US State Department Issues New Travel Warning on Haiti

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - December 30, 2012

Above: Carnival in Haiti

By the Caribbean Journal staff

The US State Department has issued a travel warning to US citizens on traveling to or living on Haiti, citing the current security situation.

The warning replaces the previous travel warning issued in June.

“The Department of State urges US citizens to exercise caution when visiting Haiti,” the State Department said. “Thousands of U.S. citizens safely visit Haiti each year, but the poor state of Haiti’s emergency response network should be carefully considered when planning travel. Travelers to Haiti are encouraged to use organizations that have solid infrastructure, evacuation, and medical support options in place.”

The department said US citizens had been victims of violent crime, including murder and kidnapping, primarily in the Port-au-Prince area.

The government said that in recent months, travelers arriving in Port-au-Prince on flights from the US were attacked and robbed shortly after departing the airport.

At least two US citizens were shot and killed in robbery and kidnapping incidents in 2012, the State Department said.

“Haitian authorities have limited capacity to deter or investigate such violent acts, or prosecute perpetrators,” it said. “The ability of local authorities to respond to emergencies is limited and in some areas nonexistent.”

US Embassy personnel are currently under an Embassy-imposed curfew of 1:00 AM to 5:00 AM, and must remain at home or at another safe facility during those hours, the government said, and there are currently additional restrictions on travel by Embassy staff.

The department also said that given the “possibility and unpredictability of protests, including the potential (as with any protest) to become violent,” the ability of the Haitian National Police to assist US citizens during disturbances is “very limited.”

The warning also mentioned that, while incidents of cholera have declined significantly, cholera persists in many areas of the country.

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