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Vol 2, No 5:
What You Need To Know Before Visiting
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March 2017 - Vol 2, No 5
What you need to know before visiting Central America...
Central America is on the upswing, both in terms of tourism and business opportunities. Vibrant economies are making it an attractive region for investment, and its natural geography provides unique access to the Caribbean Sea (diving) and the Pacific Ocean (surfing and fishing), soft adventure in jungles and on volcanos and beautiful colonial villages as well as Indian ruins.
With that in mind, we asked our Executive Security Contributor AS Solutions to provide you an update on security issues you should be aware of before visiting or sending members of your team to the region. While it may be more fun to write about beautiful villas, we hope you will find the report, below, in this issue helpful and valuable. Please email me with any feedback at email@example.com.
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In This Issue:
1. Central America Executive Security Report
2. DGAE Top Special Reports Library
Our Security Reports (Links Below):
7 Ways Your Flight Crew Can Increase Security
Should you drive a car in Cuba?
How to survive a terrorism attack
Preventing A Robbery While Traveling
What You Need To Know About Security In Central America
Big game fishing, diving, soft adventure, beautiful beaches, luxury resorts, development opportunities and increasing consumer demand means visiting this region is more likely than ever. With Central America becoming a hot spot for both tourism and business, we asked our Executive Security Contributors at AS Solution to give you some insights into security issues to keep top-of-mind.
Security threats and risks in Central America: what to expect?
There are a number of security issues high-profile and UHNW visitors to Central America need to be cognizant of:
Expats and business travelers are more prone to be targeted than locals, since they’re perceived as more likely to carry valuable goods (smart-phones, laptops, and so on) or more likely to have their ransom paid.
The reasons for most of the risks associated with Honduras and Central America are unfortunately all-too-common and not easy to fix any time soon. High levels of poverty and inequality, gang activities, drug trade and corrupt officials all contribute to the security situation.
The drug trade is huge. Central America is the major transportation route for cocaine and heroin headed for the U.S., a huge and apparently insatiable market. Roughly 80-90% of cocaine found in the U.S. has passed through the Mexico-Central America region. This is a massive market for gangs, and they’re hellbent on controlling it.
The actual risks vary by country and area:
Before you swear off all of Central America, it’s important to put things in perspective and understand the wide range of regional differences.
Nicaragua and Costa Rica have vibrant tourism industries. They also have national homicide rates close to that of Kansas City. While that doesn’t make them safe per se, it does make them generally safer than their neighbors. It also means that you’re more likely to encounter theft in tourist areas rather than outright gun violence.
According to statistics from the Central American and Caribbean Commission of Police Chiefs, Honduras has over 30,000 active gang members while Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama each have less than 5,000. And these numbers are all fairly low estimates—various sources disagree wildly on the exact count.
A country like Guatemala is still reeling from the after-effects of its long civil war (with two-hundred thousand civilian casualties), while Honduras suffers from a militarized—and often corrupt—police force struggling to contain the country’s gang problem and civilians openly carrying weapons.
In some cases, justice has a hard time doing its job. The impression that crime is running wild in countries that make up the so-called “Northern Triangle” (Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador) is strengthened by the relative impunity criminals enjoy there. As many as 95% of the crimes committed are not processed or dealt with in any concrete manner due to weak judicial systems, corruption and overcrowded prisons.
What does this mean for travelers?
You can’t paint Central America with a broad stroke, and risks change significantly from area to area. Any plan to head to one of these countries means you’ll need to rely on local intel and up-to-date info not only about the country, but the specific city or place you’re headed to. We give some general information below, but do be sure to stay up to date on current risks wherever you travel.
Major security risks in 2017:
Be prepared, be street-smart, and don’t take unnecessary risks:
Central America has its security challenges, but it is also a deservedly popular tourist destination. Low labor costs and proximity to the U.S. make it an attractive choice for manufacturing facilities. So what are travelers to do? Here are a few tips that will serve you well in this region:
Don’t forget the basics: Don’t flash expensive jewelry or tech devices. Carry certified copies of your ID when moving around. Cheap local cell phones could be a good idea. Bottled water is a must, and so are up-to-date vaccines.
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