Living in a house of cards


A house of cards is a structure created by stacking playing cards one on top of the other. It is also an expression that refers to an empty structure or institution, one that is inconsistent, shaky, and at constant risk of collapse. A house of cards is built on a shaky foundation and is so fragile it crumbles if you remove even one necessary element, or if it is blown by the wind.

In Nicaragua, the current government is built like a tower of corruption made out of red and black playing cards—hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades, and the inevitable jokers. The jokers are the puppets that blindly obey the orders of whoever pulls their strings. The diamonds and clubs of lesser value are the people, including the young, who hold up the higher-value cards at the top of the tower—the king of spades and queen of hearts. These two figures, in their uncontrollable delirium for power, have sweated so much corruption that they have undermined the foundation of their own structure and turned their house of cards into wet paper.

Officials who supposedly support the current government have few personal or professional capacities. They are motivated by fear, unconditional obedience, and dependence on their leaders. The rulers of the current administration are immoral and have no vision of nation; they are not interested in building functioning institutions. These concepts do not exist in their minds, but we hear them in their speeches, even though it means nothing in their practice of government.

For those perched at the top of the house of cards, politics is a permanent game of give-me-this-and-I’ll-give-you-that, like an exchange of cards or chips in a poker game. It’s a casino policy where the house always wins. In this political game, there are no values or scruples, only a sense of greed for money and lust for power, where they play all-in every move.

Illegitimacy is covered with huge billboards, eternal Christmas trees in the capital, and a family-owned media empire that magnifies their false grandeur while hiding their weaknesses. Of course, we cannot forget the royalties used to buy the consciences to the so-called foolish people who believe the propaganda hoax.

The necessary and inevitable element that has served to sustain this fragile house of cards is the oil money coming from Venezuela. But with the ace of spades gone, the house of cards has become increasingly wobbly. In short time, those remaining at the top will want to wipe out the banks and private companies that have been accomplices in the great casino game, like workers in a cathouse.

When the easy money is gone, they will strangle the people with taxes, increase the cost of living, and squeeze the national economy even tighter to compensate for the disappearing aid; this is already happening.

The corruption, ineptitude, and inefficiency of the government, along with its dependence on an external supply of money, suggests the house of cards is an increasingly fragile and unsustainable structure. We, the citizens, must be conscious of our civic responsibility and immense collective power we have. We must work to start building a new solid base of power so that we remain on our feet when the house of cards falls down around us.


Cristiana Guevara-Mena is a lawyer and young blogger living in Managua. A version of this article ran on the author’s blog, Ensayos Politicos, a bilingual blog on national politics and youth issues.


  • Nicagringo

    Cristiana is wonderful at taking shots at the current government without any solutions. What is really reprehensible about people like her is that she would rather see the country fail to prove that her hate for the Sandinistas is well placed.

    She is just like the folks that shout from the rooftops in the US about the government without solutions. In addition, she makes matters worse by not acknowledging the accomplishments of the government. We have very little use for people like her because it breeds more division and hate instead of solutions.

    While I too am concerned about the aid from Venezuela ending, I also know that the government has a plan to get off the aid and it is not seen as a permanent solution. She could have examined the possibility that the government has a plan and weighed the possibility that it could be successful which would have been interesting to read. Instead she continues to spread hateful rhetoric that is all too common in politics.

    • Cristiana Guevara-Mena

      I give solutions to the people, not to the government. Sorry.

    • car

      “hateful rhetoric?” “breeds more division?”

      based on your near perfect english, i’m guessing you are a fairly well educated american. an obviously delusional one at that.

      what wonderful accomplishments has the sandinista government achieved–without the use of borrowed/stolen money?

      since you claim to know the plan, why not enlighten us all?

      • Cristiana Guevara-Mena


    • gianc ingacio

      Dear NICAGRINGO, have you been to rural Nicaragua? Have you seen the so call solutions the government has put in place for poverty stricken families? Have not seen the folks that appeal to one’s conscious when begging for a cordoba at a traffic stop or places like el malecon, granada, masaya and the many urban cities of Nicaragua? When was the last time you stepped into a pubic school? When was the last time you had to endure the mistreatment and long hours of wait at a public hospital?
      Nothing has changed except the unsustainable cost of living, it’s way beyond people’s means to be able to sustain their families. Where are these accomplishments you’re talking about? Are you part of the chosen few to have inside info for the backup plan the government has to get off the petrodollars? Read about how Adolf Hitler was able to brain wash the youth in Germany, you’d be shock to learn about the similarities between Nazi driven Germany and Daniel’s form of government.

  • George Harris

    I appreciate this blogger is attempting to write an article that will inform and persuade us that the present government is a disaster. The problem is that the article is so poorly presented that it has the opposite effect. I can not help but think of the enormous strides forward Nicaragua has made in the last 7 years. I may disagree with the process with which the Sandinistas use to govern but I would be delusional to not acknowledge the spectacular advances that have occured since 2006. There are many wonderful excuses why the previous governments had such a difficult time achieving much but the facts are irrefutable. And to hear again that the previous governments failures were Ortega’s fault has gotten a little stale. I suggest in the future the tactic could be to acknowledge the successes and give sage advice on how to improve Nicaragua.

    • gianc ingacio

      Here’s a good advise, give Daniel and his illegitimate government the boot!

  • mike

    The ignorance of Nicagringo and the others to the corruption that plague this country is laughable. They criticize a voice that refuses to be silenced in regards to this. They blame this voice for not having a solution to the greed and selfishness that exists in these leaders…. Mr Harris, in the last 7 years only the roads have gotten better….. so the expats and the Nica elite can get to SJDS quicker….but has education and hope for this new generation of young Nicaraguans gotten better….. no. This author is brave enough to speak the truth about the cancer that plagues her country……the solution that the delusional Mr Gringo is seeking is exactly what this author is doing …..not to be silenced to the reality of her world, or government … as expats lets ignore this reality… off our pensions…..and criticize the messenger

    • Cristiana Guevara-Mena

      Thank you.

  • Nicagringo

    Ok..lets take a different approach…please describe a form of government globally that Nicaragua can model itself after and support how it can be implemented successfully in Nicaragua. I look forward to replying to that post.

    • Cristiana Guevara-Mena

      How about REAL democracy? Where the institutions are unpoliticized including the police, where the opposition is not interested in themselves but in the people, where the price of gas and electricity is not up to the heavens because the government sells it to us at international price and they buy it cheap to Venezuela… and the list goes on!

  • sayayuca

    “But with the ace of spades gone, the house of cards has become increasingly wobbly.”
    “Nicaragua va por el rumbo correcto, opinó el 51 por ciento de la población del país, de acuerdo con la última encuesta dada a conocer este jueves por la firma CID Gallup Latinoamérica.El sondeo fue realizado entre el 3 y el 8 de mayo, en su mayoría con personas con más de 16 años, dijeron fuentes de la firma encuestadora.
    La última encuesta de Cid Gallup, realizada entre el 3 y el 8 de mayo de este año, a un universo de 1210 personas reveló que el Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, FSLN, es la organización política preferida por el 49 por ciento de los entrevistados.”
    I didn’t say it. And you can’t accuse Cid-Gallup of being biassed towards the sandinistas.
    Now tell me, who lives in a house of dreams? The Nicaraguan people that so express their opinion, or this poor minded girl with a huge social resentmet.
    By the way, wasn’t she a candidate for a political party that did not even get a 0.3% of the national vote?

    • Cristiana Guevara-Mena

      In the 2012 elections, there was a 70% abstention. What does that tell you? Since we’re talking numbers….

      • sayayuca

        The Organization of American States ratified, that the results of the Nicaraguan general elections of 2011, won by Daniel Ortega Saavedra with more than 62 percent of the vote, corresponded to the count realized by this and other organizations during their electoral observer mission in Nicaragua.

        The head of accompanying mission of the European Union (EU), Luis Yáñez called the triumph of Daniel Ortega and the Sandinista Front in the Nicaraguan General Elections indubitable and ruled out any possibility of fraud during them.

        This from the European Union report. about the 2011 general elections in Nicaragua:
        “Given that the official Voter Register is extremely inflated since it has not been cleaned nor updated, it is difficult
        to accurately estimate the turn‐out of the 2011 elections. The CSE referred to 3,303,831 as the number of ‘real’
        voters. This figure supposedly refers to the number of ‘real’ eligible citizens who are registered and living in the
        country. On the premise that the figure is correct, turn‐out for the presidential election would be approximately
        82%, a much higher rate than in previous elections in Nicaragua. However, there are reasons to doubt such a
        high turn‐out figure.”

        Now, let’s say the CSE over-estimated the participation by a 10%, which is the must anybody will contest, that still puts the participation at 72%.

        Your numbers need review.

        • Cristiana Guevara-Mena

          Who’s the head of the OAS? Insulza?

  • Cristiana Guevara-Mena

    Please visit my blog, I have more articles, some are published, and some are unpublished.

  • mike

    Well, right now the responses are running 50-50, which is to say half of them were not written by Cristiana Guevara-Mena herself. But she tips the scales her way when you count the article itself.

  • Ken

    I think this is one of your better pieces. True, it is biased, but then that is the nature of an opinion piece. The house of cards metaphor works, even illuminates some aspects of the government and society well, and is carried through nicely. I like the article and believe it makes some good points.

    However, just as a critical reader with perhaps the opposite bias, I identify two substantive flaws.

    The first is your characterization of the current administration as “immoral and hav[ing] no vision of nation; they are not interested in building functioning institutions. These concepts do not exist in their minds.”

    I just don’t think this is true. Granted, the “morality” is questionable, but I’m reminded of Jesus’ remark to the effect that “he who is without sin can cast the first stone.” If morality is a criterion for rulers, I doubt you’d like any. Then too, there are different moralities. I suspect that the administration simply embraces a different morality than you affirm, not that it is immoral. Calling the rulers “immoral” is a bit of a cheap shot.

    Granted also, the administration doesn’t seem too keen on building institutions that function in the way most renditions of democracy believe they should, but I see it actively building some institutions that function democratically by its understanding of democracy. Certainly the “concept” of functioning institutions exists in “their minds.”

    Mostly, I can’t believe you charge that the administration has “no vision.” My goodness, it’s heavy on what Bush the First in the US called “the vision thing.” You may disagree with the vision, but charging that the administration lacks vision strikes me as simply wrong.

    So I think you set up a straw man at the outset. Mind, this is rhetorically effective if your goal is to rally your own troops, but it turns off anyone that doesn’t already share your blanket contempt for the current administration.

    The second substantive flaw is to have to use the future tense for the bulk of your criticisms. For all I know your crystal ball may be right and all the bad things you forecast will come to pass, but as a critical reader I can’t help noticing that your criticisms are mostly conjectures about what will happen, not what has happened. I would be more persuaded by criticisms of what has already happened. The rest is speculation.

    So you didn’t persuade me, but I think if I already agreed with you I would find this a strong piece. It is well-presented and makes some good points.

    • Cristiana Guevara-Mena

      Well, what can you expect of a president who was an ex-bank robber, a rapist of his own daughter in law, the richest man in the country… etc etc? You can’t falsely accuse him of anything because everything is true.

  • Cristiana Guevara-Mena

    Thank you everyone for your comments. And expats, welcome to my country, I hope you enjoy your stay. For those of you who are foreigners and are “pro-government”, I wonder if you would like and approve a system like this in your own country?

  • Kelvin

    Daughter in Law? No.

    Adopted daughter yes.

    Natural parent: Jorge Narvaez Parajón (deceased) and Rosario
    Murillo Zambrano.

    Became Zoilamérica Ortega Murillo when adopted by Daniel Ortega Saavedra in the year 1986.

  • Nicagringo

    If Cristiana doesn’t believe or acknowledge the opinion polls of the popularity of the President then she is a fool. I learned a long time ago that when you argue with a fool…there are two fools in the room. So signing off…

    • Cristiana Guevara-Mena


  • Adolfo


    Most of Ortega’s family runs the major news outlets on TV and radio… you can manipulate your public image when you can filter and selectively choose what gets attention and aired. This is why his popularity is so high.

  • mike

    No country or system is perfect…but I feel sorry for the men and women who fought, sacrificed and died in their “revolution”, hoping to give their children a better life, only to have another “Dictator” take over. I feel sorry for their children who’s hope is being stolen by the greed and the corruption that plagues this country’s government. These young people need jobs….where will these come from….foreign investment? As a investor in Nicaragua, I will say from personal experience, and from the stories of other investors, you’re a fool to invest here. This is not because of the people or the potential, because that is unlimited… is because of the corruption. This country is a haven for individuals aware that influence can be bought for next to nothing…..allowing them to do what they wish, at the expense of their investors or partners

    My property was taken by a replacement judge executing an illegal order, on a day she wasn’t even authorized to be the judge…..My attorney who filed a formal complaint, was suspended by the Supreme Court for a year without due process. What investor would put their money at risk in such an environment. If Mr Gringo wants a solution heres my suggestion….Have the government investigate all the investment fraud that is occurring down here. Look at every development to make sure its legal….that every contractor has correct accounting. Make this an environment where the investor is protected and the investment is safe from the blatant fraud that currently exists…..that will be the first step in creating the jobs that this country needs…..

  • car

    nicagringo drank the kool-aid. his opinion is worth about the same as the pastel t-shirt wearing automatons “guarding” the rotundas for 200 cordobas; the same as the bands of ignorants roaming the country in garishly painted sandinista-provided school buses to appear at “rallies;” the same as the blue-shirted vigilantes that were dispatched to counter the peaceful opposition protests prior to the election who resorted to violence while the national pigs stood by watching and made no arrests. he probably lives in government funded housing, that was built with government money, paid to an “independent” contracting company which just happens to be owned by a high ranking sandinista official (his name escapes me at the moment).

  • tar

    Thank you Christiana. Unfortunately, the acceptable form of doing business here is by paying bribes, from the rank and file to the top. If you dont pay you dont play. The level of corruption is suffocating

    • Cristiana Guevara-Mena

      Exactly! Thank you for reading me!

  • Kelvin

    My Nica wife and I have operated a small yet high profile business here in Nicaragua for several years. We have not paid a dime to anyone.

    Most of the comments on these blogs are from people who would not be able to find the trenches, let alone get in them and roll their sleeves up.

    This country still rewards good ideas, hard work, good business practices and people who pay their way.

    So you can go back to your porches or ‘Lazy Boys’ and yap all you like.

    “Nicaragua, you want something done?, ask a busy person”.


    • tar

      well Kelvin, I guess running a pulperia has its benifits. Who is more likely to be pulled over by the transito? a 1978 datsun pick up truck or a new toyota landcruiser with surfboards on the roof?

  • Kelvin

    tar, thanks for showing your true colors.

    • tar

      simply put. If there is percieved value, you will pay

  • mick mordell

    Ms. Guevara-Mena…Your metaphor of a house of cards is inappropriate to the reality of Nicaragua; a house of cards is fragile and apt to collapse at any moment; the three pillars of Nicaraguan society however, are firmly anchored in a foundation poured deep and hard in ignorance, corruption, and blind faith. Those three pillars of which I speak, Government, Church, and Family, can only reflect what lies beneath them in that foundation: the Government will tell you what to think, the Church will tell you what to believe, the Family will tell you what to do. The end result is a Crisis of Imagination; an absence of the slightest independent thinking. The Government, the Sandinistas, exploit and manipulate this subservience magnificently.
    Too many here—you included, I believe, fail to see the forest for the trees, often casting your hopes on improved and increased education as the way forward to a better Nicaragua. Unfortunately, education, and the educational system can only serve its masters: those three pillars of which I speak, and which are inextricably linked, arm in arm.
    Which brings another factor into the equation, that of the tiny but powerful oligarchy, and upper class Nicaraguan who benefit greatly, or so they believe–however short-sighted that belief may be—from the status quo: semi-literate, poorly educated, terribly exploited masses who provide what is tantamount to slave labor. They have no interest in upsetting the apple cart, much less shaking the pillars of social order.
    In so many ways, it’s the Catholic Church, in this most Catholic of countries, that carries the greatest Burden of Blame. Corrupt to the core, spreaders of superstition and ignorance by a small group of wee men with closed and wee minds, it’s no wonder that Daniel and his cohorts have cynically chosen to join arms with the Church, and to learn well how to manipulate through the blind obedience it commands, its tools of propaganda and superstition that keep the sheep well herded.
    So firmly rooted are these social orders, that many I know, myself included, call Nicaragua the Land Without Hope.

    • Cristiana Guevara-Mena

      Interesting. If to you Nicaragua is “the land without hope”, then, why are you here? To take advantage? Please enlighten us.

      • mick mordell

        I’m here because the person I care for most is here…and. Nicaragua has provided great material for my novel The Bad Girls of Granada, and the very soon to be published The Coldest Kiss in Granada…nothing short of armed revolution, including the destruction of the Church will change the country–and that ain’t happening any time soon…sorry.

  • mick mordell

    In response to Kelvin, who I’m guessing here, is in Granada: It’s first of all a huge mistake to view the country through the distorted lens of Granada…Nicaragua does not incubate new thinking or good ideas…it rewards those who are in a position to exploit an uneducated and unskilled labor force that will work long long hours–for peanuts

  • Kelvin

    Christiana agreed enthusiastically with the comment that “the acceptable form of doing business here is by paying bribes, from the rank and file to the top. If you don’t pay you don’t play. The level of corruption is suffocating”

    “Exactly! Thank you for reading me!” she replied.

    So then Christiana, a simple question, who did you have to pay to play?

    How much is a seal (or I think 14 seals or something ridiculous on the old system) on your certificate to practice law?

    That is what you meant right, about the corruption and the pay to play?

    Or maybe like so may comments on here, it was just a generalization and you of course didn’t and don’t pay bribes, just everybody else!!

    • Cristiana Guevara-Mena

      Excuse me…. What? I’m sorry, bur you have no idea what you’re talking about. Do you know that I had to wait 2 years to get my lawyer’s license after I graduated (I do not have the notary one yet) because I do not belong to the party? Please inform yourself before you say anything. Do lawyers in your country wait that long?

      • Cristiana Guevara-Mena

        You have some nerve to defend something that you don’t know. Did you have to wait 2 years or more to practice what you studied? (Some people wait 7 or more) just because you don’t belong to the party or refuse to bribe? Have you any idea what that feels like? No, right? I would love to be in your place, receiving a pension from the US and living in a 3rd world country just because it’s cheaper. Of course I would defend the government because it gives me a good life, no? I would do the same! But don’t you dare judge me, you have no idea what it’s like to be a Nicaraguan.

        • Kelvin

          I am not American, I do not receive a pension. My Nica wife and children know what its like to be Nicaraguan. I can only observe what its like.

  • Kelvin

    Oh, here are the true colors coming out again. So Cristiana, you can come on this board and accuse the whole of Nicaragua of paying bribes… “pay to play”… but when challenged yourself about it you have a hissy fit.

    And Counsel, seeing as you asked about where I came from, you wouldn’t last five minutes in a courtroom where I came from. You opened the door to be questioned about the very thing you were accusing every body else of. I could just imagine how you would get taken apart by a Crown Court Judge (UK) when you accused “the system” of being corrupt “but not me, Your Honor”.

    Cristiana, if you have any aspirations about getting into politics, I suggest you develop a thicker skin and lose a bit of the underlying “Americans go home” attitude. It comes out when you get riled up if someone disagrees with you.

  • mike

    Kelvin……..Why are you attacking the messenger……not everyone has the dishonesty, lack of integrity or money to waste, to pay a bribe for their benefit at the expense of another…….Kelvin, You are in a unique position with your paper the Del Sur to do something about the corruption….. by reporting it…..why don’t you expose the handful of ex pats that are destroying the investment climate in SJDS through their continuous fraud…..we know who they are don’t we?……..It seems to me this young attorney has more courage then you in seeking and TELLING the truth…..and you’re a reporter!

    lucky for me you have a thick skin and won’t get riled up if you disagree with this……which I know you will….

  • Kelvin

    Mike, the national papers here covered your story, what did it change?
    You know what we do here Mike, a bi-lingual community newsletter focusing on promoting tourism. We have no more responsibility to expose fraud than Sylvia Sanchez’s pulperia has to feed people. We are a private business and the publisher sets the trend, not me. Mike, you make a living out of selling securities. You choose to make your own money on gambling that markets will go down, I forget the name for it but some would say you are a purveyor of human misery, making money from other peoples failures. I am sure you have an answer for people who tell you what you should invest in.

    Maybe what you shouldn’t have done is invest in a guy that you had met on vacation and had only known for 3 weeks before you started writing cheques for thousands of dollars. But then Mike what do we know down here eh? We are just a “Bunch of Losers”, your words, not mine.

  • mike

    Kelvin, hope you are well, first….a trader buys and sells securities…. the other party paid for those news articles to express only their position… and finally I described everyone, including myself as misfits….not losers,…..even though some might have been….however, none of this is the issue.

    Your newspaper, reports on tourism and SJDS events. You provide an excellent source of information of what is effecting the local community. It appears that you turn a blind eye to the corruption and fraud that exists in this community, as it doesn’t pertain to be news, this is where I disagree with you.

    Corruption and fraud is a cancer on our local community. SJDS as the rest of the Nicaragua needs jobs for its youth. Jobs are primarily created through investment. Weather you are building your vacation home or opening a business, this investment creates jobs for the community. What percentage of expats do you know with a story about being ripped off….some worst then others…I say 90%. It also seems to be the same players or developers who are executing the different scams….and whats worse is the community knows who they are and allows it…..they allow it since their is no forum to stop it.

    Our local solution could be in your hands….on your Del Sur web site you could provide that forum. A site page like trip advisor where a person, devlopment , contractor, lawyer, whatever, can be judged by the community with either praise or rejection… keep people honest….This would allow a potential investor with the knowledge of making a better decision and who to associate with…..this is called transparency…..and it is needed to get the investment and jobs to SJDS…..this not only a worthy story….its a worthy cause

  • Kelvin

    Why don’t you do something like this:

    You don’t need the local rag, just real investors trying to actually solve a problem.

    A general rule is that “As soon as the lawyers get involved, you have lost”.

    Nicaragua is no exception.

    • car

      wow, amazing! a group of gringos bought property in nica from another group of gringos and got ripped off. who wouldda thunk it?

      read through that blog and all i can advise is you had better do more than just form a loose HOA. without good title, it’s only a matter of time before the sandis come down and claim “their” property. actually, that may happen anyway, so why bother…

      best of luck to you.

  • mike

    Kelvin… the blog of Rancho Papayal ….. which is also the typical story for every development in the area, and it confirms two things, the need for a community blog on this topic, and the damage fraud is doing to the local community. How many additional homes would have been built in that development in the past or future if it was legit. …..This typical land fraud is holding back growth throughout SJDS, as it freezes this land for construction from the lot owners who were planning on building. How much construction would be occurring right now if this issue was addressed….How many Nicaraguan families would be better off if they had a member working on a job site

    As this development created this forum to tackle this problem, the SJDS community as a whole could also……corruption is not a faceless crime….it effects everyone… it holds back growth and JOBS

  • Kelvin

    Mike, I posted the blog! Perhaps you meant “I read the blog”.

    Anyhow, IMHO, I actually think it works because it is not a generic blog. It is specific to the development in question without making the general statements we see so often like “everybody is this” and “everything is that”.

    How much of this sort of stuff did you read before you invested? There were plenty of examples already, even before you came along.

  • mike

    It wasn’t my intention of kidnapping this blog with this particular issue, but it is related to the authors article…..and Iam seeking a simple local solution to a complex issue. Social media has created sites like yelp, which assists and informs. It gives consumer reviews of professionals and services that are used by the community……when I invested in 06 there was nothing to help the investor through the Nicaraguan mine fields…..and there is still nothing…..

    But in the land of the modern world, yelp and other social media sites are available and helpful……Kelvin, you created a brand with the Del sur…..its a community newspaper and web site focusing on the local issues……maybe on your website for the community sake you will consider this idea. Different topic areas….and see what organic growth could occur……these hits to your site could be helpful to you, your brand, and of course the community……thanks for listening ……

    • car

      the problem is, del sur is ostensibly a publication to promote sjds. how bad would it be to report on all the problems in the area. and i’m sure ome of the advertisers in the mag are real estate agents–the same ones that are in one way or another involved in these frauds. it sickens me to see remax, century 21 and the like down here, shamelessly promoting property with questionable title, developments with questionable futures etc. i never like real estate agents and i never will. they are concerned with one thing only: their commission. and they will do whatever it takes to get it. and yes, i’m generalizing and not every r.e. agent is bad. but especially in nica where practically no one has any liability in the case of fraud, one has to be just a tad more careful.

      the few times i met with r.e. agents and pressed them on title issues, they always managed to skirt the issue. exactly at that moment i walked away, no matter how interested i might have been.

      while the idea of having a website devoted to fraud announcements is a good one, many people won’t bother to look. the old adage caveat emptor will always apply yet there will always be a group that fail to do their homework. innocent retirees, over-anxious well off vacationers, etc will invariably listen to some remax, prudential r.e. agent in nica and plunk down a chunk of cash on a bad deal, only to lose it later on or be saddled with problems like the folks in rancho papayal.