The Bahamas Issues Rare U.S. Travel Advisory Over Racial Tensions

The Bahamas has issued a rare travel advisory for its citizens visiting the US because of “recent tensions in some American cities over shootings of young black males by police officers,” according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The advisory warns citizens to avoid getting involved in protests and to avoid crowds.

The U.S. regularly issues travel advisories for Americans visiting other countries, but it is rare for countries to issue warnings for their citizens traveling to the United States.

The advisory comes on the heels of the shooting deaths of two black men, who were shot dead by police in Minnesota and Louisiana, and five officers, who were ambushed and killed Thursday at a protest in Dallas.

Some 90 percent of the Bahamas population is black, according to the CIA.

The advisory comes as the Bahamas, a former British colony, celebrates its Independence Day holiday, on 10 July, a time when many locals travel abroad, including to the U.S., reports the The Washinton Post.

The advisory, issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, tells citizens to “exercise appropriate caution”, especially in cities affected by “tensions… over shootings of young black males by police officers.”

“In particular, young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police. Do not be confrontational, and co-operate.”

The advisory also warns of becoming politically involved.

“Do not get involved in political or other demonstrations under any circumstances and avoid crowds.”

The advisory is similar in nature to an advisory the U.S. government has issued recently for travel under the repressive regime in Laos, or to the developing nation of Nicaragua. “Watch out for the security situation, and beware of street demonstrations,” the State Department warned, according to the New York Times.

This is not the first advisory, however. This has become the second summer in a row that foreign travelers have received warnings about travel to the United Stats. Amid riots following police shootings last year, France warned residents against travel to St. Louis, Cleveland and Baltimore.

Thus far, the Bahamas is the only country to issue a warning to its citizens. Canada, Germany and others have also warned their citizens of deadly gun violence in the past when traveling to the United States, but none have updated their travel warnings this week following the violent outbreaks involving law enforcement.

The U.S. State Department has also issued advice for citizens heading to the Bahamas, warning U.S. travelers to avoid patronizing “jet-ski rentals on New Providence or Paradise Islands,” reportedly because the industry is minimally regulated and crimes have occurred at sea.

In its advisory, the Bahamian government published a list of its U.S. consular office locations in case of problems:

“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.”

The full advisory can be found on the Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.

[AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis]