The University of Minnesota and Learning Abroad Center are closely monitoring the political situation in Venezuela and possible impacts on our students in Mérida. All students are safe and accounted for. We understand that demonstrations and protests have occurred in Mérida and that they remain peaceful. Students have expressed concerns with public transportation in Mérida, which is being effectively addressed by our onsite staff. We are in close communication with the students and onsite staff in Venezuela.
Due to the transportation concerns, and out of an abundance of caution, class was cancelled on Thursday, February 20. Classes are not normally held on Fridays. Students have been instructed to stay home this weekend and avoid the protests. Classes are expected to resume on Monday, February 24. Should transportation issues continue into Monday, private transportation will be provided for students to and from their home stay and classes.
Student safety is of the utmost importance to the Learning Abroad Center and the University. Together we continue to assess the security situation, taking into account information provided by the US State Department, our insurance partners, and our onsite staff and partners. We currently do not plan to withdraw students or cancel activities in Mérida. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and, should conditions change, we are prepared to act accordingly.
In the meantime, we have encouraged students to communicate with their families and ensure that the emails and phone numbers on file with the Learning Abroad Center and local staff are up to date.
On Friday, November 22 the US Department of State issued a travel warning for Venezuela. The travel warning announced strict security protocols for Caracas and the implementation of a three-zone approach for US government personnel in the city.
The Learning Abroad Center's Venezuela program is far from Caracas, and students are forbidden from traveling to the city. After consultation with our security information services, insurance providers, the US Department of State, the Overseas Advisory Counsel (OSAC), our on-site staff, and the University International Travel Risk Assessment and Advisory Committee (ITRAAC), we have concluded that there is no reason to withdraw students from Venezuela as a result of the new travel warning. However, we will continue to monitor the situation closely.
In the meantime, we have encouraged students to communicate with their families and remain vigilant.
Read more about the Learning Abroad Center’s emergency procedures.
Submit your photo to the Learning Abroad Center Photo Contest.