The USA is known for issuing comprehensive travel advisories for its citizens visiting countries with high incidences of crime and civil unrest. However, Americans, alongside having one of the world’s most powerful passports, aren’t used to the same treatment. Following the horrific shootings in Dayton, Ohio (Aug 4) and El Paso, Texas (Aug 3) that killed 31 people, Uruguay, Venezuela and the Japanese Consulate in Detroit have released statements warning its citizens against US travel. The Japanese Consulate called it more of a ‘general warning’ to spread awareness and take stock of the situation, and not an advisory in the strictest sense.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International, which is headquartered in London, released its warning “in light of ongoing high levels of gun violence in the country.” The prevalence of these shootings in the USA prompted the not-for-profit to to describe the continued shootings as a ‘human rights crisis’.
Uruguay’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a warning last Monday advising citizens to “take precaution amid the growing indiscriminatory violence, specifically hate crimes including racism and discrimination” when traveling to the United States. The alert observed that factors like the indiscriminate possession of firearms by Americans, and the “impossibility of authorities to prevent these situations,” were aspects that Uruguayan travellers needed to keep in mind while visiting highly-populated areas. Detroit in Michigan, Baltimore in Maryland, and Albuquerque in New Mexico were listed as places to avoid.
Venezuela’s Foreign Ministry also issued a warning to residents last week, advising Venezuelans to either postpone travels or exercise caution due to the Ohio and Texas shootings. The statement noted that “recent proliferation of violent acts and hate crimes” should be kept in consideration for those visiting the USA. “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 who hold political power in Washington. This year alone, these actions have cost the lives of more than 250 people,” it said.
The exact criteria to term instances of gun violence as a ‘mass shooting’ aren’t rigidly defined. Some organisations require at least three to four fatalities in a single incident before labeling it as such. If this aspect is discounted, then at least ten more shootings have happened till August 11 in the USA. Combined with the events of Texas and Ohio, this may prevent the advisories from being lifted anytime soon.