Checked today with the video team and there definitely will not be any video from the Margarita retreat. The fastest up-link speed is 100k and they need at least 250K for a video signal to go out.
There has got to be a better way. Maybe no more retreats in Margarita? The security issues affect everyone.
What could possibly be worth taking that risk? Maybe it is time to move the 20 full-timers who are stranded here to Tenarife.
The Vimala and Agar tranquilizer pills are selling very well in the Gar store. The video feed is the least of our worries.
Here is a picture of me at Tashigar Norte.http://www.melih.com/wp-content/uploads ... tridge.jpg
Here is the security appraisal from the US Dept of State - Travel advisory page for Venezuela.http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_t ... _1059.html
THREATS TO SAFETY AND SECURITY: Violent crime in Venezuela is pervasive, both in the capital, Caracas, and in the interior. The country’s overall per capita murder rate is cited as one of the top five in the world. According to the non-governmental organization , Venezuelan Violence Observatory (VVO), 2011 was the most “violent in Venezuela’s history.” According to its data, there were 19,336 homicides in 2011, up from 13,080 murders in 2010, an increase of almost 30%. The Venezuelan National Counter Kidnapping Commission was created in 2006, and since then, official statistics have shown alarming increases in reported kidnappings throughout the country. According to the governmental Cuerpo de Investigaciones Científicas, Penales, y Criminalísticas (CICPC) statistics, 1,150 individuals were kidnapped in Venezuela during 2011, with reported kidnapping incidents increasing 29% over 2010. However, surveys show that the overwhelming majority of kidnappings and other major crimes are not reported to the police. Police sources indicate that as many as 80% of kidnappings go unreported, meaning that the official figure of 1,150 kidnappings in 2011 is lower than actual numbers. Armed robberies take place throughout Caracas and other cities, including in areas generally presumed safe and frequented by tourists. Well-armed criminal gangs operate widely, often setting up fake police checkpoints. Only a very small percentage of crimes result in trials and convictions. The VVO estimates that less than 10% of homicides result in prosecutions. It attributes this impunity to be one of the major factors for the increase in crime.
Travel to and from Maiquetía Airport, the international airport serving Caracas, can be dangerous, and corruption at the airport itself is rampant. Both arriving and departing travelers, including foreigners, have been victims of personal property theft and muggings in the airport. The Embassy has received multiple, credible reports that individuals wearing what appear to be official uniforms or other credentials are involved in facilitating or perpetrating these crimes. For this reason, U.S. citizen travelers should be wary of all strangers, even those in official uniform or carrying official identification, and should not pack valuable items or documents in checked luggage. Valuable documents and personal items should be kept in carry-on luggage; numerous travelers have reported valuable gifts and other items being stolen from their checked luggage, especially around the holiday season. The Embassy has also received multiple, credible reports of victims of “express kidnappings” occurring at the door of the airport, in which individuals are kidnapped and taken to make purchases or to withdraw as much money as possible from ATMs, often at gunpoint. Furthermore, there are known drug trafficking groups working from the airport. Travelers should not accept packages from anyone and should keep their luggage with them at all times.
The Embassy also has received reports of uniformed airport officials attempting to extort money from travelers, including U.S. citizens, as they go through the normal check-in and boarding process for departing flights. Other reports from U.S. citizens and U.S. government officials state that uniformed individuals have approached travelers immediately upon entering the terminal when exiting Venezuela through Maiquetia Airport. These uniformed individuals reportedly may ask travelers where they are traveling and then escort them to a separate area to inspect their bags for illegal drugs or money. In certain cases U.S. citizens have reported that they were forced to sign documents in Spanish that they did not understand. Travelers should not sign documents that they do not understand, but if they feel they must, they should sign “I do not understand this document” or “I cannot read the above statement” as part of their signature.
If you agree with me that the risk is not worth the benefit, (compared to moving everyone to Tenerife), please send your feelings to Rinpoche.
As to the Tseygyalgar discount for poor people and work study issue,http://tsegyalgar.org/localcenters/tseg ... hchoegya2/
Here Is their, hot off the press, latest price schedule. Please note that it now includes an approach to the the Yellow Gakyil for poor people, and work study.
I still think that the social forms and the business structures of the DCA are not ideal, and my offer to explore the reinvention of the DCA stands. If anyone is interested to collaborate, please PM me.
The key point is that an alternative, second track, more open social form, and lower cost business structure, would allow many more people to get the benefit of Rinpoche's precious Teachings.
Please say your prayers for the Margarita crew.