Due to a rise in crime, including drug-related assaults and homicides, Colombia’s status as a preferred South American destination for U.S. travelers is in jeopardy. Last year, an alarming number of tourists, possibly as many as 25 people, tragically lost their lives while vacationing in the country due to the rise in violence.
Due to concerns about crime and terrorism, American tourists are advised to reconsider their plans to visit Colombia, according to a recent U.S. government warning. The U.S. State Department has placed all of Colombia at Level 3, in contrast to most states in Mexico, which are now at Level 2. This indicates a lower level of security, particularly in places that have been classified as “high-risk”.
Murders in Colombia are a serious concern
Paul Nguyen, an American citizen from Orange County, California, was murdered in Medellin in mid-November after going on a Tinder date with an unknown local woman. Amy Nguyen, the victim’s sister, claims the man went with her to a bar after they met through the popular dating app.
According to the victim’s family, he was “drugged and robbed,” which led to his demise. Scopolamine, a substance most commonly referred to on the street as “devil’s breath,” is reportedly used as a weapon by people with nefarious motives to make their victims drowsy so they can then be robbed.
The drug can cause intense hallucinations, convulsions, coma, respiratory failure, and death in high dosages. In Colombia, there are around 50,000 scopolamine-related events per year, most of which occur in pubs and clubs.
Other Latin American countries with travel advisories
The government regularly assesses the risks Americans face when traveling abroad and had previously issued travel warnings for Chile and Jamaica, but has since reissued them.
“Violent crimes, such as home invasions, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides, are common. Sexual assaults occur frequently, including at all-inclusive resorts,” the State Department says in its level 3 travel advisory for Jamaica.
In the same vein, The U.S. State Department has issued an updated advisory for Chile. Due to crime and civil unrest, Americans should Exercise increased caution.
Chile has a high rate of street crime, including robberies and pickpocketing. The incidence of violent crimes such as muggings, homicides, carjackings, and residential burglaries is increasing.
Large-scale protests are also periodically held in Santiago and other Chilean cities. Demonstrations can happen suddenly or without warning, and they frequently cause delays in transportation, including the Santiago metro and public buses.