Venezuela’s Fixers

December 3, 2018 Crime , Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , OTHER , South America

 

By

Ricardo Swire

 

In economically unstable countries “immigration” and “national documents” are financially lucrative underworld businesses. Formal processes are usually circumvented or unofficially modified to accommodate speedy issuance of travel, national registry, institutional documents and visas. From January 2017 Transparency International recorded one hundred and ninety-five incidents of illegally received passport fees.

 

For more than two years internal security records noted the significance that citizens’ Passport acquisitions, via authentic government channels, were virtually impossible. To date more than four million Venezuelans have migrated because of the country’s downward economic spiral and social hardships. Several Venezuelan travel hopefuls, as part of preparations, applied for new Passports. The Government stipulated that if an expired Passport had blank pages an extension must be issued, instead of printing and issuing a new document.

 

Recently a national enforcement offensive, coordinated by Venezuela’s Ministry of Interior & Justice locked down a financially lucrative illegal document syndicate headquartered at the SAIME – Ditto Capital. Two methodical probes exposed a suspicious Ministry of Interior, Justice and Peace quartet. SAIME is the government agency responsible for civil registry services. Since October 2018 the Agency’s formal fee was Bolivars 7,200 or US$720 per document.

 

The four SAIME fixers charged desperate Venezuelans between US$2,500 and US$4,500 per document, depending on type and urgency. The range of unofficially issued document services included college degrees and alterations to criminal records. A “Shopping List” was circulated on WhatsApp that priced one Venezuelan passport at US$4,500. A Chilean visa costs US$400 and a criminal record adjustment worth US$7,000. A college diploma validation stamp valued US$100.

 

The Government dismissed the Director of SAIME but the fixers continued to function. The quartet even retailed Chilean Passports. In June 2018 the security breach’s danger was formally acknowledged by the Internal Affairs Minister. He verified the existence of “mafias” within Venezuela’s Servicio Administrativo de Identificacion Nigracion y Extranjeria (SAIME) and confirmed unofficial demands for high Passport fees.

 

 

 

 

Ricardo Swire - Tuck Magazine

Ricardo Swire

Ricardo Swire is the Principal Consultant at R-L-H Security Consultants & Business Support Services and writes on a number of important issues.

Editor review

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be first to comment this post!

Leave a Reply