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US issues travel warning for Zim

Loughty Dube

THE United States government has issued a fresh warning for its nationals travelling to Zimbabwe. This comes a week after Washington summoned its ambassador to Zimbabwe for consultations after h

e was reprimanded by government over statements he made at a local university.

The travel warning issued by the United States State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs on Tuesday supersedes an earlier travel warning issued in March.

The latest statement reminds American citizens of the “continuing political, economic and humanitarian instability in Zimbabwe”.

The US government in March issued a travel warning to its citizens to avoid visiting Zimbabwe, citing the continued shortage of commodities and an unstable political environment.

Zimbabwe joins a list of several countries that include Uzbekistan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Cuba, Yemen and Lebanon that have travel warnings issued against them by the US State Department.

“The Department of State cautions US citizens of the risks of travel to Zimbabwe, a country in the midst of political and economic turmoil. All US citizens in Zimbabwe are advised to take those measures they deem appropriate to ensure their personal safety.

“Zimbabwe’s economy is in a protracted state of decline, with extremely high rates of unemployment and inflation. Shortages of staple foods are a persistent problem. Deteriorating economic conditions have led to a significant increase in crime, including violent crime,” the US State Department says in the travel warning.

The US government issues warnings on countries that should be avoided by its citizens on health grounds, crime, unusual entry requirements and any areas of instability.

“A nation-wide fuel shortage makes internal travel difficult and unreliable and severely restricts the response capability of police and other emergency services,” the travel warning says.

Relations between the two countries are strained due to Washington’s continued criticism of President Mugabe’s scorched-earth policies that have seen the country’s economy collapse.

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