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Bribing Cops in Latin America

Tips for dealing with corrupt cops in Latin America.



Getting pulled over by the cops, especially if you're a gringo happens on the daily in Latin America. In fact it happens so frequently that Mexicans actually have a saying for it, "La Mordida" or "The Bite" cause the cops frequently extort money from hapless gringos and locals alike. Nevertheless, all hope isn't necessarily lost. No matter what, always attempt to talk your way out of it and never leave the main road. You want to be as visible to the public as possible. They'll often try to get you to duck into some shady ass side alley out of view cause they don't want passersby to see them accepting money. Most importantly don't drive at night. If for some crazy reason you do happen to be driving at night you're already blown, brace yourself to pay some serious coin...

Always have money in varying locations in the smallest denominations "sencillo" possible and always act like you're broke. If they catch sight of your $50 bill or a wad of $20s they immediately assume you're "papi chulo" and that you owe them and all of their greedy buddies a lavish lunch, possibly several. Only thing is corrupt cops deserve to starve so don't be an enabler if you can help it. I got pulled over 3x in Mexico, but only paid "la mordida" once and even then instead of giving him the $30 he wanted I gave him $10. Always negotiate!

In Nicaragua however all bets are off. These guys are ruthless. Both times I got pulled over I ended up having to pay, but I was still able to negotiate the price down a bit. Each country is different and the cops will often times either set you up or just be downright corrupt and not even have a legitimate reason for taxing you. Having old playboys on hand (my buddy taught me this trick I swear) though can actually work small miracles. It got me towed out of the mud in Nicaragua by a tractor once. Think of them as lascivious potential get out of jail free cards. Basically in a nut shell, don't drive at night, keep your money in several unassuming stash spots and try to have the smallest bill denominations possible cause everyone conveniently can somehow never make change for you when you need it resulting in incessant over payments. Play stupid if needed and always profess your innocence and negotiate, negotiate, negotiate!!!

Good luck!!!

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