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Travellers' Advisories, Safety and Security on the Road Recent News, political or military events, which may affect trip plans or routes. Personal and vehicle security, tips and questions.
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Old 26 May 2007
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This is an interesting but hard to follow post by Andy P. If I understand the post, the road in Mexico was closed for a political demonstration and the Russian rider made the mistake of trying to pass the blockade without permission. As a result, demonstrators beat the crap out of him and stole some of his equipment. There is no date in the account of when this happened.

On or about April 21st of this year 2007, at 10am, I was travelling south on Mexico Rt. 185 about 60 kilometers south of Sayula in my pick-up truck. I was pulling a cargo trailer down to my property in Honduras. Traffic came to a stop, with a kilometers worth of cars and trucks stopped in the road. There was a political demonstration up ahead and the road had been blocked off. I was told that the town had been promised money for projects and was protesting because the money had not arrived. There were national police on the scene who were accepting the road closure and demonstration, maintaining order but not opening the road. There was nothing to do but sit it out and wait.

A group of motorcyclists from Guatemala did make it through, but I would assume they asked and received permission. No other motor vehicles passed the blockade in either direction. At 8 pm, ten hours later, the blockade was lifted, and miles of backed up traffic quickly passed through.

So it appears that the moral of these stories is that one must be respectful of such political demonstrations. If, as a motorcyclist, you can get permission to pass, great. But otherwise patience is probably the best tact, unless you can find another route.
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Old 26 May 2007
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Unhappy Vlad

I met Vlad in Medellin. He is a great guy. If anyone has any more details please contact me.
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Old 27 May 2007
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Originally Posted by Mike Stone View Post
.............So it appears that the moral of these stories is that one must be respectful of such political demonstrations. If, as a motorcyclist, you can get permission to pass, great. But otherwise patience is probably the best tact, unless you can find another route.
I've ridden through a few of these types of protests. Two times (I lose track) it seemed like it was OK for bikes, or mine at least, to go on. In one instance I was yelled at by some people as I was going through a blocked 4-way highway intersection, between the rocks and blocks, but I kept on going and never looked back.

There's a 'feel' to the crowds. I'm Joe Innocent, the stupid gringo, just enjoying their beautiful country.
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Old 27 May 2007
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I am pleased to hear Vladimir is well and on the road again. In fact he was somewhere in New Jersey on 22nd May.

He has his own website with his diary -
íîâîñòè | MotoPeople.ru

It is in Russian but there are many many photos - including of leading up to the assault in Mexico.

My girl friend (who is Russian) tells me, after 2 hours waiting he was given permission to pass the road blocks but to stay off the road and only proceed on the verges. These were crowded with people who eventually, knocking him off his bike and attacked him shouting "Gringo". A Police car gave him shelter and that was then attacked. The Russian Embassy was very helpful (unusual!) as the representative is a biker himself.

The photos are found via the link on the daily diary pages - the dates are of the diary post rather than the events. The pictures of the roadblock and crowds leading to the attack are posted on 5 May.

BklynDakar - you might find pictures of yourself - let us know.

His diaries are very interesting, informative and amusing - well worth getting them translated. Maybe he or someone will do this when he gets back to Moscow.
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Old 4 Jun 2007
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Enjoy it!

I was in Guatemala for two weeks, first half of February this year. I had no problems at all except for a dog that bit me in Poptun! The stretch of highway between Flores and Rio Dulce is about 6 hours of some of the best highway and scenery that I've experienced between Seattle and Ushuaia.

A good friend of mine is a Guatemala National, photographer. He said that 2 years ago there was a complete "renewal" of the police force and he seemed to think the new police force would be more trustworthy. If you're going to stay in Guat. City, head to zona 9-10 if you want a safe neighborhood, a little more spendy but I always prefer to spend a bit more in the large cities to find safer places.

Let us know how it goes!

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Old 5 Jun 2007
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troubles in...

Agree with Mike Stone on this one.
All over Mexico and Central America it is quite common for the locals to blockade roads for several hours , a day or longer if they feel they need to protest to get attention from the government to right a perceived wrong. Have encountered many such instances and found the best policy is to strike up a conversation with some of the blockaders and find out what the problem is. Being polite and showing an interest will help in getting their permission to proceed slowly and with caution. Never get involved , it is not my or your problem, just show a bit of interest and comisserate. If this does not work look for an alternate route around the blockade even if it means backtracking a bit or return to a hotel for the day and see if things have been cleared the next day.
This past March 30 I ran into a roadblock in the same general area as the Russian, at La Trinitaria south of Comitan on the junction of Mex 190 and Mex307. The evening before on my way to Comitan I had wondered why so many people were walking around there. In the morning the blockade was on and holding up traffic , letting the odd one through. I slowly rode to the front and got them to let me by so I could get to the Pemex. Then, refueled, I took a back street shortcut to Mex 307 east. After they saw me leave that street some cars parked there too.
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Old 14 Jun 2007
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Happy Foreign Travellers

The Guatemalan experience is happy and safe for most foreign travellers. I rode through last year on my Honda 125 on the way from Mexico to Tierra del Fuego home
I have family connections in Guatemala and have been visiting for twenty years. Guatemalans live in a different reality, a reality increasingly ruled by gangs and drug barrons, a reality where high electric fences and armed guards and guard dogs are the norm. Police reported 2,200 armed attacks on urban busses in Guatemala City in the first five months of 2006. Middle class and wealthy Guatemalan are in permanent fear of having their children kidnapped. If a farmer in the Peten improves his land, he can expect a buyer to make him an offer for the land which he can't refuse. Police are unable to cope with the violence. Guetemalans talk of the need for a new Strong Man to run the country, a General. I remark that the problem with Generals is their tendency to be a little too general in their choice of whom to eradicate...
So, yes, travel in Guatemala and have fun.
However, be aware that there is another Guatemala, the Guatemala of the Guatemalans, where many live in fear and misery.

Last edited by simongandolfi; 11 Aug 2007 at 22:54.
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