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State Department Warns Travelers To Reconsider Going To Jamaica And Colombia

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By Brennan Forrest - - 5 Mins Read
A traveler wearing a backpack walking in a busy street
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Due to the widespread violent crimes in Colombia, the State Department has urged Americans to reconsider traveling to the country. The department cautioned that terrorist organizations may carry out attacks on transportation hubs, hotels, shopping malls, airports, restaurants, or other public areas.


The highest priority to the U.S. Department of State is the safety and security of U.S. citizens who are overseas," one of the State Department spokespersons said: "We take seriously our commitment to provide U.S. citizens with clear,  reliable,  and timely information about every country in the world so they can make informed travel decisions."


The department often assesses risks for all Americans abroad, and they had previously issued travel advisories for both Colombia and Jamaica however, they reissued them with fresh updates.


When the high-profile case of two who were killed after getting caught in the crossfire of cartel violence in the border city of Matamoros, many were shocked throughout the nation. Many began to wonder what would happen to the popular tourist destination.


The State Department said in its level 3 travel advisory for Jamaica that Violent crimes, such as armed robberies, home invasions, homicides, and sexual assaults, are rampant. Sexual assaults occur repeatedly, including at all-inclusive resorts,” 


Reports say that "The Local police do not answer with an effective response to serious criminal incidents,” according to the State Department: “When arrests are made, cases are not frequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence. The families of U.S. citizens who were killed in accidents or homicides usually wait a year or more for final death certificates to be issued by Jamaican authorities.”

A drone shot of Bogota Colombia
A drone shot of Bogota in Colombia (Unsplash)

Where Should I Avoid In Colombia?

Although the State Department has encouraged Americans to reconsider visiting Colombia in general due to crime, there are specific parts of the country that Americans are advised to avoid.


Travelers are especially advised not to visit the Arauca, Cauca (excluding Popayán), and Norte de Santander departments, and also should not go to the Colombia-Venezuela border region “due to crime, kidnapping, and risk of detention when crossing into Venezuela from Colombia as the criminal activities occur mostly in this areas.


Safety Precautions Before Traveling To Jamaica Or Colombia

Travelers with important reasons to visit Jamaica, Colombia, or any country with safety risks are encouraged to enroll in the State Department’s free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), study the destination’s Country Security Report, and formulate emergency contingency plans. They should also be aware of their surroundings. They should keep a low profile, avoid protests and large crowds, and follow the State Department on Facebook and Twitter for further updates.

Why Should I Register For A Smart Traveller Enrollment Program?

Registering for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program would enable you to be easily accessible in case of any contingent issue.  Citizens who encounter serious legal, medical, or financial difficulties provide the names of local attorneys and doctors and also provide loans to destitute Americans. They provide information about dangerous conditions affecting your overseas travel or residence