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James M. Martin


May 9, 2014, 7:19 AM

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Traffic Police Revive Ancient Practice of La Mordida

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With my brother and a friend, i just spent a week in San Luis Potosi. My brother and friend went on to Queretaro where, in the process of looking for a hotel, they parked at a poorly marked sidewalk only to return later and find the rear license plate missing. They were shown to a cop who said that he would return the plate when they paid a fine for the improper parking. I think it was $300M or something like that. When he returned to San Luis Potosi (we were there for the Procession de Silencio marking Good Friday), he had another run-in with a local cop. It was the morning after the big parade of penitents and civil leaders in pointy-headed sheets with slits for eye. There were no cars on the streets when my brother got his out of a garage to pick us up at the hotel. Unfortunately, the centro is a maze of one-way streets and he accidentally turned into one going the opposite direction. The cop pulled him over and said that what he had done was "very dangerous" so the fine would be $3,200M. My brother only had $3,000M on him, which the cop accepted.

I reminded my brother of our sister-in-law in Ajijic telling us that the police are routinely stopping autos with out-of-country plates, especially later model cars, which they assume belong to drivers with money. I had thought that la mordida was a thing of the past, but no. She and my other brother had set out from Ajijic to Guadalajara with about $700M to shop at Walmart. A roadblock was stopping vehicles heading north. When younger, my other brother would tell the traffic cops he refused to pay and wanted to talk to the juez. Almost always, the cop would bow out, saying, "Oh, senor, that's OK, andale" in an Alfonso Bedoya voice. My other brother would have his suspicions confirmed -- that the cop would be wasting his time taking them before a magistrate, better just let the gringo go. But we are all older now and I guess my younger brother thought it prudent to just pay the parking and wrong-way fines. Just that morning, I had read (in my middlin' Spanish) the headline of a story in a San Luis newspaper saying that there was rife corruption in police departments across the country. With cops like these we need robbers?

So let this be a warning to those who take cars into Mexico, which is the finest way to see the country: Be prepared to get hassled by traffic cops. La Mordida is alive and well south of the border.



AlanMexicali


May 9, 2014, 7:42 AM

Post #2 of 10 (3957 views)

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Re: [James M. Martin] Traffic Police Revive Ancient Practice of La Mordida

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I live in San Luis Potosí and my wife and I were downtown during the Procession that night as were about 50,000 others. I saw not only the Pólice Cadets, T-Shirts indicating what they were, but State Pólice, Transitos, Tourist Pólice, Federal Pólice and Municipal Police, literally about 300 or so downtown that night.

No wonder they got pulled over.

It might be a good thing they paid what was asked or negotiate a much lower payoff as I think they would be held in the station/office where tickets are paid for many hours waiting to pay the about $400.00 peso ticket. The system is for out of state cars to pay a ticket then and there.

Also if it was the Municipal Pólice they have a reputation for being very tough. Most people would not want them angry at them.

Some State Pólice have a reputation of stopping speeding vehicles on the San Luis Mx. 57D bypass near town where the speed limits are ridiculously low in sections and asking "for help".

Here all Pólice can give out traffic citations if they want.

I am curious. what type and year was their vehicle?


(This post was edited by AlanMexicali on May 9, 2014, 7:59 AM)


James M. Martin


May 9, 2014, 10:49 AM

Post #3 of 10 (3915 views)

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Re: [AlanMexicali] Traffic Police Revive Ancient Practice of La Mordida

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A 2011 Toyota Corolla DL, black. And BTW, if I gave the impression he got the ticket the night of the Procession, no, it was the following morning so early the streets were empty. SLP does not wake up until 9 or 10. This was about 7 a.m. Nobody on the streets, very little traffic. I think they were looking for a way to buy tequila for their next party.


chinagringo


May 9, 2014, 11:07 AM

Post #4 of 10 (3907 views)

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Re: [James M. Martin] Traffic Police Revive Ancient Practice of La Mordida

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Basically, it boils down to some people having all the luck!
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



chicois8

May 9, 2014, 2:53 PM

Post #5 of 10 (3874 views)

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Re: [James M. Martin] Traffic Police Revive Ancient Practice of La Mordida

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Lets see your brother parks in a no parking space and drives the wrong way on a one way street, Maybe he should have gone to the police station and paid the fines he was responsible for instead of perpetuating this ancient practice...
Rincon de Guayabitos,Nayarit
San Mateo, California


James M. Martin


May 9, 2014, 4:42 PM

Post #6 of 10 (3853 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] Traffic Police Revive Ancient Practice of La Mordida

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The point was this: a visitor not parking properly and driving the wrong way on an empty street in a city where one is a stranger should have brought a warning at most, a friendly don't-it-again-please. But the combined macho/mordida took hold of these public servants. While I realize it is apples to oranges to compare traffic cops in Mexico with those in the U.S., you would think that since their government depends enormously on tourism, the cops would be instructed to be a bit more compassionate and neighborly.


(This post was edited by James M. Martin on May 9, 2014, 4:44 PM)


chicois8

May 9, 2014, 7:34 PM

Post #7 of 10 (3828 views)

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Re: [James M. Martin] Traffic Police Revive Ancient Practice of La Mordida

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So a "visitor" can break traffic laws and receive special treatment, too bad he did not have the cojones to just say no to bribes...que lastima
Rincon de Guayabitos,Nayarit
San Mateo, California


chinagringo


May 9, 2014, 8:43 PM

Post #8 of 10 (3825 views)

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Re: [James M. Martin] Traffic Police Revive Ancient Practice of La Mordida

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So James, we have been driving both NOB and Mexican licensed vehicles since 1997 when we visit Mexico and have never paid a single Peso in fines or mordida despite having driven 10's of thousands of miles throughout the Country! Hardly a "goody two shoes type driver" as I have a real lead foot but I would never expect to receive special consideration just because we are visitors in Mexico! In fact, I would have a greater expectation for leniency if I was in a different State in the US.
Regards,
Neil
Albuquerque, NM



AlanMexicali


May 10, 2014, 6:36 AM

Post #9 of 10 (3788 views)

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Re: [James M. Martin] Traffic Police Revive Ancient Practice of La Mordida

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In Reply To
A 2011 Toyota Corolla DL, black. And BTW, if I gave the impression he got the ticket the night of the Procession, no, it was the following morning so early the streets were empty. SLP does not wake up until 9 or 10. This was about 7 a.m. Nobody on the streets, very little traffic. I think they were looking for a way to buy tequila for their next party.



Not a luxury vehicle and 3 years old.

I personally think under the circumstances and knowing the Municipal Polices´ reputation and knowing exactly where he was and how abandoned the narrow one way streets are at 7AM on a Saturaday morning and he being a tourist alone that most probably an aggressive demand for money was best given and be on his way.

In reality who knows what could have happened even if he could communicate he wanted to go pay a ticket at the office at that hour. They easily could have taken him to a close by more isolated spot and threatened him even more and ended up at an ATM or worse.

I question that is was Transito. Their cars, trucks and motorcycles and uniforms are clearly marked "VIAL" here and most likey it was Municipal Pólice. They outnumber the Tansitos 20 to 1.


My wife thinks the best thing to do with aggressive Pólice here is for your brother to tell them he wants to go pay at the office. If he can´t communicate that, then what? I asked. She said pay them $200 pesos. She is a bit unrealistic in this case I feel.

Here there are no Judges for this, just a office with a window you pay the ticket and 50% discount if paid within 5 to 7 days, I forget.


(This post was edited by AlanMexicali on May 10, 2014, 7:46 AM)


James M. Martin


May 10, 2014, 8:25 AM

Post #10 of 10 (3741 views)

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Re: [chinagringo] Traffic Police Revive Ancient Practice of La Mordida

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Ditto here, Neil. I took my sons on a trip I thought we could do in two weeks and it almost killed us, but we did: Corpus Christi, Texas to Cancun and back. Although they are reportedly building a new toll road that will take a whole day off the Cancun-Palenque return we took, going around the Peninsula from Cancun to that horrid little claptrap of a "town" called Escarcega was about as far itself as from Texas to Disney World. That trip was in a hardy '03 Corolla, a car you can be dependent on without worrying it's a lot easier to find a Nissan dealer or repair shop in Mexico than Toyota since, chances are, you will not break down. A couple of years later we drove to the border with Guatemala in a rented VW that broke down driving up the stone "roads" in the Lagos de Montebello park. And on a third trip, again in the Corolla, we went to Oaxaca and Pto. Escondido via San Jose del Pacifico and in all three trips we only had trouble with a cop one time. A motorcycle cop in Toluca pulled us over the same day we left Ajijic. He examined our papers, poked around in the luggage, and sent us on our way. Got news for anyone who doesn't know: cops can do that in the U.S.A.


(This post was edited by James M. Martin on May 10, 2014, 8:35 AM)
 
 
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