Venezuela Risk Assessment Country Guide 

Doing Business in Venezuela

Venezuela has an extremely diverse biological habitat, with miles of coastline, mountain ranges, rainforests and plains. Nearly 30 million people call the country home, and it plays host to thousands of visitors from other countries each year.

On July 7, 2016, the State Department issued a travel warning for Venezuela due to pervasive violent crime in Caracas and other cities through the country. The UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against all travel near the Colombian border in the states of Zulia, Tachira, and Apure. Only essential travel should be undertaken to all of Tachira state due to the presence of drug traffickers and armed groups, as well as an elevated risk of kidnapping. Violent crime—including murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking—is endemic and political unrest in the form of demonstrations may occur with little notice. 

Although most people who travel to the area visit event-free, many have reported being victims to various violent crimes. The political situation in the country is relatively stable, although political elections often cause an increase in demonstrations and related violence. It is still advisable to take out the proper level of international insurance during your stay in Venezuela. 

  • Health
  • Safety & Security
  • Terrorism

Medical facilities in Venezuela can range from high quality to poor. Most major cities provide adequate private care for routine treatments, although leaving the country for more serious ailments is advisable. Public health facilities are often in poor condition, and medicine and funding are in short supply. Tap water is unsafe to drink in the country. You should only consume boiled and bottled water, and avoid ice in drinks.

On March 13, 2016, the CDC issued a Watch Level 1 for travel to South America due to the locally transmitted disease chikungunya, including Venezuela with 100,000 cases reported. Expats should take extra precaution against mosquito bites due to the heightened possibility of contracting the Chikungunya virus, which most often causes fever and joint pain. Given these potential health risks, you should receive all vaccinations and other preventative measures prior to leaving for Venezuela.

In May 2015, the first local transmission of Zika virus infection (Zika) was reported in South America, including Venezuela. There have been more than 4,000 cases reported. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area have been infected with Zika virus, spreading it to people. Take standard precautions against mosquito bites and practice safe sex. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you develop a fever with a rash, joint pain, or red eyes. Pregnant women should consider postponing travel. 

In January 2013, an outbreak of dengue fever was confirmed in Lara State. 

Clements Worldwide provides GlobalCare® health insurance to help manage the costs of living abroad. With Clements, you will have USD 5 million in health care benefits, flexible payment options and an optional War and Terrorism coverage.

In order to ensure reliable care, Clements also offers Medical Evacuation and Repatriation insurance. A policy covers expenses to transport you to a capable medical facility in case a local medical center is not able to provide adequate treatment in Venezuela.

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email to discuss your organization’s travel needs tailored to considerations involved while operating in Venezuela.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Clements Worldwide 

Contact a Clements Representative for Insurance Solutions

The political situation in Venezuela can turn violent quickly. Demonstrations are common in most major cities, especially Caracas. These can occur with little warning, and guns have been used. In addition, the police and National Guard are typically heavily armed. Expats should to avoid all public gatherings and demonstrations.

On Feb 28, 2015, during a protest and rally at the Presidential Palace, the Venezuelan President retaliated against U.S. sanctions by calling for a major decrease in the number of U.S. diplomats at the American Embassy in Venezuela. He also declared that all U.S. expats will be required to have a visa to visit the country. The speech occurred hours after Venezuelan authorities released four U.S. missionaries after four days of imprisonment. 

The homicide rate is among the highest in the world with 24,763 homicides in 2013 or 79 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. Caracas has the highest rate of homicides with 134 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants.

Inclement weather and heavy rains across the country have led to poor road conditions. Landslides may occur in some areas, and bridges may not be kept up. States that have been impacted the most include Aragua, Carabobo, Caracas and Falcon. Most vehicles are in poor condition, and drivers have been known to behave erratically. 

Clements offers Worldwide Car insurance, which includes Physical Damage, Third Party Liability, and Excess Liability coverage. With flexible deductible options and fast claims processing, your policy will provide coverage for your vehicle fleet whether it’s on the road, parked or transported abroad. An optional Political Violence extension is also recommended, which broadens the coverage to include strikes, riots, malicious damage, sabotage, war, terrorism or civil unrest. 

Incidents of piracy have occurred off the Venezuelan coast. Risk is highest east of Puerto La Cruz and in between the country and Trinidad. A Maritime Security insurance policy from Clements ensures compliance with BIMCO insurance requirements and GUARDCON standards that will achieve cost savings, better coverage, and more efficient policy administration.

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email to discuss your organization’s travel needs tailored to considerations involved while operating in Venezuela.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Clements Worldwide 

Contact a Clements Representative for Insurance Solutions

There is a low to moderate threat of terrorism in Venezuela. Potential attacks could take place on locations visited by expats and foreigners. There is high criminal activity with cross-border violence, kidnappings, drug trafficking, and smuggling across the border. Expats should be vigilant while out in public particularly when leaving homes, hotels, cars, garages, schools, and workplaces. 

On August 7, 2016, 3 members of the Colombian guerrillas of the ELN (National Liberation Army) were killed in a clash with the army of Venezuela.

On July 16, 2016, an Indian chief was shot dead in the Venezuelan city of Rosario de Perija in Zulia.

On July 1, 2016, a paramilitary group assassinated a political activist and local leader of Venezuela’s governing socialist political party. 

Kidnappings are a major concern as hundreds of cases go unreported across the country. According to the newspaper El Naciona, there were about 1,000 reported kidnappings in the country in 2014, with more than 25 percent of those happening in the capital of Caracas. A lack of economic opportunities, especially in Caracas, create an environment conducive to kidnappings as police are unable to maintain order.

Recent Venezuela government statistics indicate kidnappings decreased by 51 percent between June 2013 and June 2014, following the creation of a national anti-kidnapping unit, but these numbers haven’t been backed up by any official reporting agencies. In 2013, there were 625 reported kidnappings.

While many victims are local residents, foreigners have been targeted as well. Express kidnappings - where the victim is taken for a short while and ordered to extract funds for release - are common. These take place in most major cities, including Caracas. 

A Kidnap and Ransom insurance policy from Clements ensures financial assistance following a kidnapping, such as independent investigations, negotiations, and the arrangement and delivery of funds.

Call us today at +1.202.872.0060 or 800.872.0067 or email to discuss your organization’s travel needs tailored to considerations involved while operating in Venezuela.

Source: UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, U.S.Dept of State, and Clements Worldwide 

Contact a Clements Representative for Insurance Solutions