After the weekend shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, which left more than 31 dead, Uruguay followed on Monday Venezuela and warned their citizens to exercise caution when traveling in the United States.
Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza advised citizens to “take extreme precautions or postpone their travels in the face of the proliferation of acts of violence and hate crimes.” The Uruguayan foreign ministry warned of “growing indiscriminate violence, mostly for hate crimes.”
The travel alerts came two days after a gunman opened fire at a shopping center in El Paso, killing 22, including eight Mexicans. Minutes before the attack, a “manifesto” appeared online complaining of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and outlining plans for a shooting. Investigators believe the document was written by shooting suspect Patrick Crusius, who is in custody.
The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry cited El Paso and Dayton in a statement.
“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 that hold political power in Washington,” the Foreign Ministry said.
The Trump administration does not recognize the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro as legitimate. It has backed National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as the rightful leader of the South American country.
Uruguay warned of “the indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population” in the United States and advised travelers not to take children to theme parks, sporting events, fairs and other places where crowds gather.
The U.S. State Department last week raised its own advisory for citizens traveling to Uruguay.
The Uruguayan Foreign Ministry warned citizens 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, arts festivals, religious activities, food fairs and cultural or sporting events. In particular, it is recommended not to take minors to these places.”
The ministry also suggested that Uruguayans avoid Baltimore, Detroit and Albuquerque, which it said were among the 20 most dangerous cities in the world, citing the Ceoworld Magazine 2019 index.
To these cities Venezuela added Atlanta, Buffalo, Cleveland, Memphis, Oakland, St. Louis, Birmingham, Ala., and Stockton, Calif.
The U.S. State Department said on Friday it had raised its travel advisory for Uruguay from Level 1 (Exercise normal precautions) to Level 2 (Exercise increased caution) “due to crime.” The highest U.S. travel advisory is Level 4: Do not travel.
The advisory explains that in Uruguay violent crimes, such as homicides, armed robberies, carjacking and thefts have increased throughout the country and occur in urban areas frequented by U.S. government personnel, day and night.
Criminals commonly travel in pairs on motorcycles to approach unsuspecting victims with a weapon and demand personal belongings. Armed criminals also target grocery stores, restaurants, financial centers, and small businesses, in which innocent bystanders are often victimized.
Thus if you decide to travel to Uruguay:
Be aware of your surroundings especially when traveling to tourist locations or poorly lit areas.
Call 911 if you encounter a crime in progress. Do not physically resist any robbery attempt or try to stop a robbery in progress.
Be vigilant when visiting banks or using ATMs during non-daylight hours or in remote locations; criminals often target ATMs and businesses in the early morning hours.
Do not leave valuable objects in parked vehicles or in plain sight when driving.
Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive jewelry or watches.
Review your personal and residential security plans.
Enroll in the Smart Traveller Enrollment Program, STEP, to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter
Review the Crime and Safety Report for Uruguay
U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations
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