Previously, on the Jus Sanguinis Arc: I managed to obtain the apostilles on our documents after a lengthy wait and an extremely inopportune government system malfunction, so many trials and tribulations just to obtain these, but then it was time to move onto the final steps.

The apostilles was the last thing I needed from the Venezuelan government to make all of this happen, and after that, things really began to go my way. Everything was sorted out swiftly and faster than I’d expected — funny how that works, eh? It’s almost as if the biggest bottleneck for any kind of paperwork is the Venezuelan government itself…

Anyways, onto the matter at hand.

The Translations

After the apostilles, the next step in all of this was to get the certificates translated to Italian by an official translator. By official I mean one that is registered in the Italian Consulate as such. The Consulate’s website has a public listing of all the official Italian translators in Venezuela. The majority of them live in Caracas (about 25 or so) so I thankfully had plenty to choose from, I’m sure a few of them must’ve left the country by now, though.

Now, I certainly did not know any of them, so the plan was, me and a friend would go through all of them one by one, see what prices/timetables/payment methods they work with, and then pick one based on that.

Another friend of mine highly recommended one from the list — however, I simply could not get a hold of that man through phone (listed one doesn’t seem to be operational), email (no response), or social media DMs (no response either).

Back in February I had reached out to some, so I sort of had a general idea of how much I’d be spending on the translations, so I took some of the money we had saved for our escape + some inflation buffer for this purpose.

Lucky for me, I managed to secure a very good and affordable translator, perhaps by luck, or because God put them in my way. You see, when I was doing my apostille line, the person that was first in line (and was keeping track of the list of people and their number in the queue) happened to be going through the same Italian Citizenship process as me, so she had the number of one of the translators, I asked for it and she kindly provided it.

That translator, an elderly woman, not only lives relatively close to my home in a driving sense, but her rates were quite affordable, and she guaranteed me that she’d have everything ready in one week.

So, a few phone calls, a couple WhatsApp messages and voice notes, $140 in cash, and $10 worth of Bolivars wired, and now I had the needed translations on the way.

For context, It’s worth mentioning that the minimum wage in Venezuela is currently at around $25 per month, and in most private sector jobs people usually only earn $120 at most, so I am quite aware that not everyone gets to afford translations or paperworks of these sorts with ease, which I why am and will always be eternally grateful to God and to everyone who’s helped me throughout this long journey of mine with their prayers, wishes, or what have you. One day I will be able to pay all of it forward, that I promise.

On June 29, exactly one week after I handed over the original documents, I received the documents back with the certified Italian translations stapled on the front.

The only thing that was missing was to fill the forms, and to make photocopies of all of this finalized stuff, which I went to get right away, ended up paying 110 Bolivars for them cause there were a lot of legal-sized copies that I needed to make.

Submitting the applications, at last

Finally, on that Wednesday afternoon, I had everything ready at last, after having spent so much money and after waiting so many hours in line and so many months between appointments to get everything ready, it was time for the showdown.

All those years of having worked in different offices paid off, because everything was assembled 100% as requested. My brother assisted me in the matter, and he signed his forms to the best of his ability (I filled them for him).

I assembled everything in three folders: One with my brother’s application, one with mine, and one with my original appointment (which was stamped by a Consulate staff member so that I could go back to submit everything), and my brother’s original appointment with the medical report that details his condition attached to it — which is what allowed him to enter on that day and I could file everything on his behalf.

So, on Thursday, June 30, I woke my brother up at 5am, I did my water ration duties, got ready, and then we left our homes in a taxi towards the Italian Consulate a little past 6:10am.

We arrived so early that, for the first time in all of this, I was first in line, there was absolutely no one else outside, and for a moment I thought that the Consulate wasn’t going to open on that day because of the storm warnings that the Venezuelan government was making everyone panic about earlier that week.

People started to arrive and wait in line shortly afterwards, and all was fine and dandy, until it started to rain. Now, me being the very intelligent man that I am (not really) I didn’t bring an umbrella with me. The only thing that I had on my old laptop bag full of documents that could work was some old plastic folders, so I gave one to my brother and told him to cover his head with it, I did the same.

Eventually the weak rain became stronger, and we had to step out of the waiting line and seek shelter on the roof of a nearby house’s garage alongside most of the people in the line. Thankfully, Venezuelans have had to endure so many lines throughout these past years of collapse that people will respect your spot in line if you have to step out for whatever reason.

Once the rain became weak enough we went back to our spots holding the plastic folders above our heads. Thankfully, the Consulate’s staff opened their doors earlier so that people could go in and seek shelter from the rain, so after I showed our appointments and medical report we were allowed in right away.

We handed over our Venezuelan ID cards, went through the metal detector, turned off our phones, and then we received our visitor’s badges, mine was No. 600 (6xx is for Demographic services) and my brother got a special one, No. 000 — dubs and trips, yo!

No photos because phones are not allowed inside, and you can be sure they take steps to enforce that rule.

One properly inside, we went through all the steps, until it was our turn to be attended by Demographic Services, I was the first one to be attended to at Booth No. 7. The lady that handled everything was very kind and sweet, and, perhaps due to another act of God, the man that attended me on my first visit happened to walk by the lady attending us as she was starting to check our stuff, he recognized me, and he explained our case to her.

She slowly went through everything, checking all of our documents, both original and copies until at last, she introduced our data on their systems and I paid the processing fees, 303.00 Venezuelan Bolivars each.

Once she was done with everything she returned the original birth certificates alongside my parents’ wedding, which is great, because you have no idea how much I had to pay and go through to get these, legalized, apostilled, and with all the bells and whistles required.

For what it’s worth, I will be taking these with me when I leave the country because you never know — if I ever need a legalized and apostille copy of our birth certificates, well, I have them right here, I can always detach the certified Italian translation if I don’t need them anymore.

When she said ‘all’s set, in about six months you will both be receiving an email letting you know that you can now apply for the Italian passport’ that’s when I finally felt relieved and happy.

At last, after all of this, I had succeeded after trying to get this so many times in the past. I tried back in 2010-2011 but my dad did not cooperate too much with it so I didn’t go anywhere in the process. In 2015 I had tried to obtain it through my grandmother, but doing it that way is way, way harder. I tried in 2019 but it was just a repeat of 2010-2011, not to mention that one of my dad’s brothers, who had begun to help us prep everything, passed away on that Christmas, then COVID happened and well, everything was shut down.

I finally did it — we did it fam.

What now

At last, after all of this, I had succeeded after trying to get this so many times in the past. I tried back in 2010-2011 but my dad did not cooperate too much with it so I didn’t go anywhere in the process. In 2015 I had tried to obtain it through my grandmother, but doing it that way is way, way harder. I tried in 2019 but it was just a repeat of 2010-2011, not to mention that one of my dad’s brothers, who had begun to help us prep everything, passed away on that Christmas, then COVID happened and well, everything was shut down.

All I gotta do now is wait for it to be processed. Once we get that email then I’ll request the passports right away. Compared to all of this, the passport process is extremely easy, it only requires one form, two photos each, some Bolivars, and then it’s just a matter of waiting for the appointment and its processing times.

If all of this takes longer than January 25 then I will have to renew our Venezuelans passports, this is because the Venezuelan government changed the rules recently and Venezuelan nationals that have dual citizenship can no longer leave with just their other citizenship’s passport — you can only leave with a valid Venezuelan one. This means I effectively threw $200 down the drain on the extensions we obtained in 2021 though, but I got those because I was trying to get visas for my brother and I during that time, which we couldn’t get because of COVID slowing embassies down to a crawl…

If not, I can always see if I can leave through the Colombian border by road with our Venezuelan ID cards, then board a plane to Colombia, we’ll see.

As I’ve said in the past, the Italian Passport is not the solution to everything and the end all be all of my journey, but it is the closest I can get to an ‘I win’ button right now, as I’ve tried everything to no avail over the past four years — especially with the case of my brother, who has no other options available to him and cannot get a visa right now. Remember, he’s under my care in a moral sense, I am not his legal guardian, and for all intents and purposes he is just another adult male legally speaking. To get legal guardianship over him would neuter him in a legal sense for life, and what would happen to him if I’m no longer alive then? My mom never wanted to do that and I will always respect her decision.

It will allow us to travel around as tourists until I find a more permanent solution, thus overcoming the biggest obstacle I have right now. For starters, I can stay up to three months in the United States per trip as an Italian citizen (tourist) without the need for a visa, up to six months per trip in Canada.

I need to start evaluating my options, work, asylum, and all that. There’s always Italy as well, for which we need to start learning Italian, as my father nor his family never taught it to us (long story).

We’ll see, in 2023, the Italian passport will be my literal paper shield, and Sword will be my literal paper sword — that’s going to be the tools I’ll have at my disposal to carve my path and build the good future for my brother that I promised my mom on her deathbed.

With that, I’m going to avail myself of the opportunity to thank each and every one of you for being with me through all of this long journey from the bottom of my heart. I couldn’t have done it without your help, wishes, prayers, and smiles.

Now that I’ve completed this, the hardest and perhaps most important bureaucracy labyrinth of my entire life, I can finally resume work on many things that I had to pause, like getting Sword published, Sins’ draft, and my own personal health, which has taken quite the nosedive this past years due to stress and self neglect. I hope to have great news in all of these and more soon.
I also need to start getting my affairs in order, because once I board that plane there will be no turning back.

We’re all going to make it, the best is yet to come.

Love you all,