Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Police officials cordon off the scene after a gunman opened fire on a crowd in Dayton, Ohio, United States on August 4, 2019. At least 10 people were reportedly killed in a shooting in the U.S. state of Ohio, local media reported on Sunday. (Photo: Whitney Saleski/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Citing Racist Massacres and 'Inexcusable' Prevalence of Guns, Foreign Countries Issue Travel Safety Warnings for United States

"The world is watching."

Julia Conley

While President Donald Trump and the Republican Party have spent the past several years claiming foreign migrants and refugees pose a threat to Americans, a pair of massacres in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio over the weekend has compelled two Latin American countries to warn their own  citizens of the travel dangers lurking in the United States.

The foreign ministries of Venezuela and Uruguay issued urgent warnings to people in their countries who may travel to the U.S. following the deaths of 31 people in the two mass shootings. Both countries informed their citizens of the "indiscriminate possession" of guns by the U.S. population and the refusal of the federal government to address the problem.

"These increasing acts of violence have found an echo and support in the conversations and actions impregnated by racial discrimination and hatred against migrant populations, pronounced and executed by the supremacist elite who holds political power in Washington."
—Foreign Ministry of Venezuela
Travelers from Uruguay were specifically urged to "take precaution amid the growing indiscriminatory violence, specifically hate crimes including racism and discrimination," following the shooting deaths of 22 people in El Paso on Saturday by an accused gunman who reportedly posted an anti-immigrant, white supremacist manifesto online minutes before the attack.

The foreign ministry listed several crowded public venues which could pose a threat to travelers: "theme parks, shopping centers, festivals, religious events, gastronomic fairs and any kind of cultural or sporting events."     

Nearly all of the places listed have been the sites of mass shootings in the U.S., although the list was hardly exhaustive. As of Tuesday, the 218th day of 2019, there have been 255 mass shootings in the country.

Venezuela also pointed to the "recent proliferation of violent acts and hate crimes" as reason to exercise caution regarding travel to the U.S., and slammed the country for the "inexcusable, indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population, encouraged by the federal government."

"These increasing acts of violence have found an echo and support in the conversations and actions impregnated by racial discrimination and hatred against migrant populations, pronounced and executed by the supremacist elite who holds political power in Washington," the foreign ministry told Venezuelans in its travel warning.

In Detroit on Sunday, the Japanese Consul also alerted Japanese nationals with plans to travel to the U.S. that they "should be aware of the potential for gunfire incidents everywhere in the United States," according to the Los Angeles Times. 

A minority of U.S. households own guns, yet a 2017 study found that there were 120.5 civilian-owned firearms for every 100 people in the United States. Other countries like Australia and New Zealand have instituted strict gun control measures and even weapons bans after a single mass shooting while the U.S. has allowed hundreds to take place each year.

Travel warnings were mirrored by stunned international coverage of the two shootings, which took place within 13 hours of one another and in which both gunmen used high-capacity magazines and military-style semi-automatic weapons, which are legal in the states where the gunmen bought them.

An editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday condemned the United States' "white nationalist terrorism crisis." The Argentinian newspaper Clarín reported "another massacre in the U.S." on Saturday, while the Dutch publication Algemeen Dagblad published a graphic explaining to readers that while the Netherlands is known for having more bicycles than people, the U.S. has more guns than people. 

The reaction of officials in Venezuela and Uruguay as well as the international perception of the U.S. as a dangerous country was unsurprising but dismaying to observers on social media.

"The world is watching," wrote organizer Dan Knudsen.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

Please select a donation method:

UN Chief Reminds Leaders of Need for 'Clear and Unambiguous Commitment' to 1.5°C

"There is no pathway to this goal without the leadership of the G20," he said after a disagreement over a climate communiqué.

Jessica Corbett ·


'Climate Change Is Here,' Says Oregon Governor, 'And We Have to Take Action'

As wildfires devour her state, the Democrat declares that the climate emergency is "like a hammer hitting us in the head."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Hello Somebody!' Rep. Ocasio-Cortez Campaigns for Nina Turner in Cleveland

"I think it's extremely clear that Nina Turner is the candidate in this race that answers to the people of Ohio first and foremost."

Jessica Corbett ·


Medicare for All Advocates Take to the Streets of Over 50 US Cities

"How can we have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness when we live in constant fear of illness, bankruptcy, or homelessness because of the outrageous for-profit healthcare system?"

Jessica Corbett ·


Thousands Join Budapest Pride Parade to Protest Attacks on LGBTQ+ Hungarians

"A lot has happened over the last few years, and it's time to show that we're not okay with it," said one of the organizers.

Jessica Corbett ·