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State Department warns U.S. citizens against remaining in Venezuela

A demonstrator dressed as a patient holding a replica of a doctor's prescription, takes part in a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016.
A demonstrator dressed as a patient holding a replica of a doctor's prescription, takes part in a protest in Caracas, Venezuela, Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016. AP

The Obama administration is advising U.S. citizens in Venezuela against remaining in the country warning that they’re responsible for getting out should conditions on the ground worsen.

“Travel Warning: If security climate worsens, US citizens should note they're responsible for arranging their own travel out of #Venezuela,” the State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council advised in a tweet Thursday night.

Posting photos of protests and street fires, the State Department also warned U.S citizens against traveling to Venezuela because of increasing violent crime and social unrest.

In a new travel advisory, the State Department warned Thursday that the political situation is unpredictable and violent crime is endemic. Venezuelan security forces have arrested or detained U.S. citizens with little or no evidence of a crime.

“The political and security situation in Venezuela is unpredictable and can change quickly,” the advisory states. “Political rallies and demonstrations occur with little notice, and are expected to occur with greater frequency in the coming months in Caracas and throughout the country.”

Conditions in Venezuela have been gone from bad to worse in recent months as the country has plummeted into a deepening economic crisis amid rising inflation and alarming homicide rate. In recent months, anti-government demonstrations have broken out regularly as desperate citizens taken to the streets to protest the lack of even the most basic goods.

“Due to shortages of some food and medical supplies, U.S. citizens should be prepared to cover their own needs while in country,” the state department said. “In the event that the security climate worsens, U.S. citizens should be responsible for arranging their own travel out of Venezuela.”

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