American tourist stabbed 10 times in La Boca, Buenos Aires

La Boca: el turista estadounidense asaltado recibió 10 puñaladas y está grave

American tourist Frank Joe Wolek (54) was stabbed 10 times this morning in La Boca, Buenos Aires.

He was attacked by 2 criminals while taking photographs. The camera was dropped and left in the crime scene. I can only assume the intention was to rob the camera. This would be very typical for the area, popular with both tourists and criminals preying on them. If the victim resisted and refused to give up the camera I can see how he could easily get stabbed over it.  A plain clothes police officer in the area confronted the criminals shooting one in the chest while the other managed to escape.

Both the victim and wounded criminal are in critical condition.

This is just a reminder for everyone planning on visiting Argentina or other countries with high levels of violent crime. People plan their trip to these kind of places and 90% of the time it all works out great. But sometimes it doesn’t.

With places like these you really have to know what you’re getting into. I know my country very well, better than any tourist, and I would never be caught in such an area with an expensive camera or cell phone. Tourists simply don’t know any better.

What’s even worse, they don’t know how to react. When unarmed and kept at knifepoint or gunpoint by two criminals you just give them the camera. They are not bluffing and its just not worth getting stabbed or shot over.

It is a rather natural reaction to fight back when people are getting mugged. You see it with women holding on to their purses as they get dragged by snatchers on motorcycles.

Lessons learned:

*If you’re planning on fighting, then do it right. Be armed and keep a constant state of awareness. Chances are doing it will dissuade a good number of potential attackers.

*Now if you’re caught off guard in some 3rd world country then your camera or wallet just isnt worth getting killed over. Give it up and carry on with your life.

*When going to countries that aren’t that safe, plan accordingly. Don’t take anything too fancy, especially cameras. Don’t try to be like the locals, just stick with your group and your guide when wandering around.


Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”


American tourist stabbed 10 times in La Boca, Buenos Aires — 4 Comments

  1. I am of Argentine descent born and raised in the states and go to Argentina often. La boca is a slum with a better paint job and the residents make their living from robbing tourists so they have money to see the local team boca juniors (worst most violent thuggish fans in Argentina). Dont go to la boca ever, even to the games becaus ethe barra brava La 12 will rob you IN THE STADIUM. Go to Palermo, the River Plate stadium , very nice fans, nice part of town and most speak English

  2. Hey. Being a Brazilian who lives in buenos aires. I work in downtown / one of the most visited sites in buenos aires. It’s true, when you are touring around you get distracted. 1 or 2 days every week i bump into a tourist that has been robed.

    Some insite on this case.. the police officer that was dressed as civilian, got locked up for shooting the rober / crazy thing right ? this is how things work here in Argentina. He protected the victim and got locked up. He is already realesed from custody, but shameful thing to put a police man who did his best to catch both robers, and gets locked up.

    He had to shoot both criminals, because when following them one of the took out a gun. being clear self defense .. but it didn’t matter. they encarcelated him.

    Wolek is alright, and already back in the states…

    Regarding the rober who got shot. He passed away on past tuesday. and his accomplice is already locked up. — Boys, I love a happy endding.

    shitty situation, but.. shit happens..

  3. I’m argentinian and I’ve visited Buenos Aires city many times but never gone to La Boca since it’s not worth it! It really is a slum, not too much to see for a tourist (though it’s highly suggested as a must see spot by tourism agencies), and obviously it is not clever to walk around when you know you’re surrounded by potential dangerous thieves. There are plenty of other places to visit, all beautiful and interesting. Just don’t get yourself into “la boca del lobo” (mouth’s wolf) kind of places.

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