The Uruguayan government has advised its citizens to avoid visiting some US cities following the death of numerous Latinos in mass shootings in Texas and Ohio over the weekend. The great irony of the announcement is that in recent years it has been commonplace for the US State Department to issue warnings about visiting high-risk locations in Latin America. Tragically, the shoe is now on the other foot at the United States tries to come to grips with random mass murder, increasingly performed by white supremacists.
Several Mexican nations were among those killed at a Walmart store in El Paso on Saturday. Hours later, a gunman killed nine people in downtown Dayton, Ohio.
In a statement issued on Monday, Uruguay’s Foreign Ministry told citizens to exercise increased caution while visiting places in the US where large numbers of people gather. Officials went on to paint a picture of ‘helplessness’ on American streets, which appears to contribute to ‘indiscriminate’ ownership of guns.
“Given the impossibility of the authorities to prevent these situations, due among other factors, to the indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population, it is especially advisable to avoid places where large concentrations of people occur, such as theme parks, shopping centers, arts festivals, religious activities, food fairs and cultural or sporting events. In particular, it is recommended not to take minors to these places,” the warning noted.
Detroit (Michigan), Baltimore (Maryland) and Albuquerque (New Mexico) are some of the most dangerous cities in the world, stated Uruguayan officials, citing CEO World Magazine’s 2019 index.
Venezuela’s government issued a press release accusing the White House of supporting white supremacists and also warned that ethnic groups are increasingly being targeted. For its part, the Japanese Consul in Detroit advised its citizens to avoid crowded places, adding that they “should be aware of the potential for gunfire incidents everywhere in the United States.”
When taking a look at crime data, the United States and Uruguay have similar ratings when it comes to crime and murder. However during the last few years the topic of violent crime has also become a major problem in Uruguay — and citizens are speaking out by demanding stronger enforcement. Homicides increased by over 40% between 2018 and 2019.
The U.S. State Department recently raised its travel advisory for Uruguay from Level 1 (Latin America countries on this list include Costa Rica, Argentina and Peru) to Level 2, calling for increased caution “due to crime.” The advisory explains that in Uruguay violent crimes, such as homicides, armed robberies, carjacking and thefts have all risen throughout the country.