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Tourist Kidnappings, Crime Spark US Embassy Warnings

The U.S. State Department has issued several travel warnings to Americans about visiting several South American or Caribbean countries because of a rise in crime and kidnappings.

Namely, the agency last week called on U.S. citizens to “reconsider travel” to Jamaica and Colombia because of crime. It also stated that the threat of terrorism is elevated in Colombia because of a recent rise in activity.

“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 said in its Level 3 travel advisory for Jamaica, updated last week.

The notice states that local police in Jamaica “often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents,” noting that “when arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence.”

“Families of U.S. citizens killed in accidents or homicides frequently wait a year or more for final death certificates to be issued by Jamaican authorities,” the alert reads. “Emergency services and hospital care vary throughout the island, and response times and quality of care may vary from U.S. standards.”

The bulletin further states that the homicide rate in Jamaica has been among the highest in all of the Western Hemisphere for the past several years. U.S. government officials aren’t allowed to travel to certain areas listed in the State Department bulletin, and they can’t use public buses or drive outside of certain areas in the capital, Kingston, during nighttime hours.

In Colombia, crime has seen an uptick, while criminal and terror organizations might attack public places such as hotels, restaurants, airports, and other areas, an updated State Department notice issued several days ago stated. “Demonstrations occur regularly throughout the country,” and “protests can become violent and can result in fatalities and injuries” amid recent civil unrest, according to the agency.

Left-wing and communist terrorist groups such as the National Liberation Army, Segunda Marquetalia, and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, as well as other criminal organizations, continue to operate and carry out attacks across Colombia “with little or no warning,” the bulletin states.

“While terrorists have not specifically targeted private U.S. citizens, the attacks could result in unintended victims,” it reads.

Due to recent unrest, the bulletin states: “Demonstrations occur regularly throughout the country. Large public demonstrations can take place for a variety of political or economic issues. Demonstrations can shut down roads and highways, often without prior notice or estimated reopening timelines.”

Level 4 travel warnings were issued for the Arauca, Cauca, and Norte de Santander departments because of crime, robberies, and active terrorist groups, according to the U.S. State Department. A similar “do not travel” alert was issued for the Colombia–Venezuela border, as U.S. citizens are “at risk of detention” upon crossing into Venezuela, a country that has increasingly hostile relations with the United States.

In recent updates, both Chile and Peru now have Level 2 State Department advisories, suggesting that Americans use “increased caution” as both countries have seen political turmoil in recent weeks and months.

For Chile, there has been an increase in crime and civil unrest in recent months. Street crimes, such as muggings, petty theft, and pick-pocketing, are on the upswing, the advisory states, noting that violent crimes such as homicides, assaults, and carjackings are also increasing.

In the case of Peru, widespread protests erupted after the resignation of former leftist President Pedro Castillo, who faces an investigation into whether he allegedly laundered money. But officials noted that the Level 2 advisory is an improvement from the recent State Department bulletin.

“The improved travel advisory issued by the U.S. Department of State is welcome news and a further reminder to the world that Peru is open for business,” Ambassador of Peru to the United States Gustavo Meza-Cuadra told Fox News this week. “The upgraded travel alert underscores the safe and stable reality we see on the ground in Peru and should encourage travelers to visit.”

Meza-Cuadra noted that the country would likely see another improved travel guidance from the U.S. State Department after the unrest cools.

“We look forward to this improved travel advisory giving U.S. travelers the added confidence to book their summer travel and enjoy the warm hospitality of the Peruvian people,” he said.

About a month ago, the State Department issued a warning to Americans to not travel to Sudan because of fighting between rival factions in the capital, Khartoum. At about the same time, U.S. government officials evacuated citizens from the restive African nation.

  • Pat says:

    How about issuing a travel advisory for cities in the US; like New Orleans, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, New York City, and St. Louis? Seems that they are just as dangerous.

    • drew webb says:

      “The notice states that local police in Jamaica “often do not respond effectively to serious criminal incidents,” noting that “when arrests are made, cases are infrequently prosecuted to a conclusive sentence.”
      Doesnt it sound a lot like some of the above mentioned cities ?

    • HellNo says:

      New Orleans is..its really bad hereNew Orleans has a company called Project NOLA that is really helping to resolve criminal cases by using crime cameras.. Facial recognition and license plate readers.. There. FB page is eye opening

  • Slim says:

    Yet the idiots can’t wait to get there.

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