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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Will SCORE Guarantee Safety for the Baja 500?

LINK TO BAJA CRIME WAVE PART 3

BAJA CRIME WAVE PART 4

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Gary Newsome EXCLUSIVE Baja Racing News.com

WILL SCORE GUARANTEE SAFETY FOR THE BAJA 500?

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHY A GUARANTEE OF SAFETY IS REQUIRED

ENSENADA EVENT CANCELED BECAUSE OF BAJA CRIME WAVE

In an article released today by the San Diego Union Tribune, Tijuana GUARANTEES SAFETY OF ATHLETES, for a diving event! Will the same be done for the Baja 500 racers and the fans of off-road? Here's the quote from the article:

""The deputy municipal police chief, Juan Manuel Nieves Reta, said a special operation with 50 officers is planned during the event to provide security and facilitate transportation.The cost of hosting the diving event is almost $400,000, about half of which will be used for prizes, and the rest for food and lodging, air transportation and other logistical support, Castro said. Representatives from FINA with state and municipal authorities met last weekend to review plans for the event, he said.
The event coincides with the warning recently issued by the U.S. State Department advising travelers about the violence that prevails in the Mexican border cities.

“The armed robberies and theft of autos, apparently without a link to the violence related to drug trafficking, have increased in Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez,” the warning reads. “Dozens of U.S. citizens were kidnapped and/or killed in Tijuana in 2007. Shootouts have occurred in public places near commercial zones.”"

On Monday Baja California put on an event to display their safety movements:




It is good news to hear from Sr. Arturo Martinez, who states in the video a VERBAL assurance, that "escorts will be employed". Racers should find out more about these services and their details.

From the junket on Monday: "50+ Cameras have been placed around tourist areas in Ensenada with another 15+ cameras being brought in specially for the Baja 500. There is a new "tourist" police patrolling the main areas where we will be. In addition they have added an "integrity" unit policing the police on the look out for corruption and extortion. [Ten years too late] A special SWAT detail will roving the city on the look out for incidents. The Federal Police have cleaned up the highway. They have a motorcycle division on the look-out for stopped motorists and traffic stops by police and will assist motorists. The motorcyle officer is bilingual. Federal Police are the only ones allowed to pull you over on the highway and they have changed the colors of their cars to blue and most are now Dodge Chargers." [too bad it took this Baja Crime Wave to get the local Baja California authorities to realize how important tourism is]

From a recent Official public letter from the Baja California tourism chief to SCORE they outlined their "safety plans" for the race:

""As you know because you have been here, since last November 2007 by direct instructions of the new Governor of the State Mr. Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan we have implemented the following actions destined to assure that our cities and tourist attractions comply with the security measures & confidence that millions of visitors and specially your Racers need to be their best race ever and to make their stay in Baja California a pleasant one. We have implemented a "Tourism Assistance Patrol" effort with motorcycle guides to orient our ongoing visitors. Starting on Avenida Internacional and along the border zone of Tijuana. Our Visitor Assistance Hotline 078 was improved. This toll free service provides visitors with information and assistance when necessary 365 days a year. We now have 16th Visitor Information Centers available throughout the State. We have produced and are distributing over two million "Safety Tips" brochures that include a map as well as useful information for our visitors. We will send some especially for your racers. We are maintaining a closer working relationship with law enforcement agencies as well as the highway patrol to disseminate useful information and to assure they provide timely assistance to visitors when necessary. Bilingual operators are now available at our Emergency Phone Line 066 which can also be accessed once here from any US cellular phone, by dialing 911 or 112 from European cellular providers. We increased the roadside assistance service provided by the "Green Angels"."" [Just months too late. If the Hall family had known about the Travel Alerts that were removed from a well known off-road website* (reports about the gangs that were car-jacking, kidnapping and killing along the highway between Ensenada and TJ at that time) or had not traveled that night, millions more people would have never known about the real risks to International travelers-Americans in Baja California Norte. Instead of just a couple thousand people who were at real risk, millions around the globe know of the risks]

*A well placed US law enforcement official who provides intel to interests in the United States, when hearing this story recently told Baja Racing News.com, "that off-road internet message board, is stupid to the power of three!" Talking about the deletion of verified, relevant threat information, given to the right people at the right time. Real stupid when that board is the laziest on the net and they delete travel warnings!

What is not said in the Official statement is this. There is NO GUARANTEE OF SAFETY, THERE ARE NO SPECIAL DUTY OF OFFICERS ANNOUNCED OFFICIALLY as in the divers event. The official pronouncements are also too late, the damage is done. These statements could have easily been made one week after the Hall crime, as guideposts of the intent of the government and SCORE that racers and fans security would be upgraded for future races. Not doing so in a timely manner places a black cloud of doubt over the entire effort, do these people really know what they are doing? Have they countered the threat effectively? Who is willing to die to see if they are on the right track?

And, why wasn't any of the REAL PRESS invited to the junket on Monday? Baja Racing News.com has learned that non of the REAL credentialed media was invited to this SHOW. There are plenty of national-network outlets in San Diego who would have shown up. Why were they NOT INVITED? No TV, No Radio and No Print Media from San Diego. Baja Racing News.com contacted them all and NONE were invited. The only conclusion is this. SCORE wants this message only to go to Baja racers. Why?

It also needs to be noted here, all of the pronouncements and assurances to SCORE are from state and local authorities. The Tourism Department is in charge of your security. The Federales are supporting the efforts. The reason this is finally being done is NOT because of the American tourists. It is being done because of the complaining tourist facilities hotels-restaurants and the dwindling tax revenues that the local big-wigs are accustomed to, from racers in past races.

Be very leary of the Tijuana, Rosarito and Ensenada local police. You won't even be able to tell who the State police are!

Regarding the official announcement about the 066 and 078 lines. The new government of Baja California may not recall that the 078 and 066 changes for tourists assistance were upgraded, as mentioned in the open letter, years ago.

Also of importance. The mention upgrades of the telephone access to "078 and 066" require one more important suggestion to International-Americans. The County of San Diego, in its negotiations with the State of Baja California after 9-11 and the 'Kraft accident', prompted the changes, mentioned in this press release. That was in 2002-2003.
If you use these numbers in an emergency, be sure to request immediate access to the American Consulate in Tijuana for your assistance.

CLICK HERE FOR THE AMERICAN CONSULATE IN TIJUANA

WHY IS BAJA CALIFORNIA OR SCORE NOT GUARANTEEING SAFETY FOR BAJA RACERS AND FANS?

CLICK HERE FOR THE LINK TO THE ENTIRE ARTICLE

CLICK HERE: TIJUANA'S FUTURE LIKE JUAREZ? CHAOS

Baja Racing News.com EXCLUSIVE


LINK TO BAJA CRIME WAVE PART 5