If you travel internationally, especially to areas deemed dangerous for Americans, you have probably seen the travel advisories issued by the U.S. State Department. Now, in the wake of the police shootings of more black males, America has become the subject of a travel advisory issued by one of our closest neighbors — The Bahamas.
The CIA World Fact Book says that 90.6 percent of the population of The Bahamas is black. Many Bahamian citizens are currently or will be traveling abroad in the next few days due to their holiday celebrating independence from Britain, which is on July 10. So the government of the islands believes that, given recent events, it is in the best interest of their citizens to issue a travel advisory. Here is the complete text:
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration has taken a note of the recent tensions in some American cities over shootings of young black males by police officers.
At the commencement of the Independence holiday weekend, many Bahamians will no doubt use the opportunity to travel, in particular to destinations in the United States.
We wish to advise all Bahamians traveling to the US but especially to the affected cities to exercise appropriate caution generally. In particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police. Do not be confrontational and cooperate.
If there is any issue please allow consular offices for The Bahamas to deal with the issues. Do not get involved in political or other demonstrations under any circumstances and avoid crowds.
The Bahamas has consular offices in New York, Washington, Miami and Atlanta and honorary consuls in Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and Houston.
Their addresses are on the Ministry’s website – mofa.gov.bs
Pay attention to the public notices and news announcements in the city that you are visiting.
Be safe, enjoy the holiday weekend and be sensible.
BBC News observes that countries issuing advisories for travel to the U.S. is rare. But, given recent events here, and the amount of gun violence that occurs in the country, don’t be surprised if America becomes the subject of even more travel advisories, especially those issued by countries whose population is predominantly black.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see a travel advisory recommending against visiting the U.S. coming from a country with which we don’t have good relations. But seeing this from an American ally should be a wakeup call that a good portion of the world thinks that there is something seriously wrong going on here.
Of course many Americans, almost a third of whom have never traveled outside the U.S. borders, will scoff at this warning, bury their heads in the sand, and claim that there is no problem, probably muttering something about “freedom” or American “exceptionalism.” Witness the response of conservatives when other countries sent election observers here under the UN banner in 2012. In that instance the right-wing group True the Vote took the attitude “nothing to see here, move along” with the UN observers even though they were monitoring polling places, looking for so-called “voter fraud” themselves.
Americans are very sensitive to criticism from abroad, and often see it as an insult. But other countries have the same obligation to protect their citizens that our government has. Looking at this announcement in light of ongoing race-based events in the U.S., it’s hard to say The Bahamian government is wrong.
Featured image via A. Duarte/Flickr