While the Colombian government wants to present the country as a safe and fun place for tourists, this is false due to the human rights violations going on in this South American country.
On Sept. 27, the International Day of Tourism, the Coalition for Peace in Colombia is participating in an international day of action called the People’s Travel Advisory for Colombia. In the U.S., protests will be held at Colombian embassies, consulates and tourism offices in Boston; Detroit; Portland, Ore.; San Francisco; Tucson, Ariz.; Washington, D.C.; and other places to inform the public about the reality of the situation.
The coalition stated in their press release, “Colombia IS NOT a safe country, but a dangerous country for every person who desires a just peace!”
They add that Colombia was dangerous for the more than 700 human rights defenders and social leaders who have been murdered since the implementation of the Peace Accords in 2016. They have been killed at a rate of one victim every 30 hours. The assassins are military and paramilitary troops that act with impunity under the protection of President Iván Duque, a close ally of the U.S. government.
Colombia is dangerous for the ex-insurgents who have laid down their weapons in order to participate in the peace agreement and who, since the implementation of the accord, have lost more than 130 persons murdered by enemies of the peace.
Colombia is dangerous for the Indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities who constitute more than 40 percent of the victims of right-wing violence.
Colombia is dangerous for the Marcha Patriótica popular movement for peace, whose members also are more than 40 percent of the victims.
Colombia is dangerous for the more than 6,100 Indigenous children in the Department of La Guajira, who have died from hunger and thirst, and the Wayúu communities, who do not have food security while foreign mining companies rob their water and the Colombian and U.S. governments ignore them. Instead, these authorities invest in militarization and use their territory to foment interference and prepare for war against Venezuela.
Colombia is dangerous for the more than 8 million forcibly internally displaced persons and more than 5.5 million Colombian refugees in Venezuela. The majority of these are rural families and social leaders displaced due to the threats and assaults against them by the military and paramilitaries, and from the dispossession of their territories to satisfy the greed of big landowners, narco-traffickers, and foreign corporations.
Colombia is dangerous for the tourist who dares to deviate from the official path. If a tourist wants to see the beautiful mountains and forests of Cauca, she may find herself in the midst of a military incursion against a rural community.
If a tourist wants to learn about the rich traditions of the Wayúu people in La Guajira or César, he can find himself in the line of fire of paramilitaries assaulting an Indigenous leader.
If someone wants to celebrate the Afro-Colombian culture in Buenaventura, they will find themselves in a place without emergency medical facilities, in a place where union leaders are under constant threat.