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Tourist Kidnappings, Crime Spark US Embassy Warnings

- THE EPOCH TIMES - Jack Phillips - MAY 21, 2023 -

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.

Warm, calm beach waters beckon at Hotel Riu Palace Jamaica. (Annie Wu/The Epoch Times)

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.


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