I am finally nearing the end of this long journey towards starting a new life with my brother. Although there are some rather important final details to confirm before I can say that I have an exact departure date I fully intend on leaving before this year is over.
While most know that I’ve fought hard to find a proper, legal pathway to migrate with my brother since 2018, this journey did not actually begin that year, but rather, ten years ago, on October 11, 2013, the day when I returned to Caracas after a four-year stint abroad.
On that precise day, when my mother and my brother picked me up at the airport, we began to plan a way out of the country. Some left-leaning terminally online people may perhaps tell you that Venezuela was fine back then and that it only got bad on 2019 but believe me, the country was well underway it’s long and drawn out collapse — I mean, next month marks the 10th year anniversary of that one day when I got in a kerfuffle over toilet paper.
The thing is, that due to some circumstances (some of my fault such as not having studies, others beyond my control) we simply were not successful at leaving the country. And then, since March 2018, the responsibility of taking my brother out of the country rests on my weary shoulders, it is what I promised my mother I’d do and finally, after five and a half long years, I’m about to finally win.
On those October 2013 days our plan was based around going to Panama. This was because at the time, there were many job opportunities for my mother — after all, she was a doctor with three whole medical specialties and a over 25-page curriculum vitae. She, at the time, was eligible for retirement at the hospital she worked at, the problem was that there were no replacements to take the mantle of Head of the Pain and Palliative Care Unit that she built from the ground up, as most doctors had begun to leave the country.
My brother at the time was finishing high school after losing one year due to his brain surgery and difficult recovery period. I, on the other hand… didn’t had much studies, academic accolades or skills beyond being able to speak English, so my job prospects weren’t exactly promising.
Nevertheless, the plan at the time was simple: Wait for my brother to graduate, my mom would continue preparing her long list of documents while awaiting for her retirement, and I’d figure out wtf to do with myself. Additionally, there were three major family developments going on at the time, two of which tangentially involved us (my uncle’s frailing health, which my mother was helping with, for once).
Once things got better then we’d make our move and leave. But things did not get better.
2014 came, and one of the family affairs managed to drawn out all the way to August while my uncle’s health began to nosedive. My mother never quite told me this, but I’m pretty sure that she did not want to leave the country and leave him in that state and with a family that was split in two because of a still ongoing feud — I don’t blame her for that.
The country was quite the mess, and my mom struggled hard to procure all the things my uncle needed, as medicine and medical supply shortages were already that bad in Maracaibo. Long story short, my uncle’s health worsened until he died in April 2015. My mother was devastated.
Still, she tried to get back on her feet while I, being the useless son that I was, didn’t quite had his shit together yet (still don’t). Once things seemed like they’d finally go our way well… she got that Stage III Leiomyosarcoma diagnosis.
Everything changed, but the dream of leaving and starting a new, better life remained.
The priority was to wait for her to get better before we’d resume our goals of leaving. At the time I started my second failed attempt at getting Italian citizenship — suffice to say, it went nowhere.
My mother had to play the cancer card to force a retirement, only for her to receive a “special” retirement despite being way past the age required. The special retirement meant that she would not even get her full retirement monthly pension.
At the time, new horizons opened such as Chile and Uruguay, but no move could be done while she underwent chemotherapy. Nevertheless, my mom slowly but surely began to reassemble all of the required documents for her to practice medicine outside of Venezuela. Some of these we had to get through bribes as everything collapsed — ask any Venezuelan how hard it was to get an apostille, certificate, or passport those days.
I still hadn’t gotten my shit together, but I continued to help and accompany my mom all the way through — hell, I never had driven a car before 2015, and I learned how to drive on the fly just to be able to take her to chemo.
I don’t wanna draw this part out but without access to proper chemo she eventually lost the fight. Now it was my turn to be utterly devastated — made worse because I got chickenpox shortly after she died, so you can imagine how mentally and physically broken I was during those April 2018 days.
Once I got a bit better I embarked on this long journey of mine — only to taste five long bitter years of failure.
In 2018 a few frens (absolute kings, you know who you are), were arranging for me to go to Australia and be with them. They had everything ready for us, a place to stay, training for the two of us, and eventual jobs. The roadblock that demolished these plans was the amount of money required for the paperwork was quite high and out of reach, not to mention that there is not Australian consulate here, so you had to add additional expenses to reach a consulate abroad and hope for the best
Other possible destinations where friends were trying to get me involved Canada and the United States — these, along with others, came to a grinding halt the moment the 2019 political crisis here exploded and many embassies closed down as a result. February 2019 was not a good month for me, I got nearly destroyed by despair, panic, and anxiety because of how everything kept becoming harder and unattainable, and because of looming problems around that time that I’d rather explain once I’m out of Venezuela. Fleeing through Colombia was no longer an option since the borders were closed too.
Without any more options I reached out to my father and explained the situation. He eventually agreed to help me get Italian citizenship, and I spent the rest of the year trying to do so but due to his rather lack of assistance I basically went nowhere. His brother caught wind of what was happening and took matters into his own hand, and had begun assembling the files for us.
Then, his brother passed away in December 2019, and the files went “missing.”
By early 2020 there was a pathway for me to get a possible job in the United Kingdom, you can be damn sure I said yes, and all that remained was to make that formal while trying to find a way for me to get my brother with me.
But, nothing is ever that easy, and this happened days before the COVID lockdowns began, and this prospective job offer evaporated just like that…
A few months later I started working on a project that would eventually lead to a US visa for me, once the lockdowns were over of course. My brother’s case remained the rather impossible thing to solve through, don’t forget that yes, he is under my care due to his mental condition, but under a moral sense and not a legal one — and moral commitments and promises made to my mother on her deathbed carry zero legal weight, much less at a consulate.
The project didn’t go anywhere until 2021 when there was a renewed interest in it. At the time, US immigration attorneys explained to me that there were humanitarian clauses that could apply to my brother. I was very ecstatic, and gave it my all on this project throughout 2021.
Unfortunately, it all came to a burning crash by November 2021, and all I got for it to show right now was two months of depression and a long burnout.
2022 started, and I was simply defeated, nothing I had tried since 2018 had worked, and I wasn’t getting any younger. A Venezuelan fren (absolute king, you know who you are) got his Italian passport around that time, and he encouraged me, who was completely defeated at the time, to try for a fourth time.
I spent the entirety of that year and finally, in December, I had those passports in my hand.
There was another, parallel pursuit that I was undertaking should the Italian citizenship quest fail. An old friend of mine made arrangements for me to get hired and get a US work visa. Everything was going so well until the whole thing burned down because the job description was not 100% in line to get the visa…
2023 was here, and it was time to solve the Venezuelan passport thing, which I did. Immediately afterwards I began to find a place for us to arrive at. I gotta say that Italy was not our first destination, not because I have something against the country (on the contrary) but because neither of us know anyone there, and we do not speak Italian, so my first options involved places where I knew people and where we didn’t have to slam ourselves with language barriers.
Once again, I failed. The irony of my life is is that the places where I have friends are places I cannot legally stay beyond visiting here and there, but the places where I can stay (the European Union) are places where I don’t really know anyone to stay at.
You might say “but it’s the EU, just stay in Spain or anywhere if language is an issue,” the thing is that yes, we have EU citizenship, but after 90 days there are other requirements that yes, I can work my way to solve, but I presently can’t for my brother. Italy does not have these obstacles for him as he’s a citizen of the country, so his long term well being is what ultimately pushed me towards Italy — I mean, he’s the whole reason I’m still alive.
I’ve spent the past few weeks trying to secure a place to rent to no avail. My goal right now is once I get the confirmation on a work-related matter, arrange the tickets, book an Airbnb, arrive, get our ID and healthcare system cards, find a place to rent, and hope for the best.
It’s going to be a blind jump and my Italian is still super rudimentary but I pray to God every night asking Him to help me out so that everything goes well.
I spent the first days of October rather depressed because the 10th anniversary of my return was approaching, and that, for me, means ten years of having failed to legally move abroad. Had I gotten my shit together and studied in my youth, then perhaps I would have a career with an easy path to a work visa, and I would have been long out of this country… Had I gotten my shit together and had a successful career then perhaps I would’ve had the resources to save my mom and had her get the treatment she needed to live abroad…
The fact that others seemingly entered the US illegally with relative ease, had money to pay their way through Parole programs that neither of us is eligible for, or bullshitted their way to Asylum after committing immigration fraud through a visitors visa is rather demoralizing in some ways for me, who only tried to do things the right way, but that is life, and it is what it is. I guess I’m not skilled nor have the money to buy my way in.
I’ve been rendered rather mentally scarred after all I’ve been through, and the past five years of failures have further damaged what self-worth I had left (which was close to zero, but still). Hell, I don’t have much to show for myself either, haven’t even been able to get Sword off the ground, but I hope that quickly changes once I’m outta here.
I still don’t have all the answers, but soon, finally, I’ll be able to leave all of this behind and heal. It’s going to be quite the adventure, an Isekai, if you will, so you better get ready for a cringe tweet I’ve been wanting to make since 2018.
Who knows, maybe God will bless me with the resources to travel around and visit friends here and there. I do have one of the best passports in the world now, just don’t have the money to freely travel with it. lol.
Until the next one,