Colombia improved, but

This item appears on page 22 of the May 2009 issue.

While security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years, small towns and rural areas of Colombia still can be extremely dangerous due to the presence of narcoterrorists, and in both urban and rural areas common crime remains a significant problem. The level of violence in Buenaventura remains high.

Extortion-related bombings have occurred recently in Bogota (Jan. 27 in a commercial building, with two fatalities), Cali and several smaller cities. Many expatriates frequent the neighborhoods where the explosions occurred. 

The incidence of kidnapping in Colombia has diminished significantly from its peak at the beginning of this decade but still occurs.