Hello, it’s time to share an update on the new story arc in my ongoing quest to get my brother out of Venezuela with me. This is what’s kept me busy for the past two weeks or so.
In a previous post I explained how I would try again at obtaining Italian Nationality by right of blood because I have nothing else to try at the moment. As it stands, my chances at getting a visa have been severely reduced (they were already low enough), and my brother’s chances are close to zero right now. An Italian passport, which we have more than enough right to obtain, would at the very least, allow us to travel around until I find a more adequate visa solution for the two of us.
We’ve never gotten it in the past because our father never did his due diligence with all of this — it’s a long story. After so long he’s finally sent me a copy of his Italian birth extract. This copy is the most important document in all of this process, the one thing that can make all of this work.
It’s weird to stake so much of our future in one photocopy, but after nearly four years of failures, setbacks, embassy closures, lockdowns, and all of that it this is all I have: a paper shield, photocopy of a document in a language I can sorta read but not speak.
Nevertheless, I have already printed some copies of it and copies of some of the things I need to submit. Additionally, I requested an appointment at the Italian Consulate in Caracas with the intention to initially request Consular assistance and guidance — they instead opted to give me an appointment to submit everything, instructing me to prepare every document and to make sure that I have all of it in order, lest I’ll lose the appointment.
Unfortunately (or fortunately perhaps), my appointment was set for the 13th of June, 2022. My brother’s appointment is on the 17th of June instead.
At a first glance, the list of required documents did seem pretty straightforward enough — until I realized that the birth certificates in my possession are not valid for this kind of thing.
That was the first obstacle that I’m overcoming at the moment: I need to obtain certified copies of the respective books where our birth certificates are registered Additionally, because my father never registered his marriage to my mother and the subsequent divorce, it falls to me to file these at the Italian Consulate, for which I will also need certified copies of (the ones that I have are not valid for this either).
It’s tricky because, you see, I was born in the city of Maracaibo, Zulia. My brother was born in Punto Fijo, Falcon. My parents got married in Maracaibo, but the divorce took place in Caracas.
All of these four documents need to be legalized, translated to Italian by a certified translator, and get apostilled for them to be valid at the Consulate. This isn’t news to me, as I worked at a consular section for three years in the past — obtaining them is the hard part in all of this.
So, I evaluated the course of action, which is:
1. Travel to Maracaibo to obtain my certified copy of birth certificate and my parents’ wedding: A plane ticket itself is rather costly. While traveling by road is much, much cheaper, I’d still have to weigh the costs of staying, transportation, and all the nuances of going to different civil registry offices to get all of this done in a timely manner. I know for certain in which office my birth certificate is located at, and, because the person that wed my parents is my aunt, I know where that’s located at.
While I was born in Maracaibo, I’ve lived most of my life in Caracas, so I am a stranger in my own birthplace, fitting for a pariah such as me, I guess.
2. Travel to Punto Fijo to get the certified copy of my brother’s birth certificate: Sure, I could ask my father for his assistance in this, but life has taught me that, when it comes to him, if I want something done right (and in time), I have to do it myself.
I have not set foot in Punto Fijo since October of 1996. Furthermore, I can’t leave my brother alone in Caracas, and I will not submit to the unpleasant experience of traveling with him to this town in particular, so much bad blood and things that are best buried in the past.
3. The divorce documents: Out of these four this is by far, the easiest, because I can call in a favor to obtain them in a timely manner, which is what I did.
Having evaluated my options and weighed the prospective costs, I opted to do the unsavory but very much Venezuelan path of least resistance: Pay my way. This is not my proudest and finest moment, but after all I’ve been through, I’m just worn and tired of it all.
I was given the number of someone that my mom used to know in Maracaibo that can get all three of the documents, for a price. I reached out to her, explained my situation, and she agreed to do all of this for me, with a discount to boot.
That’s where I am at the moment of writing this. I have already paid her half of what she asked, and I’ll be paying the other half once they’re on the way. Its still cheaper than traveling to two different towns, in all honestly.
Once I have all 4 documents with legalized signatures in my hand it’s time for the second privacy step: Translations.
The Italian Consulate has a public list of translators that have registered their signatures with them. There are ~25 listed in Caracas. I’ll go down the list one by one and see which have the most reasonable prices and all that. I already got some ballpark estimates.
Once that’s done it’s time to apostille. This is done via the Venezuelan regime’s foreign affairs ministry website, and then I have to do my corresponding line and wait. Luckily for me, the nearest govt ISP’s offices have been repurposed as a center for apostilles since the telecom and internet hardware hosted there stopped working years ago.
I already have the rest of the required documents, which are straightforward enough, such as a photocopy of our Venezuelan ID cards, a copy of my Tax ID document (to prove that I live in Caracas), and some forms that I have to fill. I may have to cave in and get my brother his own Tax ID for this, or request a stamped letter of residence from the local Communal Council (exactly what you think it is).
I have four months to prepare all of this, hopefully, and if all goes smoothly, it’s more than enough time even though the wait is going to erode me. The third week of June is going to be one of the most important weeks of my life, and I’m not exaggerating when I say this.
The fact that my brother’s appointment was set on the 17th works in my favor, I think, because if everything goes well with mine I can talk to the officials at the Consulate to explain my brother’s situation and ask if they’d allow me to accompany him during this appointment. I know it’s atypical for a Consulate to do this but I hope they agree to let me accompany him.
I do have one concern in all of this that feels like a splinter on my brain and is keeping me rather anxious: My father and his family last name is Caruso in Italy, but when they migrated here it shows as Caruzo because that is how the Venezuelan authorities at the time wrote it down.
I hope this does not prevent me from achieving this, I mean, I do have everything that proves that he is in fact, our father and that his parents were in fact, our grandparents. I can prove that he married my mother, fathered us, and all that.
Overall, this is going to be a long-ish process that will extend beyond June of 2022, and I don’t really have a timeframe or dates beyond the appointment date. Once we get the a-ok with the nationality request we can begin the request for our Italian passports.
Again, I’d like to reiterate that an Italian passport does not mean we get to permanently stay in another country as it is, we’d still need to get visas and all that. I’d open the doors for us to live in Italy, but there’s some more stuff we’d have to do if that’s where we end up going.
A decade ago I was working at an embassy, ten years later and the roles have been reversed. Such is my life, it’s always given me these cyclical and dualistic events, I’ll be going full circle and all that again.
Another possible complication is that we now have 10 and a half months left on our Venezuelan passports. The rules once again changed and we will not be allowed to board a plane without a valid Venezuelan passport even as bearers of an Italian passport.
Worst case scenario, if the whole Italian passport (not the nationality, which is where I’m at atm) takes longer than January 25, 2023 then we will have to renew our Venezuelan passports — at a price of $200 each because that’s what the regime of Venezuela charges for them.
That’s just a hypothetical scenario beyond my control right now, in the meantime I’ll focus on getting all the paperwork in order for this upcoming and highly important week of our lives.
All of this document-preparing part falls up to me, and I’ll do it with the utmost of attention and diligence. All I’m going to humbly ask is for your prayers, because I’m going to need them.
Wish me luck!