Monday, February 2, 2009

Q&A: Security, security while traveling, emigration.

Norcal said...
Hi Ferfal,
I'm wondering how difficult is it to travel from city to city in Argentina? Right now we kind of take for granted that we can drive from say, Seattle to Portland, Oregon, and not worry about being waylaid by attackers.

You guys do take it for granted, yes.
Trucks transporting anything of value need security, most of the time serious companies will have a scouting car that rides along with security guys inside.
There’s lots of “asphalt pirates” here.
Now for the average joe, yes, once you are out of the city it gets more dangerous and it’s a matter of luck.
Some places are safer, some are worse.
Before the crisis, I traveled all over the country without incident. It was both luck, adn things weren't that bad back then.
Things changed, now its worse.

These days, you have to be more careful and it is of course, more dangerous out there.

A particular dangerous time is holyday season.

Insecurity in the road goes up exponentially.

They get pulled over by fake cops, forced to stop with barricades of stones on the road, and then rob everyone or worse.
There’s been cases where people got killed, the women raped, pretty bad stuff.
When crime gets this bad these things happen.

You just try to be careful. Most people just try to not think much about it and simply say a prayer and hope nothing happens.

I’m not like most people so I deal with these problems a bit differently.

I like praying and all but I’m not expecting Jesus to show up and kick ass if these animals try to hurt me or my family.

So is it safe to travel there?
From city to city?

Safe? Simple answer is: No it’s not, specially longer distances that involve large extensions of land where you are on your own.
Even within the city, some roads are notoriously dangerous ( Dark road ( camino Negro) or Panamericana)
Some roads are worse than others, traveling from the capital city to known tourist locations can be dangerous.

People going there usually have money and nice stuff to steal and criminals know this.

Main highways have more police to avoid this, but it’s no guarantee either. So, no, you want to be careful and take precautions.

Of course you can stick your head in the sand and just beg for mercy if they ever get you, but I like to think that’s not the style of the people that visit my blog:)

Not becuase they are badass, but becuase they know mercy isn't something these bastards understand.

How hard is it to fly out? Is it difficult to get a flight from city to city? How about flying out of the country?

No, not at all. Flights can be inconsistent, lots of cancellations due to bad service and 60 year old technology being used but no, flying around is probably the safest way to move around.

Be warned: Anything of value will probably get robbed. My family travles a lot. I'd say thatin average 40% of the time they'll steal anytihng of value. SO dont put anything expensive in your luggage.

Have most of the "rich" left the country? Where did they go? (which country)
Thank you for the amazing blog
February 1, 2009 9:44 AM

My best friend can be considered rich, pretty rich actually by any standard around the world.
And we talk about these things a lot, because he's sufferend the crime here as much as anyone else. He could afford any car he wants, but drives something that isn't too expesnive to avoid attention.

Start all over somewhere else when you are already wealthy isn’t easy.
Much easier for the average guy, but if you have a multimillion dollar company would you leave to start somewhere esle?. Even if you take your money, will you be able to live well somewhere else?
Many managed to do it, but most dont want to take chances. A lot of rich people live in USA, have their family there, and only come here as little as they can to take care of business.

Others just isolate themselves as much as they can with bodyguards,or living in gated country clubs or communities.
This is getting more and more popular but it’s not new. I’ve met some people that seemed to be Vault Dwellers (Fallout II game joke :) )
When I went to the Catholic University I met people that went to schools within the closed community, had their friends there, had parties either in the club house or at their neighbor's house, bought in the shops within the community. Didn't leave thea gated comunity much at all.
These kids had very little experience in the outside world. It was pretty strange, I didn’t know people got that isolated.

The most common thing is for working class people ( middle class, upper middle class) to emigrate, specially to Spain, Italy and other EU countries.
USA is also a common destination, but the language presents a bit of a barrier.

Those that have wealth based on land can’t afford to leave without loosing their capital.
Others live in between, spend most of the time in other countries and just come here to collect and take care of business.

Joseph said...

Please inform us a bit more on the situation in Ensenada...why such security measures?

Ensenada is a rural city about 100 km away from Buenos Aires.
It has about 30.000 inhabitants which is rather small, but the local criminal element is enough of a problem.

Our government will generally try to disassemble poor settlements and locate them on the countryside, which makes things worse, of course.

To this you must add, the cell like behavior of the government, which I’ve talked about before:
During hard times, the gov. will focus and relocate efforts to sustain the nation’s capital and a couple other capital cities. Cops, money for infrastructure, all goes to try to keep the “head” alive, sacrificing the “limbs” if needed.

In Ensenada they also have a big problem with the age of the criminals (problem that is common all over the country). Most are kids not old enough to be treated like adults, so they don’t go to prison. Institutions and correction centers are inefficient and in many cases just non existent so these criminals that can be 10-15 years old, are simply returned to they parents.

In some cases kids that are barely 15 years old have 44 previous armed robberies and several homicides on their backs, like the case of the scumbag that killed Mr. Mata ( old post).

Ensenada is just one example.

Other small towns have taken measures as well.

One I remember, simply barricaded the main road, believe it was in the province of Cordoba.
Another one also in Cordoba if I remember correctly, the citizens just armed themselves and started setting up watches and patrols.
This isn’t widely spread and most don’t last that long because people have other responsibilities and cant afford the time.
Best thing to do is everyone chips in and the entire neighborhood hires security.



Anonymous said...

In Europe there are 60000 robbed lorries each year.

Europe will get poorer and poorer. Don't come here.

What should one do if stopped by fake police on a road?!

recon said...

FerFAL, I was outside the other day trying to light a smoke, and the wind kept blowing out my BIC. One more reason to carry a Zippo.

I'm also curious about the fake police situation. In America, we have about 4 base models of vehicles used for police work, but there are a few others that are discrete and you can only tell they're cops by the flashing lights(under cover). Are there similar types of undercover vehicles in Argentina, and if so do they do traffic stops like the ones here? Thanks

Chris said...

Hi FerFAL, I am going to re-post a question I asked a few blogs back.

I had to ask this question:

Based on your experience in Argentina, when the currency collapses, what happens to debts denominated in that currency?

Like say I had a $20,000 debt, and the currency became worthless.

Could I take some gold and exchange it for huge sums of the failed currency and pay off that debt just like that? Essentially paying the debt of for a fraction of what it was when I took out the loan?

What if a family member has a large debt and they can't pay? Is there any risk there for other members of that family?

Thanks in advance.

Anonymous said...

Ferfal, could you tell us which kinds of guns are available in Argentina and where to buy them?

Norcal said...

Chris, that is a great question. Say you buy something on your credit card now for $20,000 or $30,000. Then hyperinflation hits in a few months. Then you pay it off in hyperinflated dollars?

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog. You offer practical, common sense, and intelligent advice and have "been there, done that, and got the T-shirt." As a spoiled American, I look about at the enormous wealth in my country, and think that "it can't happen here," but I know that it can. In your opinion, if the American dollar crashes, what do you believe will happen in the USA? A Mad Max scenario? Total locked down Police State? Or, would Argentina be more of a societal model?