Kidnap and Rescue in Ecuador

17 Nov

I’ve written in the past about the security issues that still plague Ecuador, and I’ve also mentioned that I still get email updates from the U.S. Embassy from time to time. The email updates, which no longer apply to me as a resident, still affect me as a person concerned with the region. I have friends there, and I’d like to go back some day. Previously, I’d written about a man being killed in an ambush on the way to the bank with $44,000 US Dollars on him.
Today I got this email:
The U.S. Embassy in Quito and Consulate General in Guayaquil wish to
remind American citizens visiting or resident in Ecuador of the need to
be vigilant about their personal security in light of the October 17
kidnapping for ransom of an American citizen traveling in the northern
province of Carchi. While the victim was rescued and one of the
kidnappers was arrested, American citizens are reminded to maintain good
overseas security practices in their day-to-day activities and to be
vigilant at all times.
Well, at least it all ended well. The Embassy goes on to list ways in which you can try to stay out of trouble.
  • Maintain a habitual state of alertness.
  • Keep a low personal profile by not doing anything that draws
    attention to you.
  • Become familiar with your surroundings – it will become
    easier to identify suspicious or out of place people and items.
  • Check the interior and exterior of your vehicle prior to
    getting into your vehicle.
  • Check the street near your residence before you go out each
    day.
  • Remember, people are generally most vulnerable in the morning
    when departing for work.
  • Vary your times and routes to and from work.
  • Tell your household staff and family members to note
    descriptions and license numbers of suspicious vehicles seen near your
    residence.
  • Your colleagues and family should be aware of your daily
    plans and how to reach you.
  • Keep emergency numbers readily available; provide your family
    with emergency numbers.
  • If possible, limit the amount of personal information that
    you share with doormen, maids, vendors, temporary workers, etc.
  • If possible, limit the amount of access to your residence
    that you provide to doormen, vendors, temporary workers, etc.
These are just some of the ways in which you can keep yourself safe, but again, there are always other measures you can take. Change your route frequently, avoid flashing excessive wealth, etc. And maybe one day these events will stop popping up in my Inbox.
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