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Venezuela and Uruguay warn citizens traveling to the U.S. after shootings

Hundreds march to protest gun violence on Sunday after a gunman opened fire the day before at a shopping center in El Paso, killing 22, including eight Mexicans. (Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post)

Days after shootings in El Paso and Dayton, Ohio, left more than 30 dead, Venezuela and Uruguay on Monday warned their citizens to exercise caution when traveling in the United States.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza advised citizens to “take extreme precautions or postpone their travels in the face of the proliferation of acts of violence and hate crimes.” The Uruguayan foreign ministry warned of “growing indiscriminate violence, mostly for hate crimes.”

The travel alerts came two days after a gunman opened fire at a shopping center in El Paso, killing 22, including eight Mexicans. Minutes before the attack, a “manifesto” appeared online complaining of a “Hispanic invasion of Texas” and outlining plans for a shooting. Investigators believe the document was written by shooting suspect Patrick Crusius, who is in custody.

The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry cited El Paso and Dayton in a statement.

“These growing acts of violence have found echo and sustenance in the speeches and actions impregnated with racial discrimination and hatred against migrant populations pronounced and executed from the supremacist elite that hold political power in Washington,” the Foreign Ministry said.

Gun violence in America prompts a growing list of countries to issue travel warnings

The Trump administration does not recognize the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro as legitimate. It has backed National Assembly President Juan Guaidó as the rightful leader of the South American country.

Uruguay warned of “the indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population” in the United States and advised travelers not to take children to theme parks, sporting events, fairs and other places where crowds gather.

The U.S. State Department last week raised its own advisory for citizens traveling to Uruguay.

The Uruguayan Foreign Ministry warned citizens to “take precautions against growing indiscriminate violence, mostly for hate crimes, including racism and discrimination, which cost the lives of more than 250 people in the first seven months of this year.”

“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 ministry also suggested that Uruguayans avoid Baltimore, Detroit and Albuquerque, which it said were among the 20 most dangerous cities in the world, citing the Ceoworld Magazine 2019 index.

To these cities Venezuela added Atlanta, Buffalo, Cleveland, Memphis, Oakland, St. Louis, Birmingham, Ala., and Stockton, Calif.

The U.S. State Department said Friday it had raised its travel advisory for Uruguay from Level 1 (Exercise normal precautions) to Level 2 (Exercise increased caution) “due to crime.” The highest U.S. travel advisory is Level 4: Do not travel.

Mexico plans legal action to protect its citizens in U.S.

Trump condemns white supremacy, focuses on combating mental illness over new gun-control measures

The lives lost in El Paso

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