Haiti
Imagery ©2018 TerraMetrics. Map data ©2018 courtesy of Google Maps.

Travel Alert July 2021: Civil Unrest in Haiti After Assassination of Its President

If Haiti is in your travel plans in the near future, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information — pertaining to civil unrest in that country after the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, who was the president of Haiti.

Travel Alert July 2021: Civil Unrest in Haiti After Assassination of Its President

Authorities closed Aéroport International Toussaint Louverture — which is the international airport that serves the greater metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince — temporarily as they declared a “state of siege” in the country after gunmen assassinated the president and wounded his wife in their home early in the morning on Wednesday, July 7, 2021.

Although the international airport is currently open and flights have been arriving at — and departing from — the airport, at least three airlines have canceled flights altogether at the airport.

Much of the county has descended into chaos since the assassination, which includes the looting of businesses, escalated violence by gangs, protests against the government, and a significant increase of people who were infected by the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

The country was already in a state of disarray prior to the assassination, as it was still struggling to recover after major natural disasters — such as Hurricane Matthew in 2016 and a devastating earthquake with a magnitude of 7.0 in 2010 — which led to numerous periods of civil unrest in February of 2019 and July of 2018, as well as at other times.

According to this official travel advisory from the Department of State of the United States as of Wednesday, June 16, 2021, travel to Haiti is highly discouraged with a Level 4 travel alert, which is the highest level warning not to travel to Haiti due to civil unrest and crime — and that was before the assassination of the president of the country occurred:

Kidnapping is widespread and victims regularly include U.S. citizens. Kidnappers may use sophisticated planning or take advantage of unplanned opportunities, and even convoys have been attacked. Kidnapping cases often involve ransom negotiations and U.S. citizen victims have been physically harmed during kidnappings. Victim’s families have paid thousands of dollars to rescue their family members.

Violent crime, such as armed robbery and carjacking, is common. Travelers are sometimes followed and violently attacked and robbed shortly after leaving the Port-au-Prince international airport. Robbers and carjackers also attack private vehicles stuck in heavy traffic congestion and often target lone drivers, particularly women. As a result, the U.S. Embassy requires its personnel to use official transportation to and from the airport.

Protests, demonstrations, tire burning, and roadblocks are frequent, unpredictable, and can turn violent. The U.S. government is extremely limited in its ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Haiti – assistance on site is available only from local authorities (Haitian National Police and ambulance services). Local police generally lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents.

Read the Safety and Security section on the country information page.

If you decide to travel to Haiti:

  • Avoid demonstrations and roadblocks.
  • Arrange airport transfers and hotels in advance, or have your host meet you upon arrival.
  • Do not physically resist any robbery attempt.
  • Visit the official Internet web site for Travel to High-Risk Areas.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Review the Crime and Safety Report for Nicaragua.
  • United States citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to Haiti over the next couple of weeks, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to the civil unrest which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of these areas, watch out for deteriorating conditions and traffic problems.

Here are three airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this civil unrest:

  • American Airlines has issued a travel alert for Port-Au-Prince for Wednesday, July 7, 2021 through Sunday, July 11, 2021; and Saturday, July 17, 2021 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • JetBlue Airways has issued a travel alert for Port-Au-Prince for Wednesday, July 7, 2021 through Friday, July 9, 2021; and Thursday, July 15, 2021 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Spirit Airlines has issued travel alerts for Cap-Haïtien and Port-au-Prince for Wednesday, July 7, 2021 through Friday, July 9, 2021; and Thursday, July 15, 2021 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.

Summary

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Imagery ©2018 TerraMetrics. Map data ©2018 courtesy of Google Maps.

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