A magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck Tuesday near Yaguaraparo, off the northeastern coast of Venezuela, according to the US Geological Survey.
No injuries or deaths were reported, but several buildings were shaken causing structural damage, the country's Interior Ministry said.
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Stefano Pozzebon, a journalist in the country's capital Caracas, told CNN he felt shaking for at least one minute, and a seven-floor building he was in was evacuated.
The USGS said the quake had a depth of 76.5 miles. No tsunami warnings were issued.
Venezuelan Interior Minister Néstor Luis Reverol asked for people to remain calm on his official Twitter account.
Irald Cabrera, a translator for a tour company in Güiria, further east on the northern coast, told CNN that the earthquake lasted about a minute, with three aftershocks shortly after. The city is 43 miles from the epicenter of the quake.
Cabrera, 34, said he is used to seismic activity, but this was different.
"This one was strong, and we were afraid," he said.
In Caracas -- more than 370 miles west of the quake's epicenter -- one abandoned skyscraper, a well-known home for squatters, suffered severe damage causing the top floors to lean precariously over the street.
The surrounding area was evacuated.
Over 20,000 personnel from Venezuela's Civil Protection and Disaster agency were deployed to help anyone in need, Reverol said in a tweet.