Venezuela

Cluster Munition Ban Policy

Last updated: 05 September 2023

Summary: Non-signatory Venezuela has not taken any steps to join the Convention on Cluster Munitions. It last participated in a meeting of the convention in 2011. Venezuela was absent from the vote on the key annual United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution promoting the convention in December 2022.

Venezuela is not known to have used, produced, or exported cluster munitions, but it has imported them and destroyed an unspecified quantity of stocks in August 2011.

Policy

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has not acceded to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

Venezuelan officials never directly comment on the convention or the country’s lack of accession. In 2011, Venezuela said, “a binding tool leading us to a prohibition of the use, stockpiling, [and] transfer…would be the ideal” to address the humanitarian concerns raised by cluster munitions.[1]

Venezuela participated in several meetings of the Oslo Process that created the Convention on Cluster Munitions. Upon joining the consensus adoption of the convention text in Dublin on 30 May 2008, Venezuela expressed its opposition to the convention’s Article 21 provisions on “interoperability” (relations with states not party), which it said undermined “the spirit and purpose” of the convention.[2] Venezuela did not attend the convention’s Oslo Signing Conference in December 2008.

Venezuela participated as an observer at the convention’s Second Meeting of States Parties held in Beirut, Lebanon in September 2011. This was its first and, to date, only attendance at a meeting of the convention. Venezuela was invited to, but did not attend, the convention’s Tenth Meeting of States Parties held in Geneva in August–September 2022.

In December 2022, Venezuela was absent from the vote on a key UNGA resolution urging states outside the Convention on Cluster Munitions to “join as soon as possible.”[3] Venezuela voted in favor of the annual UNGA resolution promoting the convention from its introduction in 2015 until 2018, but has abstained from the vote since 2019.

Venezuela is a State Party to the Mine Ban Treaty. It is also party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW).

Use, production, transfer, and stockpiling

Venezuela is not known to have used, produced, or exported cluster munitions.

In 2011, the Ministry of the Popular Power for the Defense of Venezuela announced that cluster munitions belonging to the air force had been destroyed, as part of an operation to destroy surplus ammunition and ordnance.[4] An unspecified number of cluster munitions were destroyed, including Israeli-made AS TAL-1 cluster bombs.

It is not clear whether Venezuela still stockpiles cluster munitions. The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has reported that Israel exported the LAR-160 surface-to-surface rocket system to Venezuela, but it is not known whether ammunition containing submunitions was included in the deal.[5]



[1] Statement of Venezuela, Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) Fourth Review Conference, Geneva, 24 November 2011. Notes by Action on Armed Violence (AOAV).

[2] For more information on Venezuela’s policy and practice regarding cluster munitions through early 2010, see ICBL, Cluster Munition Monitor 2010 (Ottawa: Mines Action Canada, October 2010), pp. 267–268.

[3]Implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions,” UNGA Resolution 77/79, 7 December 2022.

[4] Carlos E. Hernandez, “The Ministry of Defense of Venezuela destroys cluster bombs,” Infodefensa, 26 August 2011.

[5] SIPRI, “Arms Transfers Database,” Recipient report for Israel for the period 1950–2011, generated on 6 June 2012.