British Government Reiterates Colombia Travel Warning, Vast Areas Considered Unsafe
Justice For Colombia News |
on: Friday, 5 November 2010
British Foreign Minister Jeremy Browne yesterday told Parliament that the Foreign Office advised against “all but essential travel” to two vast regions of Colombia due to high levels of guerrilla activity in both areas.
According to Mr Browne the province of Arauca, on Colombia’s border with Venezuela, and the province of Narino, on the country’s southern border with Ecuador should both be avoided by British nationals travelling in the region. In addition to the presence of guerrillas the Minister pointed out that Narino is highlighted as an area of high crime on the Foreign Office’s travel advice website where the region is described as being of “high risk to your personal safety”.
The recommendation against visiting Narino will be particularly problematic for those attempting to travel overland from Ecuador. The only other land route between the two countries is through the neighbouring province of Putumayo – another region highlighted on the travel advice website as having a high personal safety risk.
Other governments too have recommended that their citizens avoid large parts of the country with the Canadian Foreign Ministry saying that no visits whatsoever should be made to the provinces of Antioquia (excluding the city of Medellin), Arauca, Caqueta, Cauca, Chocó, Guaviare, Narino (excluding the town of Pasto), Norte de Santander, Putumayo, Santander (excluding the city of Bucaramanga) and Valle del Cauca (excluding the city of Cali) due to the “extreme risk to personal safety”. The Canadians also advise against all but essential travel “to the city of Cali and most rural areas of Colombia”.
The Irish government completely advises against all non-essential travel to Colombia, with the exception of the cities of Bogota and Cartagena, whilst the New Zealand authorities classify most of the country as either ‘High Risk’ or ‘Extreme Risk’ and urges citizens to register with the New Zealand Foreign Ministry before travelling there. Australia takes a similar line telling citizens not to travel at all to ten provinces of Colombia due to the dangers involved and to “reconsider your need to travel” to several other regions and cities.
Meanwhile, earlier this year the US State Department issued a special ‘Travel Warning’ – their highest level of alert – covering Colombia warning US citizens of the dangers of travel to the country and pointing out that “there has been a marked increase in violent crime in Colombia” and that “murder rates have risen significantly in some major cities, particularly Medellin and Cali.” They also warn against all use of buses, both within cities and between cities, and against any travel by road outside of urban areas at night.