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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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  #1  
Old 16 Oct 2008
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Location: Santa Marta, Colombia, South America
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Colombia - travel advisory

As of yesterday, the Pan American was blocked in 4 places between Cali and Popayan. This is a result of an indigenous peoples protest. ESMAD, (Colombian riot squad), are out in force, and some local leaders have been murdered by right wing paramilitary groups. Understandably, feelings are running high. Yesterday, some 70 protesters were injured. Three European observers have been deported in the last week.

All this is further complicated by the sugar cane cutters' strike and bombs being detonated in Neiva and Cali, with one fatality. Predictably, the FARC is being blamed but frankly; who knows?

Two dead, 100 hurt in Colombian clashes - CNN.com

Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia

Upside Down World - Another Indigenous Leader Assassinated in Colombia

If you are travelling and need an urgent update, PM for the latest.

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Last edited by Stretcher Monkey; 16 Oct 2008 at 16:56.
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  #2  
Old 16 Oct 2008
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WOW! I came through there on Sunday (currently in Quito) and no problems. Timing is everything. Unfortunately, impossible to plan.
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  #3  
Old 20 Oct 2008
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A group of Finnish bikers (11 bikes) are currently aboard the boat Stahlratte, going from Panama to Colombia, where they should land tomorrow or the day after I think.

I cant contact them at the moment, but according to their plan, they are thinking of going this way:

Cartagena-Caucasia-Medellin-Tulua-Pasto (then cross to Ecuador, head towards Quito)

Any comments on this route, and possibly any advice regarding it, or suggestions for a safer one? (freighting the bikes onwards would probably be the safest, but Im afraid they wont go that way easily!) The group leader is a nice guy, but also happens to be a very optimistic person, and I hope he wont lead them into trouble. But I´m sure they will ask about the routes themselves, too, once they get into Colombia.

All up-to-date info would be warmly appreciated. I´m actually planning to do the Pan-America myself in a couple of years.
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  #4  
Old 20 Oct 2008
albert crutcher's Avatar
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Ok

I,m in Medellin right now and all is normal and the route they,re taking is fine.In the last two weeks I,ve been visited by 5 bikes Canadians,Americans and Germans following that same route going north and south.If your friends would like to call me,I,ll give them a few bits of route advice.
Let me know
Al theturtleshead
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  #5  
Old 20 Oct 2008
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PanAm is open and there are no more clashes with police for the moment, although the cane cutters strike continues. The indigenous people will embark on a 3 day march to Cali starting on the 21st/23rd of October, (no one is too sure):

Indigenous to march from Cauca to Cali

so who knows what problems that will cause, potentially none, possibly some.

Personally, none of this would stop me from riding the route and visiting the main cities. Be aware that the occasional bomb does go off in Cali, but I guess they will be stopping off in Tulua - good choice!

That particular border crossing, (Ipiales/Tulcan), is my favourite; pleasant, efficient and ostensibly safe. I wouldn't even consider freighting on to Quito at this stage.
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How much does a man live, after all?
Does he live a thousand days, or one only?
For a week, or several centuries?
How long does a man spend dying?
What does it mean to say “forever”? - Pablo Neruda

Last edited by Stretcher Monkey; 21 Oct 2008 at 06:20.
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  #6  
Old 23 Oct 2008
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Its tranquilo in Cali right now, but they do expect some action tomorrow, when the march apparently will hit Cali. Most shop owners have chosen to close down tomorrow as they are afraid to be robbed.

The marching people have declared it to be a non violent march though, but Uribe yesterday night admitted that the police, against orders, had shot into the crowd and apparently killed one demonstrator, after being attacked with homemade bombs, stones and riffels. Clashes have left up to 150 injured and some 70 police officers injured and 4 killed in total.

So the Pan America going south of Cali is not recommended the next few days. Had two bikers visit me on the 17/10. They left 18/10 and I just heard that they had no problems going south to Ipiales from Cali. And they are in Quito now. But tomorrow and possibly the day after is not good I would suspect.

Still you´re all welcome here at the hostel this area is perfectly safe!
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