Police officer Luis Chocobar
Joe Wolek, the American tourist stabbed in Buenos Aires replied to my post “American tourist stabbed 10 times in La Boca, Buenos Aires”
Message from Joe Wolek:
I just came across this upon looking for info on the event that changed my life as I prepare to head back to Argentina for the court case against my surviving attacker and the officer who came to my rescue. I am Frank Joe Wolek who was stabbed in La Boca. I just want to clarify a few things. Yes, La Boca can be dangerous, but so can any place. This could have happened to me in just about any city in the world if I had been in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is still many great places and people in La Boca. Second, and most important, it really angers me that immediately people think that I was threatened. That is not the case. I was attacked, immediately. There was not threat with the knife as in saying, “Give us your stuff or we’ll stab you!” It was immediate and from behind. In that situation there is nothing to do but try and fight back. It is instinctual. All of this happened in 10 seconds or less. It was only when I actually saw the blade coming out of my body and blood spurting did I totally realize what was happening, and at that point the shock made me freeze and release. For some reason people always think there is an initial threat at a robbery. Even the police and the courts in Argentina still fall back on this belief in my case as if that is how a robbery always takes place. I am certain if there had been an initial threat, and therefore a decision to be made, I would have done the correct thing. Here there was not, and when one is surprised attacked from behind there is nothing else to do but fight back, it is the bodies instinct pure and simple and takes a moment for logic to come into play…
Thank you for sharing your experience with us.
I’m sorry you had to go through such a terrible situation. I remember reading about it when it happened, how the doctors miraculously saved your life. As you may probably be aware of, Matthew Gibbard, a British tourist, was recently killed in Puerto Madero during a robbery attempt outside his hotel. In January this year Swedish tourist Christoffer Persson was shot in the leg during another robbery. He survived thanks to a woman that was passing by that applied a tourniquet using her tshirt but due to the severity of the wound his right leg was amputated below his knee.
About my post regarding your attack, I didn’t mean to offend you in any way. I’ve seen similar situations happen right in front of me several times in Buenos Aires. As you well explain, there’s no warning, no interaction of any kind, they just snatch and if they don’t get it in their first attempt they simply attack the victim. Sometimes even if they do, they attack you still out of pure cruelty.
I’m sorry to hear that that the police and courts in Argentina are acting this way but unfortunately I am not surprised. They always try to blame the victim, or at least imply it partially. “He resisted…” is one of their tricks so as to make it sound that way. In reality its people being attacked and caught completely by surprise, as you well say, not resisting but “freezing” due to the complete shock and surprise of the attack.
Things are not looking good at all in Argentina, especially now with the “new” old people back in power who are well known for being “garantistas”, always blaming the victim. I’m sure you’re aware of the ordeal and persecution suffered by the police officer that shot your attacker, Luis Chocobar, accused of murder, for shooting the man that stabbed you. In any other normal country Chocobar would receive a medal and considered a hero, but Argentina is just hopeless and keeps embarrassing us.
Again, I’m sorry for what you had to go through and please accept my apologies if anything I said sounded in any way offensive, it certainly wasn’t my intention. In this website we try to learn from these situations, see what could have been done better or at least try to learn to avoid these situations to some extent, but we also know very well that its easy to look at these cases from the comfort of our homes while sipping tea and not caught by surprise by a vicious criminal in the middle of the day.
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