Many an enterprising gringo get the idea to start their own businesses in Latin America, and some get the idea to serve a niche in the world’s oldest profession. It’s a bad idea. Let this article serve as a warning.
First up is Noah Goldberg, AKA Medellin Paisa. He’s still dead.
Then there was Dave Strecker, AKA Cuba Dave, who was locked up in Costa Rica for promoting sex tourism in a dodgy case that raised free speech implications.
Cuba Dave was initially locked up under the Latin American standard of “preventive detention,” equivalent to being held without bail. Then he was sentenced to five years in prison, and just this year acquitted. He’s out now. But he spent two years of his life, some of his last years judging from the pictures, in a Costa Rican prison … broke if you believe the blog posts.
In my old piece on Goldberg, another Medellin operator dubbed “Colombia Jake” came up in the threads. As another Medellin operator, he was Goldberg’s competition. Jay Harry Drivas got popped in an underage sting in 2016 and was locked up in Itagui. He attempted suicide in prison a couple times before finally succeeding last New Year’s Eve.
I’m sure there are more gringos doing this kind of work in the region, but these are the three names that came across my desk in the last five years. Two dead and the other did two years in prison.
It reminds me of an email exchange I had with an anonymous gringo years ago. Below are excerpts from him.
I have lived and worked in Latin America for the past 12 years, primarily in the Dominican Republic and Colombia. I have seen many gringos promoting sex tourism and thinking they will get away with it because it’s open or even legal and going on all over the place in Colombia, Brazil, DR, etc.
If you don’t have excellent connections, avoid the sex business, period. I’m talking politicos, generals, etc. If you don’t have the connections, they will make an example of you. They will continue to make your life hell and slowly push you out, a little like Chinese water treatment.
No country wants to be labeled a whoremongers’ paradise. I have seen gringos deported, thrown in jail, beaten and killed. You’re a gringo and a guest in their country with no rights.
Sex tourism promoter beaten, or suspected pedophile killed by drug gang. Do you think the embassy cares? Do you think anyone cares, besides the family?
Something to think about.
I’ll also add something I’ve noticed about Latin America. The crime and murder rates are generally higher than elsewhere in the world, but there is a method to the madness. And I have observed a pattern in news stories, personal anecdotes and more.
Rarely does the hammer come down as a complete surprise, whether the hammer be criminal charges or a hired killer. There are usually signs, if not explicit warnings and threats. I wouldn’t be surprised if each of these operators had their own little signs, and either dismissed them or failed to read them.
Either way, it’s not a business you want to be in.
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