Two Countries Are Telling Citizens The US Is Unsafe For Travel
Countries across the world are warning citizens travelling to the US that they could be at risk, following the mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton.
Venezuela and Uruguay’s foreign ministries released statements discouraging people from travelling to the US.
Uruguay’s statement on Monday, August 5, urged citizens to avoid ‘theme parks, shopping centers, art festivals’ and ‘religious activities’.
The Foreign Ministry warns compatriots traveling to the United States to take precautions against growing indiscriminate violence, mostly for hate crimes, including racism and discrimination, which cost the lives of more than 250 people in the first seven months of this year.
Given the impossibility of the authorities to prevent these situations, due among other factors, to the indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population, it is especially advisable to avoid places where large concentrations of people occur, such as theme parks, shopping centers, art festivals, religious activities, food fairs and any kind of cultural or sporting events. In particular, it is recommended not to go with minors to these places.
The statement also warns against specific cities: Detroit, Michigan; Baltimore, Maryland; and Albuquerque, New Mexico, which are among the 20 most dangerous cities in the world according to the Ceoworld Magazine 2019 ranking.
Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry issued a very similar statement, also warning against visiting certain cities, and urging citizens to either postpone their travel to the US or take precautions.
The statement from Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry reads:
These growing acts of violence have found echo and sustenance in the speeches and actions impregnated with racial discrimination and hatred against migrant populations, pronounced and executed from the supremacist elite who hold political power in Washington.
A fundamental factor to consider lies in the inexcusable indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population, also encouraged from the center of the federal government of that country, so it is especially advisable to avoid places where large crowds occur. In particular, it is recommended not to attend these places with minors.
It is important to note that the statements may be politically motivated. The US State Department recently raised its risk rating of Uruguay, advising citizens to ‘exercise extreme caution’. Donald Trump’s administration has also backed Venezuela’s National Assembly President Juan Guaidó’s mission to oust President Nicolás Maduro from power – the latter of whom has been accused bu US officials of turning the country into a de facto dictatorship, which is contested by several journalists.
Former congressman Beto O’Rourke slammed Trump’s call for immigration reform following the shootings:
Politics aside, they aren’t the only countries issuing warnings. In an online travel advisory, New Zealand’s government say ‘there is a heightened threat of terrorism in the United States and terrorists remain likely to try to carry out attacks’ and that ‘attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners’. The Irish government say on the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade website that there’s an ‘increased threat of terrorism and extremist violence worldwide and this should be borne in mind by Irish citizens’ in the US.
While the World Travel and Tourism Council found that travel warnings against countries are unlikely to deter any tourism, mass shootings certainly will. Following the Las Vegas shooting in 2017, which left 57 people dead, it reportedly took a year for the city to bounce back to usual footfall.
The El Paso shooting is being treated as an act of ‘domestic terrorism’ and the suspect could face several federal hate crime charges. An investigation into whether the shooter, Patrick Crusius, wrote and published a highly racist manifesto – warning against Hispanics turning Texas into a ‘Democratic stronghold’ – on 8chan is underway.
In the fallout of the mass shootings, many have criticised the Trump administration for a lack of action on gun control, as well as Trump himself, for stirring up a hateful rhetoric.
The US State Department’s official map places the country as one of the safest places in the world – it’s easy to see the bias, considering this year alone, there’s been 255 mass shootings in the US.
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CreditsThe Washington Post and 7 others
The Washington Post
Los Angeles Times
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Ireland)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Venezuela)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Uruguay)
Safe Travel Advisory (New Zealand)
US Department of State