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Old 11-03-2009, 12:20   #16
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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
... But for cruiser safety, it doesn't really matter how many wives poison their husbands etc...
Excepting for those of us cruisers who are married!
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Old 12-03-2009, 02:22   #17
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Brad,

So why lower yourself to debate subjects that are, in your view, unworthy of debate? I think it is because you are currently in Isla Margerita and feel the need to defend it's pristine safety reputation....

So what do you do when people reading that, declaring me mad and believing you, sailing to Porlamar and getting assaulted over their outboard? What do you tell them if that would happen?

I don't know how long you've been in the south Caribbean; I've sailed here for the past 6 years and, like every other cruisers around for some time, know that Venezuela is not as safe as Panama, Colombia or even Antigua. You don't need to believe that, I actually don't care. You will also not believe it when I write that the violence mostly comes in waves of almost daily incidents, followed by periods of calm.

I don't keep up to date on incidents in Venezuela because I am not there and don't plan to go there. There's other sources if you want to know, like the website of the safety & security net. The last incident I heard was near PLC, I believe at Borracha: 1 cruiser killed and one cruiser on another boat shot in the thigh. I think it was in December?

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:05   #18
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No Nick, I've asked for some support for your statements that most attacks in Venezuela are on toursists, and that the attacks on them are not just theft, burglary or robbery, but rather that stabbings, shootings and murder are relatively common.

I didn't claim that Venezuela as a whole was a particularly safe place, but it struck me that before one attacks an entire country (and lumps together numerous locations therein in that attack), some statistics concerning all of these life-threatening attacks on tourists in general, and yachters in particular would have been helpful.

Cheers!

Brad
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Old 12-03-2009, 07:06   #19
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I haven't spent time in Venezuela but for Trinidad, Grenada, and St. Lucia I have spent quite a bit of time working with the local police mostly on the drug running problem. St. Lucia; no problems, have fun let yourself go a little and don't worry about anything. Grenada; no problems also, have a good time but lock your valuables in the room safe if you get a hotel. Both of these islands are safer than here in Orlando area. Trinidad is a little different, during carnival everyone can be a target. Otherwise the kidnapping is ussually targeted at people who appear to be wealthy (mostly locals of Indian decent). Just be mindful of where you are; if you get a flat tire along the main highway (Churchill Roosevelt) keep driving on the rim. For a much more relaxed visit just skip Trini and go to Tobago.
All three of these countries have governments that actually want you there and want you to be safe. I don't know about Venezuela; if it's anything like Guyana then I would just skip it.
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Old 12-03-2009, 13:08   #20
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Thought I'd jump back in here to let you know that I am following these posts with great interest. I have been told that Pres. Chavez has all but declared war on "gringo" interests. Many believe that what police there are to protect crusiers are turning a blind eye to their problems. That does worry us ---- But, We have a house in Mexico and notwithstanding all the grisly reports when you get away from the borders it's pretty much the 50's crime wise. We really appreciate comments from those with first hand knoledge of specific anchorages, marinas and work yards.
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Old 12-03-2009, 15:27   #21
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Brad: I mentioned that website so visit it for every incident reported on the safety and security net. I see no advantage of repeating that info here. Reports

AmyTom: Your observation seem right from tourist ashore perspective. But consider this report from St Lucia from 2006 (see same website for details):

Quote:
BOARDED BY 3 MEN, CAPTAIN KNOCKED UNCONSCIOUS & SEVERELY BEATEN, WOMAN RAPED, TV INTERVIEW. UPDATE 6/28 3 MEN ARRESTED & AWAITING TRIAL
This is not just theft. We happen to know these cruisers (Dutch like us) and I can assure you that this incident changed their life, scarred their soul etc.
The list on St Lucia is long; we've been there several times with incidents around us and even one including us. I was able to show up big and aggressive enough to repel the boarder who swam to our boat and was just trying to lower the swimming steps to board or it might have been us in the report I quoted above...

cheers,
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Old 12-03-2009, 15:30   #22
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Bobelon: you still didn't let us know if you want to go back to the eastern Caribbean after the haul-out or not. If you do, go to Trini and use any of the 3 yards mentioned. If you want to wander west, choose Curacao. These places are safer than Venezuela.

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Old 12-03-2009, 17:22   #23
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As I predicted in my previous post the thread is on the verge of bordering into the realm where the moderators are likely to close it, whereas I believe it behooves us to attempt to find some semblance of commonsense and balance, whereby a sufficient amount of reasoned local geographic alternatives can be presented, whereby a cruiser could enjoy all parts of the Caribbean, Central and South America.

Equally, for example I believe that the statistics on Venezuela; or indeed any other location it covers (On the Security net) fully reflect the exact number of events. They will be much more. Indeed I find it frustrating to hear that some major robberies took place in Venezuelan waters last year, which weren’t even reported. I find this incomprehensible, as the cruisers involved quite rightly were extremely annoyed and equally vocal in making sure that other cruises were inform. However, no listening cruiser had the ability to rectify the matter and as no official report was made, the perpetrators not only got off Scot free and are emboldened to do it again. Some of the amounts (cash $0000’s) that they obtained are enormous sums, certainly to the likely peps here in Venezuela and would be treated by the police here in Venezuela extremely seriously and would be difficult to hide, in the communities where the robbers were likely to live.

We live in a world that is less safe, although probably still safer on or around the water than on land and as such we must be aware of the potential risks, however, if we say bypass an island or country, even though we do so from the best possible motives, we inexorably shrink our cruising/sailing world bit by bit whereby eventually there is nowhere to go… Additionally if the debate becomes polarized into for and against camps, then rather than encouraging others to posts either suggestions or personal experiences (good or bad) it inhibits their contribution.

I like Curacao and would certainly recommend it. I am not a great lover of Margarita which I personally find very touristy, but would recommend a visit to see the inland areas. Columbia, Panama etc., sure, but safer… with respect is oxymoronic, because each have there own problems; as well, of course, as many must see places.

The point is we are a group whose common interest is upon perhaps the most dangerous natural environment known to man. We do so, by building experience, commonsense and skill. We test and re test our sailing knowledge and part of the cruisers accumulated knowledge needs, going forward, will be to balance fact with possibilities. On a subject so important as this, we need to encourage discussion with an endeavor to improve the possibilities and alternatives, we either are located or with experience of the island, country or area under discussion. This is especially true IMHO with those countries less well known or generally tarred by partisan media from time to time.

Best Regards

Alan
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Old 12-03-2009, 18:43   #24
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I agree with the sentiments of Angloof but differ a bit on how I would give advice.

If you are used to cruising in 3rd world areas with high degrees of poverty, civil unrest and corrupt officials, you develop the ability to quickly assess yet at the same time rationalize potential dangers as manageable and therefore normal.

The extreme example I have seen are expats working and yachting in Port Morsbey PNG who are armed 24hrs a day and are prepared to use them against the local “rascals”. For them that is normal!

My advice to bobelon is to listen to the various opinions but find your own comfort level in the various socio-economic cultures you will travel thru and decide for yourself.

After all, it is no fun being in a place where you constantly hear the early bajo pickins from the theme tune to the movie “Deliverance” playing in the back of your head.
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Old 12-03-2009, 19:38   #25
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I was in Trinidad twice this summer for a week on both occasions. I had a completely different experience than what many on this thread have described. I stayed in Port of Spain both times and partied like a Rock Star both times. I did use a driver and didn't go into bad areas but I was out long after four. Restraunts, bars, clubs all were plentiful safe and fun. I definately wouldn't go walking down dark back streets, but I wouldn't do that in any part of the Carib. Maracus beach is one of the most beautiful I've seen and I've seen many. Additionally the population in Trini is awesome and friendly and young. Very young population there. I was there on a ship so I can't really comment on services, but the Port of Spain is a great place to resupply for ships. Prices are U.S.+. Make sure you get a shark n' bake sandwich. Don't forget your passport they ask for it for everything. Jesse James is awesome and expensive.
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Old 12-03-2009, 22:44   #26
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Pirateneedsrum,

;-) hey, you really think the old folk out there go to the clubs you were at the time of night you did? ha ha ;-) Shark 'n Bake for lunch, Roti for dinner and a Double for a snack, I know and sure loved it all and most of the people I met there. We were there for 7 months!

cheers,
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Old 13-03-2009, 16:20   #27
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Just about everything has been said so far - - but statistically Venezuela is one of the most dangerous places for cruisers to visit - but again - that is only a comparative to other Caribbean areas. There are many, more dangerous places in the world than Venezuela but didn't we take to our sailboats to get away from them? Why go there? What do they have that is so overpowering that risking your valuables and maybe your life is worth it?
- - Unfortunately the rest of the Caribbean is playing "catch-up" with Venezuela so it seems "paradise is lost." And there are two basic reasons crime against cruisers or even tourists is not collected and published. One is to protect the tourist income of future tourists who haven't researched where they are going. Secondly and most important - why collect and publish reports when the cruiser/tourist will be gone in a day or two and will not be available to "testify" against any criminal if he is caught. You cannot convict anybody if the victim does not testify. So why bother catching the criminal if you cannot prosecute. Everywhere in the Caribbean and elsewhere in the world officials are really not interested in taking reports that never will be or can be acted upon.
- - I have made such reports about crimes committed against me and believe me the officials are not interested and will not investigate or pursue actions when I will be long gone before they can prosecute. It is a waste of their time and money. Everywhere in the world we are looked upon as "floating revenue sources" for both officials and criminals alike. Only when our absence becomes obvious and the local marine support industry feels the pinch does pressure get put upon the officials to "clean up" the situation. It's the old saw - Money talks and everything else walks. When local marine support organizations start to feel the pinch then something gets done.
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Old 16-03-2009, 17:05   #28
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Just about everything has been said so far - - but statistically Venezuela is one of the most dangerous places for cruisers to visit - but again - that is only a comparative to other Caribbean areas. There are many, more dangerous places in the world than Venezuela but didn't we take to our sailboats to get away from them? Why go there? What do they have that is so overpowering that risking your valuables and maybe your life is worth it?
- - Unfortunately the rest of the Caribbean is playing "catch-up" with Venezuela so it seems "paradise is lost." And there are two basic reasons crime against cruisers or even tourists is not collected and published. One is to protect the tourist income of future tourists who haven't researched where they are going. Secondly and most important - why collect and publish reports when the cruiser/tourist will be gone in a day or two and will not be available to "testify" against any criminal if he is caught. You cannot convict anybody if the victim does not testify. So why bother catching the criminal if you cannot prosecute. Everywhere in the Caribbean and elsewhere in the world officials are really not interested in taking reports that never will be or can be acted upon.
- - I have made such reports about crimes committed against me and believe me the officials are not interested and will not investigate or pursue actions when I will be long gone before they can prosecute. It is a waste of their time and money. Everywhere in the world we are looked upon as "floating revenue sources" for both officials and criminals alike. Only when our absence becomes obvious and the local marine support industry feels the pinch does pressure get put upon the officials to "clean up" the situation. It's the old saw - Money talks and everything else walks. When local marine support organizations start to feel the pinch then something gets done.

Sorry! but the first paragraph can't go un challenged. Show me the data...that's too sweeping a statement.

As to reporting crime large and small, they are collated. Actually cruisers have an email now (The notice is in every Port Capitain office in Venezuela )where you can "denounce" corruption or poor/inadequate service. Will it do much good..who knows but it is a start in the right direction

The point you make about rising crime throughout the region, was made by me and other posters... you mentioned that you had personal experience.... where and when was it? what happened, what lessons can we learn and what if anything would be your advice regarding others avoiding a similar experience.

This I believe would contribute to the subject at hand.

Best Regards

Alan
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Old 16-03-2009, 18:09   #29
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I just saw a statistic that said more american tourists are killed by traffic accidents (pedestrians also) than by any other non-natural source.
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Old 17-03-2009, 08:19   #30
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If you take the time to look at the web sources - e.g. the Caribbean Safety and Security net and Noonsite - you will see the reported incidents and summaries of them.
Tourists getting killed as pedestrians is not relevant to this discussion which is about attacks against cruising boats. A pirate is simply any criminal act against a boat. On land they would be muggers, thieves or whatever.
If you are not out here actually traveling continuously from island country to island country as I have been for the last 7 years your viewpoint is static and only about your "residential" experiences. As a "resident" of one country you have the subconscious and conscious "training" and demeanor that discourages or limits such "pirate" experiences especially if you are living on land and not living full time on a sailing vessel.
Still your knowledge of how to minimize or avoid such pirate attacks - such as places and islands to avoid could be most valuable to other active cruisers. Instead of trying to bury the reality, let us know how you avoid such attacks and how we can best avoid such attacks and safety visit and enjoy your area. Sharing local knowledge of techniques and locations is what this forum is all about. Helping is much better than challenging.
But in the end each individual cruiser must decide what is best and prudent for his ship and crew after reviewing all the available information.
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