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Jan 19, 2018

U.S. Warns Against Increased Crime for American Tourists

Despite the hopes of Belizean officials that Belize’s vote against the U.S. over Jerusalem at the United Nations would not have repercussions; there are two instances in which the giant to the north has taken action since. Earlier this week, Belize was among three countries removed from the temporary work visa program. Belizeans seeking agricultural work and seasonal work in places like hotels are now denied the opportunity acquire H-Two-A and H-Two-B non-immigrant work visas for one year, in response to concerns about not doing enough to stop human trafficking. As of last week, the State Department updated its Belize travel advisory for Americans to level two on a four-level scale, meaning that visitors should exercise increased caution. This time it cites the prevalence of incidents of violent crime including sexual assault, armed robbery and murder, and notes that local police lack the resources to respond effectively to serious criminal incidents. This is despite Belize’s participation in the Central American Region Security Initiative (CARSI), which has seen tens of millions of dollars in donations flow Belize’s way. Visitors are warned to be constantly aware of their surroundings, avoid walking at night, do not resist robbery attempts, be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATM’s and not show signs of affluence such as wearing expensive jewelry and other valuables. The State Department also advised that those who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations.

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