Monday, March 15, 2010

Guanajuato, Mexico - To Bribe or Not To Bribe

Check out NBC's Dateline Report on San Miguel de Allende Kidnappings--CLICK HERE


I found a cool website. It is a travel column with the LATimes and I found a great quote:

On a recent crossing from Mexico back to the U.S., I was stopped for an alleged traffic infraction in Tijuana. The police ended up taking me to an ATM, where I withdrew $500 in cash. Then they then let me go. What could I have done?

--Rob Gonzalez, Claremont

This issue is a hot topic in forums. You will find everything from those Gringos who will pay their way out of a horrid situation to those who are on their almighty, Gringo high horse and profess with chest beatings and a screech to be heard to the border and back, that they would not dare be caught paying off a Mexican cop out of a sticky situation.

What these self-inflated, morally superior Gringos do not possibly get is that they can very easily get their principled Gringo butts thrown into a jail cell (especially in smaller towns) and made to languish awaiting a trial date for refusing to contribute to the "Mexican Policeman's Fund" when a cop rousts them.

I know someone to whom this has happened.

The Gringolandian screed goes something like:

"I refuse to contribute to the moral decay of a horrible problem in this country."

Well...excuse me!

I just wonder what one of these goodie-two-shoe moralists would do when the cops would have them in an isolated situation and draws one of their guns on them actually say:

"Shoot me! I have principles."

"I would rather you kill me than pay you a bribe?"

I found a story on the Mexican Vacation Awareness website where this happened to a Gringo. In an isolated area of Baja they took out their guns and asked if the Gringo had a problem with paying them off.

This is what I am saying. Americans come down here for a vacation and get targeted by the corrupt police for money. They can make your life a living hell when and if you get all high and mighty and try the "I am an American, hear me roar..."

These gringos who say they would refuse to pay a bribe just crack me up. Have they really been in a situation where they've faced off with a crooked Mexican cop holding a gun in their faces? I mean, really!

Alas, this is one of the dirty little secrets of travel. Extortion of tourists happens more often than is reported. It's not confined to Mexico, of course, but because so many of us cross the border so often, whether to enjoy Baja's beaches or to shop, we may get our turn on the horns of this dilemma. -- Source

This problem is so prevalent that Mexico shows public service announcement on the Tele and the State Department of the U.S. issues warnings.

So, what do one do?

You could choose the Gringolandian demigod's way and stand up for your principles by facing down a cop with a gun in your face. Or, you could ask to accompany the cop down to the "station" and speak with a judge or supervisor.

If you choose the second option and you are in some small village I can almost guarantee you will be slapped into a jail cell until you come to your senses. Who are you going to call when they won't let you use the phone? Who would you even know to call if they let you use the phone? Maybe they will just shoot you when you start pontificating your principles.

The third option is to pay up and be on your high and mighty American way.

What do you think?



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