colombia any recent visits, how safe?

Old Jan 22nd, 1998, 09:38 PM
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colombia any recent visits, how safe?

I will be going to Bogota this June 98 with my husband who was born in Colombia, but has not been there for 14 years. How safe? Did you encounter any problems? Please advise if the situation is a bad as reported in the US papers. Thanks....Kim
Old Jan 22nd, 1998, 10:46 PM
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My husband myself and a friend who was born in Colombia and still has family there went to San Andreas (island) and then on to Cartagena about 10 months ago. It appears to be reasonably safe as long as you stay in the city areas. We took a automobile trip up the coast about 50 miles with a local family, but we were told that nobody, not even locals go out into the countryside because it is in control of the "Banditos". Drug supported people supposedly. The national police are forced to put all their resources into "Fighting the Drug War" by the United States and the result is that there is little left to support the infrastructure of the country. We were searched, patted down, searched again, our luggage was xrayed and searched yet again and we were once again physically searched (patted down) in the effort to just go from San Andreas (which is actually nothing more than a state in Colombia), to the main land, (which is another state). We were subjected to this exact routine each time we flew anywhere either in the country or entering or LEAVING !! When we arrived back in Florida, the customs took a blank glance at our passports and waved us through. No search!!

Now, let me ask you, who is really fighting the drug war?

The country is no longer self sufficient in food or anything else because all the government funded programs are centered around "Fighting the Drug War", and no one can grow food any longer because you will not be allowed to live safely outside the cities. Everything has to be imported. There is no fishing any longer even though Colombia has the largest most productive fishing grounds in the world. The fisherman are all running drugs or else they have been driven out of business because they refused to accomodate someone.

What has happened to that country is a crime. It is a beautiful land. Fertile and potentially productive. It has become a land of plastic shopping bags like some kind of grotesque blossoms adorning every bush and tree and field. The streets are broken, the sidewalks are crumbling. The electrical connections hang with bare wires over the sidewalks. And yet it has the most beautiful water I've ever seen. Every bite of food you eat is imported. Most from Nicaragua. Everything is expensive.

In answer to your question, yes it is safe if you stay in the cities. If your companion has relatives there, they will guide you in where to go. If he has not been there in many years he may be in a state of shock. Our friend hadn't been there for 20 years, and he was close to tears many times.

Bless you. Yes you should always be careful, but since when have the streets of the United States become safe places. I think I'd rather take my chances with the Banditos!!!!

Old Feb 9th, 1998, 10:25 PM
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Colombia is a beutiful country and some of the news you heard are gross exagerations. Most of the problems with the Guerilla are confronted in rural areas close to the jungle, where the drug lords cultivate coke. The cities are mostly safe if you use common sense. One piece of advice is not to wear jewelry or expensive watches, since they will be notice by thieves. It will be very useful if you learn at least some basic spanish, in order to survive if the need arises. Most people are helpful and the food is great. Be careful if you drink the water. Enjoy your trip

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