By John Ostapkovich
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The U.S. State Department has toughened its travel advisory for Haiti, something that a local Haitian leader says adds insult to injury.
The new advisory, issued in late December, replaces a milder one from June. It urges Americans to use caution in the island nation, because of crime, disease, lack of infrastructure and limited public safety capabilities. The State Department says kidnapping is a particular concern, but Jean Lans, secretary of the Haitian Coalition of Philadelphia, disagrees.
“We do not have any record of any foreigners who have been kidnapped, hurt or killed in Haiti recently that warrant the reason for the warning not to travel to the country,” Lans says.
He says Haiti has achieved better morale, despite setbacks since its devastating earthquake.
Giordani Jean-Baptiste, the vice-president of the Haitian Coalition, says so many foreigners are traveling to the country it’s tough for Haitians to get a plane seat.
The advisory, while unflattering, is not nearly as stern as they can get. For such places as Nigeria, it says avoid all but essential travel, and for Somalia, the department says “don’t go there.”