January 28, 2000
The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Colombia. Violence by narcotraffickers, guerrillas, 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 have been the victims of recent threats, kidnappings, domestic airline hijackings and murders. Colombian groups have been known to operate in the border areas of neighboring countries, creating similar dangers for travelers in those areas. U.S. citizens of all age groups and occupations, both tourists and residents, have been victimized. Bombings have occurred throughout Colombia, including urban areas, and some foreign interests have been among the targets.
There is a greater risk of being kidnapped in Colombia than in any other country in the world. More than a dozen U.S. citizens were kidnapped in Colombia in 1999, twice as many as in 1998. Some have been individual incidents and others have involved large group hostage situations. In some cases, the victims have been murdered. 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 designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations by the Secretary of State in October 1997. Since it is U.S. policy not to pay ransom or make other 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.
This replaces the June 10, 1999 Travel Warning for Colombia, to reflect the increased incidence of bombing attacks.