The Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen, Democratic Yemen, or simply South Yemen was a state that existed from 1967-90, before merging with the Yemen Arab Republic to form the Republic of Yemen. Therefore technically you cannot visit South Yemen, but things on the ground are a little more complex.
To read why Socotra is a haven from the civil war in Yemen read this article.
A background to the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen
South Yemen and Aden (the capital) were British colonies. During the 1960’s the British wanted to create a United Arab Emirates like system of states in South Yemen, namely the Federation of South Arabia and the Protectorate of South Arabia. Sadly the National Liberation Front saw things a bit more left and when the British negotiated their exit it was with the NLF, not the many Sultanates. In 1967 the Peoples Republic of Yemen was formed only to be superseded by the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen in 1969, headed by Soviet aligned Marxists, making it the only such state in the region. Things went largely swimmingly with life improving, women’s rights being a thing.
There was brief war with North Yemen in 1972, as well as 1986 civil war, but communism was largely a success. Then the country “merged” with North Yemen in 1990, but the only problem was it was less of a merger and more a hostile takeover.
In 1993 people were already pissed, which led to war in 1994, peace again, but then the south trying to secede pretty much continuously since 2010. These efforts are currently led by the Southern Transitional Council (STC), who are supported by the UAE.
The current People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen
While the STC do not advocate for a return to communism, they do use the flag of the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen and for all intents we can use PDR Yemen as working title for what this southern state might look like. Currently the STC control large swathes of the south of Yemen, or South Yemen, as well as the island of Socotra, who themselves we will argue later should be counted as a the Republic of Socotra!
Recently the group even took Adan its former capital and the scenic largest city in Yemen, meaning recognized, or not there is an area controlled and existing as the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen.
What is the current status of the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen?
Essentially it is exists in the realms of an unrecognized country, but one in a state of flux. This has it with more in common with the previous Peoples Republic of Donetsk rather than say Transnsitria.
To read about unrecognized countries click here.
Its longevity though and indeed existence cannot be denied and unlike theoretical states such as Catalonia, or Tibet the PDR Yemen very much exists, under the watchful eye of the UAE, STC and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).
Can you visit the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen?
You can visit the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen, but it also depends on what you count as a country. If you a 193 Cluber then this is dejure Yemen and thus you have visited Yemen whether you go north or south.
To read about counting countries click here.
If you want to visit the former nation that was PDR Yemen then visiting anywhere that the former state geographically encompassed will do. If though you want to visit the current political entity that is the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen, then you will need to visit somewhere under the control of the STC, which includes Socotra. Although Socotra itself could make.a valid claim to be its operate entity. Therefore to truly visit the Peoples Republic of Yemen you need to head to Aden, or other STC controlled areas of mainland Yemen.
Want to see Socotra with YPT? You can check out our group and independent tours to Socatra here.