Venezuela

Mine Ban Policy

Last updated: 14 November 2023

Policy

The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997 and ratified it on 14 April 1999, becoming a State Party on 1 October 1999.

Venezuela has not adopted national implementing legislation with fiscal and penal sanctions for violations of the Mine Ban Treaty, as international treaties ratified by the government automatically become national law.[1]

Venezuela participated in the Ottawa Process that created the Mine Ban Treaty. It has participated in many of the treaty’s meetings, most recently attending the Nineteenth Meeting of States Parties, held virtually in November 2021, and the intersessional meetings held in Geneva in June 2022.

Venezuela has provided a total of 11 Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 transparency reports, but has not submitted an updated annual report since 2012.

Venezuela is party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW) and its Amended Protocol II on landmines, but it is not party to Protocol V on explosive remnants of war (ERW). Venezuela is not party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

 

Production, transfer, stockpiling, and destruction

Venezuela has never produced antipersonnel landmines and is not known to have exported them.[2] In the past, it imported or otherwise acquired antipersonnel mines manufactured by Belgium, Italy, Spain, the United States (US), and the former Yugoslavia.[3]

Venezuela completed destruction of its stockpile of 47,189 antipersonnel mines on 24 September 2003.[4] It has never specified the types of antipersonnel mines that were destroyed.[5]

Venezuela reported in 2012 that it had retained 4,874 PMA-3 antipersonnel mines for training and research purposes.[6] It has not provided an update on the number of mines retained or their consumption since then.

 

Use

Venezuela used antipersonnel landmines before the adoption of the Mine Ban Treaty, but there have been no reports or allegations of mine use by government forces since then.

According to Venezuela, its forces laid 1,074 antipersonnel mines around six naval bases between April 1995 and March 1997.[7] In 2007 and 2008, the ICBL expressed concern that Venezuela was purposefully keeping the antipersonnel mines in place in order to derive military benefit from them rather than clearing them as soon as possible.[8] Venezuela announced the completion of clearance of these mined areas in May 2013.[9]

Several Colombian non-state armed groups (NSAGs), which are known to fabricate and use antipersonnel mines, appear to have a presence in Venezuela, including dissident factions of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia–People’s Army (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia–Ejército del Pueblo, FARC–EP), and the National Liberation Army (Unión Camilista-Ejército de Liberación Nacional, ELN).[10]

Venezuelan officials have alleged new landmine use by these groups in Venezuela’s border areas in 2021 and 2022. Venezuela’s Minister of Defense, Vladimir Padrino López, told local media in February 2022 that there had been at least eight civilian casualties from antipersonnel mines laid in Apure state, on the border with Colombia.[11]



[1] Venezuela restated this during the Mine Ban Treaty intersessional meetings in June 2008, in response to an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) presentation on Article 9 (National Implementation Measures). Venezuela stated that all ratified international treaties are of the highest domestic legal standing—that of the constitution. ICRC replied that a specific law was still desirable for various Mine Ban Treaty provisions, such as the Article 3 exception for retained mines, and Article 8 provisions on fact-finding missions. Statement of Venezuela, Mine Ban Treaty intersessional meetings, Geneva, 6 June 2008. Notes by the Monitor.

[2] Venezuela Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2007), Form H. See, Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Database.

[3] Venezuela Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2002), Form B.

[4] Letter from the Permanent Mission of Venezuela to the United Nations (UN) in Geneva, to the UN Conference on Disarmament Secretariat, 25 November 2003. The 47,189 mines were more than previously reported as held in stocks. In September 2002, Venezuela reported a stockpile of 22,136 antipersonnel mines, but in May 2003 reported a revised total of 46,136 antipersonnel mines. See, Venezuela Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2002), Form B; and Venezuela Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2001), Form B.

[5] Venezuela Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report, 1 May 2003, Form B. The report listed the types and quantities for 46,136 mines still held in stocks.

[6] Venezuela Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2011), Form D.

[7] Venezuela Mine Ban Treaty Article 7 Report (for calendar year 2007), Form I; and email from Yaneth Arocha, First Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 28 June 2005. The 1,073 figure (1,074 minus one accidental detonation) is the figure reported in Article 7 reports submitted in 2005–2008, which was a revised total from the figure of 1,036 provided in the report submitted in 2003. Venezuela has reported different dates of emplacement in Article 7 reports. Most notably, Venezuela reported that landmines were last laid in March 1997 in its Article 7 report submitted on 26 April 2006, while the Article 7 report submitted on 1 May 2003 reported that mines were last laid in May 1998, with the latter date being five months after Venezuela signed the Mine Ban Treaty.

[8] Statement of the ICBL, Standing Committee on the General Status and Operation of the Mine Ban Treaty, Geneva, 27 April 2007. The ICBL repeated these concerns in a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs dated 18 July 2007, in statements delivered at the Eighth Meeting of States Parties on 18 and 22 November 2007, and in several meetings with Venezuelan officials in 2007.

[9] Statement of the Netherlands, Co-Chair of the Standing Committee on Mine Clearance, Mine Ban Treaty Thirteenth Meeting of States Parties, Geneva, 4 December 2013.