On 5 February 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a message for U.S. citizens regarding the upcoming Carnival season. The message reads in part as follows:
“Location: Port-au-Prince, Jacmel, and throughout Haiti
“Event: The U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince informs U.S. citizens that carnival season has begun. The official Carnival dates in Jacmel are February 15-16, and February 23-25, 2020, in Port-au-Prince. However, many traditional festivities have already begun and will continue until the final day of Carnival.
“Official Carnival celebrations in Port-au-Prince will take place in Champ-de-Mars and downtown. This area is off-limits to Embassy personnel. Carnival activities are to be expected throughout Port-au-Prince, to include areas such as Tabarre and Petionville. Carnival-related inconveniences such as traffic, impromptu “Ra-Ra” bands in the street, road closures, crowds, etc. are to be expected with increasing frequency as official dates approach.
“Ra-Ra Bands will be out in the streets with increased frequency on Sunday afternoons and evenings leading up to Carnival. Band members may crowd around vehicles, block them in, bang on windows, crack bull whips, twirl knives and machetes, and make a lot of noise. It can be a potentially unsettling situation; generally speaking, bands remain non-violent. Ra-Ra bands will continue to be found in various parts of the city and countryside particularly on weekends through Easter.”