Venezuela Country Report
The military, which exercises direct influence over important sectors of the economy, is likely to support President Nicolás Maduro amid severe food shortages unless protests and unabated looting nationwide escalate beyond the capacity of security forces to contain them. Security forces are capable of containing protests before these become widespread and discontented Venezuelans are opting to migrate. The opposition is divided, demoralised, and demobilised following strong repression and claims of electoral fraud in the 20 May presidential election in which Maduro was re-elected until 2025. Price and foreign-exchange controls already impede the operating environment and a potential new constitution in the two-year outlook poses further regulatory, expropriation, and tax risksfor businesses. Homicide, theft, extortion, and kidnapping risks are already extremely high by global standards and continue rising.
Unions are likely to pursue industrial action in state-owned industries, rather than in the private sector. Venezuela has the highest levels of corruption in the region affecting all ranks of officials with bribes a common practice to secure contracts or to smooth the passage of permits and paperwork for day-today operations. Anti-business rhetoric, excessive regulations, inspections, and restrictions derived from the current foreign-exchange control system raise operational risks in the one-year outlook. Energy shortages and widespread protests are also likely to pose operational constraints.
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 confrontations between opposition and pro-government groups and a rise in organised crime.
Although an all out war between Colombia and Venezuela is unlikely, strong rhetoric and complaints over increased migration from Venezuela and the presence of ELN insurgents operating in its territory tolerated by President Nicolás Maduro increases the risks of border closures and increased allocation of military troops to border areas. 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 in the one-year outlook following the re-election of President Nicolás Maduro on 20 May 2018 amid allegations of fraud, the National Constitutional Assembly's moves to rewrite the constitution and shortages of food and basic goods. Protests normally start peacefully but become violent when security forces or pro-government non-state armed groups shoot at protestors or confront them violently. The most recent anti-government protests took place between April and July 2017, included looting and generated widespread disruption and affected ground cargo and business operations nationwide.
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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