miércoles, julio 22, 2009

SMV gets robbed by Spanish Border Police

Recently Victor Wooten has published two controversial videos in his Youtube channel giving a possibly wrong point of view of the Spanish Police.

In the description of the first video he textually says:

"We were traveling from France into the Basque region of Spain when we got stopped at the border by the police. They put something under our bus tires so we couldn't leave and then demanded $2000 Euro (about $2800. US) from us. The border police questioned our two drivers, made them produce all kinds of records, closed down the office threatening to leave us there, and even pretended that they couldn't speak English. They kept us for over an hour. All of our paperwork was up to date and legal, but In the end, we had to pay them the money. It was pretty unbelievable. Thanx to the iPhone, it was all recorded. (This video contains profanity.) "

There are some mistakes in this text and of course in the related video (parts 1 and 2):
  • The ones seen in the video are not Spanish Border Policemen, they are Ertzainas (notice the txapela - red hat on their heads). The Ertzaintza is the Basque Country's own Police and is not allowed to do border controls. One of their duties is to attend traffic and checkpoints for proffesional bus or track drivers
  • Ertzainas do not have to speak English at all. They didn't need to pretend that they don't speak English, simply maybe they didn't speak it
  • According to the spanish law, every foreigner that is fined must stay held until he/she pays the fine. This is done in order to avoid unpaid fines, which is very common since foreign drivers get back to their countries and then refuse to pay, so the spanish police gets its authority lowered
  • The office is not closed to threaten SMV to pay the fine. The bus clock says it's 14:00, which is the office closing time for lunch in Spain
  • It is perfectly legal for spanish policemen to charge fines in their vehicle instead of their office as long as they give the offender the correspondent receipt (they did). This point looks confusing and shady to USA people but it's perfectly normal and legal
  • The replacement driver is charged for driving too many hours 3 weeks ago. European countries have strict laws against excessive proffesional driving in order to avoid traffic crashes due to slept drivers
  • The replacement driver tells Victor that it is illegal to ask him papers and records when he is not driving. This is wrong. The spanish law defines driver as "every person driving the vehicle, even during a short period, or being on board as part of its duty in order to drive it is needed". Since a replacement driver is "on board as a part of its duty in order to drive it is needed", the ertzainas acted according to the law, which allows them to check a driver's papers and records for the last 28 days
  • The amount of the fine is right. It corresponds to a major offense (exceeding maximum driving time in 20%)
I have published this because Victor Wooten does not allow negative comments on his Youtube videos and since this incident is travelling all around the world thanks to the Internet I found very relevant to clarify that this is not a corruption affair or extortion (as the video tags suggests). The assumption of corruption is ridiculous since the ertzainas give the bus driver a receipt for his payment. This wrong interpretation of the facts he was involved in gives a very poor image of our country.

As Marcus Miller has said, the tour company takes the responsability of this incident. The final conclusion for this post is that:

SMV has not got robbed by the Spanish Border Police. It has all been a misunderstading due to Victor Wooten's ignorance of the spanish language and laws.

TalkBass thread about the video

Edit: finally Victor has left some comments in his videos which I reproduce textually:

Hey Everyone, Victor here, nice to see all of your comments. I hope that no one feels offended by these videos. That is not my intention for posting them. But if that is the case. I will have them pulled. As U can see, as strange as it was for us, we were not too upset by the event. I urge U all to look as the videos as pure entertainment and leave any judgement out of it. Some of u have questioned whether I am censoring comments. Nope! If there's no profanity, my guy should let 'em in. Thanx!

Hello All, Victor here. I've never read comments on Youtube before but have enjoyed these. Please take these videos as pure entertainment - That's all. If they are offensive to many of U, I will have them pulled. As U can see, SMV was not too upset about the whole thing. We got over quickly and had a wonderful show that night in Vitoria. Spain is still my favorite country to visit. That won't change. I love the Music, food, and have many friends there. All the best.

12 comentarios:

Anónimo dijo...


Anónimo dijo...

V. Wooten me ha decepcionado bastante. Le consideraba una persona más razonable :-(

Gracias por la entrada, es muy esclarecedora.

BaSsMaN dijo...

Gracias a vosotros por el apoyo.

Thank you for your support.

La Señorita Estropajo dijo...

Disculpen mi ignorancia pero no se quien este señor y no sé hasta dónde llega su influencia vía youtube. Lo que si es cierto es que este post bien debería ser transcrito en algun medio accesible y visible por todos aquellos que igual que tu y que yo, hemos visto sus videos.

Esclarecedor y Justo.

Gorzas dijo...

Una pregunta. ¿Exactamente por qué motivo tenían que pagar la multa? ¿Qué habían hecho mal? Es que no lo llego a entender del todo...


Anónimo dijo...

Porque uno de los conductores había superado las horas permitidas tres semanas antes.

Steve Lawson dijo...

thanks a lot for the explanation. Seems a lot like the initial conversation was grossly misunderstood, and that if indeed the police in question didn't speak any english, that must've exacerbated the situation.

It's really good to have a local perspective on this, but it does show just how scary dealing with foreign police can be. I've been stopped on tour and had the van searched in France before now, and was so grateful that I spoke some French. If it happened to me in almost any other European country I'd be screwed. As a musician, it's great to know as many languages as possible, but not possible to learn the language of every country you go to, sadly...



BaSsMaN dijo...

Thank you Steve for your comment.

Obviously it's impossible to speak every language in the world. On the other side, a tour company should provide translators or at least it shold be correctly informed about each country's law.

At least SMV's tour company has taken responsability of the incident.

Gas dijo...

No os fieis de un tio que hace tiene una coronilla de mil copones y lleva rastas de flequillo para hacer que tiene melonen, sino me creeis mirad su ultimo video didactico. Vergonzoso. Pensaba que era un tio mas inteligente, mucha palabreria y poca inteligencia don wooten. Patetico


PD: felicidades por el post inbass, ole tus huevos!

reading dijo...

It is relase the value and importance of the foreign language...
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reading dijo...

Such a interesting article ,and deal with the police man..
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reading dijo...

I Bienvenido of this pulishing that introduce the reality of the one phase the police man..Its very serious meter..But I thin govt also careful about this..Gracias...
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