Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Before You Retire To Latin America Please Do Careful Research

Ecuador is on a charm offensive right now. They send out videos of happy and content US citizens who have retired to a small city in Ecuador.  We are told that medical care is very cheap and the cost of living is low. The local population is happy with their new gringo neighbors.

Please contrast this with an ordeal that I went through Friday night and Saturday morning. A dear friend of ours moved to Ecuador. She quickly discovered that there was a huge problems with kidnappings in Ecuador. She demanded that I remove all images of she and her children from You Tube and blogs. I calmly pointed out to her that anti-kidnapping experts never advice the clients they are hired to protect to remove all images from the web. I gave her a detailed report from Startfor on how to defend yourself against kidnapping. After all of this she kept hysterically demanding that I remove all of her images from the web. It took me some hours but I complied with her request.

I then did a lot of research on Ecuador and the results were not nice. In recent years eleven US citizens have vanished on the border between Colombia and Ecuador. At the same time there have been some 573 reported "Express Kidnappings" in the country.(I suspect that many more such kidnappings were never reported to the authorities) In this scenario one is kidnapped and forced to go to banks and draw all of the money out of their accounts. After all money is collected, the kidnap victim is generally released unharmed. I read reports of retirees being cheated by local lawyers and real estate agents when they went to buy a home or an apartment in that country.

The moral of this story is that it is vital to do some very serious and involved research before you seriously consider retiring to a foreign country. Google is a good place to start. Also carefully read US Embassy reports on any country that you are seriously considering for retirement.