State Department Changes Cuba Travel Advisory – On August 23, 2018, the State Department lowered its advisory from level 3 to level 2 for Cuba.
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The State Department also replaced its traditional travel warnings and travel alerts with a travel advisory for every country. Each country’s advisory is ranked at one of four color-coded levels.
Exercise increased caution in Cuba due to attacks targeting U.S. Embassy Havana employees resulting in the drawdown of embassy staff.
Numerous U.S. Embassy Havana employees appear to have been targeted in specific attacks. We are unable to identify the source. Many of these employees have suffered injuries. Affected individuals have exhibited a range of physical symptoms including ear complaints and hearing loss, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, cognitive issues, visual problems, and difficulty sleeping.
Attacks have occurred in U.S. diplomatic residences (including a long-term apartment at the Atlantic) and at Hotel Nacional and Hotel Capri in Havana.
The U.S. Embassy in Havana is operating with reduced staffing. Family members cannot accompany U.S. government employees who work in Cuba.
If you decide to travel to Cuba:
- Avoid Hotel Nacional and Hotel Capri.
- If you experience any acute auditory or sensory phenomena, immediately move to another area.
- Know where to seek medical care in Cuba.
- Consult with a medical professional prior to traveling if you have personal health concerns or upon return if you believe you have suffered symptoms similar to those listed above.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Follow the Department of State on Facebook and Twitter.
- Review the Crime and Safety Report for Cuba.
- U.S. citizens who travel abroad should always have a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the Traveler’s Checklist.
Level 1 – Blue – Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risks and at the moment, it includes countries such as Ireland, Portugal, Norway, Finland and Japan.
Level 2 – Yellow- Exercise Increased Caution: The State Department says that travelers to these countries should “Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security.” This is a very wide category indeed and includes countries such as Cuba, Italy, Belgium and Denmark, all of them singled out for possible occurrences of terrorism. South Africa and Brazil make this list for crime, as does Mexico.
Level 3 – Orange – Reconsider Travel:
“Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security,” says the State Department, of this list that currently includes Mexico, Turkey, Chad, Haiti and Russia.
Level 4 – Red – Do Not Travel:
The highest advisory level “due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the U.S. government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so.” This list singles out Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Mexico. North Korea, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
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