Safe to travel to Haiti as an American?

Sosuaplaya

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Nov 29, 2018
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Is it currently safe in 2018/going-on 2019 for an American to travel to Haiti? Is it at least safe to visit Port au Prince? I am an Asian American who can speak minimal French.
 

Cdn_Gringo

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Apr 29, 2014
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That is kind of a loaded question? Do you consider Chicago safe? How about Memphis or St. Louis?

Haiti is a failed state. There is crime and extrajudicial killings. Political discontent leads to protests that can spring up very quickly. The police force is not particularly effective in maintaining or restoring order. Parts are still in the process of rebuilding after the earthquake, poverty and disease abounds.

You can just as easily become a victim of a crime or physical violence as you can tour the country problem free. It's a lottery kind of like being stuck by lightning. There are things you can do to prevent being struck but if you fail to exercise common sense or follow the rules, you chances increase accordingly.

"We" can't tell you that you will be safe or that you won't be. None of us can see the future and non of us will be making the on the spot decisions that you will should you choose to go to Haiti.

I have never had any real desire to go there so for me the choice to stay away is an easy one. That is not what you want to hear so from my completely subjective point of view, I'd rate Haiti a 4.0 - 4.5 out of 10. Where 10 as safe as it can be a la Iceland and 1 being the most unsafe a la Syria. As a reference I consider the DR to be a 5.0 - 5.5.

There is definitely an elevated personal risk associated with travelling in Haiti. For me, the risk is such that without a pressing reason to go there, I prefer not to. Others may feel differently. Unfortunately without a functioning crystal ball, no one can be certain what will happen in any given place at any given time. Wrong place, wrong time can be anywhere and everywhere.
 

Sosuaplaya

New member
Nov 29, 2018
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That is kind of a loaded question? Do you consider Chicago safe? How about Memphis or St. Louis?

Haiti is a failed state. There is crime and extrajudicial killings. Political discontent leads to protests that can spring up very quickly. The police force is not particularly effective in maintaining or restoring order. Parts are still in the process of rebuilding after the earthquake, poverty and disease abounds.

You can just as easily become a victim of a crime or physical violence as you can tour the country problem free. It's a lottery kind of like being stuck by lightning. There are things you can do to prevent being struck but if you fail to exercise common sense or follow the rules, you chances increase accordingly.

"We" can't tell you that you will be safe or that you won't be. None of us can see the future and non of us will be making the on the spot decisions that you will should you choose to go to Haiti.

I have never had any real desire to go there so for me the choice to stay away is an easy one. That is not what you want to hear so from my completely subjective point of view, I'd rate Haiti a 4.0 - 4.5 out of 10. Where 10 as safe as it can be a la Iceland and 1 being the most unsafe a la Syria. As a reference I consider the DR to be a 5.0 - 5.5.

There is definitely an elevated personal risk associated with travelling in Haiti. For me, the risk is such that without a pressing reason to go there, I prefer not to. Others may feel differently. Unfortunately without a functioning crystal ball, no one can be certain what will happen in any given place at any given time. Wrong place, wrong time can be anywhere and everywhere.
Thanks for the response. I'm not asking for some soothsaying. I thought my question was fair in that Americans are definitely targets in some countries and I was wondering if the unsafe reputation Haiti has is justified or not. Reports on Tripadvisor and Reddit have conflicting opinions. Also, I don't believe Chicago, St. Louis, Memphis, etc to be terribly unsafe or overwhelmingly safe, but they also aren't reputed to be failed states. Your paragraph about the ineffective police, political discontent, disease, etc are really helpful and answers my question. I don't know if what I said hinted that I'd be disappointed in hearing that Haiti is dangerous to visit, but I had no desired response either way. I just wanted something to help me make a more informed travel decision in the future.

In short, sounds like Haiti isn't worth the hassle of visiting. Thanks for the input.
 

windeguy

Well-known member
Jul 10, 2004
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I would never consider going to Haiti. My advice is don't. It is a failed state.
 

Garyexpat

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Sep 7, 2012
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Is it currently safe in 2018/going-on 2019 for an American to travel to Haiti? Is it at least safe to visit Port au Prince? I am an Asian American who can speak minimal French.
Based on your other thread about being concerned about being scammed in the D.R. I would strongly suggest you stay out of Haiti.
 

ROLLOUT

Active member
Jan 30, 2012
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do your homework, and check the advisories put out by the dept of state. As another poster stated, you sound kind of paranoid, and should probably remain in fargo,
 

mountainannie

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Dec 11, 2003
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Travel to Haiti at this moment is not considered safe for Americans by the US State Department. The advisory is at level 3. https://travel.state.gov/content/tr...s/traveladvisories/haiti-travel-advisory.html

At another time, should you wish to go, I would recommend booking a tour with Jaqui LaBrun at Voyages Lumiere since it difficult to get around (you need a car - taxis are expensive and costly) - and as a stranger you would have no idea where to go ... http://voyageslumiere.com/excursions/tours/
 

mountainannie

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cobraboy

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Jul 24, 2004
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Start of the current issues - pretty much the same as in France -- https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/14/...prime-minister-jack-guy-lafontant-quits-.html
France was not a party to PetroCaribe corruption. THAT is the genesis of Haiti's current violence. Haitians are P.O.'d that there is no accountability on $3.8 billion that has gone missing.

In France, the increase in fuel prices is just the straw that broke the camel's back. Anger over immigration and other cultural issues has been burbling below the surface for years, and the PC EU, and "progressive" French gubmint do-gooders have ignored the angst of their own citizens.
 

cavok

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Jun 16, 2014
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Just tell everyone that you're a friend of Conan O'Brien and you'll be fine.
 

mountainannie

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France was not a party to PetroCaribe corruption. THAT is the genesis of Haiti's current violence. Haitians are P.O.'d that there is no accountability on $3.8 billion that has gone missing.

In France, the increase in fuel prices is just the straw that broke the camel's back. Anger over immigration and other cultural issues has been burbling below the surface for years, and the PC EU, and "progressive" French gubmint do-gooders have ignored the angst of their own citizens.
If you look at the US Embassy alert system - https://ht.usembassy.gov/category/alert/ you can see that all non essential embassy personnel were voluntarily evacuated from Haiti @July 13, 2018

the Petro Caribe issue - sizzling for over a year - sparked in August -adding fuel onto an already burning fire
https://www.newyorker.com/news/news...he-government-has-done-with-missing-oil-money
 

cobraboy

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Jul 24, 2004
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If you look at the US Embassy alert system - https://ht.usembassy.gov/category/alert/ you can see that all non essential embassy personnel were voluntarily evacuated from Haiti @July 13, 2018

the Petro Caribe issue - sizzling for over a year - sparked in August -adding fuel onto an already burning fire
https://www.newyorker.com/news/news...he-government-has-done-with-missing-oil-money
Every one of my Haitian contact claim the PetroCaribe scandal is THE reason for recent violence. I have to think that Haiti is a tinderbox anyway.
 

mountainannie

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July 10, 2018 - Voluntary departure means that Embassy employees and their families are permitted to leave post temporarily, and will be allowed to return at a later date. American and local personnel remain working at the Embassy. ... The Embassy remains open for emergency U.S. citizen services.


Dandicat-
The pilfering of the Petrocaribe funds has been a concern in Haiti for years, but it wasn’t until this summer, when the writer and filmmaker Gilbert Mirambeau, Jr., tweeted a photo showing himself blindfolded like a kidnapping victim, holding a handwritten cardboard sign reading “Kot Kòb Petwo Karibe a???” (“Where is the Petrocaribe money???”), that these grievances began spreading widely online. #KotKòbPetwoKaribea became a popular hashtag, and other Haitians posted images of themselves inspired by Mirambeau’s. Anti-corruption street protests became larger and more frequent, culminating in massive demonstrations on Wednesday in cities in Haiti and in the diaspora.

(Tweet was in August)

just so we are clear... the spark for the riots was the raising of the tax on the gas
just as the spark for the riots in France was the raising of the tax on the gas
there was already enough rioting- demonstrations.. gang violence.. lack of government control
before the issue of the Petro Caribe money came into play

Haiti seems to be in worse shape than back in 2004-05.

Very sad to see. And dangerous for the DR.
 

mountainannie

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Every one of my Haitian contact claim the PetroCaribe scandal is THE reason for recent violence. I have to think that Haiti is a tinderbox anyway.
Yes, certainly that is the most recent reason for the most recent riots
my post was on what had Started this round of riots...
which evidently have been ongoing all summer --

Minustah is planning on pulling out/back in Oct 2019 which - well - perhaps not such a good idea.. since the police do not have the place in hand. Evidently the lawyers are on strike?...? There does not appear to be a functional government....

and yet.. someone from the government is in Toronto at some sort of Expo there asking for Canadian investment?!?!?!??!?!
 

william webster

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Jan 16, 2009
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Haitian corruption???
Just look up what Baby Doc absconded with....
Forget his father...

There’s not much left when the boys loot the treasury
 

mountainannie

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From the US State Department (although I think we are all pretty clear on this now):


Reconsider travel to Haiti due to crime and civil unrest.

There are currently unpredictable and sporadic demonstrations in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere in Haiti. On November 29, 2018, the U.S. government authorized the departure of non-emergency U.S. government personnel and their families. Protests, tire burning, and road blockages are frequent and unpredictable. Violent crime, such as armed robbery, is common. Local police may lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents, and emergency response, including ambulance service, is limited or non-existent.

Travelers are sometimes targeted, followed, and violently attacked and robbed shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport. The U.S. Embassy requires its personnel to use official transportation to and from the airport, and it takes steps to detect surveillance and deter criminal attacks during these transports.

The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in some areas of Haiti. The Embassy discourages its personnel from walking in most neighborhoods. The Embassy prohibits its personnel from:

Visiting establishments after dark without secure, on-site parking;
Using any kind of public transportation or taxis;
Visiting banks and using ATMs;
Driving outside of Port-au-Prince at night;
Traveling anywhere between 1:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m.; and
Visiting certain parts of the city at any time without prior approval and special security measures in place...."

Canada has Haiti at the official government warning level of "Avoid Non-essential Travel"