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Colombia Travel Warning

Issued by U.S. Department of State

Dec 22, 2003

This Travel Warning is being issued to alert American citizens to ongoing security concerns in Colombia, continues to warn against travel to Colombia, and notes an increased threat to U.S. citizens and interests in urban areas, to include, but not limited to, Bogota, Baranquilla, and Cartagena. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on June 16, 2003.

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Colombia. Violence by narcoterrorist groups and other criminal elements continues to affect all parts of the country, urban and rural. Citizens of the United States and other countries continue to be the victims of threats, kidnappings, and other violence. This threat has increased recently in urban areas, including, but not limited to, Bogota, Cartagena and Barranquilla. Colombian terrorist groups also operate in the border areas of neighboring countries, creating similar dangers for travelers in those areas. Bombings have caused civilian casualties throughout Colombia. Targets include supermarkets, places of entertainment, and other areas where U.S. citizens congregate. There have been no security incidents, to our knowledge, on San Andres Island (off the coast of Nicaragua).

About 3,000 kidnapping incidents were reported throughout Colombia in 2002. Since the year 2000, 27 Americans were reported kidnapped in various parts of the country. American kidnap or murder victims have included journalists, missionaries, scientists, human rights workers, U.S. government employees and businesspeople, as well as persons on tourism or family visits, and even small children. No one can be considered immune on the basis of occupation, nationality or any other factor. Most kidnappings of U.S. citizens in Colombia have been committed by terrorist groups, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), which have been designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the Secretary of State. Since it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to, or strike deals with, terrorists, the U.S. Government's ability to assist kidnapped U.S. citizens is limited.

As the Department continues to develop information on any potential security threats to U.S. citizens overseas, it shares credible threat information through its Consular Information Program documents, available on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov. U.S. travelers can also get up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 in the U.S. or Canada or on a regular toll line at 1-317-472-2328.

U.S. citizens should also consult the Department of State's Consular Information Sheet for Colombia and the Worldwide Caution Public Announcement at http://travel.state.gov.

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