Bahamas Issues U.S. Travel Warning, Tells Citizens To Use ‘Extreme Caution’ Around American Police

The Bahamas has issued a rare travel warning to citizens planning to travel to the United States. The island nation tells Bahamians to use “extreme caution” when dealing with American police and warns its young males to not be “confrontational and to cooperate.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted in the travel advisory that Bahamas citizens should not get involved in American politics or demonstrations.

The Washington Post reports that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Bahamas has issued a rare travel warning for Bahamians hoping to travel to the United States. The advisory cites “recent tensions in some American cities over shootings of young black males by police officers.” The travel warning speaks specifically to the island nation’s “young male population” to not engage in American politics or attend protests in the United States. The Ministry informs Bahamians to also avoid crowded places and to use vigilance. Should a Bahamian come into contact with American police, the Ministry says that the party should not be “confrontational” and instead “cooperate” fully.

The NY Daily News notes that the warning is not surprising given that 90 percent of the Bahamas population is black. The warning comes ahead of the Bahamas Independence Day holiday in which many citizens travel north for vacation. The advisory indicates that with many Bahamas nationals planning to travel ahead of the long weekend, the nation felt the need to issue the warning.

Though this is not the first time that another country has issued a travel warning for citizens planning to holiday in the United States, it is the first one that appears racially motivated. In fact, both Germany and Canada have issued travel warnings regarding escalating “gun violence” in the United States, but race was not mentioned in the warning. Similarly, France also issue a travel advisory for the United States following riots in St. Louis. The warning detailed St. Louis, Cleveland, and Baltimore as potentially dangerous areas that should be avoided by French travelers.

The warning stems from reports of two white officers shooting a black man in Baton Rouge and a Latino officer fatally shooting a black man in Minnesota. Following the deaths, Black Lives Matter protesters took to the streets across the United States to express their anger over the shootings. While the Black Lives Matter protests were mostly peaceful, one protest in Dallas turned deadly as a black gunman opened fire on police officers and pedestrians following a downtown rally. The gunman killed five officers and wounded multiple others.

The gunman was not part of the Black Lives Matter protest but reportedly told the Dallas police during negotiations that he wanted to “kill white people,” particularly police officers. With the officer-involved shootings and Dallas police officer shooting incidents, it appears that at least Bahamians do not feel completely safe visiting the United States.

It is unclear if other countries will follow suit and issue travel warnings, but President Barack Obama says there is nothing for travelers to be worried as America will not be divided but rather united. Obama noted that these attacks do not represent “who we are” and that we should stand against the violence.

“The demented individual who carried out those attacks in Dallas is no more representative of black Americans than the shooter in Charleston was representative of white Americans, or shooters in Orlando or San Bernardino were representative of Muslim Americans. They don’t speak for us; that’s not who we are.”

What do you think about the Bahamas issuing a travel warning for portions of the United States over fear that their young, black citizens will be potentially victimized by the American police?

[Photo by Max Becherer/AP Photo]