I was at a client today when I remembered that David was due to arrive to Caracas circa 1430, so I called him to his brand-new-venezuelan-GSM-cellphone and I found out that he was in problems. In big, dark, awful problems.
As I told in previous posts, he went to San Cristóbal (near the border with Colombia) to visit his girl and know the city. He departed from Caracas in a bus on Friday night and arrived on Saturday moing. He spent the whole weekend there, and in Monday he was due to leave San Cristóbal through the Mayor Buenaventura Vivas Military Airbase, in a civilian airplane.
He arrived just on time for his flight, rushing to take the plane on time, and he was stopped by two so-called Inmigration Officials who demanded to see his passport. He recently got a new one from the Passport Office in Mexico City, so he had a brand new passport with the Venezuelan Entry Stamp (Mexicans don’t need a visa to enter Venezuela)
ONIDEX, the National Office for Inmigration. Praised for lots of people for fighting against Passport Corruption, kidnaps people in San Cristobal.
The Officials told him that his passport was a fake, and they told him that, from this time on, he was under arrest. They made him leave the Airport quickly and took him in a civilian vehicle with no identifications. They started the trip to San Cristóbal City (1 hour away from the Airport in a very scary road) and they kept telling him that his passport was fake (they claimed that the Passport didn’t have the watermarks, and stuff)
Soon their position changed and a common practice in Venezuelan officials started: extorsion. They told him that there were “several ways to fix the problem”, and asked him what was in his backpack (which had a laptop, but he denied it): they were demanding money, and David wasn’t prone to do that.
National Guard. Doesn’t have a /proc/clue about anything.
They drove David to the Inmigration Office in San Cristóbal and told him that they “made” some tests to the passport and they determined that the passport was fake. They told David that their “Commander” told they that he should be deported into Colombia, since he was a “very important member of a Cartel that they were willing to capture”
DISIP: the Venezuelan Political Police. They were helpful in this episode, but they’re not angels.
Finally, hours after that charade of Officials telling him funny laws, stupid suppositions and wanting him to give them money, they left David in the Bus Terminal in San Cristóbal, where he was able to talk to Ana, from Debian Venezuela, which picked him up and went back to the Airport. The two “Officials” weren’t there anymore, and he had a last problem with the National Guard which had stupid suppositions about his trip, and stuff (this is common, but at least it’s not illegal) before he was able to get into the plane.
Being in Caracas, I was really worried. Between Ana, my mother and me we were able to move several people to check David status in the Airport (my mother called four members of the Venezuelan FAA, I called the Venezuelan CIA and Ana called the Vicechancellor) and this probably saved David’s life and money, since the “Officials” might have been scared by the movement of people caring about David.
He’s safe now, back in Caracas, in home. He has all his stuff and his health is OK (yet he was scared when he arrived, which I fully understand)
Why am I writing this post? I’m really conceed about what happened to David, and I want to make a public statement on this. Somehow, we venezuelans got used to this kind of practices in our Country. Probably 40 years of pseudo-democracy with messy goveors helped, maybe it’s a matter of education and culture. I don’t really care about this, but I do care about what they’re doing with the people in my Country.
Today, President Chavez declared that a dance against corruption was going to start. I think it’s the fourth time he’s making something about corruption, and he’s failing. There’s a gang of people in San Cristobal, Mr. President, who tries to rob and scare the visitors. They should be in jail. They arrested somebody illegally. It’s forbidden in our Constitution to arrest somebody without having proofs to do it (we have one of the best Constitutions in the World, experts say, but we don’t have people who obey it). If you’re going to arrest an alien, you need to have a Public Prosecutor in place, writing down a legal document and guaranteeing the safety of the detained. This people should be in jail.
Though, as my mother later said to David, two awful Venezuelan people kidnapped David, but probably twenty Venezuelan people quickly acted to find out what was happening. We might be a Third World Country, but we use to be able to get out of our problems by our own. And, hell it’s rewarding.
I want to apologize in the name of all venezuelans to David and to make a clear statement against corruption: we venezuelan won’t tolerate more corruption. We’ve grown between that, buying places in a line to get our National ID Card, paying one million bolivares to get a Passport appointment. We’re sick of this. This is not the great Venezuela we live in. Please, losers, shoot yourselves. Or eat rat poison, whichever makes less stains.