“Kathleen, we spoke about a year-and-a-half ago about the problems in Colombia. Since that time you have ignored the very serious problem of kidnapping in Colombia, which is getting worse. I am appalled that you practice the ‘ostrich’ approach about this serious problem. Any experienced person would automatically Google the problems in the potential country they plan to visit, but you are telling everyone that Colombia is safe? Shame on you.
“Since the 1970s, kidnappings in Colombia gradually increased until 2001. In the year 2000 alone the number of kidnapped people in Colombia rose to 3,572. This number declined steadily in the following years, reaching 687 kidnappings in 2006. Latest stats for 2009 (January through October), from Colombia police, indicate it had fallen to 172. Despite this sizable reduction in the number of kidnappings after 2001, the number of victims continues to be one of the highest in the world. In 2010 the number of kidnappings increased to 282. The surge in kidnappings in 2010 and 2011 is attributed to criminal groups like Los Rastrojos and guerrillas.
“This is from Wikipedia, and you can find similar references just by googling it. What about the people who have never travelled outside North America? Do you not have an obligation or even a responsibility to tell them about the negatives as well as the positives? I think that people take your word as gospel.
“I read your information that comes daily to my in-box, and I appreciate the information, but, having travelled extensively most of my life, I know there is a lot of information you are not telling me…”
–Brian U., United States
“Kathleen, I always enjoy your articles, especially about Medellin. I have lived here for five years after marrying a beautiful Colombian woman who I met on the internet. Colombia wasn’t even on my radar at the time, because of its reputation, but I am very glad that things happened the way they did. I haven’t had a single safety issue in five years and feel totally secure. However, this is a large city, and any large city in the world requires caution.
“I have found the people here to be very friendly, always wanting to help, and many want to practice their English. Now, I play tennis three times a week, and I have started an alternative health business that is just beginning to catch on.
“Learning a foreign language at my age (70) has been a real challenge, but it is coming along, and I am able to get by, as I continue to study and practice. I love the weather, the people, the food (especially the fresh fruit and vegetables), and the family orientation here that has been lost for many years in the United States.
“I really don’t like to drive because of the congestion and the similarity of the roads to an obstacle course, so I take a taxi or bus most of the time. The bus system is easy, efficient, and very inexpensive, so it is usually my first choice. The bus drivers here have to be the best in the world the way they maneuver in and out of traffic while making change and letting people get on and off.
“I would enjoy meeting you sometime when you’re here. We live in Poblado near the new Santa Fe mall. If I can help in any way, please give me a call…”
–Mike C., Colombia
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