A Caution For Travelers in Canada & Mexico

Frankly, I wouldn’t give you 10 cents for a trip to either, and I don’t know about Canadian laws - they’re at least as crappy and convoluted as our own - but I DO know that Mexican laws are still enforced under the Napoleonic Code. If you’re arrested for any serious crime, you WILL be forced to sign a confession before you go to trial. In Joseph Wambaugh’s 1984 novel LINES AND SHADOWS - about crime on the U.S.-Mexican border - he tells a story about an attempted hit-and-run. A man from here struck down a little girl in Mexico, and then fled to the border, where Mexican cops caught him. He was tied to a chair, and underwent “coercion by Coke” until he signed a confession. Wambaugh remarked that after a couple of these treatments, the man was willing to confess how many times he’d cheated on his wife! BEFORE you even PLAN a trip to ANY foreign country, always check its laws and legal system. My brother - who has a timeshare in Cancun - recently told me that you can only SMOKE in Mexico in outside, specifically-designated places - not even openly on the beach, unless a space is designated. FYI

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P.S. - Here’s a reference to Canadian law. When I was a driver manager and dispatcher, I was called by one of our drivers about to enter Canada from Detroit. He had a 7-year-old DUI conviction, and when Canadian authorities checked him for a criminal record, they immediately ordered him to return to the U.S… I had to find a “clean” substitute to take his load, find another load for the “dirty” one, and at night, it took about two hours. You might want to see if this applies to vacationers, too, although I’m pretty sure it does.

It does pay to investigate and inform yourself of the laws applicable outside the US. Things Americans take for granted in their interactions with the legal system in the US may not apply in foreign lands, even in “civilized” nations. For example, my sister traveled to Italy and bought a bus ticket. She boarded the bus, and soon a Carabinieri boarded the bus and asked to see everyone’s’ tickets. She showed him her ticket, but he said “Ah, but this ticket has not been canceled in the machine at the front of the bus. You must pay me 50 Euros or go to jail.” She paid the 50 Euros and stayed away from Italian public transit.

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And if his extortion plan didn’t work, he might’ve planted drugs on her. We were warned about this during a Med cruise in the '70’s - Americans are easy targets for ANY crime in a foreign land. I wouldn’t pay 10 cents to visit ANY of them, unless I had relatives there to visit. We fought to get OUT of Europe, and had to go back TWICE to SAVE their collective asses. I have NO use for European culture, politics, or ideas - but they DO make nice guns, after all.


My suggestion: Don’t go to Mexico

Personal opinion


I tried to go through Canada to go to Alaska by road. When I got to the border crossing in MT, I was told to turn back over a charge from 20 years ago. It hasnt been on my record for 15 years. Another FYI, be very thorough checking the gun laws where you go if you plan to take them. Canada has gotten VERY strict lately.


If I wanted to vacation, I’d see as much of the U.S. as I could - there are thousands of places here to visit that aren’t the usual tourist-traps. I remember Jack Parr commenting that we liberated France from the Nazis in order to allow American tourists to be swindled on the streets of Paris. The best way to experience Hawaii was to spend a day on the Big Island, and then visit the others like Molokai to get a real experience. Hell - stay HOME on your next vacation, and see everything you can in your own state - or catch up on the chores you’ve been putting off, for a change. These foreigners suck enough $$ from our public’s teat as it is.

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It does, when I was in Washington State a few years ago, we went into Canada and my Cousins Husband wasn’t allowed in because he had a DUI several years earlier.

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I wonder if there is the making of a civil rights case here? What right does the US government have to share US citizens criminal records with a foreign power? I know there are probably all sorts of treaties requiring the sharing of this information but are those treaties violating citizens rights to privacy especially when the crimes don’t involve violent felonies?

At the very least it is clear that our justice system is not very good at purging old minor violations from the system.

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As I’ve said, Canada ia a FOREIGN country - one difference is their imperial gallon - it’s 20% larger than ours, cheaper, and the gasoline is supposedly cleaner, as well. Our drivers were always told to fill up in Canada before they left because of the cost difference and the higher quality. As a foreign government. they can demand whatever they want from ours, in the manner of “good neighbors” - what if they had no extradition agreement with us? More really dangerous criminals would be flooding across our NORTHERN borders. I’m sure this civil rights matter came up decades ago.

Last time I was in Canada, over 15 years ago, the gas was being sold by the liter not the gallon. The per liter price seemed low but actually came to more per gallon even when you took the currency exchange rate into account. At least in the part of Canada I was in.

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I took a 30 day leave with my best friend in the 80’s. We were given a safety brief about the West Pac countries we were going to visit.

They told us that if we got pulled over for something to just add a couple hundred of the local currency in any documents request (a couple of hundred or even thousands of some of the currency was.less than $5.00).

It was just an accepted part of their culture.