Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Argentines risking all to carry huge wads of cash

This article from AP explains part of the world we live in here. As I said several times, its not just a bad part of town, or a certain isolated violent incident, its non-stop law of the jungle around here. 
Later I'll write some of the tactics I use to avoid being a victim. I know Americans aren't used to withdrawing a lot of cash but as violence gets worse it may still come in handy and people might find ways of applying it to their own high risk situations. 
About the article, what Luis Vicat says is only true in a small number of cases. The mayority is just hard working people making transactions and the reason why most dont go to the police afterwads is that most Argentines know its simply a waste of time. Of course, being an ex "Bonaerense" cop himself, he's not about to admit that little detail.



updated 9/6/2010 4:02:22 PM ET


BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — The "marker" lurks inside the bank, looking for people pulling large amounts of cash from a safe deposit box or bank account. The gunmen linger outside, usually on motorcyles, waiting to make their move.
For people like Carolina Piparo, eight months pregnant and carrying a purse full of cash for a down payment on her first home, gangs like these are an unavoidable risk in today's Argentina, where the underground cash economy is fueling a frightening new crime wave.
The July 29 attack that left Piparo comatose and killed her child added to a toll of thousands of crime victims — 4,998 reported "withdrawal robberies" in the first half of this year alone, according to Louis Vicat, a security consultant who keeps track privately because the government hasn't published detailed crime statistics since 2007.
Many victims don't even report being robbed, because they wouldn't be able to explain to tax agents where they got the money, says Vicat, who retired as deputy internal affairs chief of the Buenos Aires provincial police.

In this photo taken Sept. 2, 2010, a police officer guards outside a bank in downtown Buenos Aires, Argentina. Argentines reluctance to use the banking system makes them attractive targets for attackers because they prefer to carry cash, even for large operations, such as buying cars or properties. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

And yet cash on the table is simply the only way to do business — even when buying homes or entire companies — for many people in Argentina.
Transferring such money electronically would solve the problem in an instant. But in a society where income tax evasion runs about 50 percent and taxes eat up 65 percent of the money people do declare, many people are reluctant to use banks that way. Even people who want to pay all their taxes have a hard time complying, because there's always someone demanding to hide all or part of the transaction by paying in cash — preferably U.S. dollars.
The attack on Piparo in provincial La Plata prompted anti-crime marches and no end of fingerpointing by police and politicians. And yet a fractured Congress failed to agree to even debate a package of weak bank security proposals last week. Despite some arrests, "withdrawal robberies" continue unabated.

1 comment:

Maldek said...

Funny. We are living in funny times indeed.

It is considered risky to carry your OWN MONEY...while it is considered save to LEND your money to a bank.

This is the world of small children.

Example; a 3 year old received U$ 100 from grand-pa and gives it to dad because it is too much of a burden for a 3 year old.

200 years ago the people would never even believe such weakly attitude could become common behaviour ever.