Travel Warning – Haiti January 10, 2007

Published by Chris Harvey January 10, 2007

United States Department of State
Bureau of Consular Affairs
Washington, DC 20520

January 10, 2007

This Travel Warning is being issued to remind American citizens of ongoing security concerns in Haiti, including frequent kidnappings of Americans for ransom.  Travelers are strongly advised to thoroughly consider the risks before travel to Haiti, and to take adequate precautions to ensure their safety if they do so.  This Travel Warning supersedes the Travel Warning issued July 7, 2006, and expires July 9, 2007.

U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Haiti are reminded that there is a chronic and growing danger of kidnappings.  Most kidnappings are criminal in nature, and the kidnappers make no distinctions of nationality, race, gender or age; all are vulnerable.  Over 60 Americans were kidnapped in 2006, most in Port-au-Prince. Many abductions are the result of carjacking or home invasions.  Past kidnappings have been marked by deaths, sexual assault, shooting and physical assault of Americans.  The lack of civil protections in Haiti, as well as the limited capability of local law enforcement to resolve kidnapping cases, further compounds the element of danger surrounding this trend.

U.S. citizens are also reminded of the potential for spontaneous protests and public demonstrations that can occur at any time, day or night, and may result in violence.  While the nation-wide elections for municipal and other local positions on December 3rd, 2006, were conducted peacefully, political violence can occur at any time.  American citizens are advised to take commonsense precautions and avoid any event where crowds may congregate.  Visitors and residents must remain vigilant due to the absence of an effective police force in much of Haiti; the potential for looting; the presence of intermittent roadblocks set by armed gangs or by the police; and the possibility of random violent crime, including carjacking and assault.

Travel can be hazardous within Port-au-Prince.  Some areas are off-limits to embassy staff, including downtown Port-au-Prince after dark.  U.S. Embassy personnel are under an embassy-imposed curfew and must remain in their homes or in U.S. government facilities during the curfew.  The embassy has limited travel by its staff outside of Port-au-Prince and therefore its ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens outside of Port-au-Prince is constrained.  The UN stabilization force (MINUSTAH) remains fully deployed and is assisting the government of Haiti in providing security.

Due to the current security situation in Haiti, the Department of State reminds U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Haiti to remain vigilant with regard to their personal security; they are strongly advised to register either online at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ or with the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince.  The Consular Section can be reached at (509) 223-7011, fax number (509) 223-9665, or e-mail address acspap@state.gov.  Travelers should also consult the Department of State’s latest Consular Information Sheet for Haiti and Worldwide Caution Public Announcement at http://travel.state.gov.  American citizens may also obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the United States or Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from overseas.  In Haiti citizens can call 509/222-0200, ext. 2000.

Squaremouth recommends travel insurance for all your overseas trips.