U.S. Drops Advisory Against
Traveling to Colombia


May 6, 2005 (Bloomberg News) -- The U.S. State Department lifted an advisory against its citizens traveling to Colombia as security improves in the South American nation.

The State Department still warns "of the dangers of travel to Colombia'' but wording from previous listings that urged U.S. citizens "against travel'' to the country has been removed, the department said on its Web site.

"Violence has decreased markedly in most urban centers, including Bogota, Medellin, Barranquilla, and Cartagena,'' the advisory said. Still, "no one can be considered immune on the basis of occupation, nationality or any other factor.''

President Alvaro Uribe's effort to rid the nation of the violence from Colombia's four-decade civil war, which pits guerrillas against the government and paramilitary groups, has resulted in a 30 percent drop in homicides to 20,000 and a 50 percent decline in kidnappings.

Since 2000, 32 Americans were kidnapped in Colombia, including four in 2004, the State Department said.

The Colombian peso has strengthened almost 24 percent against the U.S. dollar since Uribe took office in August 2002. The government's benchmark 10 percent bond due in 2012 rose to 109.40 pesos from 80.25 pesos, cutting the yield to 8.151 percent from 12.733 percent.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Helen Murphy in Bogota at Ext. 224 or hmurphy1@bloomberg.net

Last Updated: May 6, 2005 11:17 EDT

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