, as part of his nationwide campaign against the Maduro administration. Participants plan to rally on Avenida Intercomunal, in the vicinity of the Restaurante El Rio, from 0900. Thousands of people are likely to attend the event. 

Authorities will almost certainly deploy heavy security near the protest sites. Clashes are possible. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations. Traffic disruptions are highly likely in the vicinity of the protest. Demonstrators could also block roads between Barcelona and Puerto La Cruz, which is located approximately 10 km (6.2 miles) from the state capital.

 

Advice

Avoid all protests. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Allow additional travel time if you plan to use ground transport in Barcelona or between Barcelona and Puerto La Cruz March 23.


March 19: Opposition group planning protests in Caracas, Venezuela, March 19. Expect heightened security; clashes possible.
 

This alert began 19 Mar 2019 09:41 GMT and is scheduled to expire 19 Mar 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Anti-government protests
  • Location: Caracas 
  • Date: March 19
  • Impact: Heightened security; localized transport disruptions; possible clashes

 

Summary

Supporters of the opposition group Broad Front for a Free Venezuela (Frente Amplio Venezuela Libre, FAVL) and public sector workers plan to stage at least two demonstrations in Caracas, March 19. Participants have organized the demonstrations to demand the legislature approve labor-related laws to protect public sector workers, as well as to show their general disapproval of the government, especially about the recent prolonged blackout in the country. The following protest locations have been announced:

  • 0900: March from Plaza Morelos to the National Assembly building
  • 1500: Protest outside the UN Development Program (PNUD) offices

Authorities will almost certainly deploy heavy security near the protest sites. Clashes are possible. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations. Traffic disruptions are highly likely.

 

Advice

Avoid all protests. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Allow additional travel time if you plan to use ground transport in Caracas March 19.
 


March 15: Opposition activists to protest throughout Venezuela, March 16. Disruptions likely; violence possible, especially in major cities.
 

This alert began 15 Mar 2019 16:06 GMT and is scheduled to expire 16 Mar 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Protests
  • Location: Nationwide
  • Date: March 16
  • Impact: Heightened security, business and transport disruptions; possible clashes

 

Summary

Opposition leader and President of the National Assembly (AN) Juan Guaido has called for nationwide protests March 16. The protests are to demand the end of the administration of President Nicolas Maduro. Organizers have not publicized the specific times and locations of the protests, but the largest rallies will likely take place in major cities such as Barquisimeto, Caracas, Maracaibo, Puerto Ordaz, San Cristobal, and Valencia.

The protests will likely be well attended, with gatherings in Caracas potentially drawing thousands of participants. Protesters could build roadblocks and hold rallies along major roads and outside government offices. In Caracas, protesters could march along avenidas Bolivar, Francisco de Miranda, Las Americas, Libertador, Urdaneta, or Victoria. Public services may be disrupted. Supporters of Nicolas Maduro's administration could stage counterprotests.

There is a high threat of clashes between demonstrators and members of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB), the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), and other security forces at any protests that materialize. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations. Anti-government protesters may also throw crude incendiary devices or rocks at security personnel. Sporadic looting was reported during the previous protests March 12, especially in Caracas and Maracaibo; similar incidents could occur during the upcoming demonstrations.

 

Background and Analysis

The upcoming demonstrations are the latest to be called by Guaido since he declared himself interim president Jan. 23. The most recent protests were held March 12 in response to the nationwide power outage that began March 7. Also on March 12, Venezuelan authorities announced they would investigate Guaido for his alleged role in the suspected sabotage of the national power grid; Guaido has denied the allegations. Although the power supply is stabilizing, local sources indicate that additional major power outages could increase in frequency throughout the country in the coming weeks and months due to the lack of government resources to repair energy infrastructure.

In response to the ongoing crisis, on March 12, the US Embassy in Caracas updated its travel advisory for Venezuela to "Do Not Travel" - the highest level - due to threats from crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, and the arbitrary arrest and detention of US citizens. 

 

Advice

Exercise extreme caution if operating in Venezuela. Avoid all protests. Do not attempt to cross any roadblocks due to the threat of violence. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Seek updated information on road and destination security conditions in Caracas and other major cities before attempting to travel in the coming days. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.


March 14: Local authorities detain dual-national journalist in Caracas, Venezuela, March 11. Threat of wrongful arrest and detention remains high.


This alert began 14 Mar 2019 12:53 GMT and is scheduled to expire 17 Mar 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Journalist detained
  • Location: Caracas 
  • Date: March 11

 

Summary

Bolivarian Intelligence Agency (SEBIN) personnel detained prominent journalist and human rights advocate, Luis Carlos Diaz, in Caracas, March 11. Authorities arrested the victim, a dual Spanish-Venezuelan national, at his home and confiscated his electronic equipment, allegedly on account of his suspected involvement in the recent nationwide power outages. Authorities released a video accusing Diaz of being a "fascist influencer" after footage from the victim's internet show, which may have been edited, depicted Diaz advising viewers to document the current power crisis electronically in the event of an information blackout.

Following international condemnation and intervention from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), authorities released the victim March 12, after charging him with public incitement. As per the terms of his release, Diaz has been prohibited from leaving the country and must appear in court weekly.

 

Background and Analysis

Security forces such as SEBIN and the Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) continue to use arbitrary detentions to intimidate and repress those perceived to be in opposition to the government, including political dissidents, individuals expressing discontent, or those deemed to be inciting public mobilization. Citizens and foreigners arbitrarily detained are routinely denied legal recourse, subject to judicial delays, held for indefinite periods, interrogated, and denied basic human rights and medical care. Many face lengthy criminal or in some cases military trials, and those provisionally released are subject to severe restrictions. Western nationals, especially US citizens, face a particularly high threat; this is due to their perceived ability to draw international attention to the government's agenda and their potential value as political bargaining chips. This may translate into a protracted detainment period, which can be problematic should the victim not have access to diplomatic or consular support. Freelance journalists usually operate without the financial and logistical support of a large organisation and tend to have fewer risk mitigation strategies in place, all of which makes them vulnerable targets.
 


March 11: Opposition protests planned throughout Venezuela, March 12. Disruptions likely; violence possible, especially in major cities.
 

This alert began 11 Mar 2019 22:42 GMT and is scheduled to expire 13 Mar 2019 08:00 GMT.

  • Event: Opposing protests
  • Location: Nationwide 
  • Start Time/Date: 1500 March 12
  • Impact: Heightened security; business and transport disruptions; possible clashes

 

Summary

Opposition leader and National Assembly (AN) President Juan Guaido has called for nationwide protests starting at 1500 March 12. The action is in response to the nationwide power outage that began March 7 and continues to affect large swathes of Venezuela. Details on the specific times and locations of the protests have not been publicized; however, the largest rallies will likely take place in major cities such as Barquisimeto, Caracas, Maracaibo, Puerto Ordaz, San Cristobal, and Valencia.

The protests will likely be well attended, with gatherings in Caracas potentially drawing thousands of participants. Protesters could build roadblocks and hold rallies along major roads and outside government offices. Public services may be disrupted. Supporters of Nicolas Maduro's administration could stage counterprotests.

There is a high threat of clashes between demonstrators and members of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB), the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), and other security forces at any protests that materialize in Venezuela. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations. Anti-government protesters may also throw crude incendiary devices or rocks at security personnel. Deadly violence by security forces is possible and could further escalate the civil unrest. 

 

Background and Analysis

Guaido asked the opposition-dominated National Assembly to issue a "state of alarm" in the country from March 11 due to the power outage. The declaration asks that further international aid be brought into the country to tackle the effects of the blackout. Authorities did not state when they expect to restore power to the whole country. Due to the outage, the Maduro administration suspended nationwide work and student activities for a further 24 hours the evening of March 11. Some reports indicate major power outages could become regular occurrences throughout the country in the coming weeks, given the lack of government resources to repair major energy infrastructure.

 

Advice

If operating in Venezuela, exercise extreme caution. Avoid all protests. Do not attempt to cross any roadblocks due to the threat of violence. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Seek updated information on road and destination security conditions in Caracas and other major cities before attempting to travel over the coming days. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.


March 7: Local authorities detain US journalist in Caracas, Venezuela, March 5. Threat of wrongful arrest and detention remains high. 

This alert affects Caracas

This alert began 07 Mar 2019 13:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 10 Mar 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: US journalist detained
  • Location: Caracas, Venezuela 
  • Date: March 5

Summary

Members of the Directorate General of Military Counterintelligence (DGCIM) reportedly detained a US journalist in Caracas, Venezuela, late March 5. Authorities arrested the victim, a long term resident and freelance journalist, at his home before seizing all electronic equipment and identity documents in his possession. Authorities released the detainee approximately 12 hours later, following the intervention of the US State Department. The victim, alleged to have been detained for reporting news related to opposition leader and National Assembly (AN) President Juan Guaido, returned to the US, March 6.

 

Background and Analysis

Wrongful arrest and detention, a long-established concern, poses a high threat to locals and foreigners in Venezuela. The ongoing political crisis has exacerbated the threat. Political dissidents, aid workers, activists, foreign nationals, and journalists have been detained regularly. Western nationals, especially US citizens, face a particularly high threat, due to their perceived ability to draw international attention to the government's agenda and their potential value as political bargaining chips. Although this may reduce the probability of kidnappers harming hostages, it may conversely translate into a protracted detainment period, which can be problematic should the victim not have access to diplomatic or consular support. At least five US citizens, employed by the US-based, Venezuela-owned oil company, Citago, remain in custody after being arrested and detained without legal or political recourse late November 2017. In addition, freelance journalists usually operate without the financial and logistical support of a large organization and tend to have fewer risk-mitigation strategies in place, all of which makes them vulnerable targets.


March 3: Opposition protests planned throughout Venezuela March 4-5. Likely disruptions, possible violence, especially in major cities.

This alert affects Venezuela

This alert began 03 Mar 2019 10:40 GMT and is scheduled to expire 06 Mar 2019 04:00 GMT.

  • Event: Protests
  • Location: Nationwide 
  • Dates: March 4-5
  • Impact: Heightened security, business and transport disruptions; possible clashes

 

Summary

Opposition leader and National Assembly (AN) President Juan Guaido has called for nationwide protests March 4-5 coinciding with his return to the country. The government banned Guaido from leaving the country in late January, after the AN rejected the presidency of Nicolas Maduro and Guaido declared himself interim president. Details on the specific times and locations of the protests have not been publicized; however, the largest rallies are likely to take place in major cities such as Barquisimeto, Caracas, Maracaibo, Puerto Ordaz, San Cristobal, and Valencia.

The protests are likely to be well attended, with the possibility of protests in the capital, Caracas, numbering in the high thousands. Protesters could build roadblocks and hold rallies along major roads and outside government offices. Public services may be disrupted. Counterprotests by Maduro supporters are possible. It is still unclear exactly how and when Guaido will attempt to enter the country; however, security is likely to be significantly tightened at Simon Bolivar International Airport (CCS), which serves Caracas, over the coming days.

There is a high threat of clashes with members of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB), the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), and other security forces at any protests that materialize in Venezuela. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations. Anti-government protesters may also throw crude incendiary devices or rocks at security personnel. Deadly violence by security forces is possible and could further escalate the civil unrest. 

 

Background and Analysis

Guaido faces being arrested when he returns to Venezuela, for defying his court order. Despite the travel ban, Guaido traveled to Cucuta, Colombia, to oversee the highly publicized humanitarian aid delivery effort, Feb. 23, which resulted in the defection of a reported 326 soldiers. Despite the opposition's efforts, the military continues to remain mostly loyal to Maduro. Guaido subsequently met with various foreign government representatives and heads of state in Colombia, Brazil, and Paraguay to discuss the political crisis in Venezuela. The potential arrest of Guaido - whose leadership is backed by several foreign governments, including the US, Canada, most of Latin America, and several EU countries - could result in significant backlash against the Maduro administration and would likely escalate opposition protests over the coming days and weeks. 

 

Advice

If operating in Venezuela, exercise extreme caution. Avoid all protests. Do not attempt to cross any roadblocks due to the threat of violence. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Seek updated information on road and destination security conditions in Caracas and other major cities before attempting to travel over the coming days. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.


February 28: Opposition supporters plan to rally outside the Diario El Nacional headquarters in Caracas, Venezuela, March 1. Expect heightened security.
 

This alert began 28 Feb 2019 10:35 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Mar 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Opposition rally 
  • Location: Diario El Nacional, Caracas (map)
  • Start Time/Date: 0900 March 1
  • Impact: Heightened security, localized transport disruptions; possible clashes

 

Summary

Supporters of National Assembly (AN) president and self-declared interim president, Juan Guaido, are planning to rally outside the headquarters of Diaro El Nacional in Los Cortijos, Caracas, from 0900 March 1. The purpose of the rally is to welcome Guaido, whom the government banned from leaving Venezuela, back into the country. Guido has also called on his supporters to stage a nationwide mobilization on the day he returns; however, it is not yet known how or when he will attempt to enter the country.

Authorities will almost certainly deploy heavy security near the protest. As with all anti-government protests in Venezuela, clashes are possible. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations. Counterdemonstrations by supporters of de facto President Nicolas Maduro and the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, PSUV) are possible, potentially bringing opposing groups into proximity and increasing the possibility of localized clashes. Traffic disruptions are highly likely near the protest site.

 

Background and Analysis

The Supreme Court froze Guaido's assets and barred him from leaving the country in late January, after he declared himself interim president of Venezuela, Jan. 23, and the AN declared Maduro's presidency illegitimate. Several foreign governments, including the US, Canada, most of Latin America, and several EU countries, have backed Guaido. Despite the travel ban, Guido traveled to Cucuta, Colombia, to oversee the highly publicized humanitarian aid delivery effort, Feb. 23, which resulted in the use of deadly violence by Venezuela's military. Guido remained in Colombia to attend a meeting with the Lima Group and the US in Bogota Feb. 25, and he is expected to meet with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in Brasilia Feb. 28. Details on Guido's plans to return to Caracas are not likely to be publicized given the threat of arrest for defying his court order. Guaido's potential arrest could result in significant backlash against the Maduro administration.

 

Advice

Avoid all protests. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Allow additional travel time if you plan to use ground transport near the protest location, March 1. 
 


February 27:Pro-government march planned in Caracas, Venezuela, from 0900 Feb. 27. Counterprotests possible. Expect increased security and disruptions.

This alert began 27 Feb 2019 10:25 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Feb 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Pro-government rally
  • Location: Caracas 
  • Start Time/Date: 0900 Feb. 27
  • Impact: Heightened security, localized transport disruptions; possible clashes

 

Summary

Click image to enlarge Google Map.

Supporters of President Nicolas Maduro and the ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela, PSUV) plan to stage a march in Caracas, Feb. 27, to call for peace in the country. The march will also commemorate the 30th anniversary of the start of the Caracazo uprising. The march is scheduled to begin at Generalisimo Francisco de Miranda Park at 0900 and end at Redoma Petare. The exact march route is unclear; however, PSUV supporters plan to march via Los Dos Caminos, Los Ruices, Los Cortijos, La California, and El Marques.

The pro-government rally will almost certainly be accompanied by an increased security force presence. Counterdemonstrations by anti-government activists and opposition supporters are possible. Security services may use force if opposition groups attempt to disrupt the march, and will not hesitate to use tear gas, rubber bullets, and occasionally lethal force against protesters. Clashes between rival groups are also possible if opposing groups gather in proximity to one another. Expect transport disruptions in the affected area.

 

Background and Analysis

The rally takes place in the aftermath of the clashes that erupted at Venezuela's border with Colombia, Feb. 23, during which at least five people were reportedly killed and nearly 300 others wounded, as protesters attempted to deliver international food and medical aid into the country. The aid delivery effort was led by opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido, whose leadership has been backed by more than 50 countries, including the US. Political tensions were further heightened following the Feb. 23 incidents. Anti-government protests are likely to persist throughout the country and will continue to carry a high threat of violence.

 

Advice

Avoid all protests. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Allow additional travel time if planning to use ground transport in Caracas, Feb. 27.
 


February 23: Significant protests likely throughout Venezuela beginning Feb. 23, especially in major cities and border areas; violence possible.

This alert began 23 Feb 2019 01:58 GMT and is scheduled to expire 08 Mar 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Protests and clashes
  • Location: Nationwide 
  • Time frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business and transport disruptions, heightened security, violent clashes

 

Summary

Click image to enlarge Google Map.

Significant civil unrest and political instability are likely to cause major business and transport disruptions throughout Venezuela until at least mid-March. Unrest is likely to manifest itself in large protests, particularly in major cities such as Barquisimeto, Caracas, Maracaibo, Puerto Ordaz, and Valencia, as well as in border areas, especially Urena and San Cristobal near Colombia. The protests are likely to be well attended, with the possibility of protests in the capital, Caracas, numbering in the tens of thousands.
 

Protests

Protests and clashes at Venezuela's international borders are likely to intensify Feb. 23, the date which Juan Guido, National Assembly leader and self-declared interim president of Venezuela, has asked for the delivery of international food and medical aid into the country. Activists are likely to mark the day with street demonstrations; organizers have yet to announce specific details on the protests.

Protesters could build roadblocks and hold rallies along major roads and outside government offices. Demonstrations could disrupt public services. Counter-protests by supporters of President Nicolas Maduro are possible. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations. Anti-government protesters may also throw crude incendiary devices or rocks at security personnel.

 

Entry/Exit

The Maduro administration has vowed to prevent aid from entering Venezuela and has deployed the military to the borders with Colombia and Brazil to turn back all vehicles transporting it. Security forces have blocked ports of entry, notably by parking vehicles and shipping containers on Tienditas Bridge, which connects Urena with Cucuta, Colombia, the main logistical hub for the distribution of aid. Soldiers have also harassed truck drivers and commandeered vehicles to prevent Venezuelans from crossing the border and retrieving supplies. With the scheduled arrival of Colombian and Brazilian aid trucks Feb. 23, the military will likely deploy tear gas to enforce the border closures. Security forces may also use live ammunition, which poses a significant risk of deadly clashes; such violence could trigger larger protests across the country.

Additionally, Maduro has closed the borders with Aruba, Bonaire, Brazil, and Curacao; reports suggest he may also close the border with Colombia. In Santa Elena de Uairen, located near the sole port of entry with Brazil, members of a local indigenous group protested the border closure, Feb. 22, and attempted to block the passage of a military reinforcement convoy. Soldiers responded by opening fire on the protesters, killing at least two people and injuring 14 others. The incident sparked further protests and clashes near Santa Elena de Uairen Airport (SNV).

 

Background and Analysis

Feb. 23 marks one month since Guaido announced that he would assume the power of the presidency based on a constitutional article that mandates that the National Assembly leader serves as the country's president in certain circumstances in which the position is otherwise vacant. Several Latin American and European countries, as well as the US and Canada, recognize Guaido as the interim president, but Maduro refuses to relinquish power.

By calling for the delivery of aid to Venezuela, Guaido intends to increase pressure on the military. If the military continues to remain loyal to Maduro, it runs the risk of being blamed for preventing essential goods from reaching civilians. If it allows the aid to arrive, it will undermine Maduro's command of the armed forces. Maduro remains fiercely opposed to foreign aid and insists that it would be a precursor for foreign military intervention. The heightened political instability is likely to continue to translate into an elevated civil unrest threat.

Guaido has not indicated the opposition's plans after the US-backed aid operation. The successful delivery of the aid could encourage defections in Venezuela's military, thereby weakening Maduro's position. Maduro continues to enjoy the support of high-ranking military personnel, and Guaido's efforts are more likely to appeal to lower-ranking military personnel increasingly frustrated by the economic crisis. The opposition will likely continue to use mass protests pressure Maduro. However, if the opposition are unsuccessful in ousting the Maduro regime, the anti-government protests will probably lose momentum over the coming weeks, as they have in the past.

 

Advice

If operating in Venezuela, exercise extreme caution. Avoid all protests. Do not attempt to cross any roadblocks due to the threat of violence. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Seek updated information on border crossings and road and destination security conditions before attempting to travel within Venezuela or between Colombia and Venezuela over the coming days. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.


February 22: Air France to suspend all flights to Caracas' Simon Bolivar Airport (CCS) in Venezuela Feb. 23-25 over security concerns. Confirm flights.


This alert began 22 Feb 2019 10:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 25 Feb 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Air France flight suspension
  • Location: Simon Bolivar International Airport, Caracas 
  • Time Frame: Feb. 23-25
  • Impact: Flight service disruptions, increased demand for alternative airlines

 

Summary

Air France (AF) authorities have suspended flights to and from Caracas' Simon Bolivar International Airport (CCS) Feb. 23-25 due to security reasons. Further details have not been provided; however, the suspension is likely linked to controversial humanitarian aid deliveries. Furthermore, as of Feb. 22 the Venezuelan government maintains the closure of its the airspace to general and private aviation. The length of the closure, which does not impact commercial airliners, is unknown.

The Air France decision could lead other international carriers to suspend flights to and from Caracas, at short notice. Some of the remaining airlines that maintain scheduled flights to Venezuela include American Airlines (AA), Iberia (IB), TAP Air Portugal (TP), and Turkish Airlines (TK), among others.

 

Background and Analysis

The flight suspensions will coincide with the arrival of caravans of humanitarian aid scheduled to be delivered to Venezuela from Brazil and Colombia Feb. 23. In addition to the airspace closures, the Venezuelan government has also closed its border with Brazil as well as its maritime border with Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao for an indefinite period in response to the aid deliveries. Maduro is also reportedly considering closing his country's border with Colombia. 

 

Advice

Confirm flights at CCS Feb. 23-25. Do not check out of accommodation until onward travel is confirmed. If booking alternative flights is necessary, do so as soon as possible, as such flights are likely to sell out quickly.
 


 February 21: Venezuela to close its border with Brazil as of 2000 Feb. 21. Expect freight and travel disruptions.

 

This alert began 21 Feb 2019 22:59 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Feb 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Border closure

  • Locations: Venezuelan border with Brazil 

  • Time Frame: Indefinite starting Feb. 21

  • Impact: Transport and commercial disruptions

 

Summary

The administration of President Nicolas Maduro has reportedly ordered an indefinite closure of Venezuela's border with Brazil, effective 2000 Feb. 21. Maduro is also considering closing his country's border with Colombia.

The real extent of any economic impact from the closure remains to be seen. Venezuelan authorities will almost certainly increase security patrols near the single official land crossing between the two countries, located between the Brazilian municipality of Pacaraima and the Venezuelan city of Santa Elena de Uairen. It remains unclear what effect the measure may have on air traffic; however, private or commercial aircraft that violate the border could be subject to forced landing.

 

Background and Analysis

The move by the Maduro administration comes two days before caravans of humanitarian aid are scheduled to be delivered to Venezuela from Brazil and Colombia. Venezuela also closed its maritime border with Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao indefinitely as of Feb. 19. Maduro has asserted that the decision to close the border with Brazil was due to the Brazilian government's support of Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.

 

Advice

Reconfirm all passenger travel and cargo deliveries between Venezuela and Brazil. Plan accordingly for travel and freight delays, as air and road traffic will likely be routed through third-party countries.

 


February 20: Transport workers to rally outside the Ministry of Ground Transport in Caracas, Venezuela, from 0900 Feb. 20. Transport disruptions likely.

This alert began 20 Feb 2019 09:31 GMT and is scheduled to expire 20 Feb 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Transport worker protest

  • Location: Ministry of Ground Transport, Caracas 

  • Start Time/Date: 0900 Feb. 20

  • Impact: Heightened security, localized transport disruptions; possible clashes

 

Summary

Transport sector workers plan to rally outside the Ministry of Ground Transport (Ministerio del Poder Popular para Transporte Terrestre, MPPTT), on Avenida Francisco de Miranda in Caracas, from 0900 Feb. 20. The purpose of the rally is to show support for opposition leader and self-declared interim president, Juan Guido, and to urge the military to allow the passage of aid into the country during a major opposition-led operation planned Feb. 23. Thousands of people are likely to attend the protest.

Authorities will almost certainly deploy heavy security near the protest. As with all anti-government protests in Venezuela, clashes are possible. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations. Traffic disruptions are highly likely, especially on Avenida Francisco de Miranda. Demonstrators could also march from the MPPTT building on other roads, including Avenida Libertador. Disruptions to public transport, especially bus services, are possible during the protest period.

 

Advice

Avoid all protests. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Allow additional travel time if you plan to use ground transport, particularly around downtown Caracas, Feb. 20. Reconfirm public transport services.


February 20: Venezuela closes its maritime border with Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao, Feb. 19. Air, sea transport restricted indefinitely.

 

This alert began 20 Feb 2019 20:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 25 Feb 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Maritime border closure

  • Locations: Venezuelan border with Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao 

  • Time Frame: Indefinite

  • Impact: Transport and commercial disruptions

 

Summary

Venezuela closed its maritime border with Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao indefinitely as of 1200 Feb. 19, restricting both air and sea transport between the South American nation and the three Caribbean islands.

While the real extent of any economic impact the closure may have remains to be seen, direct passenger and cargo flights connecting Venezuela to Aruba, Bonaire, or Curacao will likely be canceled, with carriers probably being forced to reroute service through third countries. Venezuelan authorities will almost certainly increase maritime security patrols along the affected border; private or commercial vessels that violate the border could be subject to boarding and seizure.

 

Background and Analysis

The announcement comes as Curacao is being used as a logistics hub for US efforts to bring humanitarian aid to Venezuela. The administration of Nicolas Maduro has refused the aid and vowed to prevent its entrance into Venezuela, while National Assembly Leader Juan Guaido, who also claims to be the nation's legitimate interim president, has asked that the aid be sent via Colombia and Curacao. The closure of the border is, therefore, likely a retaliatory measure designed to pressure the islands into halting their cooperation with the US and Guaido.

Because much of Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao's fruits and vegetables come from Venezuela, a prolonged border closure could cause an increase in produce prices. As a result, the closure may eventually prompt protests at the Venezuelan consulates on the three islands, as well as the US consulate in Curacao. Any such protests would likely be small and peaceful, but clashes between demonstrators and security forces cannot be ruled out.

 

Advice

Reconfirm all air and maritime passenger travel and cargo shipments between Venezuela and Aruba, Bonaire, or Curacao. Plan accordingly for travel and freight delays as air and maritime traffic will likely be routed through third-party countries. As a standard security precaution, avoid any demonstrations that materialize.

 


February 19: Opposition protests planned throughout Venezuela Feb. 23. Likely disruptions, possible violence especially in major cities and border areas.

This alert affects Venezuela

This alert began 19 Feb 2019 12:20 GMT and is scheduled to expire 23 Feb 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Protests

  • Location: Nationwide 

  • Date: Feb. 23

  • Impact: Heightened security, business and transport disruptions; possible clashes

 

Summary

Venezuelan opposition leader and self-proclaimed interim president Juan Guaido has called for nationwide protests Feb. 23, coinciding with his plans to have a major shipment of humanitarian aid brought into Venezuela from the main collection point in Cucuta, Colombia, as well from other land and sea entry points, including in Roraima State, Brazil. Details on the exact times and locations of the protests have not been disclosed; however, the largest rallies are likely to take place in major cities such as Barquisimeto, Caracas, Maracaibo, Puerto Ordaz, and Valencia, as well as in border areas, especially Urena and San Cristobal near Cucuta.

The protests are likely to be well attended, with the possibility of protests in the capital, Caracas, numbering in the tens of thousands. Protesters could build roadblocks and hold rallies along major roads and outside government offices. Public services may be disrupted. Counterprotests by supporters of President Nicolas Maduro are possible.

There is a high threat of clashes with members of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB), the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), and other security forces at any protests that materialize in Venezuela. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations. Anti-government protesters may also throw crude incendiary devices or rocks at security personnel. Deadly violence by security forces is possible and could further escalate the civil unrest.

Venezuelan authorities have increased security at the Tienditas Bridge, which connects Cucuta with Urena, as part of the government's efforts to prevent the aid from entering the country. Both Colombian and US officials have stated that they will not make use of military force to get the aid supplies into Venezuela Feb. 23; however, violence by National Bolivarian Armed Forces of Venezuela (FANB) guards at the borders is possible.

 

Background and Analysis

Feb. 23 marks one month since Guaido rejected the legitimacy of Maduro's presidency and declared himself interim president. By attempting to deliver aid into the country, Guaido intends to place increased pressure on both the military and Maduro, with the military caught between remaining loyal to Maduro's actions and potentially being blamed for preventing essential goods from reaching civilians. Maduro remains fiercely opposed to allowing humanitarian aid to enter the country and is insistent that allowing a passage for aid is a precursor for foreign military intervention in Venezuela.

Guaido has given no indication of the opposition's plans after the US-backed aid operation. The successful delivery of the aid could be used to encourage defections in Venezuela's military, thereby weakening Maduro's position. Guaido's efforts are more likely to appeal to lower-ranking military personnel increasingly frustrated by the economic crisis; however, Maduro continues to enjoy the support of high-ranking military personnel. The opposition is likely to continue to rely on Guaido's popularity to use mass protests to place pressure on Maduro. However, if the opposition is unsuccessful in making inroads into the Maduro regime, the anti-government protests will likely lose momentum over the coming weeks, as they have in the past.

 

Advice

If operating in Venezuela, exercise extreme caution. Avoid all protests. Do not attempt to cross any roadblocks due to the threat of violence. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Seek updated information on road and destination security conditions in Caracas and other major cities before attempting to travel over the coming days. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.

 


January 28: Opposition protests likely to continue nationwide in Venezuela, through Feb. Protests planned Jan. 30, Feb. 2. Threat of violence elevated.

This alert affects Venezuela.

Click to enlarge Google Map.

This alert began 28 Jan 2019 13:54 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 Feb 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Opposition protests
  • Location: Nationwide 
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Heightened security, clashes, transport and commercial disruptions

 

Summary

Anti-government activists are likely to continue to stage spontaneous and planned protests across Venezuela through February, amid the country's political crisis. National Assembly (Asemblea Nacional, AN) President Juan Guaido, who on Jan. 23 declared himself Venezuela's interim president, has called for nationwide protests Jan. 30 and Feb. 2 in support of foreign government's recognition of his claim, and in support of increased foreign pressure on the administration of sworn-in president Nicolas Maduro. The Jan. 30 protests have been planned from 1200-1400; however, details on the protest locations are not clear. Information on the Feb. 2 protests have not been publicized.

Protesters could build roadblocks and hold rallies along major roads and outside government offices, especially in Caracas, Maracaibo, San Cristobal, Valencia, and Barquisimeto. Public services may be disrupted. Looting of businesses and attacks against government buildings cannot be ruled out. Clashes with members of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB), the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), and other security forces are likely. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations; deadly violence is also possible. Anti-government protesters may also pelt security personnel with crude incendiary devices or rocks. Since Jan. 21, at least 29 people have been killed in various parts of the country; a large proportion of those killed were allegedly demonstrators.


 

Background and Analysis

Guaido's claim to be Venezuela's interim president comes after the opposition-dominated AN declared Maduro's presidency illegitimate on Jan. 15. The AN has received the support of numerous foreign governments. Including the US, Canada, and much of Latin America. On Jan. 26, EU nations stated that Maduro must call for fresh elections within eight days, or they too would officially recognize Guaido's claim of leadership.

The Supreme Court however, has maintained its support of Maduro and declared all acts by the AN to be null and void, and in violation of the constitution. The Supreme Court has also asked the Attorney General's Office to investigate the AN leaders, threatening them with arrest. Military leaders have so far maintained their support for the Maduro administration. Meanwhile, Guaido continues to urge the military to fulfill their constitutional obligations by removing an illegitimate president from power, and decreed an amnesty law for members of the army and the police who collaborate in Maduro's removal. Guaido's efforts are more likely to appeal to lower-ranking military personnel increasingly frustrated by the economic crisis. The heightened political instability is likely to continue to translate into a sustained protest campaign by the opposition, which could be violent.


 

Advice

If operating in Venezuela, exercise extreme caution. Avoid all protests. Do not attempt to cross any roadblocks due to the threat of violence. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Seek updated information on road and destination security conditions in Caracas and other major cities before attempting to travel over the coming days. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.


January 24: Political instability in Venezuela likely to prompt violent protests through late January. Avoid all demonstrations.

This alert affects Venezuela

Click to enlarge Google Map.

This alert began 24 Jan 2019 00:32 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Feb 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Possible violent protests
  • Location: Nationwide 
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Heightened security, clashes, transport and commercial disruptions

 

Summary

Heightened political instability in the wake of the reputed swearing-in of an interim president of Venezuela will likely prompt protests - some of them violent - nationwide, especially in Caracas, through late January. On Jan. 23, National Assembly President Juan Guaido publicly declared that he had become the nation's interim leader. Numerous governments, including the US, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, and Chile, have recognized Guaido's claim - a move that has drawn a swift negative response from the administration of Nicolas Maduro. Maduro subsequently announced the severing of diplomatic relations with the US, ordering all US diplomatic personnel to leave Venezuela within 72 hours.

Anti-government activist groups could seek to capitalize on the emerging situation by taking to the streets over the coming days. Unannounced protests, accompanied by transport and business disruptions, are possible. Protesters could build roadblocks and hold rallies along major roads and outside government offices, especially in Caracas, Maracaibo, San Cristobal, Valencia, and Barquisimeto. Public services may also be disrupted. Looting of businesses and attacks against government buildings cannot be ruled out. Clashes with members of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB), the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), and other security forces are likely. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrations. Anti-government protesters may also pelt security personnel with crude incendiary devices or rocks.


 

Background and Analysis

Guaido's claim to have become Venezuela's interim president comes after the opposition-dominated National Assembly (Asemblea Nacional, AN) declared Maduro's presidency illegitimate, Jan. 15. Maduro and his allies have responded by dismissing Guaido and the AN's decisions; moreover, the Supreme Court has asked the Attorney General's Office to investigate the AN leaders, threatening them with arrest. Military leaders have so far maintained their support for the Maduro administration. It remains unclear whether Maduro's order to expel all US diplomats from Venezuela is intended simply to make an example of Washington for having recognized Guaido's claim, or whether his administration plans to sever relations with other nations that have similarly supported Guaido.
 


Advice

If operating in Venezuela, exercise extreme caution until the full magnitude of the situation becomes clear. Avoid all protests. Do not attempt to cross any roadblocks due to the threat of violence. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Seek updated information on road and destination security conditions in Caracas and other major cities before attempting to travel over the coming days. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.


January 23: Rival political groups to demonstrate in multiple locations across Venezuela, Jan. 23. Violence possible.

Click to enlarge Google Map.

This alert began 22 Jan 2019 21:07 GMT and is scheduled to expire 23 Jan 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Opposing protests
  • Location: Multiple cities 
  • Date: Jan. 23
  • Impact: Transport and business disruptions; heightened security; possible violence

 

Summary

Rival political groups plan to stage protests in multiple locations throughout Venezuela, Jan. 23. Government supporters will march through Caracas in three columns originating from separate locations starting at 0900. The different groups will assemble at the Plaza Brion in Chacaito on the east side of the city, Plaza Sucre in Catia on the west side, and the National Institute of Socialist Education and Training on Avenida Nueva Granada on the south side before converging at Plaza O'Leary where a rally will take place.

Opposition activists, on the other hand, will demonstrate starting at 0900 in multiple nationwide locations, including the following:

  • Barquisimeto: Rally occurring outside the city's cathedral.
  • Caracas: Marches originating from nine locations across the city, including El Marques, Cotiza, Plaza Madariaga in El Paraiso, and Distribuidor Santa Fe. No destination point has been announced.
  • Maracaibo: Marches launching from four locations, including Plaza Republica and Plaza Indio Mara, followed by a rally at Avenida 5 de Julio/Las Delicias.
  • Puerto La Cruz: Rally occurring at Avenida Intercomunal Jorge Rodriguez.
  • San Cristobal: Marches launching from several locations, including Obelisco and Plaza Daniel Tinoco.
  • Valencia: Marches originating from several locations and converging at Avenida Cedeno.

Unannounced gatherings could occur in locations other than those listed above. The demonstrations will likely draw large crowds of participants, particularly in Caracas. Clashes between rival activists, and between the security forces and opposition demonstrators, are very likely. Police and military have used force, including lethal means, against protesters in the past. Severe transport disruptions are likely, especially in Caracas, Valencia, and Maracaibo. Business disruptions are also likely. Authorities will almost certainly deploy heavy security near government buildings.

 

Background and Analysis

Leaders of Venezuela's National Assembly (Asamblea Nacional, AN), which is dominated by the opposition, planned the Jan. 23 protests following a vote declaring President Nicolas Maduro illegitimate, due to what they considered to have been a fraudulent election in 2018. Governments from more than 50 countries support the AN's decision, and have called on Maduro to step down. The AN is expected to pass a number of bills to start the government transition in Venezuela. However, the Maduro administration has maintained support from the military and the Supreme Court. On Jan. 21, the Supreme Court declared all actions by the AN in 2019 unconstitutional, and paved the way for the possible arrest of the AN's leadership. A small-scale military mutiny, led by National Guard members in Cotiza, northwestern Caracas, generated protests throughout the city Jan. 21, some of which turned violent. Government officials accused the US of sponsoring violent groups in the opposition and said some military equipment stolen on Jan. 21 could be used to provoke clashes during the Jan. 23 demonstrations.

 

Advice

Avoid all protests. Exercise a high degree of caution at all times in major cities in Venezuela. Allow additional time to reach destinations, especially in Caracas, Valencia, and Maracaibo. Do not attempt to cross roadblocks due to the threat of violence. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately, and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.


January 22: Violent protests continue across multiple parts of Caracas, Venezuela, early Jan. 22, in support of earlier National Guard mutiny.

Click to enlarge Google Map.

 

This alert began 22 Jan 2019 10:24 GMT and is scheduled to expire 23 Jan 2019 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Violent protests
  • Location: Caracas 
  • Dates: Jan. 21 and 22
  • Impact: Heightened security, clashes, localized transport and commercial disruptions

 

Summary

Violent protests continued early Jan. 22 and spread to approximately 30 locations across Caracas, after first erupting in the Cotiza neighborhood Jan. 21. Protesters have barricaded numerous roads, and members of the Bolivarian National Police (PNB) have made use of tear gas to attempt to disperse the crowds. The protests erupted in support of an earlier revolt by members of the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), who had temporarily taken control of a police station in the Cotiza area.

Further protests are highly likely, especially on Jan. 23, when the opposition has planned a nationwide protest campaign against President Nicolas Maduro's controversial inauguration for a second term Jan. 10. Expect a significant security force presence across Caracas over the coming days, especially near government buildings. Law enforcement will not hesitate to use water cannon, tear gas, or rubber bullets to clear demonstrators, which fuels the elevated threat of violence at all opposition-led protests.


 

Background and Analysis

The small-scale mutiny in Cotiza was staged by members of the GNB in opposition to President Maduro's rule; these members have since been arrested. The revolt follows a statement by the opposition-led National Assembly (AN) declaring Maduro a usurper of the presidency and urging the military to fulfill their constitutional obligations by removing an illegitimate president from power. The AN also decreed an amnesty law for members of the army and the police who collaborate in Maduro's removal.

No other military revolts such as the one in Cotiza, have taken place since Maduro's inauguration. While similar, small-scale actions are possible, there is currently little to indicate that the military action is part of a broader GNB campaign against Maduro. Authorities have arrested dozens of active and retired military members in the past two years, accusing them of rebellion; such actions reaffirm the upper hand that intelligence services have over the armed forces, and make similar attempts in the future much more difficult. The government has yet to make an official statement on the Cotiza incident and subsequent unrest; however, it is highly likely that Maduro will respond with a further crackdown in the form of arrests, especially as domestic pressure and protests against him increase.

 


Advice

Avoid all protests. Do not attempt to cross any roadblocks due to the threat of violence. If violence breaks out, leave the area immediately and seek shelter in a secure, nongovernmental building. Seek updated information on road and destination security conditions in Caracas before attempting to travel over the coming days. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation.


 

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