Colombia Travel Warning
Issued by US Department of State
Jul 08, 2002
This Travel Warning revises the Travel Warning of April 17, 2001 and alerts
Americans to ongoing security concerns due to continuing violence in the
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Colombia.
Violence by narcotraffickers, guerrillas, illegal self-defense
(paramilitary) groups and other criminal elements continues to affect all
parts of the country, both urban and rural. Citizens of the United States
and other countries continue to be the victims of threats, kidnappings,
domestic airline hijackings and murders. Threats targeting official and
long-term resident Americans are expected to continue and possibly increase
in response to U.S. support for Colombian drug eradication programs.
Colombian groups have been known to operate in the border areas of
neighboring countries, creating similar dangers for travelers in those
areas. Bombings have occurred throughout Colombia, including urban areas,
and some foreign interests have been among the targets.
Last year, more than 3,000 people were reported kidnapped throughout
Colombia, and there is a greater risk of being kidnapped in Colombia than in
any other country in the world. In the past two years, 18 Americans were
reported kidnapped in various parts of the country. Most kidnappings of
U.S. citizens in Colombia have been committed by guerrilla groups, including
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National
Liberation Army (ELN), which were both initially designated as Foreign
Terrorist Organizations by the Secretary of State in 1997 and re-designated
as such in October 2001. Most kidnappings have occurred in rural areas,
with a few occurring on the fringes of cities. Since it is U.S. policy not
to make concessions to terrorists, the U.S. Government's ability to assist
kidnapped U.S. citizens is limited.
For further information concerning travel to Colombia, travelers should
consult the Department of State's latest Consular Information Sheet for
Colombia at http://travel.state.gov/colombia.html.