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The United States Has Categorized Colombia as Dangerous and Is Urging People to Reconsider Their Travel to This Latin American Country 

The United States Has Categorized Colombia as Dangerous and Is Urging People to Reconsider Their Travel to This Latin American Country 

The United States Embassy in Colombia has issued a cautionary advisory to its citizens this week, urging heightened vigilance while visiting the country in light of recent incidents of theft and assassinations occurring in cafes, restaurants, and establishments in Bogotá, often frequented by tourists.  

The advisory underscores the need for people from the United States to remain “constantly alert” to the possibility of “criminal organizations and terrorist groups” carrying out attacks with little or no warning in locations ranging from markets or shopping centers to police stations, government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, or airports.  

Among the specific recommendations, the embassy advises maintaining a low profile, being attentive to individuals in the vicinity, avoiding street parking, refraining from divulging excessive information to strangers, exercising caution while walking or driving at night, avoiding the use of phones or wearing expensive jewelry or watches in public, and not resisting any attempted robbery. US embassies often issue similar advisories for a significant portion of Latin American countries, with the tone of the suggestions depending on each country’s particular social situation. 

The recommendations from the US embassy come in the wake of a string of insecurity incidents in Bogotá. Other cases of robberies with intimidation have taken place in cafes or restaurants such as Pecado Capital, Masa, Starbucks, Abasto, or Bogotá Beer Company, whose premises are in the wealthiest areas of the city and are often frequented by foreigners. Nevertheless, insecurity has also struck establishments in more populous areas, such as the district of Antonio Nariño in the south of the city, where a former police officer reacted to an attempted robbery by two criminals in a restaurant, chased them as they fled, and fatally shot them. 

The United States Doesn’t Think Colombia Is Safe

For different and more complex reasons, US authorities have also warned their citizens about the risks of traveling to Medellín. Last January, following the suspicious deaths of eight foreign tourists, the country’s embassy advised its nationals to avoid using dating applications such as Tinder, Bumble, or Grindr following various incidents of varying severity occurring after arranging meetings through those platforms.  

Over the past year, there has been an increase in reports of incidents related to the use of dating apps, which are often used to lure victims and rob them, either by force or through sedatives. The panorama of the capital of Antioquia, however, goes far beyond the crime in Bogotá, encompassing other factors such as sex tourism, gentrification, or drug trafficking. Despite this reality, there is unanimity in the fact that, on the one hand, that is not the only tourist attraction that Medellín has, and, on the other hand, that such a market is not desired by all foreigners who visit the city. 

Similarly, last January, the State Department included Colombia among the countries it recommended reconsidering travel to. This category is the third out of four: the first includes countries where normal precautions should be taken, and the last, countries that are not recommended for travel. At that time, the authorities issued the warning due to the crime and terrorism rates in the country and urged its citizens not to visit Arauca, Cauca — except for Popayán, the capital — and Norte de Santander, in addition to the border area with Venezuela due to the risk of kidnapping or detention upon crossing into that country. 

Will you be paying attention to this travel advisory? 

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