The U.S. Department of State issued another warning to U.S. citizens that crime and violence in El Salvador continue to be at high levels. U.S. citizens traveling to El Salvador should remain alert to their surroundings. This travel warning supersedes the last warning (November 21, 2014).
Since January 2010, 34 U.S. citizens have been murdered in El Salvador with only 6 convictions of those murders. During the same time period, 419 U.S. citizens were victims of crime including violent crimes.
Like other Central American countries, El Salvador lacks sufficient resources to properly investigate and prosecute cases and to deter violent crime.
Last year, we picked El Salvador to be the ninth most dangerous cruise destination in the world. Here’s what I wrote:
"El Salvador is one of a few countries which is subject to a "critical" crime warning from the U.S. State Department. It has one of the highest per capita murder rates in the world. In 2012, it suffered from a murder rate of 69 per 100,000 people. By comparison, the murder rate in Massachusetts, with a similar geographical area and population, was 2.6 per 100,000. Murders and crimes against U.S. citizens are rarely solved."
Fox News picked El Salvador as the second most dangerous cruise port in the world. There are two cruise ports, La Union and Acajutia. The major cruise lines avoid them but Fred Olsen has sailed there and Azamara is scheduled to do so next year.
The latest murder rates (2014) is 68.6 per 100,000 inhabitants (the U.S. murder rate is less than 5 per 100,000). There are numerous violent gangs. In addition to violent crime, a common crime affecting U.S. tourists credit is card skimming. U.S. citizens have been victimized at well-known restaurants, hotels, and retailers.
This year I visited the El Salvador booth at Cruise Shipping Miami (photo above).
Last month, the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) held its 2015 regional meeting in El Salvador to promote cruising to Central American countries.
In March, El Salvador Tourism Minister José Napoleón Duarte (photo) met FCCA / Carnival chairman Micky Arison at Cruise Shipping Miami in March to promote his country to the cruise industry.
You will find no mention of this latest crime warning by the FCCA, CLIA, Carnival, or El Salvador tourism representatives.
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Photo Credit: top Jim Walker; bottom seatrade-cruise