12. April 2003

Canadians should not travel to Colombia until further notice, except for visits to the major resorts of Cartagena and San Andrés Island. The "State of Internal Upheaval" (Estado de Conmoción Interior), initially announced on August 11, 2002, by President Uribe, has been extended for an additional 90 days. The extension will take effect on February 7, 2003, when the State of Internal Upheaval was to have expired. This mechanism is used when public order, institutional stability, state security, or public safety is imminently threatened. Curfews can be imposed. Canadians in Colombia should follow the advice of local authorities, monitor local news reports, avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, and remain in contact with the Canadian Embassy in Bogotá (see below).

The August 7, 2002, presidential inauguration lead to an increased risk of violence, including bombings, kidnappings, and assassinations. The armed forces are continuing their offensive military actions. Insurgent groups are intensifying offensive actions in rural areas and in some towns. The situation is tense, unstable, and unpredictable.

Violence against foreigners has occurred in all regions of Colombia, both urban and rural. The situation is expected to deteriorate further since illegal groups have stepped up their attacks against villages. Incidents of car bombings have increased in Bogotá and in Medellín, and visitors should exercise additional caution. The risk of kidnapping is very high; in 2001 and 2002, more than 3,000 people were reported kidnapped throughout Colombia. Kidnapping for ransom occurs in all parts of the country, especially rural areas. Two Canadians were kidnapped on April 19, 2002, while making an emergency landing with their helicopter in a FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) controlled region of Colombia. They were released on July 30. Mass murders have occurred in national parks, which are often convenient hideouts for illegal groups. Avoid all national parks, wildlife refuges, and big-city outskirts.

There is an increased risk of roadblocks set up by peasant groups, illegal paramilitaries, and the rebel FARC and ELN (National Liberation Army). This risk applies throughout rural Colombia; roads between Bogotá and Medellín and between Bogotá and Villavicencio are particularly high risk, as is the entire Magdalena Medio region (near Bucaramanga and Barrancabermeja). A recent wave of car bombings has occurred in tourist locations in Cundinamarca and Tolima departments, within 100 km of Bogotá. 

The Colombian government has implemented geographical zones of "rehabilitation and consolidation" in which movement can be restricted. These zones are now under the direct command of the armed forces. Prior to entry into a zone of rehabilitation and consolidation, foreigners, including Canadians, must inform the appropriate Colombian authority of their intention to transit through or remain in a zone. Non-compliance can result in deportation. 

Canadians arriving from areas affected by severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) - such as Canada (Toronto), Vietnam (Hanoi), Singapore, Taiwan, and the People's Republic of China including the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region - may be subject to medical screening. Persons with symptoms of SARS must undergo further medical examinations and, if necessary, go into quarantine.

For specific information on entry procedures, you should check with the Embassy of the Republic of Colombia.

Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade



24. Februar 2003

This Travel Warning is being issued to alert American citizens to ongoing security concerns in Colombia. This supersedes the Travel Warning issued on July 3, 2002.

The Department of State warns U.S. citizens against travel to Colombia. Terrorist and criminal violence by narcotraffickers, guerrillas, illegal self-defense (paramilitary) 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, 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 attacks on civilian targets in urban areas, and some foreign interests have been among the targets.

About 3,000 kidnapping incidents were reported throughout Colombia in 2002. There is a greater risk of being kidnapped in Colombia than in any other country in the world. In the past three years, 26 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 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. Since it is U.S. policy not to make concessions to, nor to strike deals with, terrorists, the U.S. Government's ability to assist kidnapped U.S. citizens is limited.
Bureau of Consular Affairs of the United States of America



 14. Februar 2003

Urban terrorism, including in Bogota, has increased. Visitors to Colombia should be vigilant and take sensible precautions. Political and criminal violence and kidnapping are serious problems, and all foreign nationals are potential targets. We advise against all travel to Choco, Putumayo, Meta and Caqueta departments and to rural areas of Antioquia, Cauca, Narino, and Norte de Santander departments. Special restrictions currently apply to areas in the "Zones of Rehabilitation and Consolidation" as detailed under Safety and Security below.
Foreign & Commonwealth Office London



 11. Februar 2003

Un grave attentat à l'explosif ayant été perpétré le 7 février contre un des principaux clubs d'hommes d'affaires et de personnalités politiques de Bogota (plus d'une vingtaine de morts et d'une centaine de blessés) il est déconseillé, jusqu'à nouvel ordre, de fréquenter les lieux renommés ou à la mode (clubs, centres commerciaux...) des quartiers résidentiels de la capitale et des grandes villes du pays.

Depuis le 12 août 2002, le gouvernement colombien a proclamé l'état d'exception. En ce qui concerne le séjour et la circulation des étrangers, il convient de retenir que :

- "Les étrangers devront se présenter devant les autorités colombiennes qui le demanderaient, respecter les règles édictées au sujet des permis de séjour et accomplir les autres formalités qui seraient imposées. Ceux qui contreviendraient aux normes établies ou qui participeraient à un trouble de l'ordre public pourront être expulsés."

- "Dans les zones de réhabilitation et de consolidation (zones particulièrement troublées où les forces publiques se voient conférer des pouvoirs spéciaux) toute personne qui ne portera pas ses documents d'identité sera retenue afin de vérifier son identité et de s'assurer qu'elle n'est recherchée ni par la justice ni par la police. Cette détention ne pourra pas durer plus de 24 heures.

- "S'ils souhaitent voyager ou séjourner dans les départements ou zones =concernées=, les étrangers devront au préalable avoir l'autorisation du gouverneur, plus haute autorité civile du département."

"En cas d'infraction à ces dispositions, l'étranger pourra faire l'objet d'une décision d'expulsion du pays."

A ce jour, deux départements sont régis par ces dispositions : Sucre et Arauca. Le gouvernement se réserve le droit d'appliquer ces dispositions à d'autres zones du pays si la situation l'exige.
Ministère Français des Affaires Étrangères



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