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

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.


January 28: Warning Alert

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

This alert affects Venezuela.

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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: Warning Alert

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

This alert affects Venezuela

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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: Warning Alert

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

This alert affects Venezuela

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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: Warning Alert

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

This alert affects Caracas

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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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