Thursday, January 24, 2008

Going to La Paz to Race? You Are Warned!

Pure Corruption in La Paz

The History of the Capital of Baja Sur

Have you ever wondered why Southern Baja isn't wall to wall Hotels? Here is the real reason.


Puros Coruptos: el sangre de La Paz

January 23 2008

Written by Juan Antonio Casias Mendez

"La Paz The Port of Illusion"

La Paz es el puerto del illusion, known for what it isn't, a land of opportunity that morphed quickly into a inter-departmental battle between the mass of pauvrecitos and los locos ricos, locals and extranos, city, state and feds, its the capital city that is guaranteed to screw up whatever plans you have.

Jealousies' and peer envy have debilitated the city for decades, causing Pacenos to close themselves to investment, tourism, transportation, infrastructure improvement and in general any positive development. The only integrated system that flourished is a system of complicity of corruption that persists insidiously. Its like an ever expanding infrastructure of corruption has grown and grown, eating away at everything around it. Thats not to say that people don't have fun, that they don't enjoy fishing and surfing and sailing but those things happen outside of La Paz proper. Many people do enjoy some success but to do so they need very deep pockets and the ability to completely wall yourself off to Pacenos tricks.

Yachts certainly enjoy the benefits of less access and therefore less corruption from locals and super rich have a way of avoiding any interaction with locals. Of course there are many wonderful people, but the common trend for visitors is to be the victim of a series of rip-offs and screw-ups aimed to drive you out of town fast, and boy do they. Seemingly, the land of endless opportunity is non-discriminatory, few succeed in business and most clients are robbed in normal transactions through what is a long tradition of stealing from anyone able to pay, that includes stealing from friends and family almost as often as from outsiders whether they be mexican or from anywhere but La Paz.

Almost anything or everything seems to go haywire which is more than frustrating, it has literally debilitated the community, running many reasonable business into the ground and only those that adopt the destructive corruptive mode limp along, stealing in collusion with cops.(Tres Virgenes excepted) a common technique one might encounter is to enter a restaurant and order, perhaps drinks may arrive perhaps not, after some period of hours no food comes, you ask the staff 'what's up' and a angry waiter blames the kitchen says its coming soon or feigns ignorance, you say you are leaving and are presented with an outrageous bill for what would have been the meal you ordered but never got nor exists plus extras of which you never received. Chaos ensues as the staff explains the police are already there to arrest you for failing to pay the $3000 peso tab? If you argue they take you to some random little jail a long way away on Miguel L. de Legaspy and proceed to extort you and rob you of your possessions.

The aforementioned case may also occur known as the 'Jamaica game' when a seemingly nice local person befriends your group and invites everyone to some other establishment and insists he invites you, ordering loads of drinks and expensive items only to finally admit he has no money--forgot his wallet--was robbed etc... when the bill is presented the cops arrive, extortion ensues for a false tab of $10000-30000 pesos plus cops demand multa or fines.Try to get a project done in your home, the worker explains that he needs %50 labor up front and the cost of materials. Sounds normal if you are from the states--but not in Mexico, you pay and the worker initiates a process of failing to deliver, stalls and a series of lies and no shows trying to start fights to get fired and leave to avoid doing the project while keeping the money--no supplies were ever purchased.

The key in La Paz is to always fail to deliver and try your best to not finish using not finishing as a reason to gain more money. Its a frustrating and expensive experience to engage a Paceno in projects. Lets say the guys (and gals) go to some ladies bar, (bad idea) they enjoy a few beers and when leaving are confronted by a locked door, and a huge bill in the many thousands of dollars for the company of women who they may have never met and a stack of receipts for what might have been the entire month, hundreds of drinks. The police are already there faster than you can blink and a process of kidnapping you under false charges ensues, a trip to the subcommandancia on Miguel l. de Legaspy followed by attempts to extort excessive funds by "officials" identified by the Police prosecutors as Policia Jorge Garcia Chavez, Raymundo Quintana Saucedo and Jesus Alejandro Gonzalez Lara--some of whom work with black masks with the blessing of the City? Why? Now, don't make the mistake of going places that support corruption, but as a friend to many visitors I see them getting pulled into these scenarios daily and they call for my help, I am too often engaged in securing their release through soft logical, ethical negotiations, guilting the guilty into submission. Nothing worse than to know they are going out on the town where I am certain trouble will ensue, lies, rip-offs and extortion to the degree which is so disgusting it can only remind you of the worst most lawless countries in the world-but worse due its false presentation as a "nice place to visit" Baja Life and "best place to retire" Forbes Magazine.

But its worse than that because no one will talk about it in La Paz or outside, its a deeply guarded secret that extortion is the norm.

There are no cops to help you expect perhaps Tony of the Tourist Police but his minions would just as soon rob you and they will. Sure it helps to know someone but not really, best that you know no one to call to help you pay the corruptos, the more friends you have the more you will pay, while the less you have the less you pay and corruptos leave you in peace.

Alberto Trevino Angulo, a vacuous greaseball, thinks he is in charge of Tourism for the State of Baja Sur.

Its doesn't help to know and call the secretary of tourismo, Alberto Trevino Angulo, 066, la policia or someone like Rosa Delia, because its as simple this, they don't know who is running the show, its not who you think, there is no phone number nor hardly a name, its the manager of Lord Black running the corrupt police chief.

Its the Vigilantes en Soriana robbing your car, its the militares pretending to check on some system that doesn't exist. But they are not reachable by normal communications.They are going to rob you. There's no one to help. There is no enforcement cooperation or oversight-so its not surprising that Baja California Sur's capital city is completely corrupt. Anywhere in the world that claimed to be a capital and ran with no oversight would be corrupt, I would venture, out on a limb that even D.F. and Calderon are afraid of La Paz. At best, in support of reports of corruption one might hope for a few testy messages from one false commandante crossing departmental lines of state versus city, to another or shouting on some random borrowed cell phone that cuts off without credit in an police cell that is deep in the barrios, buried behind arroyos. Thats something at least. But the only true response from officials is jealously that someone else got your money. You will have a hard time finding the so called commandantes of the subcommandancias, when they falsely arrest a friend or your family to extort.

Now, few celebrate corruption, but through acceptance and silence the mode continues to dominate to the point that it is the only known system. It is the system, there is no other system except a series of possible bribes, lies and complete incompetence in La Paz. If you want to complete a transaction, you better have primed the pump of corruption with propinas, ayuda, multa whatever you want to call it, its the same. Its corrupt inept government. You never know what level of corruption will ensue but clearly the local system will push and pull and twist and turn your innocuous daily interactions into hair raising complicated extortion and downright robbery, its never what it seems, adults act like children, mothers and grandparents mastermind robbing you blind, lying and attempting to wear you down and engage in a fight, making life nearly impossible which is why most places are empty, people fear going out.

Why? or What will compel La Paz to change?

Nothing seems to have ever changed from this horrendous destructive city's method that chokes the economy and serves no one except to lock the corrupt police in line with corrupt business owners in line with corrupt politicians into a self-made jail of their own doing. Sadly, the only thing to expect is that La Paz is gonna' hurt you. Well, as many of you know, even those in power can not align themselves with others to effect cooperation, lack of cooperation and trust is the bane of La Paz--cooperation doesn't exit which is why the city's theme is "todos juntos" ad naseum and if cooperation is initiated and does exist it shall be corrupted by cooercion and lies into blatent theft and conflict, incriminating do-gooders faster than they can say "Me pushi"?

So what is there in La Paz? What does La Paz offer to those who wish to visit here--the perenial screw-up, un ciudad de chamacos locos y ni uno verdad y bueno? Tranquility? Imagine a world where everything isn't what it seems, "Puerto del Illusion?" Police have one function--to rob, restaurants don't make food, a cup of coffee isn't coffee, guides don't go on trips, the government passes theft as progress, like the Magote project and so many other destined to fail false projects with one intention-- to rob you! So then what? Total financial and moral bancruptcy, but who cares, so what, what was lost was something we never had.

Don't say no one told you--Enjoy getting to know La Paz--its gonna' hurt!
By: Juan Antonio Casias Mendez