A political demonstration breaks out and disrupts travel arrangements of a North American corporate executive.

Ruben E. Mena - LATAM and
South America Outside

Ruben Mena Weighs in On The Security Risks Arising in South America

August 4, 2023
Ruben E. Mena of AFIMAC Global poses for a photo.

Ruben E. Mena of AFIMAC Global

Ruben Mena Details The Security Risks Arising in South America

Political demonstrations in Brazil have subsided, but flash protests in the country’s major cities remain very common. There are so many political demonstrations in Brazil, either political or labor-related. However, the ongoing and constant risk is the criminal situation in the major cities; that’s the biggest risks to our risk to any traveler visiting Brazil. It’s not uncommon in São Paulo to have 15,000 people participate in a political demonstration and that’s the problem because it’s so spontaneous.

Unprepared travelers can get caught in the middle of these demonstrations that could turn violent. Even if it’s not directed at you, protestors have a tendency to overturn vehicles, block specific roads, and even set vehicles on fire. This is why it’s so important to have a trained, professional, local driver who can see detect these risks unraveling and avoid getting you involved.,

The corporate travel risks are not so much related to being targeted for who you are or the company you represent but is instead tied to an opportunistic crime. Wrong place at the wrong time; seasoned corporate travelers have a mentality that they know the area and how to get around, but it’s a big mistake. No matter how seasoned of a traveler you are, opportunistic crime in Brazil applies to everybody.

Many folks have taken the attitude of hopping into an Uber for a business meeting. Unfortunately, these drivers are not trained in any kind of security awareness, and it’s a big issue for executives. AFIMAC recommends, at a minimum, depending on the level of executive, to take adequate measures by utilizing a secure and professionally trained driver from AFIMAC. At a minimum corporations should be utilizing a local driver that knows the region and is trained in techniques to better secure executives during their trip.

All our drivers are trained in evasive and defensive driving, with anti-kidnapping and first responder emergency medical training. The biggest risk for corporate travelers is that of an accident or medical emergency. When you have personnel that is trained to be first responders and can provide treatment, it’s a big plus for any traveler. 

Protests against corporate entities have also spilled beyond the workplace, we are also seeing more targeting of corporate events, shareholder meetings, speaking engagements, and trade shows.

People in the public eye, and not just media, but those who represent well-recognized brands including senior executives are at risk of having their comments misunderstood and amplified. The world is a lot more in tune with what is going on around them. Social media amplifies that information you are going to have to make sure you’re company has built-in security plans to address the security risks related to travel to these places.

Ruben Mena

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