Sunday, February 1, 2009

How are things in Haiti - 2009

The US Embassy has updated their grim travel warning for Haiti. People who live in Haiti suggest that this warning is unwarranted, citing that there are more murders per year here, in the Dominican Repubic, which is true. But, alas, what is also true, is that Americans are not targets of kidnapping here in the DR.

Here it is:

U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Haiti despite this warning are
reminded that there also is a chronic danger of violent crime, especially
kidnappings. Most kidnappings are criminal in nature, and the kidnappers
make no distinctions of nationality, race, gender, or age. As of January
2009, 25 Americans were reported kidnapped in 2008. Most of the Americans
were abducted in Port-au-Prince. Some kidnap victims have been killed,
shot, sexually assaulted, or brutally abused. 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.Travel is always hazardous within Port-au-Prince.
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. Some
areas are off-limits to Embassy staff after dark, including downtown
Port-au-Prince. The Embassy restricts travel by its staff to some areas
outside of Port-au-Prince because of the prevailing road and security
conditions. This may constrain our ability to provide emergency services to
U.S. citizens outside of Port-au-Prince. Demonstrations and violence may
occasionally limit Embassy operations to emergency services, even within
Port-au-Prince. The UN stabilization force (MINUSTAH) remains fully
deployed and is assisting the government of Haiti in providing security.

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