Medellín faces a challenging year with 31 foreign tourist deaths


This year, the city of Medellín has seen an alarming rise in the number of foreign tourists who have died within its borders, reaching a total of 31 so far. This past weekend, two more deaths were added to this statistic: an American tourist and a Mexican one, both under concerning circumstances that have resonated with both the local community and the international scene.

The first case involves Horacio Pérez Ledezma, a 54-year-old Mexican, whose life ended abruptly in a restaurant in the Provenza sector of Medellín. The tragic incident occurred when armed men approached his table and fired multiple shots, leaving him critically injured. Despite efforts to save him at the Clínica Medellín in El Poblado, Pérez Ledezma succumbed to his injuries.

The second case is that of Clifford Allan Wilke, a 66-year-old American, found deceased in a luxury hotel room in El Poblado. The lack of information about his whereabouts led hotel staff to discover his body. Although no clear signs of violence were observed, the investigation by authorities continues to clarify the causes of his death.

These events underscore an alarming trend in Medellín and the Valle de Aburrá. Compared to last year, which ended with 38 tourist deaths, the current situation is even more concerning given that it is only mid-year. Of the 31 deaths recorded, 50% are U.S. citizens, reflecting not only the high proportion of tourists from this country visiting the city but also the risks they are encountering.

Medellín has seen a significant increase in tourist arrivals. According to data from the city hall, last year more than 1.4 million foreign visitors enjoyed the city’s tourist offerings, substantially exceeding previous figures. Among these, visitors from the United States, Panama, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica are predominant.

However, beyond the tourism figures, it is crucial to address the causes behind these deaths. Medellín’s Security Secretary, Manuel Villa Mejía, has highlighted efforts to protect visitors and combat criminal structures. These actions include operations that have already resulted in several arrests, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to tourist safety.

Despite the challenges, Medellín remains an attractive destination for visitors from around the world, but these incidents underscore the need for a more robust and coordinated approach in terms of tourist security. It is essential for both local authorities and international communities to work together to ensure that the beauty and hospitality of Medellín can be enjoyed without fear by all its visitors.