Venezuela Country Report
The military, which exercises direct influence over important sectors of the economy, is likely to support President Nicolás Maduro unless protests and unabated looting nationwide escalate beyond the capacity of security forces to contain them. However, so far, security forces have proven to be capable of containing protests before these become widespread. The opposition is increasingly divided, demoralised, and demobilised following strong repression and claims of electoral fraud. Price and foreign-exchange controls already impede the operating environment and a potential new constitution in the two-year outlook increase could pose further regulatory, expropriation, and tax risks for businesses. Homicide, theft, extortion, and kidnapping risks are already extremely high byglobal standards and continue rising.
Anti-business rhetoric, constant threat of nationalisations, restrictions derived from the current foreign-exchange control system and efforts to rewrite the constitution raise operational risks in the one-year outlook. Since 2007, the government has renegotiated contracts and nationalised companies from the energy, mining, food, agro-industrial, telecoms, cement, iron, steel, chemical, tourism, construction, and other sectors. The government continues undermining the business environment through regulations and inspections, leading to a significant decrease in foreign direct investment. Energy shortages, widespread protests, corruption, and regulatory burden are likely to continue posing operational constrains.
Large-scale terrorist incidents in Venezuela are unlikely despite the government claiming, often for political reasons, that there are opposition-leaning groups responsible for sabotaging strategic electricity and oil infrastructure. There are no known insurgent groups in Venezuela with the intention or capability to undertake large-scale terrorist attacks. State-owned assets face vandalism, arson attacks, and property damage risks, particularly in Caracas and urban centers nationwide. These risks will increase in the next year, driven by political polarisation and a rise in organised crime, but large-scale attacks are unlikely.
Venezuela is unlikely to be involved in a military conflict over the three-year outlook. The risk of military confrontations with Colombia significantly decreased after the 2010 election of Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos. There is a low risk of conflict with neighbouring Guyana, with which there is a dispute over the sovereignty of the Essequibo region. Vessels operating in disputed areas, including mainly those in the disputed Essequibo region exploring for offshore oil, face the risk of detention by the Venezuelan Navy.
Anti-government protests are likely to resurface in the one-year outlook against the national constitutional assembly efforts to rewrite the constitution and as shortages of food, basic goods intensify and the economy contracts. The latest wave of protests took place between April and July 2017 left more than 124 people killed in confrontations with security forces. Protests usually take the form of roadblocks and property damage against state-owned assets and increasingly the looting of food cargo trucks and of supermarkets and retail stores.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
No vaccinations are required to enter the country.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Yellow Fever: A vaccine is available for children over the age of one year.
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - chloroquine (sometimes marketed as Nivaquine); mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin) for travel to the Amazon region.
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
Venezuela is also vulnerable to natural disasters. The rainy season (normally) lasts from May until December and torrential downpours and landslides are frequent during these months.
From June until the end of November, the northern Caribbean coast is regularly affected by tropical storms. While instances of hurricanes and tropical storms hitting Venezuela directly are relatively rare, storm systems can bring torrential rains, winds, and associated flooding and material damage to the country.
The hilly coastal areas, e.g. the north-central region of the country where Caracas is located, are at risk for earthquakes, although major damage or loss of life is rare.
Various international airlines have suspended or reduced flights to and from Venezuela in recent months due to currency exchange issues, security concerns, and/or low demand.
It is also worth mentioning that Caracas is often brought to a virtual standstill by traffic jams.
Due to security concerns (high risk of carjacking), it is common practice to ignore red traffic lights, especially after dark, which leads to an increase in traffic accidents.
Checkpoints are common, especially on inter-city routes. They are generally operated either by local police or by the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB). Stopping at checkpoints is mandatory and drivers should be prepared to show vehicle registration paperwork, proof of insurance, and an ID ("cedula" or passport). Police or guardsmen may search vehicles stopped at checkpoints.
Venezuela has a tropical climate with a temperate zone along the coast. In mountainous regions, temperatures are cooler. Temperatures generally remain relatively constant throughout the year. The dry season extends from December until April, and the rainy season the rest of the year. Rain becomes more frequent the further south you travel: the coast is relatively arid while Los Llanos (a vast tropical plain) and the Guyanese massif receive a lot of rain; the Amazonian region receives abundant levels rain throughout the year.
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