‘Draft a Will,’ Hire ‘Professional Security’: State Department Reissues Venezuela Travel Warning

Maduro Venezuela
Carlos Becerra/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The State Department has reissued a “do not travel” advisory for Venezuela, telling Americans who disobey its suggestions to “draft a will” and consider hiring a professional security detail.

The department’s May 13 announcement was “reissued after routine periodic review with minor edits pursuant to Department of State standard processes.”

The travel advisory is level four, the most dire warning to Americans who want to go to the South American country as chaos plagues the nation under President Nicolás Maduro’s socialist dictatorship. 

“Do not travel to Venezuela due to crime, civil unrest, kidnapping, and the arbitrary enforcement of local laws,” the department said. “Reconsider travel due to wrongful detentions, terrorism, and poor health infrastructure.”

The department withdrew “all diplomatic personnel” from the U.S. Embassy in the Venezuelan capital city of Caracas in March 2019 following Maduro’s reelection, meaning that no consular services are available to Americans who find themselves in an emergency.

“The U.S. government has no ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Venezuela,” the department plainly stated. “U.S. citizens in Venezuela who require consular assistance should try to leave the country as soon as safely possible to do so and should contact a U.S. embassy or consulate in another country.”

There is a high risk of U.S. citizens being detained by Venezuelan authorities without a way for American officials to help them, with the department saying some people were held for “up to five years.”

If people do decide to travel to Venezuela anyway, the department advises them to “be prepared for the high risk of indefinite detention without consular access.”

“Establish a ‘proof of life’ protocol with your loved ones, so that if you are taken hostage, your loved ones know specific questions (and answers) to ask the hostage-takers to be sure that you are alive (and to rule out a hoax),” officials said in a list of things to prepare for those who still choose to travel there.

“Have a contingency plan in place that does not rely on U.S. government assistance,” the department said. “Consider hiring a professional security organization.”

More plans U.S. citizens should have in place before entering the country include a drafted and designated “insurance beneficiaries and/or power of attorney.”


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