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Haiti Travel Warning

Issued by US Department of State

Feb 19, 2004

This Travel Warning is being issued to inform American citizens that, due to the continued unrest and a steady deterioration of the security situation in Haiti, including violent confrontations between pro- and anti-government forces, the U.S. Embassy has further reduced its presence in Haiti with the withdrawal of Peace Corps personnel. The Department of State strongly urges American citizens to depart the country while commercial carriers are still operating on an uninterrupted schedule. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued February 10, 2004.

The Department of State previously authorized the departure of family members and non-emergency employees of the U.S. Embassy on a voluntary basis. The U.S. Embassy has imposed a curfew from 8:00pm to 6:00am on its staff and family members until further notice. The curfew hours may change. The Peace Corps has ordered its staff to depart Haiti until the situation stabilizes. American citizens should be aware that the U.S. Embassy has prohibited travel by its staff outside of Port-Au-Prince, and that the Embassy's ability to provide emergency services to American Citizens outside of Port-Au-Prince is limited and has drastically decreased in recent days due to numerous random roadblocks set up by armed groups. These roadblocks have cut off several major roads, making travel to Port-au-Prince and other cities difficult.

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens to defer travel to Haiti and urges American citizens to depart the country at their first safe opportunity. Americans are reminded of the potential for spontaneous demonstrations and violent confrontations between government supporters and students and other groups that oppose the government of Haiti.

American citizens who remain in Haiti, despite this Travel Warning, should register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince and enroll in the warden system (emergency alert network) to obtain updated information on travel and security in Haiti. The Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy is located at 104, rue Oswald Durand, Port-au-Prince. The telephone numbers are (509) 223-7011, 223-6440, 223-6443, 223-6421, 223-6426, 223-6424, 223-6407, 223-7008, 222-0200, the fax number is (509) 223-9665, and the email address is acspap@state.gov.

There has been significant political tension over recent weeks in Port-au-Prince, Gonaives, Cap Haitien, St. Marc, Petit Goave, Grand Goave, Jacmel, and other parts of Haiti. The U.S. Embassy was closed several times due to civil unrest. From time to time, the Embassy may again close temporarily to assess its security posture. The Embassy's Regional Security Office has recommended that persons associated with the Embassy not remain in downtown Port-au-Prince after sunset and has directed that they remain in their homes during the hours covered by the curfew.

Since the beginning of the year, some international organizations have decided to draw down their staffs in Haiti. Groups opposed to the government have mounted demonstrations and attacked government facilities around the country, and pro-government groups have counter-attacked. Haiti's security environment has been deteriorating as President Aristide has continued to politicize the Haitian National Police and used government resources to pay for violent gangs to attack opposition demonstrators. The government of Haiti has failed to maintain order in Port-au-Prince or in other cities and in some instances has assisted in violently repressing the demonstrations. Due to severe limitations on travel and communication inside the country, the Embassy's ability to assist U.S. citizens in Haiti is very limited at this time. American citizens who elect to remain in Haiti should remain vigilant.

As the Department continues to develop information on potentially dangerous demonstrations and political unrest in Haiti, it shares that information through its Consular Information Program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov/haiti.html. U.S. travelers can also get up-to-date information on security conditions in Haiti by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. or Canada or on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328.

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