“The truth is I don’t know what happened, in two days my life changed. I don’t understand, everything has happened very fast, the threats ended my life in Colombia and that they suddenly told me I should leave the country is very frustrating,” Andrews reportedly told El Tiempo.
According to the newspaper, the FARC labeled Andrews as a military target, and Interpol advised him that his life was in danger, and that it was no longer safe for him to travel Colombia.
El Tiempo also reports that U.S. Ambassador to Bogota, William Brownfield, advised Andrews to leave the country.
“I was working on an article in El Cerrito [in the Valle department] when two men on a motorbike told me I had to leave, or I would be kidnapped. I left there and went to Cali and took a plane. I was very, but very, scared. My mom is very sad and worried because she also loves Colombia, but like me, she thinks it is best to leave the country – now that my life is at risk – and sadly I will never return to this country and I will return to Miami,” El Tiempo quotes Andrews as saying.
Speaking from Miami, Andrews told Colombia Reports that he had agreed with his employer not to make any comment on the matter, but stressed that what has happened is an isolated event and does not make Colombia an unsafe place for foreigners.
Andrews said that he will be returning to Colombia within the next few months.
U.S. embassy spokesperson Ana Duque declined to deny or confirm the news citing U.S. privacy laws.
Andrews’ employer RCN told Colombia Reports that they did not have a spokesperson available to comment.
Update (Thursday afternoon)
Gossip website Lafiscalia.com reports that Andrews had been involved in a bar fight in the city of Neiva last week and was advised to leave the city afterwards. The website cynically notes that “the gringo journalist will certainly arrive in Miami looking for work posing as ex-war correpondent with terror stories about the threats he received in the convulsed South American country.”
Update 2 (Friday afternoon)
Andrews specifies that he never did an interview with El Tiempo and that quotes in the original article are fabricated. The anchor also denies ever having been to Neiva and insists that the U.S. embassy warned him about security issues.