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‘Do not travel’: US State Department ups Venezuela travel warning to Level 4

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The United States Department of State has raised its Venezuela travel advisory warning for US citizens to “do not travel,” citing civil unrest.

The department issued the Level 4 red warning on Tuesday afternoon, warning Americans to avoid the country due to “crime, civil unrest, poor health infrastructure,” and “arbitrary arrest and detention” of US citizens.

The new travel advisory warns US citizens of “ongoing political instability” and the possibility of getting caught up in violent street demonstrations which can occur “with little notice.”

The warning “strongly” recommends that private US citizens leave Venezuela, putting Venezuela in the same category as Syria and North Korea. It comes days after the US ordered the evacuation of non-emergency personnel from its embassy in Caracas, which has left it with “limited ability” to provide emergency services to US citizens there.

The US stepped up pressure on Venezuela last week, recognizing the opposition leader as the interim president and calling on Maduro to step down. Washington imposed fresh sanctions on Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA on Monday, prompting accusations from the country’s foreign minister that the US was staging a coup.