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Re: <nettime> An ID for ID makes the whole world a mess :)
Steve Cisler on Fri, 16 Jan 2004 19:58:08 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> An ID for ID makes the whole world a mess :)

The whole complex problem of identity (as far as national governments 
are concerned) reminded me of the Brazilian I met on a flight to Amman, 
Jordan in October.  His parents were Palestinian (he was born in 
Jerusalem), and he moved to Sao Paulo as a kid. Now he lives in another 
city further south and runs an import business..  He was telling me 
about the area around Ciudad de l'Este in Paraguay and how Palestinians 
and others can buy official papers (not counterfeit) from the police 
and then proceed across the river into Brazil where they "disappear."   
It's a very porous border there.

My own experience getting a business visa for Brazil was expensive and 
not very pleasant, but that's par for a lot of people trying to get 
visas to my country.  Here are two amazing examples:

In Laos at the US embassy in Vientiane (on a side street where vehicles 
can't get up enough speed to breach the ramparts) there was a sign at 
the entrance warning relatives of Laotians (we have about 30,000 in the 
San Francisco area and another 25,000 in Fresno, and many more in 
Minnesota)  that they might need to pay for a DNA test when applying 
for a visa. That's a huge cost for some rural villager trying to see 
his brother in St. Paul. And how many places can conduct DNA in an 
under developed country?

In Uganda earlier this year, a Ugandan IT expert working with USAID in 
the U.S. embassy in Kampala was chosen to go for technical training in 
Washington, DC.  However, the visa officer in the same embassy would 
not give him a visa for the three week training! According to her, his 
profile (educated, unmarried) made him a good candidate for not 
returning.   Ugandans have to pay for each visa interview (about $100 
or so) and then another fee for the visa.  One friend had spent $200 
and failed to get a visa.  (Uganda per capita income is about $300).

Probably all these barriers are going to be even more rigid, and the 
reciprocity will increase.
Steve Cisler

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