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Jueves Santo in Toledo, Spain


History Hiker

 

Experiencing a Jueves Santo in Toledo, Spain will shake every emotion inside of you.  This is what happened to me when I was invited to experience Toledo’s Jueves Santo by my good friends from Madrid, Kiko and Beatrice.  I met my Spanish friends while living in Madrid in 2014. Beatrice was born and raised in Toledo and she knows everything about the city.  I felt blessed to have her and her husband take me around the town during this historic night.

Churches

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During Jueves Santo, dozens of churches are open to the public that are otherwise closed.  Several of the churches belong to monasteries.  In fact, many of the monasteries were built centuries ago.  While visiting the churches, I was surprised to see several of the nuns sitting in dark rooms behind glass windows looking at all the tourist flood into their church.  They seemed to be excited to see us because they were all staring through the glass window.  Beatrice informed me that many of the nuns have been in the monasteries for decades and Jueves Santo is one of the few times they can see the outside world.

Streets

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After visiting several churches we made our way through the beautiful streets of the city.  Beatrice shared stories of her youth and pointed out the best places to eat and drink.  I interjected several times and asked her about Toledo’s culture and economy.  I have had many conversations with them about Toledo before, but I can never learn enough about this historic city and Beatrice is a treasure trove of information.  One of the many things that makes Toledo worth visiting it that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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Beatrice pointed out several statues like the one above of Pope John Paul II and several historic building that deserve a post all on their own  We kept walking through the large crowds and made our way to the Jewish Quarter to visit one last church before we joined the crowds for the procession of Jueves Santo.  Monasterio de S. Juan de los Reyes was founded by King Ferdinand II and Queen Isabella I to commemorate the birth of their son and also to their victory of The Battle of Toro.  The monastery was completed in 1504.

The Jewish part of town was illuminated with graphics on the cobble stone streets.  The streets were also empty in this area because everyone was in the center of town waiting near Toledo’s main cathedral for the processions to start.

Procesiones/Processions

Beatrice knew exactly how much time we could spend wandering around the city tasting wine and visiting more historic sites.  Eventually, we made our way towards the cathedral in search of a spot to stop and watch the procession.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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View the video below to feel the powerful experience of watching the processions and feeling the passion from the people of Toledo.

 

Dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

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In pure Spanish style, we had dinner around 11:30 p.m. along with droves of Toledanos at a popular restaurant called La Abadía.  Having a late dinner is something that I have come to cherish over the past seven years.  I prepare for late dinners with with Zantac and Tums.  Beatrice and Kiko ordered the meat platter along with a delicious red wine from La Mancha.  The beef, sausage, and chicken were delicious.  I kept telling Beatrice and Kiko that I had my own plate to eat, but they insisted that I keep trying the meat.  How could I resist?

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I ordered a dish well known in Toledo, which is Perdiz (Partridge).  The meat melted in my mouth along with the tasty creamy sauce which did not detract from the quality of the meat.  The soil in La Manch is rugged and this region is not known for its fruits or vegetables.  No, La Mancha is all about the meat.

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I couldn’t have asked for more of an authentic experience.  In my humble opinion, this is what travel is about.  It’s not about checking boxes off a bucket list and it’s not about country counting.  Travel is about the personal experience and sharing that experience with others.  I am grateful to my friends Kiko and Beatrice for sharing this amazing evening with me.  Witnessing the passion, history, and culture of this city makes me want to come back for more.

Visit Toledo, Spain.  You will cherish the experience.


©2016 World Travelers Today

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Security Tips for the Business Traveler


Travel Security


 

 

 

 

 

An increasing number of Americans are fortunate enough to combine work related trips with brief vacation stints or getaways. This opportunity of combining work and pleasure, is great if we keep in mind how to avoid unpleasantness. The risks faced can be avoided if we keep a few security recommendations in mind. First and foremost, is the mindfulness to the safety and security recommendation in previous posts.  Specifically, what we referred to as the “Ice Cube” (I3) model ̶ to remind ourselves of the behaviors we should avoid to stay safe:

Ignorance

Stay informed of general conditions at your intended destination(s). Monitor developments via news media, social networks, and hotel concierge.  Word of mouth from other travelers or tourists is another good way of staying informed and up to date with local news.   A word of caution, rumors generally lack specificity or credible details, while objective facts are rich in specific details of what, where, when, and who.

Inattention

Whether in the business or pleasure portion of your trip, remain mindful of your surroundings and pay close attention to people, events, and conditions that applying your experience are not normal.  Always trust your intuition and act on it immediately.  Taken action will keep you out of harm’s way and it will also buy you time to make a decision that best meets your immediate needs.

Imprudence

The third element of the “Ice Cube” model is imprudence.   We are all familiar with this behavior, most of which includes activities that are unwise, injudicious, incautious, indiscreet, misguided, ill-advised, ill-judged, impulsive, brash, careless, foolish, and ultimately dangerous.

The main idea to keep in mind when combining work and pleasure trips is legal liability. What actions would be considered “within the scope of one’s employment and which one were of a purely personal nature; should an unforeseen contingency ranging from death or disabling injury occur – the “scope of employment” will be key in determining legal liability. This will apply to people who are employees of a company, as well as those that developed and lead their own enterprises, like entrepreneurs. Legal liability will determine who gets paid, how much, and under what legal doctrine. Its importance cannot be overemphasize.

The second key consideration of mixed travel is protection of proprietary information, documents, and technology.  Ensure you protect proprietary information, which ranges from equipment, documents, and even casual conversations concerning work related information.  It is important to remember that personal or work related information should not be disclosed in public or to temporal acquaintances without a clear and objective need to know. There are documented cases where casual seemingly innocent remarks have resulted in assaults and deaths where the motive was profit and the perpetrator relied on casually overheard innocently shared comments.  Information collection is standard trade-craft for criminals, spies, and terrorists. Generally, discretion on personal and work matters serves your best interests while traveling.

Writing for a magazine whose primary audience is former government law enforcement officials, an executive and former law enforcement officials herself wrote an article “Travel Insurance Ensures Peace of Mind” which includes several excellent recommendations, well worth keeping in mind. (Travelers’ Notebook, Travel Insurance Ensures Peace of Mind, By Sherri Rost, Castaic Travel. The Grapevine, July 2016. P. 28)

The following excellent advice was extracted from the article.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance typically costs 4 to 8 percent of the total cost of the trip, but it is invaluable in the face of unpredictability. Sometimes randomness can be expensive. Long anticipated trips sometimes have to be cancelled abruptly or even interrupted once in progress. If the employer pays for insuring the business portion of the trip, but not all do since it is a controllable expense. If the traveler is willing to cover the insurance for all portions of the trip, which requires a cost/benefit analysis, insurance offers protection for the investment made by recouping they monies spent for accommodation, transportation, etc. To be on the safe side the traveler should discuss plans with corporate travel, if employed to ensure clarity of limitations and liability.

The comments here do not refer to Policies purchased at a Kiosk at the airport, but the purchase of policies that actually fit your specific need and requirements. The four basic areas to consider are:

Trip cancellation and interruption

Cancellations on pre-paid trips are very expensive, the insurance will reimburse non-refundable costs in the event of illness or other personal issues, including illness, work issues such as lay-offs, family emergencies (a death), the policy can cover financial losses as well as penalties incurred for a prepaid tour or flight.

Insurance can also cover trips cancelled or delay due to natural disasters if carrier in unable to reschedule, or goes out of business. In cases covered by the policy money can be recovered.

Medical Issues

Many insurance policies, Medicare included do not cover you while traveling internationally. In an emergency situation, a health provider will work with a travel insurance company on billing. Without insurance, foreign hospitals or doctors may expect a significant cash payment before treatment.

It is very important to include a “pre-existing conditions waiver” in any type of travel coverage. Travel insurance policies typically cover unexpected injury and illness, if you have consulted a doctor 60 to 180 days before the trip, insurance will not cover it without this waiver. To be eligible for this waiver, you have to buy travel insurance within 7 to 30 days before making the first payment for your travel. Waivers have to be included waivers for traveling companions.

Evacuation

Without sounding alarmist, evacuation coverage can be a lifesaver, in case of an accident or illness requiring emergency medical transportation can easily run into tens-of-thousands of dollars. This contingency alone, which is a form of “medical repatriation” will get you home or to a major hospital in your country of origin than can render the required life-saving treatment.

Baggage insurance

This not necessarily needed in short-term business/official trips, but longer trips that include transportation of expensive items/jewelry/professional apparatus and medically essential items will appreciate the coverage.

Advantages

Travel insurance policies sometimes include little-known perk that can have a big impact on the quality of a trip – concierge service. This typically is a 24 hour assistance program that provides quick referrals for local restaurants and entertainment venues; they can also include tickets for local events – arts, theater, music and sporting venues. While some high-end elite credit/travel cards provide concierge services, these are not available to all.

Travelers should consults with their employees, or professionals (physicians, legal counsel or travel agency representatives) to ensure foreseeable contingencies are covered and planned for.

Enjoy and safe travels!

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Edinburgh: Books, Bagpipes, and Muddy Boots


Traveler’s Spotlight 


 

AmyArden

 

By Amy Arden

 

 

After my visit to Edinburgh I discovered that J.K. Rowling and I have something in common – we’ve both haunted its coffee shops with our laptops, pounding out our stories, hoping to nurture tiny creative sparks into something that could be called art.

Edinburgh is known as the “City of Festivals,” and it frequently plays host, most famously for the Fringe each August. There’s also its celebrated landmarks, like Edinburgh Castle, home to a colossal 15th-century cannon known as Mons Meg, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse, once the residence of the doomed Mary Queen of Scots and now the site of annual garden parties hosted by British royals. Among Edinburgh’s Gothic spires and modern flats, tradition and creativity not only coexist, they swirl together in a captivating mix that draws tourists, artists, and voyeurs alike. What else would you expect from the first city named as a UNESCO City of Literature? As a result, it’s a great city for writers – and anyone else who likes to go exploring.

When I began working on a novel based on the life of the intrepid Lady Katherine “Kate” Cochrane and discovered that some of her correspondence still survived in Scottish archives, I found all the excuse I needed to head to Scotland. As the native of a small Pennsylvania town called Edinboro, namesake of the original, I’d grown up with bagpipes and Braveheart, and was eager to see how my childhood assumptions stood against genuine experience.

Bagpipes are indeed everywhere. Shops selling tartans – for you, for your kid, for your dog – are everywhere. Pub and bus tours are everywhere. Such amusements are yours for the taking, though you can just as easily opt out and strike out on your own.

 

“Inside the castle, you can view a 12th-century chapel, visit the National War Museum of Scotland, and see the Honours of Scotland.”

 

Sights

The Royal Mile

Tourists flock to this pedestrian-friendly street that stretches from Edinburgh Castle to the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Not only does it connect two of the city’s most visited attractions, it’s also chock-full of restaurants, pubs, and shops. You can take it a good bit of history just by walking around – you’ll pass Tron Kirk, dating back to the 1630s when a local parish lost their church following a decree by King Charles I and, in a fit of religious pique, built this one instead (it’s now a visitor center rather than a church), and Deacon Brodie’s pub. The pub is named for William Brodie, whose double life of both good and evil is said to be the inspiration for Robert Louis Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Outside of Paris, the Royal Mile may be one of the best places to play flaneur and simply engage in people-watching.

Edinburgh Castle

View of Edinburgh

Photo by Amy Arden

The castle casts an imposing shadow over Edinburgh’s Old Town, and the structure itself is intimately connected with Scottish history. Inside the castle, you can view a 12th-century chapel, visit the National War Museum of Scotland, and see the Honours of Scotland. The crown jewels have had a tumultuous history of being smuggled, hidden, and rediscovered over the centuries, and I found their story – truly a case of the truth being stranger than fiction – one of the most fascinating aspects of my visit.

There is also a tiny cemetery on the grounds where pets who served as regimental mascots are buried, a touching nod to the animals who have taken part in history’s conflicts.

Edinburgh Writers Museum

This small museum in a courtyard off The Royal Mile hosts displays on Robert Burns, Sir Walter Scott, and Robert Louis Stevenson. Here the literary legacies of these writers are given their due, along with humanizing touches: Scott’s childhood bout with polio that left him lame for life, Burns’ tumultuous love affairs, Stevenson’s real-life fascination with tropical islands that prompted voyages to Hawaii, Tahiti, and beyond. Admission is free.

Arthur’s Seat

Arthurs Seat summit

Photo by Amy Arden

Arthur’s Seat offers a taste of the wilderness in the heart of the city. Ramble over its winding paths and craggy bluffs to enjoy superb views over Edinburgh and catch glimpses of the sea. I climbed here very early one morning and had the place nearly to myself – much of the path was still in shadow, every new turn brought a new view over the city, and the sound of birds crying overhead and the damp grasses underneath made it easy to imagine I’d stepped back into another century. As I climbed, the sun rose with me, and I reached the summit under bright blue skies and a feeling of pure exhilaration. Be sure to take sturdy footwear and be prepared for steep ascents and descents. If you’re planning on an extended hike, bring a snack!

Dunfermline

Photo by Amy Arden - Ruins of Dunfermline Abbey.

Photo by Amy Arden – Ruins of Dunfermline Abbey.

A short train ride from Edinburgh, the town of Dunfermline is home to Dunfermline Abbey, the resting place of King Robert the Bruce. The church itself has a fascinating – and long – history! And in case there’s any doubt about the church’s connection to Scotland’s most famous monarch, a glance at the name carved into the top of the abbey’s tower makes it plain.

Culross

Heading further into Fife, I took a local bus from Dunfermline into Culross. This tiny village perched on the Firth of Forth dates back to the 16th century. It too has an abbey – partly in ruins – and like any good Jane Austen heroine would do, I made a beeline for it as soon as I stepped off the bus.

Photo by Amy Arden - Culross Firth of Forth.

Photo by Amy Arden – Culross Firth of Forth.

Here too I could explore at will, alone, snapping photos as quick as my smartphone could take them, and wandering among the ruins. A metal ladder led to a second story, and standing under those ancient stones again allowed past and present to collapse.

Nearly next door to Culross Abbey is Culross Abbey House, boyhood home of Admiral Thomas Cochrane, husband to my heroine Kate. The house has stood for over four centuries on the high ground overlooking the Forth. It is a fitting place for a boy who loved the sea to grow up; Thomas returned later in life with Kate hoping to buy the place back after his father had sold it off to settle the family’s debts. On the afternoon I visited, sheep grazed in the adjacent meadows, sun split between the gray clouds and fell sparkling onto the windows and the waters of the Firth, and I could only wonder at who now called it home.

Photo by Amy Arden - Culross Abbey.

Photo by Amy Arden – Culross Abbey.

Food
“I tried the daily special of trout with steamed seasonal vegetables – hello, fancy! – served up with a pint and found both food and drink delicious.”

There is far more to Scottish cuisine than haggis, Scotch eggs, and ale.

Feeling luxurious or literary? Try afternoon tea at the upscale Balmoral Hotel. J. K. Rowling stayed here and famously finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. If you are feeling posh, you can book a stay in the “Rowling Suite.”

The diminutive and popular Jolly Judge Pub offers friendly service, a wide selection of ciders, ales, and beer, and a cozy nook to escape the crowds. Seats fill quickly.

If you are craving the tastes of Asia, Ting Thai Caravan has reasonably-priced rice and noodle dishes served at communal tables. My order of pad Thai with chicken was pleasantly spicy with a complex mix of flavors. It’s location near the University of Edinburgh campus means that hours are student-friendly (it’s open ‘til 10pm). Beer and wine are available. NOTE: Cash only.

In Culross, the Red Lion Inn is a charming pub within a few minutes’ walk of the town center. The menu includes many traditional favorites, like a ploughman’s lunch or Cumberland sausages, but the offerings are wider than most pubs. I tried the daily special of trout with steamed seasonal vegetables – hello, fancy! – served up with a pint and found both food and drink delicious. Also in Culross, the Biscuit Café serves soups, light fare, tea, coffee, and pastries. I ended my visit to Culross with a very restorative cream tea at this delightful café. There’s also a small patio where guests can sit when the weather allows.

Stuff

Wardrops Court Edinburgh

Photo by Amy Arden – Wardrop’s Court

After you’ve bought your kilt and CD of pipe music, what else should you bring home? A spurtle, a wooden spoon traditionally used for stirring porridge, makes a fun and easy-to-transport souvenir. If porridge isn’t your thing, your spurtle could be just as easily used for oatmeal, soups, smoothies, etc.

For something with a literal flavor of Scotland, skip the shortbread and try the Edinburgh Gin Raspberry Liqueur. Made from Perthshire raspberries, it has a lovely and authentic raspberry flavor that is neither too cloying nor too fake. I mixed mine with a bit of tonic water for a refreshing version of the classic gin n’ tonic.

In short, visiting Scotland was like stepping into a cross-century game of six degrees of separation. Each person and place had connections to the others: Robert Burns had visited Dunfermline Abbey, Sir Walter Scott played a hand in recovering the lost Honours of Scotland, Kate Cochrane toured Edinburgh and attracted the attention of Scott during a night at the theater (Scott dashed off a poem in admiration). I followed along after them, walking in invisible footsteps that led us to each other.


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11-M: A DAY OF REMEMBRANCE/ 11-M: UN DIA DE MEMORIA


Travel Security


 

Originally posted on History Hiker on March 11, 2014

By Samuel Garza & Jim Sutton

This post is dedicated to the victims of the Madrid train bombing and also Francisco Javier Torrenteras of Spain’s Special Group, who gave his life in defense of his country.

Ten years ago, several bombs were detonated on four commuter trains in Madrid, Spain. The bombing sent shock waves around the world. One hundred and ninety one people were killed and 1,800 were injured*. March 11, 2004 locally known as “11-M” is a sad day in Spanish history.
This past week, I visited the Atocha train station where one of the 11-M memorials is located. Once I arrived, I was greeted at the door and received a very warm welcome. I walked in and I was immediately confronted by the 191 names of the the people who died on March 11, 2004.

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Names of the victims.

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I was frozen. I couldn’t help but begin to read the names that were in front of me. In fact, I found myself reading the names out loudly. I finally stopped and walked through the second door into the remembrance chamber.

I found a seat and watched people stand under the light. I wanted to join them but instead, I found a seat and focused my eyes on the light. I thought about where I was when I heard of the attacks and what significance it had to me as an American.

Words of remembrance.

Words of remembrance.

I made my way into the chamber to read the words of remembrance by many Spaniards discussing 11-M. Then I slowly made my way back to the exit and I made one last stop and looked at the names and said a prayer for the victims and their families.

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After leaving Atocha, I walked a few blocks to the Parque de el Retiro where another moment, the Bosque del Recuerdo was built to honor those killed in the Madrid attacks by planting 192 trees (191 for the 11-M victims and one for Torrenteras).

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The Desecration of Torrenteras’ Grave

Shortly after the attacks on the Spanish rail system, Spanish authorities tracked down several key suspects to Leganes, a suburb of Madrid. Once the Special Forces approached the apartment where the suspects were hiding a powerful bomb exploded. The suspects had committed suicide and sadly, the bomb also killed Francisco Javier Torrenteras Gadea.
Over a month after Torrenteras was buried, his body was removed from his tomb and was destroyed by a pick and shovel. In addition, both his body and coffin were set on fire.  This incident was not well reported internationally.

Torrenteras

Francisco Javier Torrenteras

Interview With Mr. James Sutton
For more about 11-M attacks and its impact on transportation security, I interviewed Mr. James Sutton. Mr. Sutton is a former colleague, mentor, and friend. Currently Mr. Sutton is the Latin American and Caribbean Regional Director for Global Sigma.

Q&A

Samuel Garza: How did you hear about the attack?
James Sutton: At the time, March 11, 2004, I was conducting a threat risk and vulnerability assessment at Walter Reed Medical Center, a military hospital in Washington D.C. News of the bombing in Madrid interested me because I have family living in Spain, I have visited Madrid numerous times in the past and love the city. Finally an attack against a public transportation system — in one of Europe’s most beautiful cities, is noteworthy.

Samuel Garza: How has the bombing changed Spain?
James Sutton: The same way the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington changed the United States. While physical evidence of the attacks is beyond question, many conspiracy theories have developed during the years. These theories make claims that while may sound credible to many people are simply not supported by the evidence.
The death of 191 people and wounding 1,800 left a profound wound on the psyche of the Spanish people; just as September 11 changed the American psyche.
In both countries, there is an increased sense of vulnerability, a suspicion that the government has failed to disclose all the facts and evidence.
This sense of vulnerability is aggravated by all the security protocols that have been imposed at public buildings, aerial, naval, rail, and ground transportations systems. During every visit we are reminded that we are still vulnerable. Periodic assaults against transportations systems, hotels, and public buildings remind us of the continuing danger of another attack as well as the continuing struggle between the radical Muslims (Jihadi’s) and their perceived enemies. We need to remember the goal of terrorism is to terrorize civilian populations, we have acknowledge that the actions of few insane people willing to die and kill in the name of their God continues to preoccupy Spain, England, and the United States.

Samuel Garza: What was learned from the attack and how have those lessons changed transportation security?
James Sutton: It is impossible to protect 100% of any potential target, 100% of the time. We have to live with the knowledge that the best defense is an actively aware public that reports to the authority’s suspicious people and activities and security officers effectively trained and well informed on how best to handle, respond, and neutralize potential threats according to the rule of law. We cannot guarantee there will be no future assaults; there will be, but we can learn from past experience and mitigate or minimize the damage from upcoming attacks.
We need to keep in mind that modern technology such a video surveillance, metal detectors, and other modern technology has improved security.
The most important lesson we learned from recent terrorist attacks around the world is the importance of vigilance, effective response to suspicious incidents, public support of law enforcement (police/Guardia Civil) and for governments to provide long term economic and psychological support to the victims of these incidents. A major issue with the victims of 11-M is that to date many have not received adequate support to meet their needs. The economic challenges currently faced by Spain aggravate the problem, but there is room for improvements. As is the case with the victims of the New York and Washington attacks of September 11, 2001 many of which still face emotional and economic challenges all by themselves.

Samuel Garza: Do you feel that ETA had any evolvement in 11-M?
James Sutton: Everything is possible; however, the evidence to date indicates that although the explosives used were obtained in the Basque region of Spain they were not provided by ETA. The modus operandi of 11-M is not one typically used by ETA. While ETA is known to have operational linkages with insurgent radical groups in Colombia and Ireland, ETA’s struggle is political and social, while the 11-M bombers were involved in a religious/political struggle. I think the confusion arises from the fact that the explosive used by the assailants was Goma-2 ECO, often used in ETA attacks; also that the attackers — in fact — obtained the explosives from miners in Bilbao.

Samuel Garza: Has cooperation involving terrorism between Spain and the United States improved since 11-M?
James Sutton: The level of cooperation and collaboration, at the tactical, strategic, and political level is now significant and a partnership to deal with common enemy’s terrorists and drug-traffickers is excellent.
I had the pleasure of serving with the Spanish armed forces in the Western Region of Afghanistan, Badghis province. Also during my service a Special Agent of the FBI and Intelligence Analyst for the U.S. Department of Justice I had a chance to collaborate with the Spanish intelligence services and was impressed by their commitment, loyalty, and professionalism. I am sure that further improvements and collaborative efforts will be made in the future.

Samuel Garza: Where are there still vulnerabilities in the global transportation system and how can we prevent more attacks of this magnitude?
James Sutton: Any location in which a substantial number of people gather for a needed service, theaters, embassies, airports, buses and rail stations is vulnerable to an attack. Unfortunately this is the new normal and the threat cannot be completely eliminated. However, the average person can protect his or her own security by following three simple steps: (1) Stay alert, this includes being well informed of current events, (2) Have an action plan, what can you do in the event of a major incident, how can you limit harm to yourself and loved ones. (3) Trust your intuition; fear is subjective and psychological, while intuition is represents the knowledge of many generations which we often refer to as common sense.


 

Spanish/Español

Samuel Garza: ¿Cómo se enteró del ataque?
James Sutton: El 11 de marzo de 2004, estaba llevando a cabo una evaluación de riesgos de amenazas y vulnerabilidades en Walter Reed Medical Center, un hospital militar en Washington DC. Noticias del atentado en Madrid me interesó porque tengo familia que vive en España, he visitado Madrid numerosas veces en el pasado es una ciudad que me encanta. Por último un ataque contra el sistema de transporte público – en una de las ciudades más importantes y bellas de Europa es un incidente que merece considerable interés para un analista de inteligencia como yo lo era.

Samuel Garza: ¿Cómo ha cambiado el bombardeo España?
James Sutton: De la misma manera los ataques del 11 de septiembre de 2001 en Nueva York y Washington cambiaron los Estados Unidos. Mientras que la evidencia física de los ataques está fuera de toda duda, muchas teorías de conspiración han desarrollado durante los últimos años. Estas teorías hacen afirmaciones que, si bien puede sonar creíble para muchas personas simplemente no están respaldadas por las pruebas.
La muerte de 191 personas e hiriendo a 1800 dejaron una profunda herida en la psique del pueblo español, del mismo modo 11 de septiembre cambió la psique Latina.
En ambos países, hay una mayor sensación de vulnerabilidad, la sospecha de que el gobierno no ha revelado todos los hechos y las pruebas.
Esta sensación de vulnerabilidad se agrava por todos los protocolos de seguridad que se han impuesto en los edificios públicos, estaciones de tren, aeropuertos, embarques marítimos, y los sistemas de Autotransporte de tierra.
Durante cada visita se nos recuerda que aún somos vulnerables. Ataques repetidos contra los sistemas de transportes, hoteles y edificios públicos alrededor del mundo, nos recuerdan del constante peligro de otro ataque, así como la continua lucha entre los musulmanes radicales (yihadistas) y sus supuestos enemigos. Tenemos que recordar el objetivo del terrorismo es aterrorizar a la población civil, hemos de reconocer que las acciones de unos pocos locos dispuestos a morir y matar en nombre de su Dios continúa preocupando a España, Inglaterra y los Estados Unidos.

Samuel Garza: ¿Qué lecciones de seguridad aprendimos como resultado del asalto y que impacto tienen ese entendimiento para mejorar seguridad en el transporte público?
James Sutton: Es imposible proteger un recurso completamente 100 % del tiempo. Por eso tenemos que vivir con el conocimiento de que la mejor defensa es un público activamente consciente que informa a autoridad sobre condiciones, actividades, e individuos que son anormales o sospechosos.
Por su lado, las autoridades, tienen que estar efectivamente capacitados y bien informados sobre la mejor manera de manejar, responder y neutralizar amenazas potenciales de acuerdo con la ley vigente.
No podemos garantizar que no habrá asaltos futuros, inevitablemente los habrá. No obstante podemos aprender de la experiencia pasada y mitigar o minimizar los daños de incidentes futuros.
La lección más importante que hemos aprendido de los recientes ataques terroristas en todo el mundo es la importancia de la vigilancia, la respuesta eficaz a los incidentes sospechosos, el apoyo público de las fuerzas del orden (policía / Guardia Civil). Pero también la importancia que las autoridades proporcionen apoyo económico y psicológico — a largo plazo — para las víctimas de estos incidentes.
Recordemos también que los nuevos sistemas de video vigilancia, sensores de metal y otras tecnologías modernas han mejorado nuestra seguridad común.
Notablemente hasta la fecha actual muchas de las víctimas del 11 -M no han recibido suficiente apoyo para satisfacer sus necesidades. Los desafíos económicos que España enfrenta actualmente agravan ese problema, pero si existen posibilidades para mejorar ese problema.
Los mismo ha pasado con las víctimas de los atentados de Nueva York y Washington del 11 de septiembre 2001, muchos de los cuales todavía se enfrentan a desafíos emocionales y económicos por su propia cuenta.

Samuel Garza: ¿Cree que ETA estaba involucrada en el asalto de 11-M?
James Sutton: Todo es posible, sin embargo, la evidencia hasta la fecha indica que a pesar de que los explosivos utilizados se obtuvieron en la región vasca de España, esos mismos no fueron proporcionados por ETA. El modus operandi del 11-M no es uno utilizado habitualmente por ETA. Mientras se reconoce que ETA tiene vínculos operativos con grupos radicales e insurgentes en Colombia e Irlanda, la lucha de ETA es política y social, mientras que los atacantes del 11-M estaban involucrados en una lucha religiosa y política. Creo que la confusión surge del hecho de que el explosivo utilizado por los asaltantes era Goma-2 ECO, de uso frecuente en los atentados de ETA, y también que los atacantes – de hecho – obtuvieron clandestinamente los explosivos de unos mineros en Bilbao.

Samuel Garza: ¿ Mejorado la cooperación contra el terrorismo entre España y los Estados Unidos desde el 11-M?
James Sutton: El nivel de cooperación y colaboración, a nivel táctico, estratégico y político es ahora excelente, para hacer un frente a los retos en común; los terroristas y narcotraficantes.
Tuve el placer de servir con las fuerzas armadas españolas en la región occidental de Afganistán, la provincia de Badghis. También durante mi servicio un agente especial del FBI y Analista de Inteligencia para el Departamento de Justicia de EE.UU., tuve la oportunidad de colaborar con los servicios de inteligencia españoles y quedé impresionado por su compromiso, lealtad y profesionalismo. Estoy seguro de que más mejoras y esfuerzos de colaboración se realizarán en el futuro.

Samuel Garza: ¿Dónde todavía hay vulnerabilidades en el sistema de transporte global y cómo podemos prevenir más ataques de esta magnitud?
James Sutton: Cualquier lugar en el que se reúnen un número importante de personas, para utilizar un servicio esencial, tales como, teatros, embajadas, aeropuertos, centros de transporte autobuses y estaciones de tren son vulnerables.
Por desgracia, esta es la nueva normalidad y la amenaza no puede ser eliminada por completo. Sin embargo, cualquier persona puede proteger su propia seguridad siguiendo tres pasos simples: (1) Mantenerse atento(a) al ambiente inmediato, esto incluye estar bien informado de los acontecimientos actuales, (2) Tener un plan de acción, como reaccionar a una contingencia inesperada, de cualquier magnitud. Considerar cómo uno puede limitar el daño a sí mismo y a sus seres queridos. (3) Confiar en la intuición, el miedo es subjetivo y psicológico, mientras que la intuición representa el conocimiento de muchas generaciones que a menudo nos referimos como el sentido común. Pensando en casos desagradables o peligrosos en nuestro pasado, recordamos que nuestra intuición nos indicaba las cosas no iban por un buen camino.


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[Video] One Night in Perigueux


History Hiker

Where to Eat Restaurant o2 (Facebook Page) 2 r Lanmary/24000 Perigueux, France How to get to Perigueux From Paris: I took the train from Saint-Lazare station in Paris and arrived three hours later in Perigueux. From Bordeaux: Bordeaux is one 1/2 hour train ride from Perigueux. ©2016 World Travelers Today


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5 Reasons to visit the Musée de l’Armée


History Hiker


If you travel to Paris in search of knights in shining armor, a majestic cathedral, and world class tour guides, then you can get all three at the Musée de l’Armée. The museum was built in 1905 and it is located in the inspiring location of the Hôtel National des Invalides. The museum can be seen throughout Paris with it’s distinctive golden dome, which covers the tomb of Napoleon I.

I couldn’t possibly describe all the amazing things to see and do at the museum, but here are World Travelers Today’s 5 Reasons to visit the Musée de l’Armée.

#5 CATHEDRAL OF SAINT-LOUIS DES INVALIDES

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Cathedral of Saint-Louis Des Invalides.

The cathedral was built in 1676 by Jules Hardon-Mansarat. The design combined a royal chapel, Dôme des Invalides, and a veterans chapel. According to my awesome guide, the design was to allow the King and his soldiers the ability to attend mass together.

During my visit, I was fortunate to see an orchestra rehearsing for their show in the cathedral during my visit. They were inspiring and set the tone for an amazing day at the museum.

Vistors should know that the church is free to visit during operating hours, but purchased tickets are needed to enter the museum. The cathedral is packed with history and ornate decorations and is a must see during your visit.

 

#4 The Museum has over 500,000 historical items. Repeat, over 500,000!

The have canons! Loads of big canons!

They have cannons! Loads of big cannons!

Département Ancien (Medieval Armor)

The medieval armory was one of my favorite sections in the museum. It has thousands of swords, shields, armor, and cannons. However, there is only a certain amount of space to display all the important historical items so most of the space is carefully filled with amazing artifacts like the huge cannon above.

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Windows so visitors can watch curators attend to thousands of pieces of armor in the museum.

The window displays allows visitors to see what a real arsenal would have looked like. Visitors can see what options soldiers had for weaponry before battle. The windows also provide visitors a behind the scenes view of artifacts that would have been otherwise hidden behind closed doors due to the lack of space in the museum. I think this is genius.

 

The Armor of King Francis I (1515 – 1547)

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The armor of King Francis I of France.

The armor pictured above was a gift presented to King Francis I. He never wore the armor but the design and detail of the armor is stunning. There are several imbedded pieces like the Fleur-de-lis which represent the French monarchy. The armor is usually displayed on the first floor on a horse.

 

#3 The World War I & World War II displays.
Département Moderne

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Visitors will learn that this area of the museum has more to offer than the displays of the two world wars. You will also learn about France’s military history from 1871 – 1945. However, the world war displays are incredible. The rooms are filled with hundreds of pieces that show visitors French uniforms, the first machine gun tripod, and a video of the time period. There is also an American volunteer display. I was fascinated to learn that many of the Americans wore mixed uniforms. For example, they could be wearing French pants with a British coat. I had no idea Americans were volunteering to fight before the U.S. officially joined sides with the allies.

Once you walk through the World War I section, you will see the artifacts from World War II. The French call this period the “Black Years” and especially with the defeat in 1940 and the subsequent occupation of their country by Germany. There is a display explaining the French Resistance, which I highly recommend you taking the time to learn more about.

Take your time walking through this section. There is so much to see and read about. There is also a very creative video that helps visitors learn more about France’s role in this time period.

 

#2 The Museum’s Staff

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Beatrice Six, In charge of Protocol

I couldn’t have been more pleased with the museum’s staff and facilities. My personal guide was Beatrice Six. Beatrice, was kind, professional, and informative. She has a passion for her work and her goal was to ensure I learned about every item I asked about. Her charm and patience was much appreciated. However, you don’t have to hire a guide at the museum. Another option for individuals or groups is to purchase digital guides for €5.00 per person.

Follow this link to learn more about booking tour guides at the museum.

 

#1 DÔME DES INVALIDES, TOMB OF NAPOLEON I

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Napoleon I’s tomb lays under the Dôme des Invalides which is a prominent monument in the Parisian landscape. The story of how Napoleon’s remains came here is a lengthy one, so I’ll leave it to you to find out the details during your visit. However here is the short version. Napoleon died on May 5, 1821 and was buried on the island of Saint Helena. In 1840, King Louis-Philippe decided to transfer Napoleon’s remains from Saint Helena to Paris. After extensive renovations under the dome, Napoleon was finally laid to rest under the dome in 1861.

Tomb of Napoleon I.

Tomb of Napoleon I.

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Learn more about the tomb by visiting the museum. There is so much see and learn about by visiting this amazing French treasure. Ensure a visit to the museum is on your list when you visit Paris.

 


 

The museum offers visitors a window into the past of not only France’s history, but also the rest of Europe. The museum’s cathedral, 500,000 items, the World War I /World War II sections, the museum’s staff, and Napoleon I tomb are a few of the many reasons to visit. I found the museum with ease and it was not overcrowded with tourist so take the time to checkout what this amazing museum has to offer.

UPDATE: In December 2015, the museum opened a new section for small arms. Ensure you check out the new section and provide your thoughts in the comments below.

Visit the MUSÉE DE L’ARMÉE – INVALIDES

Visit the museum’s website for more information and to plan your trip.

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Preventing Petty Crimes Against Tourist

purse robbery

Petty crimes against tourists are the most ubiquitous forms of illegal behavior around the world. No major urban area is safe from them. Even though they are costly and common, exceeding millions of dollars and euros and making up over half of all crimes committed, they are not always prosecuted.

Don’t Be a Victim

Despite these trends, you don’t need to become a victim. You can have control over your own safety. As WTT has emphasized, this requires being well informed, alert to the environment, and exercising prudence as all times.

Strong personal security practices include:

  • Avoid becoming a victim of a crime by considering the environment and situations where victimization can occur
  • Be aware that crime may occur at any time, in public or private areas, during the day or night

Petty crime against tourists take several forms and activities largely dependent upon the environment (street, restaurant, theater, hotel, taxi cab, etc.) and the perceived vulnerability of the victim. Perpetrators will likely assess the target’s vulnerability and do a cost benefit analysis of his/her effort. The greater the risk versus benefit that the perpetrator perceives, the less likely the crime becomes.

It is impossible to anticipate and prepare for every possible contingency. However, it is important to project an attitude of grit, resiliency and alertness that conveys the message, ‘Don’t even think of messing with me or my family/friend/companions.”

Petty criminals often see the following as vulnerable targets:

  • An unaccompanied small child; the younger the child, the more vulnerable they are
  • Unaccompanied females
  • A person who seems intoxicated or disabled
  • Someone who is inattentive, lost, confused, or otherwise not situationally aware
  • Ostentatious displays of wealth that are inappropriate to the environment. Jewelry worn to a gala event or secured environment is appropriate, the same cannot be said about such a display in a crowded public venue.

How Criminals Work

Historically, petty criminals rely on two basic techniques to accomplish their goal: distraction or force. Thieves typically prefer distraction over force.

In the case of distraction:

  • It minimizes the likelihood of a physical confrontation
  • It decreases the possibility of friends or by-standers coming to the aid of the victim
  • The victim is unaware they have been targeted and often finds out – much to their dismay – only after the loss has occurred. This makes capturing the perpetrator or recovering the property unlikely or even impossible.

Since the risk to the perpetrator in these sorts of crimes is relatively small, so are the profits, which normally consist of cellular telephones, purses, wallets, watches, high-end scarves, and jewelry. To make their quota criminals often rely on quantity versus quality. An individual or small group will typically target several dozen victims in a single day.  In these cases, there is little law enforcement can do other than take reports to analyze trends and patterns, and deploy officers accordingly.

Distraction is such a common practice that many entertainers use it to perform magic tricks or other acts, and distract the crowd with amusement and admiration at their skill.

Force is most often used when the perpetrator is desperate due to either psychological or physiological issues. Psychological issues may include pathological conditions that are often visible, such as strange or abnormal behaviors. Physiological conditions might involve ingestion or withdrawals from intoxicant substances. In both of these cases, there is usually a degree of unusual or atypical behavior. Exercise caution in these high-risk situations. It is important to maintain awareness of the immediate environment and trust your intuition.

Travel Smart

While petty street crime is common is all cities around the world, there are some regions where it may be more likely. Identification of these cities in no way implies they should be avoided. On the contrary, the gifts they offer surpass their risk provided that visitors follow low-key and prudent precautions.

  • Major cities in Spain, with a focus on Barcelona and Madrid
  • Major cities in Italy with a focus on Rome, Naples, Florence
  • Prague, Czech Republic
  • Tourist destinations in Colombia, Mexico, and Central Latin America including Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras
  • Major cities in South America, with a focus on Montevideo, Uruguay and the Casinos in Punta del Este; Buenos Aires and Rio de la Plata in Argentina.

The problem with “motochorros” is a special concern. These are criminals on motorcycles operating in packs, which specialize on “snatch and grab” assaults particularly outside of banks, shopping centers, where victims are likely to have money or valuables in their possession. The motorcycle allows the criminals to make a quick getaway.

  • Major cities in Europe, and including the countries of Holland, Germany, and Poland

Most of these areas have a high level of economic inequality, unemployment, official corruption, and a degree of impunity. This leaves young people, recent arrivals, and people experiencing homelessness few options to ensure their survival other than petty crime.

Absolute security is impossible, but smart goals include:

  • Observation
  • Knowledge
  • Awareness
  • Initiative
  • Prudence
  • Information

Key Concepts in Self-protection

Risk

The probability of a harmful event occurring as a result of behavior that you have control over.

Threats

Harmful events or situations intentionally carried out by other persons.

Vulnerabilities

Susceptibility or exposure to harmful events by nature of one’s self, behavior, actions, or status.

Security & Self-Protection

A combination of behaviors and attitudes a person can individually depend on to protect themselves, their families, and personal possessions.

A failure to identify, underestimate, or prevent a harmful incident will only increase its probability. Truly catastrophic events that can lead to death or grievous bodily injury come in two flavors:

  1. Sudden and unexpected. There is little we can do prevent them other than to have a contingency plan in place that contemplates the WHAT IF? What options do I have if X or Y happen?
  2. Unrecognized and slow to develop. Failure to recognize or act on a timely basis can turn an emerging event into a catastrophe. Think of a fire, tsunami, avalanche, or riot.

It is very important to keep in mind that risks, threats, and vulnerabilities are dynamic and can change in a short time, depending on location and immediate environment. This highlights the critical importance of staying alert and ensuring that the safety and security measures you adapt are appropriate to evolving circumstances.

When it comes to personal safety, a good memory hack is to keep the Pareto principle (also known as the 80/20 rule) in mind. This is sometimes known as the Rule of Parsimony. In essence, the rule notes that for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.

PREVENTION = 80%

DETECTION = 10%

CORRECTION = 10%

As applied to personal security practices, 80% of your efforts should focused on anticipating or preventing an event, 10% on detection and observation, and 10% in changing your behavior to adjust to evolving conditions.

Obstacles to Prosecution

Although petty street crime is common, there are three major obstacles to detection and prosecution.

  1. Even though we all know someone who has been the victim of petty crime, public attitudes (other than the victim) are very ambivalent. Many tourists don’t report the crime, thinking it is not worth the time and aggravation.
  2. In some areas of the world, victims rightfully fear corrupt law enforcement as much as the thief.
  3. Even in locales with ethical and reliable law enforcement, all forms of street-level crimes are viewed as a nuisance. These petty crimes detract police resources, time, and effort from handling serious crimes such as assaults, rapes, homicides, and terrorism.

In this post, we’ve focused our attention on common street crime, the most pervasive crime around the world. In future posts we’ll address more serious forms of crime, such as homicides, rapes, abductions, hostage incidents, and life-threatening assaults. These are complex issues and we’ll be focusing on each one independently.


Spanish Version

Prevención de microdelinquencia/delitos menores contra turistas

Precauciones durante un viaje turístico

La microdelinquencia contra turistas son las formas más generalizadas de delitos menores y callejeros en el mundo. Ninguna ciudad en el mundo está libre de los mismos. Aunque son comunes, las pérdidas son cuantiosas superando millones de dólares y euros anualmente. También causan daño, merman el encanto, atracción, y reputación de un destino turístico. Esto también resultan en pérdidas económicas incalculables para personas que cuyo empleo depende del turismo.  Aunque la microdelinquencia y delitos callejeros constituyen más de la mitad de todos los delitos cometidos, su investigación, solución y consignación raramente ocurre, incluso donde el responsable es capturado en flagrante delito.

Como evitar ser una víctima

A pesar de estas tendencias, uno puede evitar convertirse en una víctima y sortear daño a la familia o acompañantes. Esto requiere con uno mismo se haga responsable por su propia seguridad. Puede tener control sobre su propia seguridad. Como los hemos enfatizado en previas ediciones de WTT, esto requiere estar bien informado, alerta al entorno donde uno se encuentra y constantemente ser prudente y ejercer sentido común.

Todos los casos es los cuales turistas son lastimados o dañados tienen solamente tres causas:

  1. Catástrofes naturales (Actos de Dios)
  2. Imprudencia
  3. Falta de atención

Prácticas de seguridad personal incluyen:

  • Constantemente tener conciencia de que un crimen puede ocurrir en cualquier momento, en áreas públicas o privadas, durante el día o la noche
  • Mantenerse constantemente alerta, perspicaz, observando analizando el medio ambiente por condiciones fuera de lo que sería común es ese tiempo y lugar. Reconocer condiciones anormales es un paso crítico para evitar ser víctima de un delito.

Atracos contra turistas toman varias formas y actividades que en gran parte dependen en el entorno donde uno se encuentra, por ejemplo, en la calle, transporte público, restaurante, teatro, hotel, cinema, taxi, etc.) Otro factor muy importante en el proceso de victimización es la percepción pública de la persona. Los criminales siempre hacen un análisis de riesgo versus beneficio. Este es un comportamiento que todos los seres humanos hacen cotidianamente. Si percibimos que el riesgo es mayor que un beneficio posible, evitamos el contacto o intercambio.  Por eso es importante cultivar una imagen de estar alerta, consciente de uno mismo, prudente, y defensivo. Entre más riesgo percibe el o los delincuentes menos probables es un acto criminal.

Como el delincuente y la vulnerabilidad percibida de la víctima. Los autores probablemente serán evaluar la vulnerabilidad del objetivo y hacer un análisis de costo beneficio de su esfuerzo. Mayor es el riesgo versus el beneficio que percibe el autor, llega a ser menos probable delito.  Es imposible anticipar y prepararse para cualquier contingencia posible, pero si es posible proyectar una imagen que transmite en mensaje: “Ni se te ocurra meterte conmigo, porque vas a salir perdiendo.” Esto no implica un comportamiento confrontacional o agresivo, pero si comunica estar alerta y capaz de reaccionar apropiadamente.

Los microdelincuentes/ladrones/pillos — normalmente consideran las siguientes personas como una objetivo o blanco vulnerable:

  • Niños/creaturas pequeñas no acompañadas; entre menor la edad, mas es la vulnerabilidad
    • Mujeres/jovencitas no acompañadas
    • Una persona que parece estar intoxicada o con discapacidad física o mental
  • Alguien que no presta atención a su ambiente, aparece estar perdido, confundido o no consciente de su entorno.
    • Muestras ostentosas de riqueza o poder económico constituyen una invitación al robo. Particularmente cundo no es apropiada para el ambiente. Usar joyas de alto valor son adecuadas para una recepción oficial que incluye seguridad, evento de galas (opera, obras teatrales, etc.) Lo mismo no es cierto en lugares públicos, mercados populares, plazas, museos, iglesias, centros turísticos, sitios donde hay muchedumbres o gran número de personas.

Cómo funcionan los criminales

Históricamente, delincuentes dependen de dos técnicas fundamentales para lograr sus objetivos: la distracción o la fuerza. Los ladrones normalmente prefieren distracción en vez de la fuerza. La distracción:

  • Minimiza la probabilidad de una confrontación física
  • Disminuye la posibilidad de amigos, colegas o acompañantes defiendan  a la víctima
  • La víctima no está reconoce — en el momento — que ha sufrido un robo y descubre el mismo – muy a su pesar – después de que la pérdida ha ocurrido. La captura del pillo o recuperación del artículo es improbable y frecuentemente imposible.

Desde que el riesgo para los microdelincuentes de captura o intercepciones son relativamente menores, es el mismo caso con los beneficios/botín. Bajo riesgo/bajo beneficio. El botín normalmente consiste de carteras, bolsos, cámaras, billeteras, teléfonos celulares, relojes, y joyería de fantasía.

Para lograr la cuota o ganancia deseada el criminal depende en cantidad en vez de calidad. El individuo o grupo microdelinquencial por lo general se centrarán en varias decenas las víctimas en un solo día. En estos casos, hay poco que la policía puede hacer, aparte de escribir reportes del incidente para analizar tendencias y patrones y desplegar agentes en consecuencia pera prevenir incidentes futuros.

La distracción es una práctica tan común que muchos artistas la utilizan para realizar trucos de magia distrayendo al público los cuales son divertidos y admiran la habilidad del mago o prestidigitador.

Así como la distracción es más común, la utilización de la fuerza es manos comunes por varias razones. Más a menudo se usa la fuerza cuando el agresor está desesperado debido a problemas psicológicos o fisiológicos.

Problemas psicológicos pueden incluir condiciones patológicas que a menudo son visibles, tales como comportamientos extraños o anormales. Condiciones fisiológicas podrían involucrar la ingestión o dependencia crónica de sustancias intoxicantés/enervantes. En ambos casos, generalmente hay un grado de comportamiento inusual o anormal. Es prudente y recomendado separarse del comportamiento raro e inusual. Mantener atención continua al medio ambiente y confiar en la intuición.

Viajes seguros e inteligentes

Mientras que el micro delito y crímenes callejeros ocurren en todas las ciudades del mundo, hay algunas regiones en las que este tipo de actividad es más probable. La enumeración o Identificación de estas ciudades de ninguna manera implica que deben evitarse. Al contrario, los beneficios turísticos que ofrecen superan su riesgo siempre que los visitantes sigan precauciones de seguridad discretas y prudentes.

Estos sitos son:

  • Principales ciudades de España, centrándose en Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Granada, y zonas costeras
  • Principales ciudades en Italia con un enfoque en Roma, Nápoles, Florencia
  • Praga, República Checa
  • Destinos turísticos de Colombia, México y Centro América Latina, incluyendo Guatemala, El Salvador y Honduras
  • Principales ciudades en América del sur, con un enfoque en Montevideo, Uruguay y los Casinos de Punta del Este; Buenos Aires y Río de la Plata en Argentina.
  • Otros centros urbanos en Asia, Medio Oriente, y ciudades principales alrededor del mundo.
Un crimen que es común en América del sur, particularmente Argentina son los llamados motochorros. Estos son grupos de delincuentes en motocicletas que se especializan en ataques de “arrebato” especialmente, de mochilas, y paquetes, a la salida de bancos, hoteles, centros comerciales, donde las víctimas son propensas a cargar dinero u objetos valiosos. La motocicleta permite a los delincuentes arrebatar el botín y escapar a gran velocidad.

La mayoría de estos centros urbanos tienen niveles altos desigualdad económica, desempleo, corrupción oficial, impunidad generalizada y aceptación popular del micro-delito. Esto deja a jóvenes desempleados, emigrantes, los recién llegados y personas en situación de desamparo con pocas opciones para asegurar su supervivencia, a las cuales no les queda otra opción de aceptar trabajo de explotación, el mendigase q que no sea de pequeña delincuencia.

Seguridad absoluta es imposible, pero metas razonables incluyen:

  • Atención y Observación
  • Conocimiento
  • Reconocer y darse cuenta de un problema emergente o una situación anormal
  • Prudencia
  • Información sobre antecedentes en la zona de fuentes fehacientes

Conceptos clave de autoprotección

Riesgo:  El riesgo es una vulnerabilidad de daño ante el peligro de que ocurra. Si bien no siempre se hace, debe distinguirse adecuadamente entre peligrosidad (probabilidad de ocurrencia de un peligro), vulnerabilidad (probabilidad de ocurrencia de daños dado que se ha presentado un peligro) y riesgo (propiamente dicho). La probabilidad de un evento dañoso que ocurren como resultado de un comportamiento que se puede controlar.

Amenazas:  Situaciones o daños causados deliberadamente por otras personas (terceros)

Vulnerabilidades:  las características de una persona o grupo que se basa en su capacidad para anticipar, sobrevivir, resistir y recuperarse del impacto de una amenaza natural, social o criminal.

Seguridad y autoprotección:  Una combinación de comportamientos, actitudes, presencia que una persona puede exhibir para protegerse ellos mismos, sus familias y sus pertenencias personales.

El no poder identificar, reconocer, o subestimar o prevenir un peligro aumenta la probabilidad de que ocurra.

Acontecimientos catastróficos que pueden conducir a lesiones graves o la muerte vienen en dos sabores:

  1. Repentinos e inesperados. ¿Estos casos hay poco de lo que se puede hacer para evitar los; aparte de pensar en posibles contingencias? Importante también es mantener conciencia a medida que el incidente se desarrolla. ¿Qué opciones tengo si pasa X o Y? (Si el avión se estrella y sobrevivo el impacto, o el barco de hunde y sobrevivo el accidente, un incendio estalla en el hotel, teatro, restaurante, etc.)
  2. De dimensión no reconocida e lentitud para captar su capacidad. La incapacidad de reconocer la dimensión real de un hecho lo puede convertir en una catástrofe mortal, por ejemplo, un incendio, una avalancha, maremoto acompañado por una marejada gigantesca, una muchedumbre.

Es muy importante reconocer que los riesgos, amenazas y vulnerabilidades son dinámicas y pueden cambiar en poco tiempo, dependiendo de la ubicación y entorno inmediato. Esto pone de relieve la importancia de mantenerse alerta y garantizar que las medidas de seguridad que se adapta son adecuadas a la evolución de circunstancias.

En cuanto a la seguridad personal, un buen hack es recordar el principio de Pareto (también conocido como la regla 80/20). A veces esto se conoce como la regla de la parsimonia. Esencialmente el principio reconoce que normalmente; aproximadamente 80% de los efectos vienen del 20% de las causas.

En términos de nuestra seguridad personal utilizamos

  • 80 por ciento de nuestro tiempo y esfuerzo en PREVENCION
  • 10 por ciento de nuestro tiempo y esfuerzo en la DETECCIÓN
  • 10 por ciento de nuestro tiempo y esfuerzo en la CORRECCIÓN Y MODIFICACIÓN DE NUESTRAS ACCIONES. Cambios de nuestra conducta para ajustarnos a la evolución de las condiciones.

 Obstáculos a la consignación y castigo de la microdelinquencia

Aunque delincuencia callejera es común, hay tres obstáculos principales para su detección y enjuiciamiento.

  1. A pesar de que todos sabemos alguien qué ha sido víctima de atracos, las actitudes del público (que no sea de la víctima) son muy ambivalentes. Muchos turistas no reportan el delito, pensando que no merece la pena el tiempo y la agravación.
  2. En algunas zonas del mundo, las víctimas tienen un miedo legítimo y bien justificado que las autoridades pueden ser tan corruptos como el ladrón.
  3. Incluso en lugares donde la policía es ética y confiable, la microdelinquencia es una distracción irritante, delitos mezquinos que le restan importancia a los recursos limitados de policiales el tiempo, equipo, y esfuerzos necesarios para esgrimir crímenes graves como agresiones armadas, secuestros, violaciones, homicidios y terrorismo.

En este post, hemos centrado nuestra atención en crímenes callejeros comunes, que son el delito más generalizado del mundo. En el futuro los reportajes serán enfocados en crímenes graves, teles como homicidios, violaciones, secuestros, incidentes de rehenes y ataques mortales. Estos son temas complejos y los analizamos en detalle e independientemente.

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Five Emerging Trends In Travel Security

Thinking about the intersection between travel and security is nothing new. A 2011 column (http://www.tourismandmore.com/tidbits/tourism-in-a-world-of-technology/ ) on the topic asked:

“How does it draw the line between technology and personal service? There is no doubt that technology plays an important role in tourism and travel. Most of us are now used to booking our airline reservations on line, dealing with telephone trees and other cost saving devices. These technological advances have allowed corporations to save on manpower while at the same time empowering customers to make their own decisions.”

Since those comments, where are we now and what can we anticipate for the foreseeable future? Five technological trends are already evident:

1.Volume

As enterprises become more data-driven, it’s not the hardware or the infrastructure that’s at issue. Instead, technology professionals with the skills to organize, analyze, and secure data are increasingly hard to find. Furthermore, the volume of data is growing significantly.

The Cisco® Visual Networking Index (VNI) predicts that the annual global IP traffic will reach 2.3 ZB per year by 2020. For travelers, this means potential data saturation and the inability to process all that information. Most of the connectivity will be carried by smartphones and other portable devices.

2. Velocity

The traffic from wireless and mobile devices will account for two thirds of total IP traffic by 2020. Likewise, global fixed broadband speeds are anticipated to increase. Travelers and other users can find out about violent incidents within minutes of their occurrence, nearly anywhere in the world. This trend can only accelerate in the future, unless there is some sort of global technological catastrophe that degrades the system worldwide.

3. Veracity

Coupled with the preceding trends, the issue of veracity and reliance on electronic media for reliable information becomes increasingly tenuous. The recent furor over false news reveals immediate and future challenges that face cybersecurity and digital governance. Damaging attacks are simpler to imagine and execute, using commonplace tweets, emails, and domains. Stolen identities and socially engineered data can also pose risks. Trustworthiness of information remains paramount, and travelers must remain vigilant about fake news and the potential for criminal imposters.

The Canadian firm Brand Protect provides clients with relevant, actionable information about cyber threats that can affect an enterprise’s customers, business, and reputation. Their weekly publication, Cyber Threat News Digest, keeps clients informed about macro-level cyber threats and related issues.

4. Validation

Individuals, whether traveler, government officials, or corporate executives, are responsible for validating the information they encounter. Remember to carefully consider the potential results of any decision or action that you take based on the information you’re given.

5. Internal Threats and Sabotage

No one knows our weaknesses and vulnerabilities better than our intimate companions, including family, friends, and close colleagues.

Complex systems such as social media are vulnerable to sabotage and may be used by individuals to cause harm to others, be it their families, colleagues, innocent people, or even the organizations they are working for. While social media has great utility as the source of useful information, recent events highlight the importance of trusting curated content over unproven or unverified data. Ill-intentioned individuals increasingly use social media to create, distribute, or perpetuate false information, exaggerating or distorting actual events.

Intel Security’s Eric Peterson cites CEO fraud (the FBI calls it business email compromise) – where individuals in companies are targeted through social engineering, and manipulated to fraudulently transfer money to criminal-controlled bank accounts. There have been instances where the attacks have coincided with business travel dates for executives, since this increases the chances of the attack’s success.

“Looking to 2017 and beyond, we might even see purveyors of data theft offering ‘target acquisition as a service,’ built on machine learning algorithms,” Peterson says. “We expect that the accessibility of machine learning will accelerate and sharpen social engineering attacks in 2017.” 

Social media platforms enable two-way interaction between all sorts of people and have become a game changer in personal, social, and political communication. Conventional media has arguably become less influential.

Don Peppers observation that most people don’t fully realize how social networks actually operate, and the important implications this has for how we use (or abuse), noted in a 2012 article on LinkedIn, remains true today. We are often surprised by social media functionalities and vulnerabilities that few outside industrial, technical, or academic environments fully anticipated. For example, one of the most influential members of Reddit in its early days was a man named Adam Fuhrer – who turned out to be a 12- year-old-boy living with his parents in Toronto.

“Multiply this by the hundreds of millions of social media participants’ around the world and we get an idea of the challenge faced by travelers relying on non-curated sources of travel security information.”

Staying Safer While Traveling

As the number of airport-related criminal and terrorist events proliferate, security precautions at airports are likely to undergo substantial changes in terms of configurations, operations, and procedures. Staying current on these changes wherever you travel and planning ahead to meet these changes is highly recommended.

Make back-up plans in case your mobile devices are lost or stolen. Many of us rely on smartphones for managing air travel, car rental, and even checking into and out of hotels. This increases our level of exposure and leaves us open to having emerging vulnerabilities exploited. Manual approaches might be less convenient, but they are also safer and more reliable.

Developing a degree of redundancy – a back-up plan – in the event portable devices are lost, stolen or quit working, is prudent practice and common sense. On a recent visit to the traffic-jammed metropolis of Mexico City, my host proudly mentioned he had a GPS device in his car. Everything went according to plan until the GPS device failed! The map function on my smart phone proved to be of little value as I had failed to buy the Mexico travel package. After visiting multiple gas stations in search of a map, I ended up purchasing the rather costly “Mexico City Travel Guide” (Guia Roji, Spanish Edition) which included far more information needed for our immediate needs, but proved to be invaluable for subsequent local travel.

Whether making trips for personal or business travel, or a blend of the two, we need to plan ahead to ensure our personal safety. Contingency plans should include how to safeguard information and maintaining reliable access to our portable devices.

The future has arrived. Smart travelers need to not only watch out for current threats, but anticipate a future where pressures will evolve faster than we are capable of adjusting to them. Situational awareness, technological flexibility, and personal adaptability will be key for security.