Friday, August 29, 2008

Gabe Suarez’s article on Argentina



Argentina. It is probably one of the most dangerous countries on earth, and like Colombia and South Africa, very beautiful.

I landed there after a grueling 10 hour flight complete with snoring passengers and shrieking babies, to be met by my host Jorge Baigorria.

Jorge picked me up and with one look announced that I needed some sleep. A mind reader as well as one of Argentina's best shooters...competitively and otherwise.

I slept most of the afternoon at my digs in Buenos Aires, and awoke just in time to go to dinner. There is one thing about B.A., there is no shortage of food...in any quantity. Same goes for the beer.

We got right to work. The course was The Ultimate Combat Skills and it was populated by tough men from all over the region. We had military guys whose eyes spoke of plenty of nasty encounters, and bodyguards whose lives are as cheap as a dinner in any town in the USA.

We had civilians. Quite a few. Unlike the so-called free states of New York and California, citizens in Argentina can carry guns.

We had cops too. Cops in B.A. are killed weekly. While I was there at least four were murdered on the job. An environment like that makes for motivated learners.

There are men here whose personal scores of dead bad guys make the likes of Jim Cirillo look pedestrian. I am humbled that they wanted to listen to what I had to say, and that they invited me back.

We crammed the entire CRG program into one whirlwind day and shot so much ammo you could not walk from one end to the other without walking on brass.

The next day we worked on fighting with knives. Not the defensive stuff so popuylar here in the US in some circles, but material borrowed from my knife instructor Tom Sotis.

Here in Argentina, you don't get one to three attackers like in the USA. Here you get twenty thugs! They call them "Barra Brava".

So the fight may begin or end with a knife. Surrender and they will likely stomp you to death, throw you under a train, or worse. You dare not let them take you alive. Everyone fights here.

Next came Force On Force. Hard force on force as we did not have the liability issues we face in the USA.

If someone broke their hand, or lost a tooth, we had a doctor nearby to fix them up and bring them back to class. Seriousness with a latin sense of humor.

We workewd on long range shooting as well and the majority of the class shot out to 90 yards. The last day we discussed integration of weapons with the pistol as well as the ever popular Vehicle Gunfighting program.

In Argentina, a carjack means they kill you and take your car. They wait for you to arrive at home and situations where wives and kids have seen their fathers bleed to death from wounds inflicted by the carjackers are common. Noone is immune so everyone takes this very seriously.

As an interesting note an anti-gun politician whose famous quote of "Insecurity is only a sensation" was shot in the head by criminals while I was there.

He is presently in a coma. Perhaps the bullet lodged in his skull is also just a sensation. Who knows?

(Edited by FerFAL to add: I remember that! It was pathetic the way his wife, even with her husband brain dead, insisted that BA isn’t dangerous. Pathetic and ironic all at once)

After the training we spent some days sight seeing. One of the places I went to was perhaps one of the worst places on earth, the Puerta Yerro area, a makeshift shanty town reminiscent of what we saw in South Africa.


There only the thugs rule and everyone is armed. Life is as cheap as a cigarette, and you'd better make sure you kill your adversary and anyone who appears to be with him.

This may be hard for law abiding american CCW folk to swallow, but if you have to shoot or stab an attacker here, you run like hell before their friends, or the police arrive.

It is just that kind of place. I was told that not long before I arrived a 12 year old girl was raped to death there, shot in the head and partially eaten by rats before the police found her. The bad guys were dealt with...off the books. Things are different here.

I left all my knives, holsterts, and weapons with the guys in B.A. I can get more, and they may need what I left tonight. Places like this really make you appreciate where we live and how we live. Let us never forget that, and specially not next November.

http://www.warriortalk.com/


I took a couple classes with Jorge Baigorria and respect the man a lot. He’s a terrific instructor, has a lot of street gunfighting experience, and “EL Negro” is just the funniest guy you’ll ever encounter.

One small correction thought. Generally speaking, people here can’t carry firearms. You have to: A) Own a millionaire company, that moves a lot of cash B) Have important political or police connections C) Be rich enough to make up a company that justifies you owning a gun. Yes, THAT rich.

Other than that citizens here can’t carry weapons.


FerFAL

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Other than that citizens here can’t carry weapons."

But still do nevertheless..

Like in any place where those in power tell you you got the right to defend yourself, but take away any means to apply it.

Thank you a lot FerFal, you're a wealth of precious information! It will save lives (good one's) when the coming depression will kick in..

J. Croft said...

I feel for you and your country.

It's way passed time for the people of all nations to fend for themselves. The Colonial American concept of Citizen Militias comes to mind. The gangs are a military force. The police are a military force. It's time for the People of Argentina to become a military force of millions.

That and the will to say "NO MORE" to criminals both public and private are your only hope.

Some reading material I've collected, don't use your own computer:
http://www.scribd.com/people/view/268324

J. Croft
http://freedomguide.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hi Ferfal... great article as always.

I am always curious about carrying pistols in your car. Here in California, there is no possibility of getting a concealed carry permit. If things get tough, I intend to keep myself and my family safe.

It is my understanding you don't have a concealed carry permit. Are you concerned you might be stopped by a cop and he might find or see your weapons? Are there tough penalties/fines for carrying weapons. The citizens that can afford it, do most carry guns? How do you hide your guns in your car, but have them available when needed?

Thanks once again... and stay safe.

Mike P.

FerFAL said...

Hi Mike,
It’s a “delicate” issue to say the least.
When a gov. doesn’t allow you to carry a weapon and the streets aren’t that dangerous, you get rightfully pissed but you don’t feel it’s importance that much.

When you are not allowed to carry, and you constantly see people getting, hurt, killed and robbed all around you, well… it’s a desperate spot to be in.

You have to either decide to risk getting killed with no means to defend yourself, or become a “criminal” at least according to their laws.

What to do? I evaluated the situation and at least for my personal situation thins are bad enough that it’s worth risking it.
If I get caught carrying, worst case scenario I loose my gun license.
I get hit on the street and worst case scenario, me and my family get killed or worse. And no judge and no cop is going to make it right if that happens.

I don’t know if most, but many people that have enough money and/or contacts to get the license do carry.

“How do you hide your guns in your car, but have them available when needed?”

If I’m in the capital district I generally keep my backpack next to me or behind the passenger’s seat within easy reach, backpack opened with the gun inside. I make sure I can grab it without looking.

When I don’t have to go to banks, I carry concealed (4 o clock) so that’s where the gun is. It’s not hard to draw if you practice it.

When I’m entering my house (or leaving at night) I keep the gun in my hand because those are without a doubt the most dangerous moments. (the gun in the hand beats the fastest draw in the world ;) )
There’s no police nearby after 1 PM , and the only cop around gets paid by the neighbors for after hours, so he’s not going to be a problem.


FerFAL

Anonymous said...

Feral,

As always, muchas gracias for all that you do.

When TSHTF in Oct-Dec of 2001, how much money would someone have needed to make it through?

If you kept your job, and had no debt, when the ATM's and cashflow and devaluation occurred, how many weeks of cash did you need to have on hand to make it until things settled down and returned to something close to normal?

Not the *ideal* amount.

What you *actually needed*, in weeks of pay, in cash, at home.

Thanks,
Lee.

Anonymous said...

Ferfal,

My first visit to your blog ... it's great, but I'm curious about YOU! No personal info., just a little about your background and you general fit into all this rich material you provide. I checked your profile, but nothing?

I wouldn't mind giving you my email address if I could get it to you in a nonpublic fashion.

I'll keep checking back ... look forward to further readings!

Thanks and stay safe,

John G.
Coeur d'Alene, ID

FerFAL said...

Hi Lee,

Tough question there, since it depends a lot on the standards you have and the amount of people involved.

Back in 2001 a poor family living in a shanty town that included parents and three kids might stay fed with 700 pesos ( back then 700 USD) but I’m talking about people that steal electricity, pay no taxes, no card, no medical.

For a similar family with an average home, nothing fancy, also 3 kids a well worn car, sending kids to school, staying well dressed and fed, you needed about 3000 to 4000 pesos as a bare minimum( 1 peso=1USD back then) Know that I’m still talking about a standard of living that you would consider almost poor in USA. People that can’t afford brand clothes, expensive gadgets, vacations.

A class somewhat similar to a medium USA class that can buy a car every few years, has an ok home and can afford a few nice things every now and then, you had to think about 5000 –7000 USD/Pesos

These days, a family of 4 needs 6000 Pesos just to be above poverty line. Any out of budget inconvenience ( ca needs to get fixed, plumbing broke) and you need credit to get by.

Look at what you spend now in a month and estimate that, plus a 15% for “jus in case”.
It took about a month or two until things calmed down a bit, even if the bank “corralito” lasted a year or so.

You could buy stuff, but only using your debit card ( in those places, such as supermarkets) where debit cards where still accepted.
If not, you had to manage with the 250 a week you were allowed to withdraw from the ATM. Yes, that was tricky and complicated since a lot of places wanted nothing to do with plastic.
As a safety net, at least having 2 months worth of cash is necessary in my opinion. Money (or gold) for another 2 or 3 months plus money to buy plane tickets for each family member would be perfect.
Hope that answered you question. It’s complicated and each family manages money in different ways, some being more efficient than others.


Hi John G.,

I try to stay as anonymous as possible just in case, so even though I do post personal information in several discussion boards, I try not to make it that easy:)

I avoid mentioning my full name or a location too precise.

You are John G. from the Tree of Liberty, correct?

I’ll send you a PM to get in touch.
Take care.;)

FerFAL

FerFAL said...

Hey John G.
Are you the same John G. from the Tree of Liberty fourm?


FerFAL

Anonymous said...

Ferfal ... nope, I'm Observer999 on the TOL. Looking forward!

John G.
CdA, ID

Anonymous said...

I assume all of these figures are in old pesos, per year?

Grs,
Lee

"Back in 2001 a poor family living in a shanty town that included parents and three kids might stay fed with 700 pesos...

For a similar family with an average home, nothing fancy, also 3 kids a well worn car, sending kids to school, staying well dressed and fed, you needed about 3000 to 4000 pesos as a bare minimum( 1 peso=1USD back then)

A class somewhat similar to a medium USA class that can buy a car every few years, has an ok home and can afford a few nice things every now and then, you had to think about 5000 –7000 USD/Pesos

These days, a family of 4 needs 6000 Pesos just to be above poverty line. Any out of budget inconvenience ( ca needs to get fixed, plumbing broke) and you need credit to get by."

Anonymous said...

FerFal -- Many thanks!! I've learned a lot from you that I never knew and never knew that I needed to know!! My question -- Do you expect the general conditions/circumstances in your country getting better, continuing to gradually worsen, or become so bad that you might have to leave the country post haste (Spain??)?

GSJ

Anonymous said...

Looks like I am going to find out exactly what the crash was like in your country. TIme to get low. Concerned in the USA

FerFAL said...

"My question -- Do you expect the general conditions/circumstances in your country getting better, continuing to gradually worsen, or become so bad that you might have to leave the country post haste (Spain??)?"

GSJ


I think the current situation will go on for some time. Impossible to say how long. Every once in awhile there’s problems that are serious enough, like the last farmer’s strike.

The good thing is that since we already burned, not much can get worse even if the American economy hits the fan.

We’ve already been there and started to rebuild, so we are kind of immune to these things after all this years.

Still, crime and financial uncertainty is bad enough to make us ant to leave as soon as possible.


FerFAL

Anonymous said...

Hi FerFAL,

Most excellent blog! Thanks for all your efforts.

With respect to a comment above, my experience compels me to propose that your notion of "almost poor" and "median" US lifestyles may be a bit optimistic/romantic.

Paying the mortgage on a median California house (which is rapidly becoming almost worthless), two dependents at home, I find that a salary over 2x the national median (and 50% over local household median) does not allow for frivolity. Cars are basic and kept 10+ years; no vacations; no "haute couture" nonsense.

There is some breathing room for preparedness activity, but there's no room for luxury or status symbols. Though at 150% local median household income, I look and feel "almost poor".

Perhaps what you see as "median" US standard of living is a lie made possible by reckless deficit spending by consumers... a lie that is about to bring this consumer-centric economy to its knees as the self-reinforcing dynamic of shrinking demand, layoffs, and personal bankruptcies takes full effect (and we've seen only a little bit of that so far.. the worst is still ahead).