Category Archives: Safety and Security

National Preparedness Month

Did you know September is National Preparedness Month? Now, you may know that I am denial about my Prepper tendencies. In fact, I’ve been known to poke fun at the bunker building types in the past. Today I’m going to confess a few things you may have already guessed if you’ve read my blog for any length of time.

I’ve watched 8 seasons of the Walking Dead and was thoroughly disappointed with season 8. Michone hardly had any action at all although Carol is still there battling both the dead and undead!

My favorite Game of Thrones character is Arya, because she’s a survivor. Her direwolf Nymeria is also AMAZING leading her own pack now that winter has come.

My favorite historical figure in Mexican history is Malinche. Although slandered with slurs of traitor and whore, the fact is she rose above her position as a slave and used her intelligence to survive the turbulent conquest years.

And I’ve written a Prepper book about Mexico (which is free for the next few days in honor of my coming out as a Prepper).

Just to feed my hysterical Prepper side a little bit more, I’ve been watching the award-winning 2014 series Years of Living Dangerously. Each episode is sort of the Hollywood version of the dangers of climate change (which existence the current U.S. president denies emphatically). Harrison Ford, Jessica Alba, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, America Ferrera, Michael Hall, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Olivia Munn, Thomas Friedman, Ian Somerhalder, Lesley Stahl, Chris Hayes, M. Sanjayan and Mark Bittman are the commentators in the first season 9-episode documentary which was awarded an Emmy for outstanding nonfiction series–take that alternative fact Mr. President. World-renown journalists, not from Fox news, share the events, scientific causes and human toll of drought, hurricanes, global warming, deforestation and more. Let me tell you, each episode moves me just a little further on down the lane towards my secret Prepper alter-ego and bunker building inclinations.

It’s shameful to be an American these days. Not only do I adamantly oppose government-sponsored child abductions, but the fact that the United States is a knowing contributor towards global climate change and has gone so far as to repeal the several key environmental protection laws and encourage more fossil fuel exploitation makes me glad that I am living in exile.

Of course, I am well aware that what happens in the U.S. and other nations will ultimately affect my life and my child’s life and my grandchildren’s lives (when and if they make an appearance). My hope is that I will have Prepared enough and Prepared my son enough so that at least this branch of the Flores family won’t become extinct. To that end, I still have my eye on the lot next door. We need a larger garden if we expect to make it through the apocalypse and beyond.

So Happy Preparedness Month everyone! Although it might be more in line with the event to caution–Be Prepared! I encourage you to check out Years of Living Dangerously if you haven’t already and download my free book if Mexico is starting to seem like a better alternative to where you currently live.

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Overview of Travel MedEvac Insurance

Remember I mentioned that travel by ambulance isn’t a free service provided by the Red Cross? When my mother-in-law was in the hospital after being hit by a police officer driving excessively fast for no reason, she was taken to an IMSS hospital since she worked as a street cleaner for the presidencia (town hall). When I arrived, hours after the accident, she had not yet been seen by a doctor, although a nurse had bandaged her leg and taken x-rays. When the doctor finally arrived from Morelia (apparently there wasn’t a doctor on staff), he insisted that she be transported to the Regional Hospital that was better equipped to handle her injuries. The family had to arrange ambulance transportation because she was not in stable enough condition to be moved by other means. Our local Red Cross has the only ambulance in the area. The cost was not covered by IMSS. It took hours to make the arrangements. When she finally arrived at the hospital, she was admitted to ICU. Her spleen had been ruptured in the accident and she was bleeding internally.

The admitting doctor suggested she be transported to the hospital in Leon, GTO, a 4-hour drive. Again, there was the issue of ambulance transport to arrange. For some reason, the family member in charge would not sign off the transfer. My mother-in-law contracted a respiratory infection in the hospital and died.

So believe me when I say that the universal health care Mexico provides through Seguro Popular and IMSS may not be enough in some situations.

Today I’d like to highlight one insurance company’s policies for US and Canadian citizens while they are in Mexico in order to provide a baseline of what type of coverage to look for when purchasing additional insurance.Travel-MedEvac_728x90_r2

Travel MedEvac Insurance’s slogan is Medical Transport Home when the Unexpected Happens (which of course, nobody hopes for but unfortunately is a possibility).

The MedEvac insurance covers evacuation by air transport to a hospital of your choice in your home country (US or Canada) and transfer by air or ambulance to another hospital in Mexico as needed if you are medically unable to travel internationally. So in the event of injury or illness, MedEvac will make sure you are taken to a hospital, whether in Canada, US, or Mexico, that will be able to treat your condition. This is especially helpful if you are in a rural area in Mexico where the medical facilities are understaffed and lacking updated (or even functioning) equipment.

What about your family? Well, MedEvac offers transportation for a traveling companion, spouse, and dependents to the hospital where you been evacuated in your home country. If you are unable to be air-lifted out of Mexico, MedEvac provides transportation for your immediate family to the hospital where you are receiving treatment.

What about your stuff? MedEvac will transport your vehicle, RV, motorcycle, and watercraft from Mexico to your home country. If you are discharged but not able to drive, MedEvac will make sure your vehicle is returned to you in your home country.

What happens if you die? MedEvac will prepare your body for transport and complete the repatriation process up to $50,000 USD. This may include embalming or cremation, casket, and transportation.

So what are your options?

MedEvac offers daily and annual plans. Daily plans are good for up to 90 days in Mexico and best for vacationers, cruisers, business travelers, students, missionaries, church groups, timeshare owners, and volunteers who do not plan on staying more than 90 days in Mexico. There are plans available for groups of 10 with additional plans in increments of 10 at special group rates.

Annual plans are offered for both 6 month and 12 month periods. The Classic Plan covers you if you travel to Mexico several times a year but never longer than 90 days. The Extended-Stay Plan covers you if you live in Mexico part of the year but do not stay longer than the 180-day tourist visa limit. Either plan would work for Snowbirds and frequent travelers.

As of April 2018, a third policy has been added to MedEvac’s plans specially designed for expatriates that live in Mexico more than 180 days per year. In this situation, medical evacuation could include transfer to another hospital for treatment in Mexico rather than in your original country. If your stay is more than 2 days, traveling companions and dependents will be given transportation to their homes. If you are in the hospital for more than 7 days, MedEvac will provide for the transportation of a visitor for a single visit to your bedside.

There are some things to consider.

If you are older than 84 or have been advised by your doctor that you should not travel, you would not qualify for this type of insurance. It’s also important that your passport be current, otherwise, there may be complications in leaving Mexico or entering your home country.

Additionally, there are some situations where accident or injury would not be covered under MedEvac’s policies. If injuries are self-inflicted or sustained in a war zone, you wouldn’t be eligible. If you are injured while piloting your own plane or canyoneering, you wouldn’t be eligible. If you are traveling specifically to seek treatment whether or not medically necessary, you would not qualify for the plans above. (I’ll talk about Medical Tourism in another post.)

There are also some restrictions which you might need to take into consideration when living or traveling in Mexico. You might not be able to be evacuated from areas which the U.S. government has issued travel restrictions (See U. S. Travel Restrictions for Mexico) or areas where civil unrest or natural disaster has temporarily shut down air traffic.

So, as part of a comprehensive medical insurance program, travel insurance, like the policies offered by MedEvac might be something you should seriously consider.

This information is provided for informational purposes only. Please refer to the MedEvac’s page for current plans and prices, requirements and restrictions.Travel-MedEvac_728x90_r2

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Beefing up Security

If you remember last year after persons unknown hoisted two of our goats and the neighbor’s sheep over the wall, we did some security upgrades. We raised the 6-foot wall to 9 feet and added some motion activated solar lights.  As part of our remodeling projects this year, we did some more.

First, we turned our front gate to the animal area into a more or less solid set of doors. My husband used laminas (corrugated roofing) from a neighbor’s discarded chicken house (or at least that’s what the neighbor called it. I’m not convinced his chickens ever considered it a worthy home). As that bit of lamina wasn’t enough to completely cover the door, he bought a few more segments and had the welder come and finish the job.

Our greenhouse had two barred windows put in, preventing front entry to that area. However, we didn’t have enough moolah for the back barred windows which leaves a decided gap that a determined zombie neighbor could pull himself through and get in to wreck havoc with our plants.

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See that back right corner? That’s the neighbor’s roof. And yes, that’s me, looking like a frog on a log there!

Therefore, a roll of barbed wire was purchased in the meantime and strung from one end of the compound to the other. I’m not positive it will completely deter would-be intruders but it might slow them up a bit until we can afford those back two barred windows.

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We also took some indoor precautions.  I finally went ahead and ordered the carbon dioxide detectors that have been in my virtual shopping cart for a few months.  In the news recently, there was a story about a family vacationing in Mexico who died from a leak in the hot water heater. This prompted my actual purchase. Since they came in a pack of three, one went upstairs, one next to my son’s room and the third is on standby or if we need to make the storage room a bedroom again.  I know they work because the other day my husband was fiddling with the truck and the exhaust fumes set it off. It’s a horrible high pitch beeping! 

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However, carbon dioxide alarms will not detect a gas leak.  So in addition to the CO2 alarms, I ordered a natural gas detector.  I’m always the first (and sometimes only) person in the house who smells something funny when there is a leak in our gas tank hose. When my nose says there is an issue, I nag my husband until he checks it with the ol’ soapy water method.  I’m usually proven right. Our tank is outside, so the chances if the fumes causing death are low, but gas is expensive these days ($580 per tank) and we don’t have that kind of money to burn. I tested this out too, and it works just dandy.

The security bug hit my husband as well and he went and priced those security camera setups. I’m not sure we need to go that far though. Besides, he’d probably stay up all night watching the video feed of the cows grazing down the neighbor’s crops.

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Rape Culture in Mexico

The “Me Too” campaign recently making the rounds on social media sites called to mind another demand for justice launched last year called Ya No Nos Callamos Mas (We won’t Shut Up).  While both campaigns were begun to highlight sexual abuse of women, Ya No Nos Callamos Mas has a forum for NAMING the assailant publically.  After all, there is some accountability due for sexual assault.  Someone is the aggressor.  Someone is the victim.  Why should only the victim be named?

One in every 10 women in Mexico has been a victim of a sexual assault ranging in severity from groping to rape. Officials estimate that each year there are 120,000 rapes, one every 4 minutes, making Mexico number one in the world for sexual violence incidents. (México es el primer lugar en violencia sexual: ONU) (Over 14,000 Women Are Raped in Mexico Every Year: Report)

Most of these rapes go unreported.  Of those that are reported, very few are brought to justice.  For example, in 2009, 14,829 rape cases were filed.  Of those, only 3,462 were prosecuted, which led to only 2,795 sentences. (Amnistía Internacional (AI) en 2012)(LA VIOLENCIA SEXUAL EN MÉXICO INICIA EN CASA Y EN SU MAYORÍA QUEDA IMPUNE)

Worldwide, 13.7% of females raped are under 10 years old.  65% are between the ages of 10 and 20 years old. (Ipas Salud) 70% of the rapists are family members.  In 7.2% of the cases, the rapist is the father while 8.2% of the rapists are stepfathers.  55.1% rapes are perpetrated by another male family member (uncles or cousins) or close friend of the family.  3.4% of the rapists are boyfriends of the victim. (Sexual Violence Research Initiative)

Outside the home, other areas of high risk for sexual assault are at school and at work where women are placed in submissive situations as employees or students. (Informe Especial “Adolescentes: Vulnerabilidad y Violencia”) (Extracto del Informe Nacional Sobre Violencia y Salud)

Not even going to and from school and work is without risk. Nearly 40% of women over the age of 15 have suffered some sort of public sexual aggression. Of these women, 92% have been victims of sexual intimidation and 42% have been sexually abused in public. (Encuesta Nacional sobre la Dinámica de las Relaciones en los Hogares 2006 (ENDIREH).  In Mexico City, 65% of women who use public transportation have been sexually harassed or assaulted. (The Pink Ghetto of Women’s Issues in Mexico: From Rape Whistles to Subway Cars) Between 2010 and 2015, 3 million incidents of sexual were reported. (Mexico City’s Plan To Fight Sexual Assault: Whistles On The Subway) (Mexico City Ridiculed for Sexual Harassment Fight With Whistles)(Teen’s death provokes anger across Mexico)(The Most Dangerous Place for Mexican Women is In the Streets)

Fleeing the violence of their home countries also puts women in a vulnerable position. Six out of every 10 female migrants are sexually assaulted during the course of their travels.  Being picked up by border patrol does not guarantee freedom from sexual assault.  In one survey in 2006, 23 out of 90 women already detained reported being raped while in custody, more than half indicating the aggressor was a US state official. (Sexual assault of migrants from Latin America to the United States)(Why So Much Violence against Migrant Women?)

Mexico has laws to protect women. Although abortion is illegal in this Catholic country, the Official Mexican Standard 046, in effect since 2005, stipulates that in case of violation, “the institutions providing health care services must offer immediately and up to a maximum of 120 hours after the event occurred, emergency contraception “and are obliged to” provide medical abortion services ” Yet victims are often denied this right. (Teenage rape victim denied abortion in Mexico after judge rules attack was ‘consensual’ ) What can you expect from officials who claim the high rate of teenage pregnancies are due to “irresponsibility among females and inattention on the part of the heads of families” negating any responsibility of the male half of the equation? (In OECD Mexico no. 1 for teen pregnancies)

The State of Mexico has the most severe penalties for rape, 40 to 70 years in prison. In Quintana Roo the sentences are from 30 to 50 years and in Morelos and from 20 to 25 years. Shorter sentences are found in Coahuila and Durango, with sentences between 3 and 8 years of prison, and in Zacatecas, 4 to 10 years. In Coahuila, rape carries a penalty of 14 to 21 years in prison, but if it is a homicide conviction, sentences are only from 7 to 16 years, leading to an increase of femicides in the area (See Ni Una Mas).(Protocolo de investigación de los delitos de violencia sexual hacia las mujeres, desde la perspectiva de género)  Despite these reforms, only 3 out of every 100 rapists brought to trial are found guilty. (Lo mejor de Animal Político 2016: Solo 3 de cada 100 ataques sexuales en México se castigan)  

Recently, a rapist was found not guilty because he claimed he was not sexually satisfied. (When Rape Culture Meets Impunity In Mexico) Twenty-five of 32 Mexico states do not consider sexual assault of minors a grave offense. (En 25 estados, el abuso sexual infantil es cosa menor; no lo consideran delito grave) Baja California, Campeche, Durango, and Sonora will drop rape charges if the rapist marries his victim. (More Than 1 in 5 Women Are Married Before They’re 18 in Mexico) (Matrimonios y uniones tempranas de ninas)

Mexico is also the leader in child pornography distribution and the second-largest producer of child pornography worldwide.  An estimated 20,000 children in Mexico are victims of human trafficking for sexual exploitation each year. There are over 12,300 Mexican internet accounts that provide photographs and videos of children being sexually abused.  Veracruz has the highest incident of this, targeting girls between 11 and 15 years of age.  There is evidence that the governor himself is involved in these transactions, although he has yet to be charged. (12,000 child porn sites identified in MX)(‘Sex brokers’ in Tijuana connect men looking to exploit very young children, FBI says)(Child pornographer link probed in Chapala) (‘How Did I Get Here?’ — A Photographer Captures Women in Mexico’s Brothels)

With statistics like those above, is it any wonder that empowerment movements like Ya No Nos Callamos Mas and Me Too are growing? Perhaps if enough women scream, perhaps if enough women protest, perhaps if enough women insist on their rights to their own body…..but that’s only half the battle.  Rapists, abusers, and child molesters must be held accountable for their actions. And that’s not likely to happen soon, at least not here in Mexico.

Resources for Women in Mexico

Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres (INMUJERES)

Instituto para las Mujeres en la Migración (imumi)

Americans Overseas Domestic Violence Crisis Center

Resources for Sexual Assault Survivors

Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) (En Espanol)

Womenslaw.org

From Surviving to Thriving: Recovery Guide for Survivors of Abuse by Robert Gallagher

The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse by Ellen Bass

Other resources

Men Can Stop Rape

National Violence Against Women Prevention Research Center

Communities Against Violence Network (CAVNET)

To the Survivors: One Man’s Journey as a Rape Crisis Counselor with True Stories of Sexual Violence by Robert Uttaro

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