Haiti gov't protests travel warnings by US, Canada
Haitian officials 'vehemently' protest travel warnings issued by US, Canadian governments
Haiti on Wednesday "vehemently" protested travel advisories recently issued by the U.S. and Canadian governments.
The U.S. State Department last week strengthened a travel advisory on Haiti. It warned Americans planning to visit the Caribbean nation about kidnappings, robbery, lawlessness and cholera, noting that at least two U.S. citizens were shot and killed in robbery and kidnapping incidents.
Canada followed with a similar statement.
Complaining that the warnings only hurt Haiti's image, government spokesman Calvin Cadet wrote that the advisories were incompatible with improvements that authorities have made in security. He noted Haiti has promised to hire more officers for its national police force.
His statement also noted the recent dismantling of an alleged kidnapping ring. Police in October arrested Clifford Brandt, the owner of a car dealership and son of a prominent family, on kidnapping charges.
Despite its reputation as a violent place, Haiti has little criminal activity compared to other countries in the Caribbean. It doesn't appear among the top 58 most violent nations compiled by the Geneva Declaration on Armed Violence and Development, which sponsors studies on crime trends worldwide.
Cadet also said Haiti has seen a drop in the number of cholera cases. Health officials say that more than 7,750 people have died of the waterborne illness since the disease surfaced in Haiti several months after the 2010 earthquake.
President Michel Martelly's administration is trying to revive a long-moribund tourism industry and spur foreign investment. Haitian business owners have long complained that such travel advisories overstate criminal activity in the country and scare off potential investors.
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