Click on a label to read posts from that part of the world.
Dec 5th 2009 11:16PM Just Me: I wrote a long and well-thought-out response to your earlier post, but apparently the webmaster decided it should not be allowed to stay on the site. I don't know why - maybe it touched some sensitive nerves. Perhaps I'll try again tomorrow, as it's nearly midnight here. In any case, please know that I expressed appreciation for your sympathy and your civil tone. I hope this conversation is allowed to continue, because genuine conversation is the only mechanism I've found to lead to understanding and positive action.
I wish you and yours the best.
Dec 5th 2009 10:22AM Vernon - I'm curious, what has the BIV gotten wrong in its coverage of violence in the Bay Islands? Not only have I read the stories, I've spoken with the editor/publisher - he's not trashing the islands, he seems to really be trying to be honest and balanced in his coverage. In any case, as I've said - the problem isn't Roatan as such...it's the misperception regarding its safety that lulls tourists into a false sense of security. This is the case throughout Central America -- likewise, the "blame the victims" mentality doesn't wash. My brother was simply boating and most likely got into an accident, but the absence of genuine search/rescue capabilities or real investigative resources makes it unlikely that we or anyone else who loses someone down there will ever know what happened. Ron Scheepstra was fly fishing in Mexico, walked a short distance to his car and was never seen again - and the authorities, rather than investigate, simply implied to his wife that "maybe he just doesn't want to be found." David Gimelfarb was in Rincon La Vieja, Costa Rica with 300 other tourists when he vanished without a trace...Costa Rica has actually been helpful in the search for David and has asked the U.S. for assistance...a request the U.S. govt. repeatedly ignored. This assumption that adult men who run into trouble deserve their fates and that their families are just deluded whiners needs to go the way of the old saw that women who get raped "were probably looking for it." There's a real appeal to traveling in this part of the world. I wouldn't discourage it. But there's more to the story than cheap meals and beautiful beaches, and travel journalism that ignores the darker side are simply being irresponsible.
Dec 4th 2009 7:30PM I'm sure Honduras has a lot to recommend it. My brother loved Roatan and was very happy to be starting a 15-day vacation there the day before his disappearance. I'm not trying to chase anyone away -- only to stress the importance that travelers remember they are in the Third World and take the appropriate safety measures because neither local law enforcement nor the U.S. government will be eager to help if you get into trouble. This is the case throughout Central America (probably anywhere else in the world). I hope you'll visit The Missing Americans Project (http://www.missingamericans.ning.com) and learn about the issues faced by the family of David Gimelfarb (missing in Costa Rica since August); Ron Scheepstra (missing in Mexico since April); Michael Dixon (missing in Costa Rica since October); and Alex Humphrey (missing in Panama since August). I'm afraid the travel industry frames these resorts as if they are Disney World, creating a false sense of security on the part of visitors. While my nephew was in Roatan helping in the search for his dad, the house he was staying in was broken into, his and my brother's laptops stolen; the "investigation" consisted of interviewing four people; the following day, adult men were climbing the trees outside the house to peer inside the windows and had to be chased away. This is not what we in the "First World" expect when we're on vacation. We need to be better informed when we travel -- unfortunately, "rah-rah" journalism like this article does not help. Roatan IS Honduras. Cancun and Cozumel ARE Mexico. Travel to these places, but educate and protect yourself because local authorities and "First World" governments won't protect you or help your family.
Dec 4th 2009 1:14PM Here's the site: http://www.bayislandsvoice.com/
Navigation is tricky when it comes to finding stories on particular topics, but I have found the editor to be really friendly and helpful. He seems to be the only person who keeps track of stats on murders and disappearances in the area (the U.S. Embassy sure doesn't).
Dec 4th 2009 1:06PM Check out the Bay Islands Voice. I know the editor has come under pressure to stop reporting about murders of expats, but to the best of my knowledge he's not been cowed.
Dec 4th 2009 12:40PM While Roatan may not be Tegucigalpa, it IS Honduras. More important, you must know that if you are a U.S. citizen who gets into trouble in any of these countries, you are on your own as far as your State Department is concerned. My brother disappeared off Roatan in May of this year and it was only the unrelenting pressure of our widely dispersed network of family and friends harrassing our Senators and Representatives that got us any help at all. Other U.S. families who have lost people in Central America during the same period have not been as fortunate as we were. Please exercise extreme caution in this part of the world and make sure everyone you know knows where you are going and what you are doing. As for the Bay Islands, read up on the violence against foreigners in the Bay Islands Voice (available online). Please also visit The Missing Americans Project (www.missingamericans.ning.com)