How lucky can you be?
Emails started circulating maybe a week ago: come to Town Hall Meeting with US Embassy guy on 23 April! Well, there were things we wanted to ask.
For instance, couldn't SOMEONE come regularly to facilitate renewing passports, applying for Medicaid, using United States notary services where such are required for legal documents. Or come at least once in awhile?
The originating email with requests to forward it came from a guy we'd never heard of who is in charge (I think) of US students at UV. He, it turns out, is called the WARDEN for USAers here in the state of Veracruz. This certainly raised eyebrows, and raised them even higher when the Embassy representative said he'd combined visits to citizens living here and in El Puerto de Veracruz which visits to USA folks in PRISON here! What are they in for, these Americans, we asked. Drug crimes, rape, weapons violations, robbery, etc. So we of course wondered if perhaps we, too, were regarded as prisoners, given that we had a warden.
Well, it was a kind of frustrating visit, I think.
- Although we can now apply by email for a new passport and send things back and forth by mail, there is no real hope for some kind of system of visits to our area for other business matters.
- The Embassy wants us to register with them and they have an online data base for us to do it in. As one among us pointed out, they probably have all they need in any event, so why bother us?
- As others thought (but didn't say out loud), we're not all sure we WANT to be in a US data base. Lack of trust in government, shall we say.
- We learned that now some Mexicans (I wasn't sure which) applying for LEGITIMATE VISAS who come from the center of Mexico are now being sent to of all unglodly places Ciudad Juarez to go through the process, lengthy, in person. Is this a plot to discourage LEGAL immigration or what?
- We learned that Mexico has FIFTY THREE consular offices in the US. The US has ten in Mexico plus two sub-consular offices. We learned they don't have plans for more. The Embassy Guy (yeah, like the Cable Guy) said no plans for more at the moment. He said, look how many Mexicans are in the US. We pointed out, but we are the rich country: we have lots of USAers around here. He said consular resources were going to countries like Brazil, India and China...I would like to point out that Brazil has much, much smaller population than Mexico and far fewer Americans living in it, but that IT HAS MUCH BIGGER SITES FOR MULTINATIONAL CORPORATE ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION I mean, multinational economic development, than does Mexico.
- The Embassy Guy was asked about the travel warnings the State Department has issued for Mexico. They appear under headlines that suggest that there are travel warnings for ALL of Mexico. Well, The Embassy Guy said they had to do it that way; that they didn't prohibit people, etc. etc. etc., but some among us said they scared people unnecessarily.
- The subject of morditas-bribes, particularly to traffic cops, came up. There were suggestions of how to deal with them. What bothered me most was The Embassy Guy getting on his high Amurrican horse and suggesting that the US was trying to encourage, instruct, help Mexico with its corruption problem, but it was slow going.....Hey, how about those guys who got free meals in restaurants in NYC when I was growing up? To name just one microscopic example of corruption in the US....not to mention the convicted highway patrol guy in a state I formerly worked in who had a paying job in my department so he could wait till things quieted down.....and need we mention politicians?
- And the narcoguerra....Well, the US does support Calderón and his efforts. No real discussion on this. But we should know we don't know everything.
This is obviously MY take on the meeting, nowhere near as fair and unbiased as Fox News. If you were there (or not) and have anything to say or add, I bet more than one of us would be interested.