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Multiple Casualties Reported in Colombia and Bolivia Amidst Excitement of Carnival Celebrations

From February 14 to March 29, Carnival celebrations draw in millions of participants every year, most notably from Latin America due to the region’s large Catholic population.

Perhaps one of the world’s best destinations to enjoy Carnival is Brazil’s capital, Rio de Janeiro. Dozens of samba schools across Rio de Janeiro gather at the Sambódromo, a purpose-built stadium that houses show stopping week-long samba performances.

Samantha Flores, originally from the United Kingdom, will lead the first float at Sambódromo, an honored bestowed on her by the Imperio da Tijuca samba school.  Flores is the first foreign national to occupy the main role in the history of Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival. The floats will make their way to other Brazilian cities, reaching millions of observees.


However, while Carnival normally brings with it joy and excitement, this year’s celebrations have been wrought with several casualties.

In Colombia, three people have died and five others have been wounded in a shooting between two motorboats located in the municipality of Tumaco. The shooting occurred during a nautical parade, where one man on a motorboat opened fire on the occupants of another motorboat. According to an eye-witness, approximately 14 individuals, including children, jumped into the water in an attempt to save their lives.

Gov. Camilo Romero of the department of Nariño commented on the incident via Twitter: “We vehemently reject the armed confrontation during the Nautical Parade in Tumaco. Its people do not deserve to continue to live in the middle of the anxiety of the bullets. They deserve the tranquility of truth peace. We are working to catch those who are responsible.”

Additionally, in the mining city of Oruro, Bolivia six people have been killed and 28 people injured in a deadly gas explosion caused by a street vendor’s gas canister. Oruro is known for its folkloric Carnival celebrations, attracting visitors from all over the region.

Police Commandant Romel Rana stated in a press conference Sunday, hot oil is believed to have spilled onto a hose that was connected to the gas tank, igniting the explosion. The explosion occurred near the route of the Carnival Parade.

Despite all the fun and excitement that Carnival brings,  it is also important to remain safe and ensure that safety precautions are enforced to prevent events like those in Bolivia and in Colombia from recurring.