Here we are, in 2021 at last, and after a very rough and quarantined 2020 it’s time to get back on track with my ongoing quest to get both my brother and myself outta Venezuela and start a new life abroad — it is, after all, something I promised my mom I’d do on her deathbed.
This has been an ongoing but unsuccessful journey for my family since late 2013. I, along with my brother and mother, had been trying to migrate to another country to start a new life away from the collapse of this country since then. Numerous have been the setbacks, from serious family health issues, to paperwork conundrums—and after my mom got diagnosed with a liver leiomyosarcoma in 2015 her treatment and recovery became the main priority and driving force in our lives.
After she passed away in March of 2018 I carried on with that goal of hers. While I’ve been taking care of my brother since then to the best of my ability, I’ve failed time and time again to secure our exit from this country for many reasons, some because of monetary costs that went way beyond my limited scope, some plans just fell apart, and others didn’t materialized mainly because of my deficient education and lack of a professional resume—for which I only have myself to blame.
I even tried to get that which is ours by right of Jus Sanguinis, an Italian passport. As much as I tried (and all that money spent on paperwork), this became an extremely uphill pathway due to a lack of foresight and due diligence on behalf of my father ~30 years ago, made all the worse by something that occurred to his family towards the end of 2019 (for the sake of their privacy, I’ll just say its Force Majeure).
In 2020 I was offered advice to a new path towards a visa, a chart of some sorts, or a path if you will, and so I began to walk that road and continue to work towards it. The main obstacle has been COVID-19 and its lockdowns, which effectively burned ten months of my time while leaving me stranded here, and wasting the remaining precious time on my passport’s first extension and on my brother’s passport as well.
During one of my evening water ration routines I gave thought to chronicling this, hopefully last arc of this chapter of my life through a series of entries, to share this journey of mine through words and pictures—at the risk of sounding pretentious, very blog-y, and with unwarranted self importance, that is. In that sense, I guess this is some sort of an announcement post to all that.
It won’t be easy, and there’s still many hurdles on the way—the situation of the world with regards to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic (travel restrictions, to name one) and the ongoing Venezuelan crisis will make things even more difficult and add obstacles of its own, especially when it comes to actually applying for a visa, but I will continue to give it my all even if I’m not that strong on my own, my brother’s future depends on my efforts.
There is still a lot to do for this to even happen in the first place, and many decisions to take along the road, but this is the road I’ll have to walk if I want to finally come up triumphant on this long struggle of mine towards a new life.
First order of business is to breathe new lives into our passports, can’t board a plane here with an expired one. My passport expired in 2019, it received a 1st two-year extension which is set to expire in April of 2021, my brother’s passport is set to expire in June.
While Venezuela is still undergoing a permanent lockdown of intermittent intensity, things are slowly reopening at a snail’s pace, including our civil registry offices. So getting new extensions on our passports is what I’m focusing on right now, and it’s currently underway. I will go into detail about my experiences with it on the first proper entry of this upcoming ‘Escape’ series.
As usual, I’ll be serious when needed, but you can be sure that I’ll splice some comedy and crack a few jokes here and there whenever I can, because, at the end of the day, all my jokes are cries for help.
Millions have already left this country, our migrant crisis rivals that of Syria without a single bomb having been dropped, with COVID-19 being the one thing that managed to slow it all down throughout 2020. There’s a different story behind every man, woman, and child that have migrated out of this country, some have done it because their families had the financial means to afford tuition costs, others have done it by sheer hard work and sweat, others have fled the country through ‘ilegal’ roads, and others have done so completely differently. Neither of those scenarios invalidates another person’s, everyone simply tries to make do with what they have and can in order to find a solution to yet another Venezuelan Kobayashi Maru.
I don’t have much really, all I have is my dreams, my brother, my faith, a promise, and a desire to do things the right way. This chronicle will definitely not be the end all be all guide to leaving Venezuela, since my situation has some unique peculiarities of its own (my brother’s case first and foremost), but I hope it gives people some insight from my particular scenario.
If all goes as planned this journey will not only give some much needed closure to my life, but I’ll definitely mark a new chapter for my brother and myself. I have a lot of emotional baggage on my mind that I don’t intend to carry with me when the time comes.
Once we have those passport extensions in our hand I’ll start this series of entries properly, whatever happens I’ll keep you all posted.
Stay safe, and once again thank you all, for everything.
(inb4 I get cockblocked from travelling due to COVID-19 vaccine shenanigans)