Yesterday on whoismcafee I read a very sad comment, which again denoted the need to spread the word about crime, corruption and the dangers of visiting Belize.
And we need to 'say it loud'.
Chris Furgala, the brother of Jeffrey Furgala has written JM, hoping for help in understanding how the wrongful/ corrupt/ heinous manner in which his brother died could be possible. I'm hoping that once he has a chance to ingest the information on wim he will join us here, and read the plethora of information on corruption in Belize. Chris, we would like to help....not sure how, but we can start by letting you know we feel your loss, and by sharing our information...(I think you will find the report in this post very enlightening). We're sorry for the completely unnecessary police-custody death of your brother. For anyone not familiar, here are a couple of reports on Jeffrey's story. :(
Canadian Jeffrey Furgala dies in Police custody
Reporting from Calgary, Alberta
Denials and accusations from Belize
At what point is the International community going to start screaming? NO ONE needs to vacation in Belize until they clean up their act. Civilized Nations need to issue travel warnings to their citizens to avoid this perfect little Jewel like the plague. Approximately 650,000 Canadians vacation in Cuba each year. Not my choice of spots, but they have been made to feel welcome and safe in their contained playgrounds. None have been murdered. That tourism number will continue to grow, while visitors to Belize will continue to shrink unless there is a major shake up. Will a tourism freeze hurt the regular guy? Sadly yes, and that might be what's needed to light a fire under their asses, a fire they so desperately need. But keep in mind, it will hurt the higher ups who take a bigger slice of the pie even more. And maybe some of the rich gringo business owners need to suffer a bit anyway. From my perspective so many of them have been more than willing to take all they could from Belize, with no intent on giving anything back. Living in Paradise comes at a cost....always....for everyone.....I know. But maybe.......just maybe, the lost income will motivate Belizeans and expats both to demand more, and force changes from their Government. Imagine the strength the Ams/Cdns could give the Belizean people by endorsing and providing guidance to peaceful protesting. The list of grievances is endless.
Maybe it's time for Canadians and Americans to start vacationing in their own or each others countries. They're amazingly gorgeous terrain after all, with unlimited treasures to uncover. Neither are crime free, but they have forward thinking governments who are smart enough to recognize the value of tourism dollars. Great lengths are taken on the local level to provide protection......think Niagara Falls Canada.....about 12 Million visitors each year, but a low crime rate.
Niagara Falls Ca. works to keep crime low
Crime in Niagara Falls continues to drop.
And America does the same thing, attempting to corral crime in high tourism areas. It's imperative to keep that cash flowing, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out how to best achieve that. Many beautiful choices, no matter what scenery or climate you seek. **note the number one city on this list ;-)
30 Safest American cities
So I do think the time has come to start supporting our own Countries, and other civilized nations, and avoid the crime ridden, corrupt-government run Caribbean and Central American countries until they can get their shit together. Belize is not the only unsafe place for a gringo on vacation. Mexico must be avoided at all costs. Jamaica, Haiti, DR, St. Kitts, Virgin Is. (and more) are only as safe as the compound you are locked in for your entire trip. Might be okay for a couple of days, but local flavor is why most of us travel, and being confined to one controlled space doesn't allow for a true perspective. Compare that to the freedom you have in any of the N.A. cities mentioned above (plus many more), and suddenly deciding where to vacation becomes an adventure, with safe access to everything that location has to offer. It's worth a thought.
Don't take my word for it, check out the newest list of scary places, using 2011 stats (they get worse for 2012).
Scariest places to visit
The following article comes from Freedom House, who reports on crime and general living standards around the world. They do a great job of condensing while still retaining the impact of their statements. Having been written for 2011, we all know the number of murders increased in 2012, as did the boldness of the government. Here is the link to the article if you prefer to read it from the original page, but I have copied it in it's entirety.
Freedom House Report
Freedom in the World......Belize