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Montachoques Extorsion: Accidents Waiting To Happen In Mexico City

Montachoques Extorsion: Accidents Waiting To Happen In Mexico City
Alidad Vassigh

For drivers in Mexico, the rule of thumb for traffic accidents is simple: el que pega, paga! In other words, the perpetrator of a crash — i.e. the incoming vehicle — pays.

In a country where many are uninsured, that kind of unspoken understanding makes sense. But the pega-paga approach has also created an opportunity for scammers to pocket some ill-gained pesos through a practice known as montachoques, the operative word being choque, Spanish for "crash."

An extortion technique being used increasingly in Mexico City, it involves provoking an accident by halting a car on a busy highway, then demanding compensation from the person who crashed in from behind. When victims are reluctant to pay, they are threatened and sometimes even attacked, a senior police official in the eastern sector of the city recently told the Milenio newspaper.

The official, Luis Martínez Rodríguez, described a typical maneuver as overtaking a car, then suddenly slamming the breaks to provoke a crash. The "injured party" then steps out, sometimes with companions, and demands compensation, with sums ranging from the equivalent of around $70 euros to $1,500.

Two or even three cars may be involved to ensure the victim is trapped into the situation. In one case the driver filmed the "repeated crashes' into his car, calling it an "attempted homicide." Police have identified the city's main ring roads as a choice location for this crime, usually undertaken outside rush hours, to allow maneuvering.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Indigenous Of Russia, The Silent Victims Of Putin's War

The number of indigenous people in Russia has been declining for decades, but the war in Ukraine has accelerated the trend. Already vulnerable, indigenous groups are more likely to be mobilized and bear the brunt of Western sanctions.

Photo of an indigenous woman with children gathers snow for melting in the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous area of Russia

An indigenous woman with children gathers snow for melting in the Yamalo-Nenets autonomous area of Russia

Sonya Savina

While Russia continues its supposed mission to “denazify” Ukraine, back on home turf its own indigenous people are bearing what may be the heaviest consequences of the Kremlin’s war.

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There are 47 indigenous groups living in Russia, some of them with populations of less than a hundred or even a few dozen. The 2021 All-Russian Population Census showed that the number of indigenous people has substantially declined in the last 10 years.

Russian independent news site Vazhnyye Istorii (Important Stories) reports on certain groups that were already on the verge of extinction, and how their situation has gotten even worse after Russia unleashed a full-scale war in Ukraine.

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