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This is a good thread. As I had read it by coincidence before going there I was prepared, so I thought. As I've lived in Bolivia for some time so I thought no corrupt cop is going to f#$%k me. I know how to deal with those bastards... so I thought.
As I come up the overhead bridge where these guys are an officer, a woman signals me to slow down in speeds. I do so but at the very last she signals me to pull over. Another cop comes over and tells me to step into the office. I smell coima (bribe). The officer sitting there puts up his "this is very serious face, this'll cost ya" face and tells me I was speeding. I tell him to show me some proof: "all speed controls I have seen work with this speed pistol thing so you should too". "We don't have that". "So how do you know I was speeding" I smile and he changes. "you've been neglecting the roadsigns and you braked too abruptly". The fine is 1300 pesos. That's a ridiculous us$400. I tell him that's ridiculous and he sends me to the lady's office next door. She finally comes down to 200 pesos. The thing is all this time I was waiting for them to ask me if we couldn't "arrange" something. I never mentioned such a thing as I consider bribing good for Bolivia, a third world country, not for Argentina. I hate those few cops that **** up the impecable image that I had of Argentine police till now. Anywas what I am trying to get to is this. I told her that people are talking about "problems" at this particular police stop. She was not impressed and replied "O so you have been reading the newspapers, have you?" I said yes, wich was false but it showed that they've even been in the news! I insisted on knowing her name and number and she wrote it all down neatly on the same receipt and politely indicated me where to do my "reclamo". So there I was, having paid an oficial fine for something that I suposedly did wrong. In the end they only expected me to end up bribing. As I showed no sigh of wanting to do any such thing they just end up giving you a real fine wich doesnt end up in their pockets but it still hurts a little. That's then their punishment for not colaborating with them bastards.
I retrospect I could have done three things. Pretend not to speak any spanish, I tried it before and it doesn't work, even worse if your bike is licensed in Bolivia. But the other two are my advice: or you say you agree with any fine but you don't carry any money. You will be sent a fine or something and you have to go to some bank to pay. Either the fine will never get anywhere or instead of going to the bank you go complain about your fine somewhere. Or you say you don't agree with the violation of traffic rules that you're accused of and that also gives you the right to go and claim your rights elsewhere. In any case paying your official fine doesn't get you anywhere. The day after we went to Gendarmeria and the police to complain and we were told that it smells of bribing like a pigsty but there's no proof. It's your word against theirs and it'll get you nothing more than a major headache.
I'm still waiting for someone to go in with a helmet cam, show all on the local television to nail these bastards. We were told that it will actually work since even illegally filmed evidence is evidence. Do it!
PS. can you believe the local truckdrivers went on strike for a week in order to get these guys out of there? And it didn't work, they're still there doing their thing. Bastards.
Gert, sorry to hear that you fell into their trap.
My advise is just to avoid that area. I will rather drive an extra 500km detour to avoid these situations. We've done this in Peru, avoided an area with corrupt cops reported on the HUBB and never had an issue.
We went through a week ago and within two hours we were requested twice for bribes on Routa 12 & 14.
The first situation we were coming down the bridge and were accused of speeding. We denied that we were, explained how economic we were. When we requested the photo they had apparently taken we were shown a security camera of the imadiate area. While treading carefully we joked about this and also explained that our KLR's are so slow we couldnt speed if we tried. 20 minutes later we had our documents back and were out the door.
Further up the road we were asked again to dismount and remove our helmets then escorted to a senior officer who had a calculator and some paperwork on the bonnet of his car. He said 25km earlier we were seen overtaking a truck on double yellow lines. At this point i didnt know if i should pretend i didnt understand or deny that we would of. I chose the denial option and he then typed 3950 peso into his calculator ($1000)and insisted we paid imediatly. Not being able to pay this even if we wanted. He kindly brought it down to 1000 peso. I said id have to call the embasy and australia to get the money and it would take 3 days, he was welcome to search the bike but he wouldnt find much more than rice and water. His sugestion then was for us to go to the gas station to withdrawl the money or he would take the bikes. After the situation became awfully frustrating for him he instructed another officer to take photos of the bikes and explained we will have problems at the border if we didnt produce the coin. This was the oppertunity for us to get out the camera and take his photo, soon after this we had our documents back and were back on the bikes.
In all it delayed us almost two hours of riding time but not a peso passed our palms. I can only hope for similar luck in the coming months.
We're still riding down south (Patagonia) and have met only friendly police officers. It is hard to imagine that they are so different in the north and I realy hope that crap like that does not change our possitive veiw we have of the country so far. Our disadvantage (or advantage, I'm not sure yet) is that we cant speak Spanish, so cant defend ourselves if we need to.
Is the entire north like this (corrupt cops) or is it only Ruta 12 and 14? I dont mind staying off those two roads if that will ensure us some piece from these crooks.
If a syndicate of angry local Argentine truck drivers cannot stop the bullies (police) who are extorting money along Rutas 12 & 14, and, according to reports posted here, foreign motorcycle adventurers are also being extorted, perhaps it is time to call for new and innovative ideas to solve the problem.
I have tried the political approach in Buenos Aires and have discovered that unless action is taken at national political levels beyond my reach, local politicians in Buenos Aires do not know about the problem, do not care, or are politically unable or unwilling to take action, or even take the time to research the problem. Several national Diplutados (congressmen) here believe this is business as usual in the provinces (which it is not!) and gave me the old wink and nod. Apparently, this is a territorial dispute and must be handled locally.
Desperate times require desperate measures. These bullies, whom in no way are representative of the vast majority of local police in Argentina, need to be continually confronted locally, as most of those posting here have done. Good for you.
In addition, I suggest we ask Benka Pulkco to mount up and ride into *Dodge, while most of us are just trying to get out of Dodge or avoid riding through Dodge, she might realize that these bullies have collected enough money to help finance her next world record.
Once Benka is through with these outlaws, they will be the ones giving us a wink and a nod as we ride by.
On a more serious note, this is not a case of Madoff stealing from Wall Street investors, or the US Treasury bailout rip off, but it is something that affects us and our freedom.
Please post any new ideas that can be implemented locally to stop the bullies on Rutas 12 & 14. I will follow up, with your approval, once we select the best strategy. thanks
*Dodge legendary southwestern cowboy town that was cleaned up by Sheriff Mat Dillion on the "Gun Smoke" series of early television programs. Might still be in reruns somewhere.
How about if all of us send a letter to the Argentinian ministry of Justice and Human rights, and a copy to the Argentinian embassy in our country. Maybe...maybe someone do something about this corrupt policemen.
I found the address in the internet.
Antonis Vassiliou, has suggested a letter campaign. Elisa and I are now reviewing the suggested web site. We have found the Anti corruption Office that as Antonis says has a report form for public use.
Ministerio de Justicia, Seguridad y Derechos Humanos - República Argentina
Elisa is Spanish and has a PHd in Spanish Literature, is a retired professor and currently a professional translator. I speak Spanish, so together, after an analysis of the web site we will determine, after consulting with Grant and Susan, the most appropriate place to post the English translation with instructions.
My only comment is that, as foreigners, North Americans especially, many Argentine officials now look upon us as being responsible for the global financial melt down. The United States is in debt to China for more than a trillion dollars, and the Chinese are investing heavily in the Argentine economy to divest themselves of the devaluating dollar. This, actually is a short term point in our favor.
The U S dollar is "fiat money," (inconvertible paper money made legal tender by government decree), and now the Saudis have requested President Obama that oil contracts be paid in gold rather than dollars. This will devaluate the dollar rapidly and of course the Argentine peso is tied to the U S dollar. This point is NOT in our favor.
As the financial bubbles continue to surface and burst and the U S Treasury bails out AIG, so AIG could payoff Goldman Sachs failed investments, we discover that present and past U S Treasury Secretaries were employed by Goldman Sachs. The corruption on Ruta 14 pales in comparison.
I hope everyone gets my point. Corruption is not isolated to Ruta 14 and keep in mind the hardship, we as exploiting foreign investors, have created in Central and South America. Not to mention the political coups foreigners have financed.
Please be polite, humble and understanding in your reports to Argentine high level officials, they are intelligent, very well educated and dedicated people doing the very best they can. I am sure.
Antonis, of course we remember you and your friend. How are you two good lookin guys? Are the BMWs still right?
Those were interesting days and nights camping on the beach, on the west coast of Mexico years ago. Remember those sexy surfista girls? There are no limits to who GPS can bring together!
We followed your ride down through Central America via your e-mails. In Costa Rica, I see you did visit a few hot spots there. Bet you have some a great ride tale or two, or maybe a couple "tale rides".
We are in Spain for a couple more weeks, but currently reside in Buenos Aires. Elisa is off on a promotional tour for her new acting career, and I will post our translation as soon as we finish our review of the web site you suggested as maybe being helpful toward the goal of reducing police corruption along Ruta 14.
Where are you now? I have some great photos of you and your friend and will e-mail them to you, if you like. You still have same e-mail address?
Will post translation of form etc in the next day or two.
Scroll down and click on the icon of a white envelope with the words:
"Consultas, Reclamos y Denuncias"
Ministerio de Justicia, Seguridad y Derechos Humanos
HERE IS THE REPORT FORM WITH TRANSLATION
Formulario de Contacto CONTACT FORM
(*) Indíca obligatoriedad (*) mandatory
Tipo de Trámite SELECT: "Denuncia" (*) (COMPLAINT)
Asunto: IN THE BOX, IN ENGLISH OR SPANISH INDICATE YOU ARE REPORTING ILLEGAL POLICE ACTIONS AGAINST A FOREIGN TOURIST. DESCRIBE WHAT HAPPENED BE SURE TO INCLUDE EXACT LOCATION ON RUTA 14 ETC... KILOMETER, TIME OF DAY, AND IDENTIFICATION AND A GOOD DESCRIPTION OF THE POLICE INVOLVED. KEEP IT BRIEF AND EXPLAIN YOU ARE A FOREIGN TOURIST TOURING ARGENTINA BY MOTORCYCLE, BUT YOU CAN BE CONTACTED VIA E-MAIL. PLEASE INDICATE THAT MANY OTHER FOREIGN MOTORCYCLE TOURISTS HAVE HAD SIMILAR PROBLEMS ON RUTA 14 AND ASK THAT THIS SERIOUS COMPLAINT BE INVESTIGATED. IF YOU HAVE ANY PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE POLICE INVOLVED BE SURE TO SAY SO HERE.
Apellido: (*) LAST NAME
Nombres: (*)FIRST NAME
Tipo de Documento: (*) SELECT: "Pas" PASSPORT
N° de Documento: (*) PASSPORT #
E-Mail: (*) BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR E -MAIL ADDRESS
Observaciones: COMMENTS, IN THIS BOX IN SPANISH OR ENGLISH WRITE ANY ADDITIONAL "PERSONAL" COMMENTS AND EXPLAIN THE HARDSHIP THE POLICE CORRUPTION HAS CAUSED YOU, INCLUDE LOSS OF YOUR VALUABLE "TOURIST TIME" IN ARGENTINA, MONEY, ANY FEAR OR STRESS YOU EXPERIENCED, AND BE SURE TO DESCRIBE ANY THREATS MADE AGAINST YOU BY THE POLICE, AND INDICATE WEAPONS PRESENT.
CLICK "ENVIAR" TO SEND OR CLICK "LIMPIAR" TO ERASE
Please post any questions on this thread and thanks to all of you who report and thanks to Elisa for helping with the translation. If anyone gets an e-mail response from Justice, please share it on this thread.
You are right. It was a lot of fun on that beach...actually the whole trip was fantastic. Now I am happily married and thinking for the next trip with my wife this time.
My email is still the same. I will appreciate it if you send me the photos.
Very good xfiltrate!
That police stop us last year, and they don't let us go without pay them or stay there until the other day to go to a bank, etc.
We try to start a conversation without sucess.
They took all our money, fortunately I hide the US$ 100 on the bags of the bike or they will get then too. I tell the I only have a credit card with me, and US$ 60 plus some "pesos".
Very bad end of trip, arriving in Uruguay to enter in Brazil.
Robson Giovanni Parisoto.
Fortaleza dos Bruxos Moto Grupo
Jaborá, SC - Brasil
Fone: +55 (49) 9104-5536
GPS: 27° 10.445' S 51° 44.107' W
Please report complaints, help stop the corruption
Antonis, will send a couple photos very soon. Congratulations on your marriage. Were you married in Greece? Hope to meet up with you and your bride when you tour again. Love each other. "Filatimo" my friend.
Robson Jaborá/SC, I am very sorry to hear of the trouble the police caused you in Argentina. I suggest you go to the web site (listed in my last post) and report exactly what happened. It seems you were actually taken hostage by the police.
YOU can report in Portuguese. If you have any questions about filing out the form, just ask. And, keep us all posted when you receive a response to your complaint. Thank you for reporting
I just found out today that some police in the State of Texas have been accused of extorting money from travelers for years.
We must stand up for our rights, especially when the police violate us instead of protecting us. These bad police give a bad name to the majority of police who do protect us.
I hope that all who have had similar experiences file a complaint as explained in my last post.
Robson Giovanni Parisoto.
Fortaleza dos Bruxos Moto Grupo
Jaborá, SC - Brasil
Fone: +55 (49) 9104-5536
GPS: 27° 10.445' S 51° 44.107' W
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