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Old 15-08-2011, 15:26   #16
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

still safer than chicago or lost angels or noo jork.......
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Old 15-08-2011, 15:47   #17
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

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still safer than chicago or lost angels or noo jork.......
But in Chicago, LA or New York cruisers are not specifically targeted so I don't think the comparison is valid. In big US cities you're just part of the general populace and take the same chances as everyone else. Prudent visitors avoid high crime areas in those cities. In some lesser developed countries cruisers stand out and are easy pickings.
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Old 15-08-2011, 16:04   #18
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

do not be shiny and do not live over the means of those with whom you visit.
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Old 15-08-2011, 16:06   #19
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

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But in Chicago, LA or New York cruisers are not specifically targeted so I don't think the comparison is valid. In big US cities you're just part of the general populace and take the same chances as everyone else. Prudent visitors avoid high crime areas in those cities. In some lesser developed countries cruisers stand out and are easy pickings.
EXACTLY. That is my concern.
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Old 15-08-2011, 16:23   #20
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

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do not be shiny and do not live over the means of those with whom you visit.
Trust me, I'm not shiny, my 1969 Morgan 34 badly needs topside paint and some varnish. The same could be said for me. But guatemalans have very, very little, and even I might appear to be "wealthy" in comparison.
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Old 16-08-2011, 07:59   #21
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

I'm on the Rio right now. Have been here since March. It is very safe. There was not a murder 2 weeks ago (July 16th), it was an accident as Scoop has reported in the Chisme. I wouldn't hesitate to have any of my friends here.
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Old 16-08-2011, 08:07   #22
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

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Originally Posted by susan kennedy View Post
Trust me, I'm not shiny, my 1969 Morgan 34 badly needs topside paint and some varnish. The same could be said for me. But guatemalans have very, very little, and even I might appear to be "wealthy" in comparison.
Exactly. Even an old, beat up sailboat looks like fabulous wealth to someone that is living under a piece of tin in an alley and worried about where their next meal is coming from.
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Old 16-08-2011, 08:20   #23
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

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Originally Posted by bob_77903 View Post
I'm on the Rio right now. Have been here since March. It is very safe. There was not a murder 2 weeks ago (July 16th), it was an accident as Scoop has reported in the Chisme. I wouldn't hesitate to have any of my friends here.
This is a perfect example of the feedback you really need to make your decisions and not hearsay and internet rumors or reports that are 5 or 10 years old or how poor other countries are. Because we have been cruising for a couple of decades and often in third world countries we are ask often about security and problems where we have sailed. In most third world countries we have felt safer than in some areas of the United States and that includes about 6 months in the Rio Dulce. We walked and traveled by bus all over the country with no incidents nor did anyone we know have a problem. Upon re-entering the United States after one visit away, we were locked in the Marina in West Palm Beach "for our own protection." If a reasonable amount of caution and common sense is used you are no worse off than anyplace else on the planet. My advise to new cruisers that ask my opinion is that if perceived fear will dictate your decision than perhaps you should consider staying at home where you will feel safe. Chuck
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Old 16-08-2011, 08:25   #24
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

i may be planning on staying there for a short time or a hurrycame season at some point. i would not hesitate to do so . i also do not have a particularly wealthy affect. i am sailing a low level in appearance (plain wrap) and almost shabby looking formosa-- somehow they look good despite attempts to de-shine 'em.....will be looking forward to experiencing the area and meeting the people.
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Old 16-08-2011, 08:42   #25
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

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Originally Posted by bob_77903 View Post
I'm on the Rio right now. Have been here since March. It is very safe. There was not a murder 2 weeks ago (July 16th), it was an accident as Scoop has reported in the Chisme. I wouldn't hesitate to have any of my friends here.
I went to Chime http://riodulcechisme.com to follow up on your suggestion to read the account on the murders. Not sure I actually found the right one, but the lead for today was this article:
Quote:
Armed robbers kill dog, tie up boaters The News - Latest News Three men broke into the storage room of a local residence next to La Joya del Rio Marina (formerly Suzanna’s) late Saturday evening (Aug. 13) after cutting the throat of the house owner’s dog and binding the guardian and two boaters.
Armed with shotguns, the men were reportedly looking for dive tanks and a dive compressor which they found in the storage room, loaded the tanks and other items into the homeowner’s lancha and escaped.
Victor and Natasha of s/v Liberte said they had returned to their boat Saturday evening at about 10 p.m. after returning from an inland trip.
Their boat is tied to a dock at a private house in the lagoon near Suzanna's (La Joya del Rio). It appears that the robbery was already in progress at the time.
They were approached by three armed men carrying shotguns, then bound on their boat. The guardian had already been bound, and the house owner’s dog had already had its throat cut (the dog died a short time later).’
It doesn't appear that the boat had been targeted – only the bodega (and possibly the house).
Victor and Natasha's return was unexpected, and was strictly a target of opportunity because of the timing of their return.
After the boaters were able to free themselves of their bindings, they broadcasted a Mayday on the boat's VHF radio which was answered by John at Monkey Bay who then dispatched the Navy Patrol at around 12:30 a.m.
The incident was investigated by the National Police, INGUAT and the Navy Patrol.
No injuries were reported.
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Old 16-08-2011, 09:04   #26
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

Based on everyones advise and logic, the Bahamas are now out as a cruising destination.
The Tribune

Three murders in three days | Nassau / Paradise Island, Bahamas | Bahamas Local News - Nassau / Paradise Island, Bahamas

11 murderers freed | Nassau / Paradise Island, Bahamas | Bahamas Local News - Nassau / Paradise Island, Bahamas

And how about those U.S. Virgins. The crime rate is terrible. There is just no place left to go. Chuck
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Old 16-08-2011, 12:00   #27
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

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I went to Chime http://riodulcechisme.com to follow up on your suggestion to read the account on the murders. Not sure I actually found the right one, but the lead for today was this article:
As you can read, that robbery was at a private residence, and the boaters were not targeted till they unexpectedly showed up returning to there boat. This happened very close to where I'm slipped at La Joya Del Rio. Rumors are it was perhaps an inside job. Here's the article about the girl, and its my understanding that all have been released from jail. And once again, I would not hesitate to have friends or family come here for a visit.

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Posted: Mon Jul 25, 2011 5:12 pm Post subject: msf2 wrote:

Quote: One more update would be welcome (when information is available)
Has it been determined that this unhappy incident was an accident?

Why are two people being held?

Concerns about guns and drugs not substantiated?

Anything more on the young woman and why she was there?

etc, etc

You're right, Michael. It's time for an update. Most of those arrested have been released and from what I've heard, the stories match up pretty well.

And I think most of those involved will agree that it's a situation where drugs, alcohol and limited application of intelligence or even basic common sense contributed to the "accidental" death of a 28 year old Guatemalan woman.

This is just my condensation of what I've heard that makes reasonable sense. I'm not going to touch on any of the bizarre flights of imagination that have resulted from it. The official report of the Ministerio Publico has been requested by the Rio Dulce Chisme-Vindicator as well as the medical examiner's autopsy report -- but I'm not holding my breath as to whether or not I'll ever get to see them.

First, let me say that I can't verify any of the information below. I can't attribute it to a police report or to a single individual. It's a partially complete jigsaw puzzle based on what I' ve been told directly from the persons involved.

And I'm standing by to be corrected by anyone who has better information.

Essentially, the woman was not shot or strangled or intentionally murdered.

Here goes. Earlier in the evening of July 15, a woman was reported involved in a domestic altercation with her husband who slapped her around in the city park and demanded money from her. She apparently had been drinking or drugging, wasn't responsive to his demands and he left her sprawled semi-conscious in the street.

She apparently managed to reach another hotel where women employees helped clean her face and propped her up against the wall in front of the hotel.

A passing golf cart driven by Matthew Whittaker with passenger Roman Hamilt saw the woman and helped her into the golf cart. They took her to Hotel Vista Rio which has a steep incline leading to the hotel. While the golf cart headed up the incline, the woman tumbled out, adding to her injuries.

Whittaker and Hamilt apparently helped her up again and carried her to the hotel's dormitory which is under construction . It gets rather fuzzy here but it appears that they (or at least Matthew) attempted to engage her in sex but she regained consciousness, panicked -- not knowing where she was -- went to the second floor of the hotel and crawled over a concrete railing and stumbled out on the corrugated tin roof over the restaurant.

From there, she tumbled over a tall concrete wall into the neighbor's yard, landing on her head and back.

At this point, Mike Payne, manager of Vista Rio, was alerted to the commotion and came out with his flashlight, cussing at Whittaker and Hamilt for being *&^@# idiots, saw the woman on the ground on the other side of the wall, called the police and went around the building to try to locate the woman.

Hamilt then left the scene and Matthew went to the third floor penthouse to fall asleep on the floor.

The police arrived and assisted Payne in the search which apparently continued for quite a while until her body surfaced at daylight the next morning and was found in the river. Without an autopsy report, it is not known if she died from injuries incurred in the fall or from drowning.

The local police and national police were joined by officers of the Ministerio Publico who secured the entire hotel, arrested the majority of the guests in the hotel, the manager and the guardian -- all bundled together under the charge of homicide.

Along with Matthew and Roman, hotel guests Jim Whittaker (no relation to Matthew or hotel owner Jerry Whittaker), Joe Brown, Mike Payne, Jessica Zuleima Cuxun Caal and guardian Vicente Martinez Vasquez were arrested, transported to jail in Puerto Barrios and, after four days of incarceration, were released.

Their incarceration was essentially a result of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Matthew Whittaker and Roman Hamilt still remain in custody under charges of Violence against Woman.

I'm going to editorialize here a bit. If Matthew and Roman had not attempted to take advantage of an essentially defenseless woman, this wouldn't have happened. Point blank -- their actions that night are directly connected to her death.

I'm not sure what charges they might have incurred for a similar situation in the U.S., Canada or Europe but would imagine that it would certainly carry a felony conviction.

My opinion: they directly contributed to the death of a 28 year old mother of three and should be held accountable for their actions. (Sorry, Jerry and Janet). Matthew and Roman were not acting as Good Samaritans in helping a defenseless woman -- they were acting as sexual predators in the worse sense.

They have her death on their hands.
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Old 16-08-2011, 12:25   #28
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

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.... And once again, I would not hesitate to have friends or family come here for a visit.
...
Bob,
If I was passing that direction, I'm sure I'd stop in to. It doesn't sound any worse than a lot of places, US or foreign. I think the hardest part about being in these 'crime' areas is that you are out of your element and it is difficult to clearly asses the risks when you are cruising or walking around. In your home culture, you have the clues pretty well down.
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Old 16-08-2011, 13:29   #29
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

It is totally safe here, and very lovely.
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Old 16-08-2011, 13:34   #30
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Re: How Safe is Rio Dulce ?

No experience in Guat. but I go to Mexico a couple times a year not heading the warnings of all the nay-sayers (you know the ones never having traveled there) telling me it is to dangerous. My thought is, you are more likely to die getting behind the wheel of a car in the oh-so-safe USA, than to die cruising in Central America or anywhere for that matter. All a matter of comfort and perspective--I guess. Go and send us the post card.
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