24 thoughts on “Pacific beaches neighborhood watch is all very, very secret

  1. “Roberto Chocolate” How homoerotic is that! I wonder if he met Carlos Danger from New York. Both post pictures of their guns. I suppose that we should count ourselves lucky that “Chocolate” unlike “Danger” only shows his bullet-shooting gun!

    Man, You couldn’t make this stuff up…too funny. Is that gun in the photo real? I think the handcuffs are. They are the ones his wife uses to cuff him to the water pipe after he ogles the teenage girls on the beach!

  2. Yes…This is the “modus operandi” of these groups. A nice British Expat, I met last year, invited me to attend that first meeting held at La Runia, since my intentions to know about the initiatives regarding security issues were important, and genuine for my family and me, so that I decided to join her. She was really very nice, though I was asked, immediately after having arrived at La Ruina, by a “racist and hypocritical British Expat,” what I was doing in the meeting, when they “advertised” that the meeting was for everybody else who has suffered any of those robberies. It was a lie, they don’t want local people like me in those meetings, they feel they are entitled to invade small nations, and squeeze the natives, and those natives will be happy…

    I don’t know in what theme park these people are living, or pretend to live, or from what theme park they actually come from…

    Panamanian people have historically been excluded from the Panamanian economy, people coming to your country have to study history…This is a colonized country, and we don’t have those activists with principles, like India has, but our media is a presstitute, as well as the way many local people tend to behave…That American Dream is elusive, and has been abused, but it is time for people to wake up…

    • Thanks for the suggestion about Facebook. I will restrict access to it.

      I thought it was hilarious that you chose a photo of me playing a detective in a murder mystery at Picasso’s Bar + Restaurant. I was Orson Slick – Private Dick. Very funny show.
      No the gun and handcuffs were not real – but they looked good. I have bigger ones.

      The Retirement Detective.com has just broken 650,000 hits – all with free information, without any ads (except Google ads) – and one article which was restricted for security reasons.

      The La Ruinas meeting was possibly another group Sr Arias – Gorgona Vecinos Vigilantes – the only event we did at La Ruina was a concert a couple of months ago, not last year – generously donated by The Oldies but Goodies band. Our meetings openly invite and accept all residents of the interior – and we do have a number of Panamanian members already. I invite you to attend our next meeting. Be safe. Rob

      • Mr. Rob Brown, it is good to know that the locals are welcome to your meetings. As a Panamanian it is really sad to see those violent events occurring targeting foreigners, but everybody is being robbed at the beach areas, this has become a real problem during the last years, though my deep concern is that the root causes of those events are not fully addressed by the national authorities. I could read once about how these same problems are approached in some English speaking countries, and I remember that Dr. Michael Marmot was amount those authorities, and even in the case of Jamaica, the lady talking about crimes in Jamaica, called the attention of those in the forum referring to the level of education those individuals who commit those crimes have, and she said that in the case of Jamaica, those men with low levels of literacy and numeracy attainment are a great risk to resort to crime.

        Violence can never be overcome with more violence, promoting war for the purpose of achieving peace will never be fulfilled, and I think history has a lot to teach us in that respect…

        • I agree – education is the key. Education levels needs to improve, to give Panamanian kids a chance. My wife and I are taking our citizenship exams in the next two months, and when we have the right to vote – and have a real voice, we will be voting for the party that makes education a major part of their platform. However I think is unfair that they are making me sing the National Anthem in Spanish – I can’t sing in English, why do they to do that to such a nice song? LOL

    • Panama’s racial hang-ups are extremely boring and both gringos and Panamanians are guilty of nurturing them. The only conquered people in Panama are the indigenous, all the rest are descended from immigrants. Besides, Nicaragua got it far worse from Uncle Sam and it isn’t troubled by hatred.

      • In response…
        “The only conquered people in Panama are the indigenous,”

        Dear Exiled Bristh…Not only the indigenous in Panama are the ones who are conquered, but also the black Panamanians, and mixed race people too. Why is that? First, blacks brought first by the Spanish colonizers are descendants of those slaves who underwent a first conquest after having been brought to America from West Africa during the slave trade, and then, those blacks brought by the Americans from the Caribbean as cheap labor to work in the Panama Canal Construction. All those people are conquered people, and their descendants are the product of this entire mixed race we currently have. We have Chinese, Hindus, and European descendants too, but we tend to be a mixed race population, with some enclaves, where the mix is much less perceived.

        In that respect, being Panama a country with predominantly low context culture, we have high context culture groups living in our territory as well, as it is the tendency a many other parts of world…


        • Jehovanna,

          I forgot about the African colonial slaves, you’re right about that. Nonetheless, the African Antilleans came to Panama willingly as wage labourers. They were ‘conquered’ by Europeans certainly, but that was generations earlier, and if you look back far enough in most peoples’ history you will find episodes of subjugation by this or that neighbour, this or that privileged class, caste, or elite, or whatever aggressive imperial force happens to be enjoying its moment of military supremacy. War, murder, and domination make the world go round; the sad truth of our collective history.

          That said, what is interesting about Panama is its apparent reverence for Balboa, a psychopathic butcher outperformed only by Pedrarias the Cruel. In Mexico, you will not find a single statue dedicated to Cortez or any other Conquistador, but in Panama they name the national currency after one.

          My theory is that Panama, due to its strategic location between the Americas, has always been an imperial stronghold, and thus always dominated by a small clique of very wealthy and determined colonial masters – I would include Torrijos and Noriega among them, whatever their background or apparent sympathies. Only poor Panamanians can break this pattern by refusing to be victims and by refusing to accept their assigned social roles as serfs to overlords. Abusive relationships are not a ‘one way street’.

          All this is slightly off topic, but what I was getting at in my first post is the general problem of racism in Panama, vividly illustrated by Colon. It is paradoxical, because as you say, the isthmus is essentially multi-cultural, much like a Caribbean island. Everyone intermarries, bloodlines are mixed, and it is normal, reasonable, and acceptable to use racial language to refer to someone personally (e.g. ‘Chino’, ‘Gringo’ etc). At the same time, I have witnessed enough casual racism on all sides to know there are some very entrenched and ugly ideas in Panama about ‘us and them’. I find it disappointing, but the UK is hardly much better I suppose. For the record, I’m not saying Mr Brown is a racist, just that there is a racial dimension to this story. Perhaps no one can escape the issue of race in Panama, everything always seems to return to it.

          • Exiled Brit…Yes, this apparent reverence for Balboa is inexplicable, I consider this to be due to the lack of social consciousness Panamanian people tend to have, as well as the no appreciation of humanities, so history is only studied as a cultural subject and the classes given are inclined to be extremely superficial, a reality that is the opposite of what is found in Mexico, as you have above mentioned, where history is the bedrock of the way Mexican people relate to reality, relating the present to the past… Even Radio UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico) has a Radio Station, in which, cultural programs are transmitted, and I remember perfectly well, how a History professor in a Sunday program, was explaining how the Guadalupe virgin never truly existed, and it was an invention created by the priests living at that time, who wanted to evangelize the indigenous population from Mexico…Of course, millions of ill educated people in Mexico still believe in the virgin, but it is a fact it never really existed…

            Certainly, the colonial masters have forever been here trying to dominate and run the country with false promises; those personages you have named were both very corrupt, and left a legacy of systematic corruption that favored politically incompetent appointed, public employees, a phenomenon that has been a prevalent anomaly during all the Panamanian republican history…Panamanian economy is small, though the huge construction of the Canal brought undesirable attachments as gambling, prostitution, easy money, corruption, arriviste nouveaux- riches, and philistines, so that likewise explains why cultural activities, and education are not seen as important as it may be the case in other Latin American countries…

            Those unwelcome attachments are still today with us, exploiting ignorance, and this serves well the ruling class that profits from all those horrendous activities…

            The problem of racism is part of the modus operandi of the masters, who dominate the media or I would say the presstitute…

            Education is needed to overcome all these vicious attitudes present in the Panamanian life…

            Pss…Did you read the article from the NY Times that I shared here? Those Black Caribbeans brought as cheap labor were paid less than their white counterparts; moreover, they suffered discrimination for being not only blacks but English speaking people, and consequently were called, pejoratively, as “chombos.” A Bilingual education was not provided, and many of them suffered language attrition, and loss of their mother tongue…Some have become corrupt and use the language as stepping stone, just as their masters did, as a tool of colonization and domination…This is not what a language is all about…I could witness those attitudes, and it is very sad, some of them are doing that same their masters did…

            Yes, Panama is more like the Caribbean countries, multiracial, and we must try to make those local people from the interior understand that “fact.” Happy or not, this is the way we have lived in this country.

  3. The Freak Show?
    I check this site out from time to time without the usual promptings..Okke – Are you having a slow day?
    So If I understand correctly, as a result of a increase in crime against tourists and expats, a group of them led by RB have taken an initiative, which is running into some ‘management issues’ and fear on the part of RB resulting from the publicity. He apparently is no stranger to publicity, but is apparently not keen on this particular tangent.
    Why does RB need his photo published at all ? This is my first question – I’ll assume that there is no literature about this group passed out at meetings with his picture either. (Because if so,…RB might want to rethink his complaint)..

    There seems to be something awry here however, when the initiative that this group has only recently taken, is evidently not cut much slack in the press. I haven’t seen snide commentary like this since the days of the blue haired ‘Bridge & Tea’ league in London Ontario in the 70’s where literally everyone feared being mentioned in the quarterly.

    ‘Boring’ in this day and age is good! We could use more of it.

    • Dave, it’s the Muppet Show. If you want a low profile initiative, just people organizing things, there is nothing to stop them. But then you don’t organize high-profile meetings where you invite TV and other media and a string of political hotshots, demanding your name and face to remain confidential at the same time. To phrase this differently; you can’t just launch yourself into the public sphere, having high-profile meetings, filing high-profile criminal complaints etc. etc. and then expect that you will be able to control the story. Because that’s what this is ultimately about.

    • Thanks Dave – no – I do not publish my photo on NHN materials. On top of the fear issue – and don’t kid yourself, I have lost a lot of sleep trying to help protect my family and my neighbors – using just me is unfair to the volunteers and the Board Members.
      There are many people helping make our area safer – people putting themselves out there. This is not a one man, or even 10 man show – soon we will be 100, and more.

      My wife and I have discussed it many times – she is worried that attracting attention will get us hurt, and despite our fear (and sorry OKKE if you find this boring) we are doing what we can – NHN has over 25 members representing over 50 other other people – and that is in WEEK ONE – another reason it should not just be my name or photo.

      Picking a silly picture of me acting in a play made me realise how silly this is.

      We are here – we are staying, and we are helping. How about talking about the 3 new police cars in San Carlos, the 10 new English-speaking offices, and the 30 new officers (NOT TRAFFIC POLICE) in Coronado that are a direct result of the NHN meetings with the Attorney General and The Deputy Director of National Security?
      Anyone notice the increased police presence?
      We are doing this for each other, folks – this is Neighbors Helping Neighbors.
      Check it out on nhnpanama.com
      Become part of the solution – don’t be one of those whiney, griping armchair experts – calling the shots from the bar.

      • What makes the residents of Coronado and adjacent beach communities deserve better police protection than, say, Arraijan?

        And come to think of it, why would “more police” be a solution anyway? Panama is already a country with one of the highest number of policemen per 100,000 inhabitants in the world. We have more police here per capita than the US, than any European country and more than any South American country. Look it up if you don’t believe me. And why English speaking cops? Can’t you guys learn Spanish?

        I don’t want to rain on your parade, but the whole affair runs the risk of being perceived as a bunch of rich white people – who haven’t even bothered learning the language – getting protection for themselves, at the expense of the Panamanian tax payer, and damn everybody else.

        • Dear Okke…I understand your point, because I am Panamanian, but at the same time, I can assure you that Panamanian people everywhere can do the same of organizing themselves to discuss problems affecting their communities, as local poor people are doing in Mexico, Guerrero where they have a Vecinos Viguilantes organization. I live in a gated community in the city, and when people are called to attend a meeting to talk about issues related to the community, nobody wants to go and talk to anything. I don’t even know almost anybody living here. As a Panamanian who even studied in the National University of Panama, I can tell you that Panamanian people are not united, and don’t care anything about the rest of the people from Panama, unless they are running for a position in the government. Panama is a corrupt country and many Panamanian people are corrupt people…I worked one year in a private local school (A Chinese Panamanian school), where one of the Principals could not even speak Spanish or Chinese either, he was illiterate in Spanish and Chinese being him Chinese, and my direct principal, a technocrat from the University of Panama, told me she was paying her house. She didn’t care anything about language acquisition at all, she was the director of the English Department in that school and the meetings with English teachers were totally held in Spanish…

          The Spanish Empire collapsed 300 hundreds years ago, and yes people coming here should try to learn Spanish, but Panama are not a “high context culture country” as other Latin American countries may be, we have people from different nations (others would like to refer to this like ethnicities) , and we should promote bilingualism.

          Germany was, in the past, one nation (one language, one culture) but two states.

          Panama is one state, but with people coming from different nations, when becoming Panamanian, people should not give up their nation or culture, again bilingualism should be our priority as it is the case in other places, especially in small nations with scarce natural resources…

          Thanks this for the democratic space…

          • I’m all for multilingual and multicultural societies. But there’s often a sense of entitlement in these expat demands for English speaking cops or other officials that is not backed up by their own efforts to acquire the language spoken by 99% of the people in Panama.

        • Sorry, a typographical error…Just for the records, it is “totally normal for second learners” as myself, to do typographical error in one’s mother tongue or a second language. Now with the assistance of the computer/internet those typo errors can be checked…I know you, Okke, don’t tolerate this, you were not trained to be a teacher…so you have not read all those academic papers discussing these topics…

          “Panama is not a “high context culture country” as other Latin American countries may be”

        • Okke…Maybe Spanish is the language spoken by 99 % of the people in Panama, but I honestly consider the if an expat is into opening a business targeting Panamanians and hiring locals, of course, speaking Spanish will help him/her approach his/her business better, and she/he will be perceived in a different way by the local community, the issue here is that English is officially the “second language spoken” in Panama; moreover, English is the language used in the academic life worldwide. All that bulk of Nobel Prize winners have certainly their academic papers written in English. English is a language spoken by many second learners, not to mention the native speakers, and by forcing those locals to gain some knowledge of English, this English speaking community is doing them a favor. Additionally, some expats here are not really looking for a job, so they should not be required to learn Spanish…

          The next generation of those local people from the interior may even be more motivated to be bilingual, because when one parent achieves a level of competence in a second language; their children see the learning of foreign languages or second languages as achievable. This have been proven in research about bilingualism and language pedagogy…In the city, some of us have done this for generations, so it is time for those local people from the interior to realize that the “Spanish Empire” collapsed 300 hundred years ago…

          In 1990, there were 400 millions of people who were part of the British Empire, and in England, there were 40 million people living at that same time. I don’t know if I am all about “multicultural societies,” but in the case of Panama, as well as in other small Western European nations, being bilingual “must be a prerequisite” in every walk of life. We should be tolerant to different races, and cultures, and monoglot societies are not conducive to these kinds of attitudes. Monoglot societies tend to produce in-ward looking societies full of bigots, just the opposite of what Panama should be…So requiring English speaking cops should not be seen like if this English speaking community feels entitled to be treated special, they are demanding something that Panamanian people should be able to provide…

          I was not born bilingual, and I took the time and made the effort to learn some English, it is a never ending process, so that the rest of the people living in Panama should do the same, it is a matter of being intellectually curious and responsible with your own education, and self improvement. My real concern is all this type of casino capitalism, where the locals are excluded from the “economy” by one means or another. I don’t see public spaces in the country site (gardens, parks, public libraries, free cultural activities), but these local people don’t even demand for them either…

          • An error: In 1900, there were 400 million people who were part of the British Empire, and there were 40 million living in the UK at that same time…

            Typo errors are part of being bilingual for some people like it is my case, and the case of many others…I read how a PHD professor from Turkey had his doctoral Thesis proofread and there were found many typo errors…I don’t cheat, this is my problem…

      • Congratulations on your new cops……

        When I had a business in Ciudad Radial the police were the one’s offering illegal guns to the business owners. I am willing to bet that crime won’t go down with more cops. Panama has twice as many cops as it had 5 years ago and twice as much crime. When I arrived in Panama the police were very tame and under-equipped but in the last few years they have become arrogant, aggressive and do pretty much what they want.

        A Panamanian friend of mine who has a business in Rio Sereno recently told me that he for the first time in his life he fears Senafront (border police ). They have a protection racket going where they offer businesses protection from so called maleantes. He also feared that they will plant drugs in his vehicles to extort him later. I thought perhaps he had become a little too paranoid. Until that which happened next….

        .A few weeks later I noticed a pair of female tourists in their early twenties in a coffee shop in San Vito, Costa Rica. One was sobbing heavily and the other was more quietly distressed . I spoke to them and learned that they were German college students who had arrived that morning from Panama. They had been retained the day before by Senafront at the checkpoint in Santa Clara on the way to Rio Sereno.

        They were taken off the bus, made to stand legs apart hands over their heads and subject to body searches by male officers, sniffer dogs and had the whole event videoed by the commander. The bus was told to leave without them and they were retained for 4 hours, subject to lewd comments, and propositions by the officers. They were accused of being racist for not finding Panamanian men attractive when they politely rebuffed these “babosos”. Their papers were always in order and they were finally offered a ride to Sereno. They refused for fear of being raped. Finally they walked in torrential rain far enough away from the checkpoint to feel safe. They caught a passing bus and arrive in Sereno too late to pass to Costa Rica.

        They were clearly still traumatized the next day when I saw them. They were willing to forfeit their return flight to Europe to avoid returning to Panama. I suggested they file a complaint with their embassy in Costa Rica to give notice that Panama’s integrity and safety was being compromised by the police as well as the criminal element. I remember thinking when Martinelli gave the police almost complete immunity that it was only a matter of time until they became a dangerous paramilitary. It just took much less time than I thought it would.

        Again, congratulations on your new police.

  4. Dear Mr. Brown, that certainly is a nice Hawaiian shirt you are wearing. it screams out to the bad guys “i’m a dumb gringo, please rob me!” and in robbing you, that, in all likelihood, means they are not robbing me. So keep up the good work and thanks for keeping us safe.

    • Thanks – I had to borrow that shirt for my costume as Orson Slick – Private Dick, in the murder mystery play “Pinchin the Picasso” written by Yolanda Van Der Kolk.
      Our next show,, performed by the Boquete Community Players is “El Grande de Coca Cola” is being performed November 14th at Picassos’ Bar and Restaurant in Coronado – come see all the stupid things gringos do in Panama – and it is in Spanglish – understood by Panamanians and gringos alike.
      Contact Picasso’s Claire Ross claire@picassobarcoronado.com for reservations – dinner and a show only $39.95

  5. I really don’t have too many objections to what Rob is trying to do in general. When there is a crime wave, neighbors getting together to express their concern and watch each other’s backs is a natural thing.

    I have been in neighborhood watch groups in most places where I have lived. Never have they been clandestine. Always there seems to be a guy who puts on airs, whether it be Rambo or Mr. Smith on his first step toward Washington.

    I do have problems at going to any meeting where Don Winner was the guest of honor. The man has made public threats to set me, Okke and another person up for a bogus drug bust. He is backed by a guy who was a gun runner for Colombia’s cocaine-financed AUC death squads. Nor will I go to a meeting at the business premises of someone who refuses to talk to me. Rob can make his decisions about what to cover, Okke will make his decisions and I have made mine.

    Such decisions tend to get made on an estimate of how serious an activity is. I am seriously afraid of what thugs may come after me in my home and I know a lot of other people are too. I seriously think that it’s a waste of money and an unwelcome move for constitutional reasons to charge a local prosecutor with a crime for failing to order preventive detention for those caught with stolen property. I think it’s a mistake to equate arrests with crimes being solved. I will excuse myself from this gushy “I’m in with the in crowd” song and dance for associations with thugs like our tourism minister who can’t get a US visa due to his Colombian gangster ties and if the response to my lack of enthusiasm for that is a bit of red-baiting directed at me, then that as well enters into my calculations of how serious the person who does that really is.

    When my home was invaded by maleantes, I called the cops and I suppose that in so doing it was implicitly asking some police officer to risk taking a bullet for me. I never asked Rob Brown or his group for protection, let alone to take a bullet for me.

    Bottom line? Pretending to be underground but not really is a silly game that adolescent boys play. I grew out of that one when I was a teenager. I am not yet so senile as to rediscover the fun of it.

  6. So, pls correct me if I am wrong, cuz I am not in possession of all the facts…………but I was under the impression that Rob Brown, private investigator, was principally responsible for the apprehension of the gang of criminals who robbed and assaulted a restaurant/bar in Coronado several times………following leads which the national police had failed to do, as usual…………but then, finally acting on said p.i.’s leads, did eventually detain these criminals……………if indeed this is the case, then I would say that it is proof positive that his services, or those like him are indeed in need……………….as to Don Winner and his minions, that would be a whole new thread wouldn’t it? And jeovanna Garcia, pls keep it coming………You are the type of Panamanian who gives me hope…………wish there were many more……………………

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