The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an order late (local time) Tuesday, April 30, prohibiting US air operators from transiting Venezuelan airspace at an altitude lower than 26,000 feet, or 7925 m. US carriers, including private jets, will have 48 hours to comply with the directive. The order comes as tensions in Venezuela increased between President Nicolás Maduro and National Assembly leader and opposition figure Juan Guaidó. Maduro spoke at a televised address on Tuesday evening and claimed victory over a thwarted coup attempt.
Both sides claim the support of the military and opposing forces clashed at Generalísmo Francisco de Miranda Air Base in Caracas earlier on Tuesday. At least 52 people have been injured in recent protests, including several who were hit by a National Guard armored vehicle that ran into a crowd of protesters. Access to the internet and social media channels was restricted on Tuesday following a call for a military uprising by Guaidó. Guaidó has also called for mass anti-government demonstrations on Wednesday, May 1, including at the Miraflores presidential palace. Heightened security measures and transportation and business disruptions are likely. Clashes between anti-government protesters and Maduro civilian and security supporters are possible.
Venezuela is experiencing an ongoing crisis spurred by President Nicolás Maduro's inauguration to a second term as president on January 10 following last year's contested election, prompting the National Assembly to declare a national emergency. At least 50 foreign governments, including the US, Canada, and Brazil, among others, have since recognized opposition leader Juan Guaidó as the interim head of state.
On Tuesday morning, Guaidó called for a military uprising to oust Maduro, which was followed by fighting between pro- and anti-Maduro security forces. The extent to which members of the military have switched their allegiance to support Guaidó remains unclear. US diplomatic authorities have reported that the situation on the ground remains fluid and "confused."
Individuals in Venezuela are advised to monitor developments to the situation, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, keep battery-operated devices fully charged when possible due to periodic power outages, remain vigilant for criminal behavior and avoid conspicuous displays of wealth, refrain from discussing political topics on social media or in public, and avoid all public gatherings due to the risk of violence and arrest. Travelers flying near Venezuela are advised to maintain flexible itineraries.
The security situation in Venezuela remains complex. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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