Allow me to first assure you that you haven’t stumbled upon a story from the Babylon Bee. This is actual news.

In perhaps what will turn up in the next Twitter salvo between President Trump and Congressman Elijah Cummings, another odd factoid concerning Baltimore, Maryland comes to light. The nations of Uruguay and Venezuela have now both issued travel advisories for their citizens, advising them to exercise caution or simply avoid traveling to Charm City. Apparently the conditions there make it too dangerous for visitors to walk the streets safely. (CBS Baltimore)

Uruguay’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is warning its citizens to not travel to certain cities in the United States- including Baltimore.

The country issued the warning after two mass shootings killed over 30 people. They also named two other cities, Albuquerque and Detroit, as places of travel to avoid, citing the Ceoworld Magazine 2019 index…

The Venezuelan government advised its citizens to “avoid visiting some cities that are among the 20 most dangerous in the world,” including Cleveland, Detroit, Baltimore, St. Louis, Oakland, Memphis, Birmingham, Atlanta, Stockton and Buffalo, “according to Forbes (2019).”

This really shouldn’t be a laughing matter, but the optics of all of this are a bit too much. Venezuela earns itself a Level 4 travel advisory (“Do Not Travel”) from the State Department. Uruguay is at least a bit better, only having a Level 2 advisory (Exercise Increased Caution). For either of these places to issue warnings about coming to your city, the wheels are coming off the bus somewhere along the line.

Venezuela, in particular, is either completely tone-deaf or, perhaps, is getting in some ribbing at us. The conditions there have deteriorated to the point where starvation, disease and violence have made much of the country nearly uninhabitable. (This was caused by their own government, of course.) If you’re not a senior official in Maduro’s Socialist Party, your odds of living out the year at this point are probably not much better than 50/50.

I’m trying to picture the meeting where they worked out the wording for their travel advisory. “Yes, we realize that you have nothing to eat, no medicine if you become ill and the streets are filled with roaming bands of armed bandits and government brute squads who may shoot you on a moment’s notice. But whatever you do… don’t go to Baltimore!

I’m unsure whether this story is more likely to make you laugh or cry. Both are probably predictable reactions.