Current relations between Switzerland and Venezuela are not very extensive. In March 2018, Switzerland imposed the same sanctions as the EU on Venezuela in view of human rights violations and the undermining of the rule of law and democratic institutions. Switzerland does however continue to provide humanitarian aid in Venezuela and in neighbouring countries.
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
The two countries have agreements in investment protection, double taxation and air transport, but bilateral trade has declined because of the crisis in Venezuela.
On 5 April 2019, Switzerland was officially mandated by the United States to represent US interests in Venezuela. However, the protecting power mandate must also be approved by Venezuela before it can come into effect.
In 2018, Switzerland imported mainly agricultural products worth CHF 3.5 million from Venezuela. Exports in the same period amounted to CHF 50 million, consisting mainly of pharmaceutical products, machinery and precision instruments.
In 2017, Swiss direct investment in Venezuela stood at CHF 1.7 billion, and more than 3,800 people in Venezuela were employed by Swiss firms.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers in Venezuela can apply to the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
In view of the crisis in Venezuela, the SDC has been steadily expanding its aid operations in the country since 2017.
Switzerland funds both multilateral and bilateral partner organisations working to meet the most urgent needs of the Venezuelan population and migrants in the country (including Colombian returnees) as well as supporting refugees in Colombia. It also seconds experts from the Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit (SHA) to selected multilateral partners.
Switzerland's engagement is consistent with the four humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and it takes a clear needs-oriented approach in the provision of humanitarian assistance.
Swiss nationals in Venezuela
At the end of 2018, there were 1,100 Swiss nationals living in Venezuela.
History of bilateral relations
Switzerland opened an honorary consulate in the capital Caracas in 1909. In 1939 it opened a legation, which was upgraded to a diplomatic representation (embassy) in 1961. The Swiss-Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1979.