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French West Indies Travel Alert

Issued by US Department of State

Feb 13, 2009

This Travel Alert is to alert U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Guadeloupe and Martinique, French West Indies (FWI), that ongoing labor strikes in the region may affect social, economic and tourist services.  It is possible that these strikes will spread to other French overseas departments.  This Travel Alert expires on May 13, 2009.

Due to ongoing labor strikes, riot police from mainland France are now stationed in Martinique and Guadeloupe.  Most commercial activities have ceased, and there are mounting shortages of food, water, and power on both islands. 

In Martinique, strikes and large-scale street protests continue.  Gas stations, stores, the port, and banks remain closed.  There are continuing interruptions in power and rapidly dwindling water and food supplies.

In Guadeloupe there are reports of increasing tensions, with armed gangs blockading routes and targeting residents and tourists.  There have been no reports of U.S. citizens being specifically targeted.  The government is reportedly mobilizing the police and armed forces to address the possibility of severe civil unrest.    

American citizens in both Guadeloupe and Martinique are encouraged to monitor media reports, avoid large crowds, and follow all official instructions.  We remind U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence.  U.S. citizens should stay current with media coverage of local events and be aware of their surroundings at all times.

For additional information on travel to the FWI, see the Department’s Country Specific Information for French West Indies available at http://travel.state.gov.  Americans in FWI should also monitor the website of the U.S. Embassy: http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov.  U.S. citizens should remain in contact with friends and family in the United States with updates about their whereabouts.  The U.S. Embassy will continue to monitor the situation, and will issue updated messages as needed.

For any emergencies involving U.S. citizens, please contact the American Citizens Services (ACS) Unit of the U.S. Embassy’s Consular Section, located at Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael, Barbados; telephone (246) 227-4000; ACS unit fax (246)431-0179; e-mail consularbridge2@state.gov; web page http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov.

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