Living in Honduras or Guatemala as a foreigner is sometimes hard, mostly fun and never boring. This Blog is about more than just the oddities of my years in the not-so tranquil, cobble-stoned town of Copán Ruinas and, more recently, Antigua Guatemala. Hence Serendipity, the gift of finding without seeking…

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The FBI, CIA and Secret Service in Copán Ruinas

The CIA, Mossad and other international secret services really have very extended payrolls and a great deal of their employees seem to choose Copán Ruinas as a vacation or retirement destination. I have met many of them.
Years ago there was a Belgian guy who worked for the Mossad and generously treated all his new friends in Copán to beers and exciting stories about him freeing the world of evil. The only problem was that he had no cash, just a credit card and in those days it was cash only. No problem, he would go to the bank the day after but of course there was always a minor problem preventing him from getting his money. He promised the owner of the hotel he was staying at that he would pay “mañana”, and the owner said that was fine as long as he would allow him to “kindly” keep his passport in the safe for him. A few days later the Belgian guy was gone and left behind his passport and many open bar bills. We never saw him again until a few months later his face (behind bars!) appeared in the news paper. The police had locked up an undocumented Belgian (“His passport was with friends in Copán…) who had been messing around with the mayor’s daughter, and well, that was the wrong man’s daughter to mess around with. As far as we know the Mossad never came to smooth things over. Not that we would know if they did…
The CIA or FBI agents usually confess their important position within the agency ten minutes and a few beers after you meet them in a bar. The announcement is always introduced by the sentence: “You know, I shouldn’t tell you this, but actually I’m a FBI/CIA /SSA agent…” These agents are usually middle-aged, big bellied and with red noses that imply a tendency to drink too much too often. But of course, who wouldn’t with such a stressful job. If you ask them what they’re doing in Copán, they tell you they can’t say anything about it, because, well, it is a secret… But they always do assure you that if there is any problem, they’ll be the guy to help you out. Sigh. How relieved I feel to be backed up by a bunch of middle-aged, potbellied agents! But no, sorry, I won’t sleep with you. Real-Life secret agents are not my thing. I rather go to bed with a espionage thriller in which the agents never give away their true identity to complete strangers. But then again, they’re usually very good looking and don’t need their job to talk women into their beds. But that, of course, is just fiction…

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