General strike in Colombia may affect many services

Multiple media outlets are reporting that a nation-wide general strike planned by public and private sector workers on March 17 may cause significant traffic delays and disruptions and also negatively effect services such as hospitals and public transportation throughout Colombia.  The U.S. Embassy recommends U.S. citizens and their family members prepare for these disruptions.

The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. Citizens to monitor our demonstration notices at here as well as local media for developments.  As always, we advise U.S. citizens that even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence.  You should avoid areas of demonstrations, and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings, protests, or demonstrations.

Please review your personal security plans; remain aware of your surroundings, including local events; and monitor local news stations for updates.  Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security and follow instructions of local authorities.

We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Colombia enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at https://step.state.gov/step.  STEP gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy.

Regularly monitor the State Department’s website at http://travel.state.gov/, where you can find current Travel Warnings, including the Travel Warning for Colombia, Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Colombia at http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/colombia.html.  For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website.

Contact the U.S. embassy for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free from within the United States and Canada, or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter at https://mobile.twitter.com/travelgov and Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/travelgov, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/smart-traveler/id442693988?mt=8 to have travel information at your fingertips.

You can contact the American Citizen Services Unit at the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, Colombia, via e-mail at acsbogota@state.gov or by telephone at (571) 275-2000.  The U.S. Embassy is located at Carrera 45, # 24B-27, Bogota, D.C., Colombia and is open to the public by appointment on Monday through Thursday from 09:00 to 11:30.

The Embassy operates a Consular Agency in Barranquilla, Colombia which also provides assistance to U.S. citizens.  The Barranquilla Consular Agency is located at Calle 77B No. 57-141, suite 511, tel. (575) 353-2001, e-mail: ConAgencyBarranquilla@state.gov. Routine services by appointment only.