September 9, 2015
I forgot to mention this in my previous articles about Medellin.
You should not be surprised to see armed guards carrying guns in their hands. My brother and I were sitting in the Santa Fe Mall in Medellin and we saw two guards go into a retail store and come out a bit later carrying cash. One guard, who was carrying the cash, also was carrying a pistol. The other guard had both hands on his shotgun.
My brother and I were trying to decide if this is simply meant as a deterrent to wanna-be thieves or if they really felt it was unsafe to carry the cash from a retail store to their armored car. I wonder how often, if ever, they actually get ambushed.
I remember that, when I was in Nicaragua a few years ago, there was a guard holding a threatening looking gun guarding the door of a bakery. The friend who was with me made a crack that the cakes in the bakery must be really good. Maybe shopkeepers regularly get shaken down in places like that. I don’t know.
In Panama, there are armed guards in the doorways of banks. So, if you’re planning to open up a bank account at a bank in Latin America, you should be prepared to see guards with guns, not only at the bank, but elsewhere, too.