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Venezuela warning for yachts in the Caribbean

by Roy Carson,VHeadline/Sail-World Cruising on 27 Jul 2009
Venezuela Yacht Balvenie
Yachts in the Caribbean thinking of visiting Venezuela before the end of the season - or already there - should be aware that there are possible changes on the coast of Venezuela owing to rumours of an impending conspiracy or coup.

Local cruising forums are advising: 'If you travel to Venezuela please take care. (It's the heavily armed local militias that might get you in a crossfire.)'

While much is unknown, it is certain that the central government has ordered National Guard (GN) troops to take over a municipal police force in the town of Curiepe close to Caracas, a city frequently visited by cruising sailors.

President Chavez has also moved troops to Venezuela's western border with neighboring Colombia against fears of a strike by Colombian and US forces under cover of the constitutional crisis 1,391 miles (2,239 kilometers) away in Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

He spoke less than 48 hours ago of doubling the number of army tanks to be deployed and it is already known that local militias (part-time army reservists) have been issued increased fire-power.

With what is essentially a news blackout there is NO official clarity and much of the government administration allegedly appears to be in the hands of officials 'who only pay lip service to President Hugo Chavez.' An extremely concerned long-time Chavista (pro-government) source specifically states that 'true Chavistas and even lukewarm socialists are practically non-existent' in this weekend's political crisis.

There's a general state of (perhaps paranoid) anticipation of impending violence in the border states of Tachira and Merida never mind brooding rebellion in south-eastern Bolivar State close to Guyana where US Special Forces are reported to be training (supplanting?) that nation's minimalist armed forces.

Comprehensive coverage of the present situation can be gained from http://www.vheadline.com/readnews.asp?id=82212!VHeadline , a Venezuelan English language news source.
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