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-   -   Guatemala....2up...no mas? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/central-america-and-mexico/guatemala-2up-no-mas-42060)

runnoft 9 Apr 2009 23:28

Guatemala....2up...no mas?
It has been announced that the Guatemala government has banned more than one person on a motorcycle if an effort to reduced crime.

Not sure how this will affect touring foreigners....or the locals that use scooters like mini-vans.

Safe travels

judgejoe 13 Apr 2009 04:07

2 UP Ban in Guatemala
Since my wife and I were intending to head from Colorado to South America in September 2009, I have been following this thread, and the one on Adventure Rider (Latin America Regional Forum), regarding this ban. However, all I have found are some newpaper articles that are too general in nature to rely on. I am not sure, after reading several newspaper articles, if it applies to all of Guatemala or just Guatemala City. Hopefully, someone has some definitive information they can provide us readers. Thanks.

Sjoerd Bakker 14 Apr 2009 02:33

Being in Guatemala at the moment I was surprised to read about this new law, which supposedly goes in next month.
The newspaper item here also spoke about motorcyclists having to wear chalecos , coloured vests, as a sign of being legit.Perhaps they will come to their senses and make special exceptions for tourists riding in two-up. I spent most of yesterday people watching in Chiquimula and can see that this law, if enforced is going to totally screw up everybody s riding. I saw hundreds of little motorcycles and scooters carrying two , sometimes three adults and many instances of pa, ma and one or two, even three kids ! I was also told that they are going to outlaw people travelling in the back of pickup trucks unless they have a special permit.Now that will really mess up the transit system to the folks back in the hills. All because of the crime wve in the Capital.

judgejoe 15 Apr 2009 02:23

I posted a reply earlier about my confusion regarding the application of the ban. Therefore, I wrote the US Consulate in Guatemala City. This is good for a laugh. I hope I don't have to rely on them-ever. Here is their response:
> Date: Tuesday, April 14, 2009, 8:29 AM
> Dear ------
> Thanks for your communication. In fact, last week was issued a new law for motorcycle riders in Guatemala, although we couldn't inform you if this
applies to tourists too, for further information we advice you to contact the
Vehicle Department and you can find their contact information on
the following> link:
> http://guatemala.usembassy.gov/acs_drivers_licenses.html
> Thanks for your attention.
> Sincerely,
> American Citizen Services Unit
> U.S. Embassy - Guatemala
> Avenida Reforma 7-01, Zona 10
> Tel. (502)2326-4405

I found this response unsatisfactory as a taxpaying US citizen and responsed in this fashion:

Hello Again: Thank you for your quick response. However, I expect more from The American Citizen Services Unit. First, I am in Colorado and do not have fluent command of the Spanish language. Secondly, you are in Guatemala City. Third, this is the type of information that should be on your website as news. I would think, as US citizens are frequently passing through on motorcycles, that you would have this information on hand and verify its application to US citizens (tourist or otherwise). There are a number of people who will head in that direction later this year, as they venture to South America. Some fly their equipment in to Argentina, at great expense, and travel back to the US. Either way Guatemala is a transit point. I am not the focal point for distribution of such information. But, I would not find it unusual for a US citizen to contact you or examine your web page, during the advance planning stage. There are people who are
not even aware of this ban. What would happen if it were enforced and resulted in the removal of a US citizen and their detention in some isolated area of Guatemala. Let's us avert that unnecessary and embarrassing situation. If you find this email too abrupt, please accept my apology in advance.

Actually, I wanted to be more blunt. Now lets see what they have to say. If I don't get an adequate response, I will contact my local congress person.

farqhuar 15 Apr 2009 03:15


Originally Posted by judgejoe (Post 237728)
Actually, I wanted to be more blunt. Now lets see what they have to say. If I don't get an adequate response, I will contact my local congress person.

Woah, I can see why you call yourself judge, Joe. :nono:

Don't you feel it's a little unrealistic expecting your countries mission to be aware of every change to the law that is going on in a foreign country?

Given the way in which legal changes such as this dribble out even in a civilised country such as Australia, and then looking at all the other more urgent and important activities the embassies perform, I feel your expectation that they be on top of these changes is way too high.

Garry from Oz.

judgejoe 15 Apr 2009 23:04

I like your attitude Farqhuar. You, as well as I, know the answer to your question is no. In 1965, I enjoyed serving with the Australians in Vietnam. In 1977, I actually got to prosecute a criminal matter near Exmouth, Australia. Young trooper made the mistake of assaulting a Australian police officer. I know Australians to be fun loving and have a no nonsense attitude. Since I was born in Noumea, New Caledonia, just off your coast, I guess that is probably where some of my attitude has come from. To return to the main issue, I am sure you can appreciate the concern I have, as well as others, who have been planning to depart for Central and South America within 4 to 5 months. From last count, there are 4 or 5 bikes riding two up (US, British, and Canadians) to CA and SA. At 63, my riding days are numbered. So all kidding aside, it is very important considering the time and money invested that I get a better answer. The actual cause for this ban was to curb violent armed robberies and murders. Some tourist buses and tourist have been the subject of the armed robberies. Since violence has precipitated the ban and involves some tourism, it would seem to me that the criteria for a Travel Alert or Travel Advisory has been met. The Stae Department has the responsibility to issue Travel Alerts or Advisories. From the articles I have read, the areas that have been subject to these criminal acts included Guatemala City, and routes around Lake Atitlan and Antigua. Part of our trip will be going through Lake Atitlan and Antigua. Have a good day.

Sjoerd Bakker 16 Apr 2009 04:52

Judge joe , you are absolutely right in demanding more for your tax dollar , not just take the referral runaround you got.
This morning I was reading some more about the new law in a Guatemala newspaper and it appears that they may,.(.. may,...) add a few tweeks to allow for foreign tourists two up, since they already spoke of pemitting parents to haul kids younger than 12years on a bike . It may mean that the motorcyclists will have to wear coloured vests , maybe with their permit to ride 2 up number on them or on the helmet.
As to the cause of this law , it is an over reaction all because of a bunch stupid , ignorant people who have never absorbed the lessons of civilisation , that you keep your hands off other peopleĀ“s property and you do not go around shooting others just for the sheer shit of it so that they can grab property and get money for more drugs . It has nothing to do with poverty driving crime.These ignorant murdering bastards are just too stupid and lazy to work to earn honestly the material frills they seek from crime.

farqhuar 16 Apr 2009 12:29

As I said guys, and I'll say it again, a bit more perspective's required.

At age 63 Judge I reckon you're old enough to start taking responsibility for your own decisions on where you travel, without having to depend on what your government says, before taking the plunge.

Travel warnings are irrelevant, if you took notice of every piece of negative news out there you'd never leave home.

Garry from Oz.

judgejoe 17 Apr 2009 17:38

Thanks Sjoerd Bakker. The Guatemalan US Embassey sent me an encouraging reply. Their response echoed some of the same concerns that you have brought up. Because of this alert, they are preparing a report to be published on the US Guatemalan Embassey website. It will take a while, and I understand why. First, the law is not in effect yet, but will soon be. Second, it appears it will apply nation wide. Third, there hasn't been an opportunity to interpret its application. This was not the encouraging part.

On the more active side, the US Embassey, and there may be others, have initiated contact with their Guatemalan counterparts on the following issues: 1) How will it be interpreted and applied by local law enforcement. 2) Will there be exceptions. and 3) Can a transit permit be created and issued to traveling tourist.

For those in the motorcycling community who believe this is important, I can't stress the need for individuals and organizations to make contact with their own embassies and consulates, in the area, and alert them about this on going effort. Since the US Embassey is familiar with the issues now, I believe more letters of encouragement would help (Contact Point: Citizens Service Unit, it can be found on their web page). I believe our embassies, who have a working political and legal relationship with Guatemala, can make a difference. Please encourage your representatives to work with their contacts to avert a very sad consequence. Perhaps a joint effort is needed to impress on Guatemala's law makers, while they attack this serious problem, that limited exception and transit permits would not compromise their objectives. Lastly, if the law comes out as a complete ban, it doesn't stop amendments. That is why I am encouraging some brief contact, now.

gatogato 18 Apr 2009 01:08


Originally Posted by farqhuar (Post 237729)
Woah, I can see why you call yourself judge, Joe. :nono:

Don't you feel it's a little unrealistic expecting your countries mission to be aware of every change to the law that is going on in a foreign country?

There is a reason for why we have embassies. The employee who answered his question was clearly being lazy. The Gautemalan work ethic probably rubbed off on this employee.

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