Thursday, 15 January 2004
"Brazil vs. US: The Finger Affair"
My favorite source of news and views from Brazil, by Brazilians, in English, Brazzil.com , weighs in with this perspective by José Gurgel on the fingerprinting, photographing, and other entry requirments for Brazilian citizens visiting the USA, and USA citizens visiting Brazil. Here are some excerpts, but it's well worth reading in full:
Brazil has been harshly criticized for its decision to identify Americans arriving in its land. However, nothing has been said about the grueling process Brazilians have to endure to simply obtain an entry Visa to the U.S. The procedure may take days and entail an undue invasion of privacy of Brazilian citizens.
Brazil has been harshly criticized for its decision to identify Americans arriving in its land, a process based solely upon the international principle of diplomatic reciprocity. However, nothing has been said about the grueling battery of interviews and bureaucracy that Brazilians have to go through to simply obtain an entry Visa to the United States.
This is a process done by the American Embassy and consulates in Brazil that lasts hours and sometimes even days to be completed and requires travelers to disclose their income, purpose of travel, among other things, which many people consider an invasion of privacy. Not to mention the fact that after spending all the time to obtain the Visa any Brazilian can at any time be barred from obtaining said Visa depending simply upon whether or not the immigration agent "likes" that person.
In addition, the prohibitive costs associated with obtaining the Visa act as a first deterrence by those who desire to travel to the U.S. The costs, excluding travel costs for those who live in other cities without an American consular agency, revolve around US$ 100, not much until you consider the minimum wage in Brazil is set at about US$ 140 per month....
... The New York Times , in its January 9, 2004 edition, declared Brazil an ally "docile and reliable no longer," but the fact of the matter is that they should have replaced the words "docile and reliable no longer" with "subservient no longer." I think this is a better representation of Brazil's position when it comes to international affairs.
[Addendum, 15 January 2004: There's also this editorial today from Miami, the city in the USA most impacted by lost tourist revenue as a result of US-VISIT and the abolition of transit of the USA without visa: U.S.-VISIT still needs adjusting (Miami Herald).]Link | Posted by Edward on Thursday, 15 January 2004, 16:43 ( 4:43 PM)