Argentinians Emigrating to Chile

La Segunda published a story about Argentinians emigrating to Chile featuring 5 migrants, including Horacio de La Peña, who was robbed by the Argentine government during the corralito of 2001. Business manager Ernesto Ezquer is concerned about crime in Argentina. His nephew suffered an express kidnapping and lives in fear:

Express kidnapping (Spanish: secuestro exprés), is a method of abduction used in some countries, mainly from Latin America, where a small ransom, that a company or family can easily pay, is requested. It is most common in Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil. It was frequent in Argentina following its political and economic crisis in 2001. ATM abductions, where the victim is forced to withdraw money from his or her account, are common in many urban areas of Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, and Brazil.

Express kidnappings have been known of in the US since at least July 30, 1986 when US Representative Mario Biaggi proposed having all ATM networks reprogrammed to recognize that an alternate, emergency PIN had been used to withdraw the cash. Although a 2010 congressional report asserts that the data on “express kidnappings are unavailable” it also notes that the Los Angeles Police Department has adopted an address system for tracking violent crimes associated with the ATM. By acquiring a master list of ATM addresses, the police are able to track all crimes associated with the ATM industry in their community.

In some parts of Latin America, express kidnappings are also known as a millionaire tour (in Spanish Paseo millonario), also translated as millionaire walk, when an innocent passenger takes a cab (usually at night) and is temporarily kidnapped by the driver. The cab stops nearby to pick up armed criminals who get in and take the passenger to a variety of ATMs, maxing out their bank card at each one. The victim is sometimes taken to his or her own house where he/she is robbed of personal items and then abandoned under the effects of scopolamine.

Mary and I felt safe when we visited Argentina last February and March, but two French young women were beaten, raped, and murdered in July at the San Lorenzo Gorge in the city of Salta in the north, so the French media is questioning whether tourists should visit Argentina:

French magazine Le Point has an article in which it asks if Argentina can be considered a safe country. Even when the number of tourists killed in Argentina is low compared to other developing countries, crime and insecurity are in the rise, points out the magazine which strongly recommends following the French Foreign Affairs recommendations for tourists travelling to and visiting Argentina.

Related posts:
What’s it like to be kidnapped in Buenos Aires?
Young Spaniards Emigrating to Chile

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