Haiti defended itself this week against scathing travel advisories issued by the U.S. and Canadian governments that warned travelers of crime, cholera and lack of infrastructure.
“The government of the republic vehemently protests against the warnings issued by the governments of the United States and Canada, urging their citizens to avoid travel to Haiti as a destination or to show extreme caution for those who live there,” a statement released by the office of Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe read.
The warnings came as a significant blow to the country given its recent attempt to revive its tourism industry and attract outside investors.
According to the travel advisory released by the U.S. State Department, U.S. travelers to Haiti have routinely become victims of violent crime, including murder and kidnapping. The report also advises U.S. travelers to Haiti to use organizations that have independent infrastructure, evacuation and medical support options in place.
Lamothe’s statement rebuffed many of the advisory’s claims, stating that the spread of cholera has declined significantly during the current administration’s tenure and that nationwide efforts to strengthen the police force have been made.
“It is clear that these warnings are incompatible with progress made in this field and are definitely harmful to the image of the country at a time when the Martelly-Lamothe administration is combining every effort to put Haiti on the international map,” the statement read.
“The government wants to reassure the Haitian diaspora and foreign travelers visiting Haiti that they can, peacefully.”
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(Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images For J/P Haitian Relief Organization and Cinema For Peace)