If Venezuela is on your travel list this year, you may want to consider the warning about the country's violent crime that was issued by the
The warning says the South American nation generally and the capital Caracas specifically have a homicide rate that is among the highest in the world. It cited Caracas' rate of 134 homicides per 100,000 people.
It says kidnappings are "a serious concern throughout the country" and that carjackings and kidnappings are common along main roads that link cities.
"In addition, there is cross-border violence, kidnappings, drug trafficking, and smuggling along Venezuela's western border," the warning says.
The warning advises Americans to be vigilant of their surroundings wherever they stay or visit, to travel in groups of two or more, and to avoid wearing jewelry or carrying large sums of money.
Actions last week by Venezuelan President
Maduro decided to start requiring Americans to obtain visas before visiting the country, removing the U.S. from the list of countries that are exempt from visa rules. It's unclear how Americans would obtain visas and how much they would cost, according to media reports.
In the latest U.S. action, Obama called out seven officials for alleged human rights violations. Maduro, the handpicked successor of the late
Also, Venezuela recently accused the U.S. of plotting a coup to destabilize the country -- accusations that Washington denies.