Online Harassment: My Experience with Cyberstalking in Colombia

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Stop Harassment

Late last Wednesday evening I received an anonymous message through a fake Facebook account purposefully written to instill the greatest amount of fear, uncertainty and emotional stress in me as possible.

It was full of lies, claiming I’m a sex tourist, I abuse minors, there’s proof, I’m going to jail and I will be shamed publicly as a result. Worse, it implied I’d be killed.

It ended with an ultimatum, I either shut down Medellín Living, the Facebook page, book and app within one week or face the consequences.

I immediately notified U.S. and Colombian authorities of what I felt were serious and specific threats against me. Below are the steps I took to protect myself.

The U.S. Embassy in Bogotá

I spoke with the American Citizen Services group, which handles emergencies involving U.S. citizens in Colombia.

They are aware of the situation and I now have a point of contact there.

Fiscalía General de la Nación

At Fiscalía (Prosecutor’s office) near the Universidad de Antioquia, I filed a sworn statement about the defamation and harassment.

I provided them with copies of every message.

Local Police

I delivered the protection order I received from the Fiscalía to my local police station.

The assisting officer brought a copy of the protection order signed by his commander to my home by 9 a.m. the next morning. I even ran into a friendly cop I know in the parking lot.

The police also told me about the free Cuadrante Amigo app (iPhone // Android).

Install it on your smartphone and open it if you find yourself in any danger. The app waits five seconds and then automatically sends a message to the nearest officer who can respond based on your GPS location.

Everyone visiting Medellín should get this app.

Gaula

Gaula is a special police division responsible for handling cases involving kidnapping and extortion.

Gaula can be reached locally, at no cost, by dialling 165. Their offices are located in Guayabal, across the river from Ciudad del Río, at Carrera 51 #14-259.

Facebook

I reported this third and most serious instance of harassment to Facebook and blocked the fake profile. I also made my Facebook profile private and am not accepting new friends.

This person has already contacted at least three of my friends through Facebook to spread lies and discredit me. If you receive such a message, please save it (either a screenshot or copy/paste), report the harassment to Facebook and block the account.

Friends and Family

I began reaching out to trusted friends and family to make them aware of what I was experiencing.

Talking about the experience has helped me process why someone would make up terrible lies to try and force me out of business (hint: anti-Americanism).

Anyone who knows me, knows these statements against me are 100 percent bullshit.

The Role of Medellín Living

I want to reassure readers I have nothing to hide. I’m a law-abiding citizen of the U.S. who also respects the laws of Colombia, and any country I visit.

Further, I try to live a peaceful life that’s respectful and understanding of others, regardless of race, nationality, sexual orientation, religion or background.

That said, I recognize by not taking a public stand against the rise of sex tourism in Medellín, I may be perceived as not caring, or worse, complicit in illegal or harmful behavior.

Medellín Living’s purpose is to present the city and Colombians in a positive light. While this is a difficult topic, I will not shy away from addressing it here.

No Al Turista Sexual (No to the Sex Tourist)

Earlier this month, I met with Pazamanos, the NGO behind the No Al Turista Sexual (No to the Sex Tourist) campaign, to learn more about the problem, their goals and how I can help.

This week, I’ll be dedicating a separate story to the campaign. Until then, please read this excellent article by Colombia Reports from last year.

Story Removed

In addition, I removed the review I wrote several years ago promoting Colombian Cupid (click here to see it’s no longer in Google’s results), a dating website for foreign men to meet Colombian women.

While I and several friends have met smart, wonderful women through it, and I do not consider it a sex tourism website, I do know it is used by sex mongers.

For this reason, I will no longer promote it on Medellín Living nor will it be included in the iPhone app or mentioned in the next version of my book.

At the end of the day, I believe it’s the sex tourists themselves, not any particular website or app, that are the problem, however, I am more than happy to make this concession.

Online Harassment

According to a 2014 survey by the Pew Research Center, “73% of adult internet users have seen someone be harassed in some way online, and 40% have personally experienced it.”

Sadly, research shows young people and women bear the brunt of it, but as I’ve learned recently, it can happen to anyone, anywhere, for any reason.

Have you experienced harassment or intimidation running your business in Medellín, Colombia, or anywhere else for that matter? Share your experiences in the comments below.

Like the story? Take a second to support Medellin Living on Patreon!

LEAVE A REPLY

73 COMMENTS

  1. Wow David. It is so odd to hear this happening. I had a similar incident through Facebook after visiting Phillipines. I did not live there so the threat was not so bad. This article was vet informative.

  2. Sending positive energy your way! I think there are way more people (i.e. Americans, Europeans etc.) who come here respectfully to experience this beautiful country than not. However discrimination and harassment happens even to the best of us. The hazard of being a foreigner living abroad. And of course having Obama’s henchman embarrass themselves by partying too hard in Cartagena a couple years ago didn’t help. You have a great website, keep up the good work!

    • Thanks Erin. I agree this kind of thing can happen anywhere, and certainly in the U.S. (Gamergate being a recent and high profile example). The laws need to catch up with the times.

  3. Stay strong David and don’t lose any sleep over the Internet cowards. Your website is very intuitive and resourceful . Keep up the great work.

  4. David,

    I’m sorry to hear about the harassment, I think you’re doing the right thing by taking these threats seriously. Thanks for the info how to protect oneself. Only a coward makes threats behind fake Facebook accounts, sometimes the cowards are the most dangerous though. Thanks for the update; Medellin Buzz will continue supporting your blog.

  5. This is such horrible behaviour to have to deal with, but I’m glad you took all the right steps – and the Cuadrante Amigo app sounds like a great idea. Hope you’re feeling better about the situation now, Dave!

  6. I thought your article on CC was well written and informative and not in any way a promotion but a suggestion, In my opinion while I was there my friends were using Tinder and it was non stop and a much larger promoter then that dating website. I loved Medellin for all it has to offer and I am looking to return next month or so. Did you have a falling out with someone there? Breakup with a girl or friend? Sometimes these events online start with people closest to us……….. Good Luck and stay safe….

  7. All my support!! We stay together and we win. Of course the success of the page is the reason behind it. As Zuckemberg said: to have 500.000 friends you need to have some enemy! Stay strong

  8. David stay positive, what you are doing by bringing information about how amazing and beautiful Medellin is, will only continue to help others understand it’s true uniqueness. Thank you for all that you do.

  9. In your article on sex tourism will you touch on how the it’s intrinsically an act of desperation and a lack of self respect and education on the part of Colombians? Cause and effect, no? They shine the only spotlight in the city from the base of a whore house, then shame visitors for falling victim to it’s shameless promotion?

    My opinion is this anti-Americanism has a highly hypocritical foundation, that cowards are too cowardly to address. As a Colombian I’ve lived too much of my life blaming others for my shortcomings, I would like to see this commonality be squashed by people my senior, with the local experience and power to do more than point fingers and spam nationalist bumper stickers. I’m sure Google has some impressive stats on how much foreign investment is truly aiding our country.

    I would personally love to hear Pazamano’s thoughts on an “Educate your daughters in self-respect” campaign, and rid this weed by it’s roots. Thank you for their contact info, as well as an insightful article.

    • Hi Max,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I may not be able to go that deep in this week’s article, as I want to publish it by Wednesday.

      I agree about the hypocrisy. I imagine change will come, eventually, but it will take several generations (ie. decades).

      • Victoria I understand your love and pride for this beautiful country, but as much as I can realistically say my Americans are generally over-patriotic war-mongerers, I can say my my Colombian heritage suffers from a history of laziness and manipulation. I only tire of the racism that chews on the hand that feeds.

        I blame my American government for breeding ignorance as one might blame Santos for poverty. We cannot ignore the fact that this form of sex slavery begins at home, so how can one reasonably attack a foreigner? Dave runs a reasonably unbiased operation here, its like a soccer player blaming the fan for breaking his concentration…just make the damn kick, he’s not your coach, and if you miss, train, improve…

        • What an ugly post. “My Americans are generally over-patriotic war-mongerers,” What the hell? “I can say my my Colombian heritage suffers from a history of laziness and manipulation.” Lots of Colombians work as hard as hell and handle themselves quite well, thank you. “I only tire of the racism that chews on the hand that feeds.” Again, what the hell?

          The problem here isn’t a lack of proofreading or vocabulary, it’s crass stereotyping.

  10. I agree that it was very smart of you to take the threats seriously. Good for you for handling it in such a strong a day thorough way. Sending you good thoughts, keep strong.

  11. Oh wow, glad you are okay. I pretty behind with smart phones (just got my first one for Christmas), but wow, the Cuadrante Amigo app is SUCH a good idea!

  12. I wonder if this is related to the person pretending to be you, and badmouthing Colombia in my blog comments before. No idea if I was smart enough to save it (probably not), but I’ll look. Stay safe.

  13. Sorry to hear about this: it’s shocking to see such abuse being given out to someone just trying to positively promote Medellin and Colombia. Stay positive and keep doing what you’re doing!

  14. David,
    As you know we have discussed this issue per a Skype call yesterday. I want to say that unfortunately our site medellinvida.com was also a victim of the threats against your site because we have been accused of possibly being involved.
    I want to state for the record that neither I nor anyone affiliated with Medellinvida.com were involved. In addition we condemn this action in the strongest form. Nobody should have to look over their shoulder simply because they write a blog. We support your efforts to protect yourself by any means possible. There are crazy people in this world and we have also been the victims from cyber cowards in our past.

    Will Stone

  15. Dave, sorry to hear this man really sad. What a cowardly thing to do. I want you to know as a Colombian American I appreciate the work you do. For most of my life my family and I never came to Colombia because we only knew the ugly side of colombia drugs and kidnapping. Your doing a great thing here I’m sure you will have your fair share of haters both colombian and american but thats how you can tell you doing something big.

    Just want to send you some encouragement.

    PS. Thanks to your blog I’m married with a newborn baby. My mom found your blog and told me to checkit out and one day you shared one of Jasmine’s articles and I read it. The rest is history, my prayers are going out to you man.

    – Dwayne Golden JR

  16. Been following your blog since I came to Med. a year and a half ago. Don’t let these assholes get to you bro, I love reading your articles, they have always been very useful to me. Sorry to hear this has happened to you.

    Stu

  17. Hi Dave,
    I’m sorry to hear about the grief that you are copping over the internet.

    I am married to a Paisa and we live in Australia. I love the updates that you send out about Medellin as it helps me with an appreciation of her home town.

    I hope that you are able to sort out / find the perpetrator of your harassment.

    Chin up and keep up the updates – there are plenty of us out here who love them.
    Thanks
    Nick

  18. Hey Dave! Don’t let this minor thing to let you down! As a Colombian I admire you because yo show the good things of my country despite what everybody else thinks and says about Colombia being dangerous. Don’t let a troll sadden your experience, those people defintely need to get a life!
    If you feel like releasing your anger, an ATV tour with us always helps! Just let me know!

  19. I’m very sorry to read this Dave, but taking it seriously and taking all of the above measures to protect yourself (including publishing this article) was most definitely the right thing to do. Those who follow your blog and have gotten to know you are well aware that there is absolutely no merit to these accusations. This is nothing but “Yanquis go home” anti-Americanism but not to be taken lightly.

  20. How alarming! I’m sorry you have to deal with this. I suffered 16 months of online harassment & threats while in France from someone I knew offline, even my clients were threatened online. It was very stressful and anxiety inducing, I totally understand. Please be safe and know you’ve taken all the right steps!

  21. That is awful David. So sorry you had to experience that. I have found nothing in the information displayed in your website that would imply that you are catering to Sex Tourists. If anything it is quite the opposite. You share the cultural experiences of Medellin as well as many important facts about those of us looking to make Medellin their home in the near future. I hope your actions with local and government law enforcement will help to catch this person(s) making threats. Keep up the good work. I am finding all of your information most valuable.

    Regards,
    Brian

    • Thanks Brian. If we’re going to be accused of anything, it should be pointing someone toward a bad cup of coffee 😉

      To be frank, I think the sex tourism is being used to mask a general distaste for Americans.

      If this person really cared about protecting young girls (and boys), he should be lobbying the local and federal government to do more to protect them and investigate these crimes, not threatening those of us who are on the same side trying to do something positive.

      • David,

        Sorry to hear about your situation, probably not the best for a foreigner but I would like to share with you my personal opinion, and please be advice I do it as human no to be your friend or your enemy.

        I really don’t care about your personal business but I don’t want you to be part of the long list of people that felt victims of the Colombian Socio-cultural behavior.

        Colombians aren’t bad people, for sure, but we have too many things that differ from the rest of planet that sometimes for someone like you it is difficult to fit in it.

        Don’t think for a second, don’t fool yourself and don’t let anybody fool you but all those that claim to be your friends, probably aren’t.

        At the end of the day you are the outsider. Your are welcome in different circles of life only because you fill that gap of curiosity that we all share but even after a hug, kiss or shake of hands think deeply what ‘s hidden behind it?

        As an American probably you aren’t doing anything bad or committing a crime but in the eyes or mind of some Colombia people you are part of their problems with the comments you post on your forum or face book.

        It isn’t harassment or intimidation as you called it, it is simple, a person like you can fix the Colombian situation in a year or two, remember this Country was and still is in an internal conflict (war) that extend for more than 60 years.

        Only a suggestion, mind your own business, take care of your entrepreneur skills, enjoy and be part of Colombia as a Colombian, don’t push yourself in to this Culture, let this Country make you part of their culture and you will be good and happy for many years.

        Please keep in mind “Parque lleras” isn’t Colombia or Medellin and the people there are just a small bit of our Society behavior.

        Finally, knowing you’re a smart guy, remember that Colombia isn’t the USA, Antioquia isn’t California and more important Medellin isn’t San Francisco, I hope you know what I mean.

        Good luck

        • Hi Mario,

          I appreciate your perspective on this matter. While I expect disagreements and differences of opinions, if I showed you the messages I’ve received I don’t know how you could characterize them as anything other than harassment. Close my website or face the consequences with allusions to jail and murder? That’s extortion.

          Extortion: “the practice of obtaining something, especially money, through force or threats.”

          I think you offer good advice about not forcing myself on the local culture. And I’d like to think I follow it, but I feel like someone is trying to silence me. How can I do my job if I can’t express my opinion without fear of retribution?

          Most of the time, we don’t even write about serious topics. We write about fun, light things like cafes and nightlife. We help promote local businesses, whether foreign or Colombian-owned. That’s what people want to read so that’s what we write.

          The lies being made up about me are all fabricated because I haven’t done anything wrong. If I closed down Medellin Living tomorrow, you can bet another foreigner will see the opportunity that has opened, come along and do the same thing.

        • This post is unhelpful and overly vague at best, and offensive and accusatory at worst.

          The only thing I can really make out of the whole thing is that you seem to be claiming this issue is not one of harassment or intimidation. If you can explain how in the world you justify sending someone threatening messages doesn’t qualify, please clarify.

          The rest of your post is filled with vague statements that can be interpreted a variety of ways. Maybe others know what you mean, but to me, it reads as being very critical of the author of this article.

          Why don’t you just say what you mean? If you’re trying to be helpful that would be more appropriate, and if you’re not, at least you’d be making a direct accusation as opposed to one twisted up in vague writing.

          • Chris,
            My comment was only for David but first of all, I wasn’t try to do any harm, second I didn’t accuse him and finally please point out to me when I was offensive?

            All I said to David was “he is a foreigner (OUTSIDER) to most of the Colombians down there”

            “claiming this issue is not one of harassment or intimidation” I wasn’t and I am no denying the reality behind it, I was only pointing out that for most of the regular people down there, this type of situations it is part of the regular lives.

            Just because you, David, I or someone else find this behavior criminal, it doesn’t mean people down there does or care about it.

            Cyber harassment in a Society used to flying bullets, it is like a grey hair in a 35 year old man, in other words is nothing.

            I think Dave should focus in his job, writing skills and personal life rather than get tangle in arguments on the net with people who doesn’t even care or think of him as part their culture.

            Finally and I hope I am clear this time, Colombia it isn’t the USA and I don’t want Dave to be part of the long list of unjustified criminal acts.

            To David, Good luck and wish you the best, sorry if you found my comment offensive, it wasn’t my intention.

          • I still disagree with how you disregard cyber harassment as not being a problem. It’s intended to cause psychological harm, distress, loss of productivity, low self-esteem, and so on.

            The vast majority of people engaged in it may never follow through on the threats, but that does not mean their actions do not harm others.

          • Cyber bullying is terrorism, plain and simple… It is real and it affects people… A pox on those who do such anonymous acts… !Haz algo pelotas!

          • Mario,
            Thanks for clarifying that you find this cyber-harassing criminal. That certainly softens my view towards your point.

            However, your argument seems to be that because Colombia has a history of violent crime, these kind of threats shouldn’t be taken seriously. I don’t buy that. Problems caused by the myriad of issues in Colombia don’t have anything to do with this person deciding he will be a vigilante against the evil Gringos in Medellin. Should I tolerate this in my home country because of what is going on in Baltimore at the moment? The two just don’t have anything to do with each other.

            The rest of your post, I just had no idea what you mean. What does ‘Parque Lleras is not Medellin, Medellin is not Colombia’ mean? Are you trying to hint that David doesn’t behave appropriately in your country? Are you reminding him of dangers that he’s well aware of? Why do you feel the need to be patronizing? Do you think no American has come from a place that was dangerous? Do you think Medellin is as dangerous as places many of us have traveled or lived? Do you think the Author’s time in Medellin hasn’t given him an idea of the difference between your city and his own hometown? If you came to the US I’d gladly advise you on cultural differences you might encounter but I wouldn’t stoop to saying ‘you will always be an outside, a curiosity.’ And if you were doing something I thought could be dangerous or stupid I’d happily warn you away from that behavior. For example, I’ve warned multiple Colombians not to use racial slurs they’ve heard in English music, because it’s not appropriate. The other day I heard a story from a Colombian friend of mine about a Colombian guy getting punched out or something in a hostel for using one of those slurs. Saying ‘don’t say this, it’s not appropriate for one, and might get you beat up for two’ or ‘don’t go here, that’s a nasty area’ is helpful. Saying ‘Medellin is not San Francisco’ is just patronizing and rude.

          • Chris,

            First of all I am really surprise that you are the one asking all the questions, but I am glad and I will do my best to clarify my point of view (key point).

            You don’t buy that “these kinds of threats shouldn’t be taken seriously”, let me said that you, David, I or any other foreigner take this really seriously but it doesn’t mean most Colombian do.

            “Problems caused by the myriad of issues in Colombia don’t have anything to do with this person deciding he will be a vigilante against the evil Gringos in Medellin”, I have to disagree with you here but individuals or anybody else trying to be a vigilante has a lot off to do with the Colombian situation, and they will use this behavior against foreigners as release valve to their personal problems. Yet Foreigners aren’t evil and it doesn’t make it right but that’s the fact.

            “What does ‘Parque Lleras is not Medellin, Medellin is not Colombia’ mean?” It means that only upper middle class and rich people frequent these types of places, which means that you are only dealing 2% or 3% of the Colombia reality.

            “Are you trying to hint that David doesn’t behave appropriately in your country?” Please in light me when or where did I say that?

            “Are you reminding him of dangers that he’s well aware of?” I was only staying a fact and if he was so aware we won’t be having this conversation.

            Do you think no American has come from a place that was dangerous? I don’t want to be offensive but most Americans are shelter, yet you have Detroit, Oakland L.A, Camden NJ, just to mention few.

            “Do you think the Author’s time in Medellin hasn’t given him an idea of the difference between your city and his own hometown?”, again I don’t want to be offensive but few years don’t and won’t give you the chance to understand 204 years of a nation, even today myself I have to stop and look around ‘cause I don’t see the difference in my own country.

            I thank you for the offering you made of explaining the cultural difference in the USA but I am no planning to live, visit or interfere with American issues.

            “I’ve warned multiple Colombians not to use racial slurs they’ve heard in English music, because it’s not appropriate”, I am sorry but I find this statement Arrogant, I won’t dare to tell an American in his nation or abroad what to do with his music, reading or writing. I thought you guys preach freedom of speech.

            “Saying ‘Medellin is not San Francisco’ is just patronizing and rude”, I can’t be more emphatic but cities are different, countries are different, cultures aren’t the same and as much as we want them to be equal they aren’t.

            Finally, after all I was only trying to show David the other side of the coin, but nor do I condone cyber harassment, personal threats or so call vigilantes.

        • Mario, I want you to see how your words come across to an American in Colombia. Here’s the same message but instead hypothetically directed at a Colombian in Miami:

          Lo siento por lo que te paso, quiero darte un consejo no como tu amigo ni enemigo solemente como humano.

          Los estadounidenses no son mala gente, pero no seas tonto que te crees que todos los supuestos “amigos” estadunidenses en realidad no son.

          Al fin alcabo eres el extranjero, Seras aceptado en algunos partes pero solo para satisfacer nuestra curiosidad que cada quien tiene de lo diferente. Al final un beso, un abrazo, a tomar la mano, no significa nada.

          Mas probable no haces mal ni crimen aca en el EUA, pero en los ojos y mente de los estadounidenses, eres un parte de las problemas que enfrentemos por los que escribes en tu pagina y las cosas que tu publicas en tu facebook.

          No son molestos ni amenazas como se los llamas, es muy sencillo, tu puedas arreglar la situacion dentro de un ano o dos, acuerdate que el EUA ha estado con una guerra por el anterior que ha durado por mas que 60 anos.

          Un consejo, quedate con tu propio negocio, cuidate tu empresa, disfrutate los Estados Unidos como un estadounidense, no sigue viviendo en la cultura Colombiano, cambiate al cultura de este pais.

          Tenga en cuenta que South Beach no es todo del pais y la gente por alli no se representan todos nosotros.

          Acuerdate bien que los Estados Unidos no son Colombia, que Florida no es Antioquia, y que Miami no es Baranquilla, si me entiendes!

          Tenga suerte.

          • I know what I wrote, what I mean and what I said, and your point? hypothetically Miami vs Colombia, maybe hypothetically Beijing vs Frankfurt? spanish vs engIish, let’s pretend for a second I said what I said in french? Does it matter? I am really sorry I still don’t see your point.

  22. David,

    I am a member of your web page for years, and I had learned so much about Colombia and the world because of you. You did the right think by reporting this kind of cowardly act to the authorities. There will always be heaters no matter what we do just ” shake it off” .

  23. So sorry to hear of this!! You provide a great service and help us gringos come to a much deeper understanding of the city.

  24. David, Sorry to hear, Have loved reading your stories over the years. as I find Medellin Living provides great insight to living in Medellin, but also great places to visit , and great places to eat… Hope it all blows over soon , so you can put it behind you and focus on the site….

  25. So sorry to hear about what happened. That totally sucks!

    Thanks for continuing your awesome blog. I just got back from visiting Medelljn, where I was born. It’s as beautiful as ever!!!

    Regards,
    Pati 🙂

  26. David,

    I’m sorry you went through this experience in our country. I don’t have to asure you that most of the people in Colombia are wonderful! The city need people like you that support the positive face of the people and the country.

    I also had horrible experiences in USA and Mexico, but doesn’t stop me from thinking that there more good people in the world than bad!

    Hugs to you, and you have our support!

    J. B.
    Lo Mejor del Oriente

  27. So sorry to hear you had such a lousy experience, David.

    One positive result is your discovery and advertisement of the Cuadrante Amigo, which demonstrates some really creative thinking by government to protect the people. And you’re right — everyone visiting the country should have this app. (Indeed, everyone in EVERY country should have something similar to call police aide when threatened.)

    I’m surprised the government don’t advertise the availability of this app to incoming tourists in the airport or elsewhere. It would go a long way toward giving visitors a sense of greater personal safety and confidence in the police to protect them.

    Given the length of text instructions provided to use the app correctly, it also wouldn’t hurt if it were made available in multiple languages for those visitors who may not be expert in Spanish. If asked, I have no doubt the various foreign embassies would happily contribute translations (and post announcements about the availability of the app in travel instructions they offer to their own people).

  28. Dave, Sorry to read about the B.S. that someone is putting you through! I am glad to see the outpouring of support and hope that the authorities can track down the perps…I feel that you perform a valuable service not only to travelers and those who have not been to Colombia, but also to locals too in order to bring a positive light to Medellin and the country… May a pox befall the cretins who are behind this and I know you will prevail because the effort is just and good… Saludos

  29. Sorry this happened to you. It is good you took the right steps to mandate the situation. The app sounds like something that every city should have. Stay positive and keep up the good work you have done. There will always be people out there trying to bring you down.

  30. I think a little perspective is in order on this thread. Colombia has a population of about 48 million, and some 2,020,000 Colombian citizens live in the United States, according to the Migration Information Source. That’s about 4.2% of Colombian citizens who choose to live in the United States. The United States has a population of about 319 million, and some 30,000–40,000 United States citizens, many of whom are Colombian emigrants to the United States who have returned to Colombia, live in Colombia. That’s about 1.25% of American citizens who choose to live in Colombia.

    It beggars belief that the Colombian people have any widespread and justifiable resentment toward the 40,000 American citizens living in their country, and certainly not toward native Colombians who have returned home. Do Americans have any justifiable resentment toward the 2 million Colombians who reside in the United States? Most of the Colombians whom I have known in the United States are very nice people who enrich our culture. I’ve never heard Colombians trash-talked in the United States. I have no doubt that it happens on occasion, but it is very uncommon.

    If a Colombian citizen were threatened in the United States in such a manner as David was, and if that crime were properly reported (as David did), the FBI would be all over the perpetrator like white on rice. And rightly so. I believe that the vast majority of Colombians do not condone threats like these toward American citizens in Colombia, do not engage in grotesque stereotyping of Americans, and do not wish that the 40,000 Yanquis in Colombia would all go home. If they did, they might get a rude awakening when two million Colombians ran home after being threatened with physical violence in the United States. And make no mistake, violence is as American as cherry pie, as we’ve recently seen in Baltimore and Ferguson. Colombians have hardly cornered the market on threats and violence and cowardice.

    If the handshake or kiss or kind word given by a Colombian is frequently phony and just for show, as one poster has suggested, it would surprise the hell out of me. I’ve found the Colombians to be genuinely hospitable and kind, almost without exception. Do Colombians trash-talk Americans out of earshot? As a rule, I don’t think so, and I certainly hope not. Do Americans smile and kiss and shake hands with Colombians, only to trash-talk them out of earshot? Not that I’ve ever seen during my sixty years. Cultural exchange works both ways, and both cultures invariably benefit. But both cultures have got to respect one another, protect one another as much as possible, and make a sincere effort to get along. Our differences are our strengths, and that’s not just a cliché.

    • Hi John, your math for the percentage Americans living in Colombia is way off. 40,000 out of a population of 319 million is 0.0125%, not 1.25%. If it was 1.25%, it would be 3.99 million. In other words there is a very tiny percentage of Americans living in Colombia.

      My 2 cents is that the Colombian government is trying very hard to promote tourism, which will help the economy in the country. In the past four years, Colombia added 235,000 jobs in the tourism sector and the government expects to add 300,000 jobs in the tourism sector in the next four years. In 2014, there was 1,783,000 Colombians employed in the tourism sector according to the government. The Medellín Living website effectively promotes tourism in Medellín and the rest of the country from the perspective of a foreigner. The bottom line is that increased tourism to Colombia will help the economy in the country. So the Colombian authorities should take threats against a popular website that promotes tourism very seriously.

      • Jeff, you’re right, my decimal point was off, and 0.0125% of U.S. citizens living in Colombia is vastly tiny fraction of the 4.2% of Colombians who choose to live in the United States. Americans are hardly modern-day Mongol hordes invading Colombia and changing Colombian society.

  31. Wow, Dave, I’m late to this conversation but still, what happened to you is upsetting. I appreciate that you chose to share your experience and what you have done/are doing to protect yourself.

    I consider this post something of a public service as well, in that others may learn from your experience and know where to go to get help if they experience the same thing. Certainly appreciate learning about the Cuadrante Amigo app and I’ll definitely install it when we head to Medellin. And just to go on the record, I have never doubted you and am 100% in your corner. Sending a prayer up for your continued protection and blessing.

  32. The real question is if you are in Colombia why would you ever pay for sex? Being respectful, pleasant mannered, witty, and not overbearing has always worked for me in a country where men are married and have 2 or 3 mistresses sprinkled throughout the city. Of course being able to speak Spanish is a huge plus, but I am no model nor wealthy to shower the women with meals and gifts and have never had a problem meeting and spending private time with the women in Colombia. I think the point the campaign is trying to make is even though prostitution is legal in “tolerance zones” they don’t want men coming to Colombia just because it is cheap for them to pay for sex. It is a stigma that they are trying to shed just like the stigma of being a very violent country unsafe for “gringos” to visit was shed. Just because it is legal, doesn’t make it morally ok or any less ugly than the it is.

  33. Hi Dave, I am so sorry to hear this. We’ve just arrived in Medellin and were hoping to meet up with you again, but see that you’re now elsewhere. This site has been wonderful resource for us – thank you. Just last night we had dinner at “Peru Mix” with Dan and Audrey – one of your recommendations. It was superb to say the least. All the best Dave – might see you in Antartica!

  34. I have been harassed in a similar manner by a U.S. citizen living in Medellin for over 3 years. His accusations, messages and abuse contain very similar theme to what you have stated above. Now he has escalated it to sending me a threatening message containing my address in Colombia and reporting me to U.S. authorities (obviously by email) for being involved in the drug trade. This is unbelieveable and it is not the first time it has happened to me in Colombia but is the worst. What is going on with expats in Medellin (note I don’t live there for these very reasons). His slander including publicly lablelling me as a pedophile and sex tourist has virtually destroyed my repuation and business, yet funnily enough after some digging it appears that he came to Colombia for an internet girl friend. When will the expat community in Medellin grow up and start behaving like responsible adults?

  35. Im an Estadounidense living in Bogotá; I frequent Medellín. On more than one instance I have been stalked on apps that use gps signal. These guys manipulated their GPS with apps that are rather easily accessed with android phones. This allowed them to identify my location.
    It reached a point where a guy once began asking my porteros where I lived. He had figured out my block, and made the correct assumption that I lived in an apt building with other foreigners.
    There’s not many Colombian laws against acecho. Even harassment focuses on very specific motives.

    Also Colombian male escorts have picked up a new trade in traveling the world via their GPS apps, finding vulnerable individuals, and you know the rest.