Venezuela, Uruguay warn against travel to U.S. cities following mass shootings

Venezuela and Uruguay have warned their citizens against travel to certain U.S. cities following mass shootings that killed 31 people in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio on the weekend.

The warnings came after the U.S. last week heightened its own travel advisory for Uruguay, and months after it issued a “do not travel” warning for Venezuela.

Venezuela’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement Monday that warned citizens heading to the U.S. to either “postpone their travel or, in any case, take precautions… given the proliferation of acts of violence and crimes of indiscriminate hatred” in El Paso and Dayton.

The ministry specifically called out a number of U.S. cities including Detroit, Cleveland, Baltimore, St. Louis, Oakland and Memphis.

“These growing acts of violence have found echo and sustenance in the speeches and actions impregnated with racial discrimination and hatred against migrant populations,” which have been issued by the “elite who hold political power in Washington,” according to a translated version of the Venezuelan release.

“A fundamental factor to consider lies in the inexcusable, indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population,” the release added.

The ministry specifically warned people to avoid places where large crowds gather, and to avoid bringing minors to such locations.

Uruguay’s warning used similar language, advising its people to take “precautions against growing indiscriminate violence, mostly for hate crimes, including racism and discrimination.”

It, too, warned against attending any place with large crowds, naming festivals, shopping malls, theme parks “and any kind of cultural or sporting events.”

Uruguay also named a number of U.S. cities which it said ranked among the “20 most dangerous in the world,” including Detroit, Baltimore and Albuquerque — all three were ranked among the lowest 20 cities for safety in a list compiled by Ceoworld magazine.

The U.S. travel advisory for Uruguay raised its alert to Level 2, which means “exercise increased caution.”

The U.S. State Department did this citing violent crimes, such as carjacking, homicide and armed robbery, that have increased in the country in “urban areas frequented by U.S. government personnel, day and night.”

Travellers to Uruguay were warned that criminals “also target grocery stores, restaurants, financial centres and small businesses, in which innocent bystanders are often victimized.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. has a Level 4 “Do not travel” advisory for Venezuela due to “crime civil unrest, poor health infrastructure, kidnapping and arbitrary arrest and detention of U.S. citizens.”

The advisory was issued April 9 — just under three months after the State Department ordered all non-emergency U.S. government employees and their families to leave the country over political instability.

“The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Venezuela.”

Venezuela and Uruguay are not the only parties that are uneasy about travelling to the U.S.

Hudson and Patty Mack, the B.C.-based parents of Sheldon, who was wounded in the massacre at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, feel anxious about heading south of the border.

“If we can’t feel safe, and our children are going there, our families, are we willing to risk it?” Patty told Global News.

“I don’t think Canadians feel safe in the States anymore,” Hudson, a former anchor at CHEK News and CTV Vancouver Island, said.

  • With files from Sean Boynton and Kylie Stanton

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