Colombia’s vice-president said Tuesday he is asking foreign embassies to help prevent foreigners from going to violence-ridden areas where there’s a heightened risk of kidnapping by groups such as the FARC and the ELN.
VP Angelino Garzon’s comments came during an extended media session in which he discussed ongoing peace talks with the FARC in Havana, the kidnappings of former US marine Kevin Scott Sutay and Canadian mining official Jernoc Wober and the recent meeting between himself and Luis Genaro Muñez, the President of the Committee of Coffee Workers, in support of a pending deal that would avoid another strike on the part of Colombia’s coffee farmers.
“We have to ask all foreigners visiting our country to please help us by not entering areas where they could be affected by the violence,” he said, after indicating his office would be working with embassies and other foreign bodies to inform foreign nationals about the dangers facing them during their travels.
The warning, however, was framed as a local issue as much as an international one.
“This is valid for any Colombian citizen as well as any foreigner.”
Indeed, Garzon said even he, the second highest executive in Colombia, takes measures to ensure his safety.
“When I visit any city in the country, I, as vice-president, have to understand that there are places I should not go.”
The United States and British embassies in Bogota told Colombia Reports they have yet to receive any direct contact from Garzon or his staff, and the vice-president failed to clarify in which areas specifically travelers run the risk of becoming “affected by the violence.”
A member of the vice-president’s press team, told this website that the office will be disseminating a formal document with explicit recommendations at some point in the near future.
- Official Website of the Office of the Vicepresident
- Interview with Vicepresident’s press office
- Interview with Embassy of the United States
- Interview with Embassy of the United Kingdom