This Travel Warning updates ongoing security concerns in Colombia and reminds American citizens of those concerns. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued January 18, 2006.
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens of the dangers of travel to Colombia. Violence by narcoterrorist groups and other criminals continues to affect all parts of the country, urban and rural.
Violence has continued to decrease markedly in most urban areas, including Bogotá, Medellin, Barranquilla, and Cartagena. The level of violence in Cali, Buenaventura, and the surrounding areas remains high, largely as a result of the illicit drug trade. Many rural areas of Colombia remain extremely dangerous due to the presence of narcoterrorists and Colombian government operations against them.
Terrorist groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), and other criminal organizations, continue to kidnap civilians for ransom or as political bargaining chips. No one can be considered immune from kidnapping on the basis of occupation, nationality, or other factors. The FARC have held three American official contractors hostage since February 2003. Although the U.S. government places the highest priority on the safe recovery of kidnapped Americans, it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to or strike deals with kidnappers. Consequently, the U.S. government’s ability to assist kidnapping victims is limited.
U.S. government officials and their families in Colombia are permitted to travel to major cities in the country, but only by air. They are not allowed to use inter- or intra-city bus transportation. They also are not permitted to travel by road outside of urban areas at night. All Americans in Colombia are urged to follow these precautions.