Last week I started a post chronicling my experience of renewing my Peruvian driver’s license and fixing a mistake on Lu’s ID card. If you missed that post, you can read it here. If you already read that one, don’t worry…. I will NOT make this one quite as long… even though I’ve spent the same amount of time running around town!
Just a brief recap:
In three days last week I made 5 visits to different offices / banks and spent a total of 2 hrs. 25 min. trying to fix the mistake on Luis’s Peruvian ID card.
I made 6 visits to different offices / banks and spent 55 min. trying to renew my driver’s License.
Adding in a driving / walking time of 3 hours, I figured that I spent 6 hours, 20 min. on red tape processes in 3 days.
Since last Wednesday, this is what happened with my driver’s license:
- I made 3 separate trips to the Medico trying to get the necessary medical exam for my driver’s license. When they finally took my information, they told me that I couldn’t take the exam because the Transportes office had to officially change my name and document number or I would have to start from scratch in getting a brand new license. I DON’T want it to come to that!
- 7 trips to the Transportes office to find out what I need to do to get my name & document number changed in their driver’s license database. This included visiting 3 different offices within that building, as well as 1 trip across the street to make a photocopy of a form that the Transportes office wanted me to fill out. I did get some good help from a young man who filled the form out for me. He also called the main office in Lima to find out what other documents I might need to prove my new Peruvian citizenship and name change.
- 1 trip to the RENIEC office (the Peruvian ID place where I’m trying to do Lu’s ID card changes). I was supposed to request some sort of a resolution about my name and status change. This office doesn’t have a document of that sort.
- 1 trip home to pick up more documents to take back to Transportes. TOTAL TIME SPENT on license: 3 hr. 15 min. plus 16 trips to different offices!
Since last Wednesday, this is what happened with Lu’s ID card:
- 3 trips to the RENIEC office. This included discovering that their computer system noted an “open” process from a couple of years before Luis joined our family. The lady helping me had to call the main office in Lima to have someone finish that process so she could start a new one. This took several hours…, I went home. I also took Luis on one of these trips, thinking they were ready to take his fingerprints. Alas, we found out that they needed to make a change on his birth certificate before they can fix the ID card… Luis was supremely disgusted at the waste of time, but an ice cream sandwich helped a bit.
- 1 trip to a different Notary than the one I visited last week. This man can supposedly write me the letter that I need to make legal changes… but he won’t be back in the office until the end of this week. TIME SPENT on Lu’s ID card: 1 hr. 15 minutes plus 4 trips to different offices
So, in just 2 days I made 20 trips to different offices, spending a total of 4 hr. 30 min. in the offices, and another 3 hours running around. Added to last week, this brings the grand total to:
13 hours & 50 minutes of my time and 31 separate trips to different offices in 5 days. And I’m not that much closer to getting anything resolved!
So how does this relate to Socialism, especially since Peru is not currently a Socialist country?
Today I found myself standing in a long line, in a crowded room with an oppressive cloud of sweat and the smell of unwashed bodies hanging over my head. Long lines are a hallmark of Socialism…. because a Central Government feels the need to control even the smallest aspect of your life. Need to pay for a license renewal? Go to the National Bank. Need a new government ID card? Pay at the National Bank, and then come stand in line at the only office in your town that provides this service. Everything this office does needs to be sent back to the central office, and even in a digital age, this can take days or weeks. Think you can get by without the gov. ID card? Think again! Everything you do depends on this card, whether you’re an elementary school student signing up to attend a new school, or an adult renewing your driver’s license or going to the voting polls. And don’t plan on NOT voting, because it will be mandatory and you’ll be fined if you don’t. And if you have an unpaid fine attached to your ID card files, you won’t be allowed to do ANYTHING until you get that fine paid. And if your ID card or your driver’s license or even your building permit happens to expire before you’ve paid your fine, you’ll be in REALLY DEEP hot water… or should I say, you’ll find yourself waiting at the end of a mile-long line!
So be aware, America…. you might think my hours and hours of trying to untie red tape sounds far-fetched, but you might be finding out for yourself before too long!