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7675: State Department Announcement (fwd)
I don't know if there is need to take the announcement below too seriously. I used
to be an assistant warden for the U.S. Consulate in Haiti. Warnings like this used
to come out all of the time but, in all reality, they never seemed to have real
meaning; it seemed more of a formality than anything. I know we never did much to
change our lifestyle as a result of it ... just exercised the same prudent guidelines
as always. It is still good, though, to know what is being announced, so I thought I
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
April 17, 2001
The security situation in Haiti continues to be volatile. Protests and
demonstrations, which can turn violent at any time, are likely to occur. American
citizens should avoid political gatherings and demonstrations as crowd behavior can
be unpredictable. Travelers encountering roadblocks, protests, or large crowds should
remain calm and depart the area quickly and without confrontation. Assistance from
Haitian officials, such as the police, should not be expected during public political
events. While the security situation has improved to some degree and the Department
has lifted the authorized departure status of family members of U.S. Government
personnel in Haiti, the overall situation remains unstable.
The Haitian government has failed on occasion to take measures to prevent or contain
certain violent and dangerous situations in the past, including bombings in public
areas, politically-motivated killings, indiscriminate gunfire directed at pedestrians
in Port-Au-Prince, and acts directed at diplomatic facilities and vehicles.
In addition to civil and political unrest, violent crime is on the rise throughout
the country. The state of law and order is of increasing concern, with reports of
armed robberies and break-ins, kidnappings, murders and car hijackings becoming more
frequent. The limited response and enforcement capabilities of the Haitian National
Police and the judiciary mean there is little relief for victims of crime. U.S.
citizens in Haiti should take appropriate security precautions, and should establish
and maintain contact with the Embassy.