Presidential elections will be held in Colombia on 29 May 2022. Key information and recommendations from a sample of our global alerts:
Colombia: Land borders to be closed from 18:00 (local time) on May 28 ahead of presidential elections
Please be advised:
- Presidential elections will take place nationwide on May 29. Polling stations will remain open from 08:00-16:00 (local time). Over 39 million voters are eligible to cast their vote at 102,194 polling stations set up nationwide and abroad.
- Authorities have announced the closure of all land and maritime borders from 18:00 on May 28 to 06:00 on May 30 to maintain electoral security and transparency. More than 16,000 security personnel will be additionally deployed in the border areas.
- In addition, a dry law will be implemented across the country from 16:00 on May 28 to 12:00 on May 30.
- Demonstrations and political gatherings are likely to be held in Bogota and other major cities including Barranquilla, Cali, and Medellin. Potential demonstrations are expected to take place at public squares and outside government buildings, with turnouts likely to be in the high hundreds-to-low thousands each. Spontaneous small-scale demonstrations outside polling booths in smaller cities and towns are also likely.
- While the announcement of ceasefires by both the ELN and FARC dissidents is expected to limit the risk of high-impact and coordinated armed violence, the threat of violence remains high. Given the heightened unrest among guerilla groups over the stalled peace negotiations and the recent killings of several high ranked members, radical factions of such groups are liable to carry out intimidatory attacks targeting polling booths, police stations, security personnel, and social and political leaders in an attempt to influence the elections. The threat is expected to be particularly higher in the rural areas of Arauca, Antioquia, Cauca, Cesar, Choco, and Norte de Santander. However, given precedent, small-scale attacks and ambushes are also liable to occur in major urban centers including Barranquilla, Bogota, Cali, and Medellin, especially near political establishments, gatherings, public universities, and security units before and after the polling day.
- A bolstered security presence is expected to be deployed in the vicinity of all polling stations as a precautionary measure. In the event that attacks occur near a polling station, voting may be suspended temporarily until security is restored.
- Travel disruptions can be expected across all major cities and in the vicinity of polling stations. Pre-emptive road closures and security cordons can be anticipated ahead of the elections.
- Those residing or operating in Colombia on May 28 and in the coming days are advised to avoid nonessential travel in the vicinity of political gatherings, military facilities, and other security units, due to the potential for armed attacks.
- Avoid all travel along the Colombia-Venezuela border.
- Maintain heightened vigilance given the potential for unrest during potential demonstrations.
- Allot for travel disruptions due to the land and maritime border closures, as well as security checkpoints and cordons expected to be placed across the country for the duration of the elections.
Security to be bolstered in 17 municipalities of Antioquia due to electoral risks as of May 19
Please be advised:
- On May 19, authorities announced that security will be bolstered in 17 municipalities of Antioquia due to possible electoral risks ahead of the May 29 presidential election, with a total of 13,900 security forces being deployed in the department.
- Some of the municipalities that will receive an increased presence of police and military forces are Amalfi, Caucasia, Zaragoza, Murindo, Nechi, Turbo, Vigia del Fuerte, Yarumal, and Yondo, among others.
- With a total of 217,000 members of the Armed Forces and 97,000 police officers expected to be deployed nationwide ahead of the election, the latest announcement reiterates increasing concerns over political violence during the vote.
- Although the Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (ELN) has declared a ceasefire from May 25-June 3 to allow citizens to vote “in peace”, the threat of other guerrilla groups such as Clan del Golfo (AGC) or Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) dissidents engaging in acts of violence ahead of or during the vote remains.
- The risk of electoral violence will remain higher in rural areas, particularly along the northern-eastern and the south-western borders.
- Those operating or residing in Antioquia in Colombia on May 22 and over the coming days are advised to maintain heightened vigilance due to the risk of civilian casualties in political violence in the run-up to the planned election on May 29.
- Remain cognizant of your surroundings, including any suspicious behaviour of individuals, especially in rural areas.
- Immediately alert authorities of any suspicious behaviour.
- Ensure that places of stay are properly secured, alter travel routes, and avoid disclosing sensitive itinerary information to unknown individuals.
Motorcade protest by taxi drivers ongoing from Museo de los Ninos in Bogota, morning hours, May 24
Please be advised:
- Emerging reports indicate that a motorcade protest by taxi drivers is ongoing in Bogota during the morning hours (local time) on May 24. Participants departed from Museo de los Ninos at 10:00 and will continue towards Secretaria de Movilidad Distrital, where they will hold a sit-in.
- The protest is being held to denounce the growing insecurity faced by taxi drivers, following the killing of a taxi driver in the area of barrio Bella Flor.
Although the protest is expected to transpire peacefully, traffic disruptions in the vicinity are expected to persist over the coming hours.
Those operating or residing in Bogota during the coming hours on May 24 are advised to allot for disruptions to travel in the vicinity of the aforementioned locations due to the ongoing motorcade protest.
Media company targeted in ransomware cyberattack in Bogota on May 22
Please be advised:
- On May 22, a privately owned media company was targeted in a ransomware cyber-attack in Bogota.
- Authorities of the company released a statement condemning the attack and reported that it affected several newscast and radio departments’ designs and graphics programs as well as some operational applications.
- The attack will be investigated by the Direccion de Investigacion Criminal e Interpol de la Policia Nacional (DIJIN) investigation department and Fiscalia General, the Attorney General’s office.
- With reports indicating that Colombia was the hardest-hit country by cyberattacks in 2019 and with over 93.9 percent of companies reporting being compromised at least once in 2021, the latest incident highlights the increasing threat of cyber-attacks, especially in the run-up to the Presidential elections on May 29.
- Although no major data was tampered with, the above attack reflects the company’s vulnerability to security threats, reiterating the need to implement stronger cybersecurity measures.
- Moreover, other media outlets covering the Presidential elections are likely to record similar incidents in the form of ransomware and Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) cyberattacks due to the cybercriminal-political hacker nexus.
- Those operating or residing in Colombia on May 24 and going forward are advised to maintain heightened vigilance against cyberattacks seeking to disrupt business continuity by targeting privately-owned companies, and especially media outlets.
- Take precautions to protect against cyberattacks at all times. Employees and management should anticipate possible disruptions in local services, email, and other online infrastructure in the near term.
- Routinely change passwords and password-protect all devices that connect to the internet.
- Update anti-virus software and computer programs regularly, while backing up critical data.
- If your computer has been compromised and infected with a virus or other malware, shut it down, pull the network cable out of your PC, and turn off the Wi-Fi connection. Seek professional guidance.
Colombia: Aguilas Negras issue pamphlets threatening supporters of Gustavo Petro in Caldas on May 10
Please be advised:
- According to reports, Aguilas Negras, a far-right paramilitary group issued pamphlets with death threats to the residents of Caldas who support presidential candidate Gustavo Petro from the left-wing Pacto Historico por Colombia (PHxC), Indigenous leaders, and former Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) combatants on May 10.
- The threats were made to the residents of Marmato, Quinchia, Riosucio, and Supia.
- The aforementioned incident follows reports of Petro cancelling his election campaign in Eje Cafetero due to an alleged attack plot on May 3, reflecting the escalating threat posed to electoral candidates, and social leaders ahead of the elections.
- Furthermore, the death threats to residents in support of Petro and other leaders will likely lead to lower voter turnout in the upcoming presidential election due to fear of reprisal. Moreover, it reflects attempts by Aguilas Negras to influence the elections to advance its own ideological agenda.
- Given this, further threats coupled with politically motivated clashes, ambushes, and other intimidatory incidents in the aforementioned departments are likely to be recorded in the near term, posing a threat to those in the immediate vicinity.
Those operating or residing in Colombia on May 12 and going forward are advised to avoid nonessential travel to the aforementioned departments due to the high risk of politically motivated clashes, ambushes, and other intimidatory incidents involving paramilitary groups.
For more information regarding our Travel Risk Management services including our Global Alerts please contact email@example.com. Keep your workforce safe – we are currently offering a free demo and 30 day free trial of our platform.