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#562: From Haiti On Line (HOL) (fwd)

From: Alexandra Azor <AAzor@nbbj.com>

Haiti: dans les lunettes du State Department. 


Haiti - Consular Information Sheet 
September 14, 1999 

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Haiti is one of the least developed countries in the
Western Hemisphere. While supplies of goods and services are adequate in
Port-au-Prince, there are shortages in other parts of the country. Tourism
facilities in Port-au-Prince are adequate, but in most of Haiti, they are
virtually non-existent. 

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Haitian law requires a passport to enter. In practice,
officials frequently waive this requirement if travelers have a certified
copy of their birth certificate, indicating they are U.S. citizens. Due to
fraud concerns, however, airlines do not board passengers for return to the
U.S. unless they are in possession of valid passports. The Embassy
recommends that U.S. citizens obtain passports before travel to Haiti. For
additional information regarding entry, tax and customs for Haiti, travelers
can contact the Haitian Embassy, 2311 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W.,
Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 332-4090, or Haitian consulates in
Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois or Puerto Rico. 

MEDICAL FACILITIES: Medical care in Port-au-Prince is limited and the level
of community sanitation is low. Medical facilities outside the capital are
generally below U.S. standards. Life-threatening emergencies may require
evacuation by air ambulance at the patient's expense. Doctors and hospitals
often expect immediate cash payment for health services. U.S. medical
insurance is not always valid outside the U.S. Travelers should strongly
consider supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage,
including medical evacuation. Useful information about medical emergencies
abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department
of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical
<http://www.haitionline.com/1999/medical.html> Information for Americans
Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or
auto fax: (202) 647-3000. 

Information on vaccinations and other health matters can be obtained from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299): or via their Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov
<http://www.cdc.gov/> . 

In mid-1996, the government of Haiti ordered Haitian-manufactured
pharmaceuticals taken off shelves following the suspicious deaths of Haitian
children from renal failure. Nonetheless, U.S. citizens should be alert to
the presence of Haitian brands in people's homes or in remote pharmacies. 

Safety and Security: Haiti continues to experience occasional civil unrest,
including unofficial roadblocks in all regions of the country. Travelers
encountering a roadblock or large crowd should remain calm and use common
sense in departing quickly. Violence can flare up at any time. 

Crime Information: Crime, already at a high level, is of increasing concern.
Murders, carjackings, armed robberies and break-ins contribute to safety and
security concerns. Some of these crimes, which sometimes occur during
daylight hours in crowded areas, appear to be specifically aimed at
foreigners, including U.S. citizens. Several fatalities occurred in 1998.
Travelers should be particularly alert when leaving the Port-au-Prince
airport, as criminals have been known to follow arriving passengers from the
airport to private residences where they carry out assaults and robberies;
some recent incidents have resulted in deaths. Visitors and residents should
exercise extreme caution when driving along route Nationale no. 1, the
airport road, in the port area and in Cite Soleil, as crimes involving
vehicles occur regularly. While most crimes occur in these areas,
neighborhoods in Port-au-Prince, such as the Delmas road area and
Petionville, formerly considered safer, have witnessed an increasing
incidence of crime. There are no "safe areas." Travelers should exercise
caution throughout Haiti. Holiday periods, Christmas and Carnival,
especially, see a significant increase in violent crime. 

U.S. citizens should exercise caution against crime, including keeping
valuables well hidden, ensuring valuables are not kept in parked vehicles,
favoring private over public transportation, using alternating routes, and
keeping doors and windows in both homes and vehicles closed and locked. If
an armed individual demands the surrender of a vehicle or other valuables,
the U.S. Embassy recommends compliance without resistance. It is also
recommended that traveling at night be avoided. Crime victims are often
frustrated by the lack of response and enforcement capabilities of the local
police and judiciary. 

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately
to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Lost or
stolen U.S. birth certificates and/or drivers licenses used as entry
documents generally cannot be replaced outside the United States. U.S.
citizens can refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip
Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. This publication
and others, such as Tips for Travelers to the Caribbean are available by
mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402; via the Internet at
http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs <http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs> , or
via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov
<http://travel.state.gov/> . 

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to
that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly
from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available
to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more
severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating
Haitian laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Haiti are
strict. Those accused of drug-related crimes can expect lengthy legal
proceedings, irregular application of Haitian law, and delayed due process.
If convicted, offenders may face long jail sentences and substantial fines. 

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: Road conditions in Haiti are very poor.
Paved roads in Port-au-Prince and major provincial capitals are littered
with potholes and many have eroded badly. Most roads in the country are
unpaved and unlit. Port-au-Prince traffic is congested most of the day as a
result of the poor roads, the undisciplined driving, badly maintained
vehicles, a plethora of street merchants, itinerant mechanics and
pedestrians. Traffic laws are similar to those in the U.S. but are not
generally enforced. Travel at night on inter-city highways should be
avoided, particularly on route Nationale no. 1, due to vehicles traveling at
excessive speeds. 

Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
has assessed the government of Haiti's civil aviation authority as category
3 -- not in compliance with international aviation safety standards for
oversight of Haiti's air carrier operations. Flights to the U.S. by Haiti's
air carriers are not permitted unless they arrange to have the flights
conducted by a carrier from a country meeting international safety

For further information, travelers may contact the Department of
Transportation within the U.S. at 1 (800) 322-7873, or visit the FAA's
Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.htm
<http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.htm> . The U.S. Department of Defense
(DOD) does not permit its personnel to use carriers from category 3
countries for official business. For information regarding the DOD policy on
specific carriers, travelers may contact the Pentagon at (703) 697-7288. 

On January 23, 1998, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation determined that
Port-au-Prince International Airport, Port-au-Prince, Haiti, does not
maintain and carry out effective security measures. All U.S. and foreign air
carriers that service Port-au-Prince international airport are required to
provide a written notice to this effect to passengers purchasing a ticket to
Port-au-Prince from the U.S. 

Y2K Information: As a consequence of the so called Y2K "bug", on or about
January 1, 2000, some automated systems throughout the world may experience
problems, including unpredictable system malfunctions. In countries that are
not prepared, the Y2K problem could affect financial services, utilities,
health services, telecommunications, energy, transportation and other vital
services. U.S. citizens who are traveling to any country during this time
period should be aware of the potential for the disruption of normal medical
services. Travelers with special medical needs should consult with their
personal physician and take appropriate precautions. While travelers do not
necessarily need to alter their travel plans, being informed and prepared
for possible disruptions is prudent. 

Haiti is not heavily reliant on computerized systems and appears to be
generally prepared to deal with the Y2K problem. In Haiti, it appears there
is a low risk of potential Y2K disruptions in key sectors, although
electricity and telephone service may be disrupted and imports to Haiti may
be interrupted. U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Haiti in late 1999
or early 2000 should be aware of any potential difficulties. 

It is difficult to predict the severity or duration of Y2K-related
disruptions. U.S. citizens in Haiti should take practical precautions,
anticipate the potential for disruption to their daily activities, and be
prepared to cope with the impact of such disruptions. Information about
personal preparedness and Y2K is available in the Department of State
worldwide Public Announcement of July 26, 1999 which is accessible on the
Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at
http://travel.state.gov/y2kca.html. <http://travel.state.gov/y2kca.html>  

Aviation and Y2K: The U.S. Department of Transportation is heading an
international year 2000 civil aviation evaluation process to review
information on Y2K readiness in aviation based on reports to the
International Civil Aviation Organization and other available sources. The
Federal Aviation Administration is working with the industry and its
international partners to encourage sharing of Y2K readiness and contingency
planning information so that air carriers will be able to make appropriate
decisions. Consult your airline about contingency plans in the event of
unforeseen Y2K-related delays, cancellations, or disruptions. See the
Department of Transportation Y2K home page at http://www.dot.gov/fly2k
<http://www.dot.gov/fly2k>  for updated information on Y2K and aviation

As January 1, 2000 draws nearer we will provide updated information
available to us about important Y2K issues in Haiti on the Consular Affairs
home page at http://travel.state.gov/y2kca.html.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children,
international parental child abduction, and international child support
enforcement issues, please refer to our Internet site at
<http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html> 's_issues.html or telephone
(202) 736-7000. 

Embassy Location/Registration: U.S. citizens living in or visiting Haiti are
encouraged to register at the consular section of the U.S. Embassy in
Port-au-Prince and obtain updated information on travel and security in
Haiti. The Consular Section is located on Rue Oswald Durand, Port-au-Prince;
telephone (509) 23-7011; fax (509) 23-1641. The U.S. Embassy is located on
Harry Truman Blvd., Port-au-Prince; telephone (509) 22-0200, 22-0354,
23-0955 or 22-0269; fax (509) 23-1641. 


This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated January 21, 1999 to
include sections on Y2K information and children's issues.