Venezuela Issues - 2023


Disputes - international

Venezuela-Brazil: none identified

Venezuela-Colombia: dispute with Colombia over maritime boundary and Venezuelan administered Los Monjes Islands near the Gulf of Venezuela; Colombian-organized illegal narcotics and paramilitary activities penetrate Venezuela's shared border region; the border between the two countries was closed from March 2020 to October 2021 due to COVID, but goods and people fleeing poverty and violence continued to be smuggled from Venezuela into Colombia, and illegal narcotics and armed men flowed into Venezuela from Colombia; since the FARC disarmed in 2016, some former members have formed armed dissident groups that operate along the border

Venezuela-Guyana: claims all of the area west of the Essequibo River in Guyana, preventing any discussion of a maritime boundary; Guyana has expressed its intention to join Barbados in asserting claims before the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that Trinidad and Tobago's maritime boundary with Venezuela extends into their waters; in 2018, Guyana initiated proceedings against Venezuela with the International Court of Justice (ICJ); Venezuela requested a direct dialogue to settle the dispute; the ICJ ruled that it had jurisdiction to hear the case in December 2020; in September 2021, Venezuelan officials issued a statement reasserting dominion over three-quarters of Guyana, which Guyana stated was a threat to its sovereignty and territorial integrity

Venezuela-various:  Venezuela claims Aves Island and thereby an economic exclusion Zone/continental shelf extending over a large portion of the eastern Caribbean Sea; Venezuela’s claim to Aves Island is disputed by Dominica and several other countries because the island has rich guano deposits useful in producing fertilizer and gunpowder, as well as large fish stocks and natural gas reserves; contraband smuggling (narcotics and arms), illegal migration, trafficking in animals, plants, lumber, illegal exploitation of mineral resources

Refugees and internally displaced persons

refugees (country of origin): 39,185 (Colombia) (mid-year 2022)

note: As of May 2023, approximately 7.32 Venezuelan refugees and migrants reside worldwide with 83.9% in Latin America and the Caribbean

Trafficking in persons

tier rating: Tier 3 — Venezuela does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making any efforts to do so, therefore Venezuela remained on Tier 3; the Maduro regime (which is not recognized by the United States) took some steps to address trafficking, arresting some complicit individuals and issuing a decree to develop a national action plan; however, the regime did not report assisting victims or prosecuting or convicting traffickers; the regime continued to provide support and a permissive environment to non-state armed groups that recruited and used child soldiers and engaged in sex trafficking and forced labor with impunity; representatives did not make sufficient efforts to curb forced recruitment of children by non-state armed groups (2022)

trafficking profile: human traffickers exploit domestic and foreign victims in Venezuela, as well as Venezuelans abroad; more than six million Venezuelans, facing deteriorating economic conditions at home, have fled to neighboring countries are at risk of human trafficking; traffickers exploit Venezuelans in Aruba, The Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curacao, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Guyana, Haiti, Iceland, Macau, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Spain, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago; Venezuelan women and girls are at risk of sex trafficking in Colombia, Ecuador, and Trinidad and Tobago; women, including transgender women, have been lured to Spain and Germany with fraudulent employment offers and exploited in commercial sex; men are exploited in forced labor in other countries, including Aruba and Curacao; Venezuelan women and girls are subjected to sex trafficking and child sex tourism; children are exploited in sex trafficking and forced labor, including in farming, domestic service, construction, mining, and criminal groups; non-state armed groups—including illegal Colombian groups near border regions—force some Venezuelans into criminal acts, forced labor, sex trafficking, and use as child soldiers, which is reportedly tolerated by the Maduro regime; sex and labor trafficking victims from South America, Caribbean, Asian, and African countries have been reported in Venezuela; the Cuban government may be exploiting Cuban workers in medical missions in Venezuela (2022)

Illicit drugs

a major drug-transit country and trafficking route in the Western Hemisphere for illegal drugs mainly cocaine;  government depends on rents from narco-trafficking, along with other illicit activities, to maintain power;  evidence of coca cultivation and cocaine production in domestic drug laboratories suggests the country is now also an illicit drug-producing country;  a major source of precursor or essential chemicals used in the production of illicit narcotics


NOTE: The information regarding Venezuela on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Venezuela 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Venezuela 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 10 Nov 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.