Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Nazional Guard of Venezuela is opening private correspondence

rigid small envelope
UPDATED

A friend coming back from France after a stay of several months showed me the following envelopes that he received while there.  These envelopes had been opened by the Nazional Guard of Venezuela as you can read on the resealing tape if you click on the pictures to enlarge.

 These envelopes carried business items that required signatures: contracts, loans, sales, etc.. Just normal stuff that he is required to sign as he is one of the owners of the business but not working there anymore. The envelopes used were standard Federal Express ones: that is either the larger plastic fiber ones to ship single books or dossiers, and the flat thin rigid cardboard ones to ship letters of no more than a dozen pages. In other words envelopes that can not be used for drug trafficking, or in small amounts for personal use so to speak, or that any dog can sniff by simply clipping an edge of the envelope if the border police wished it so. In other words, there is no justification to open these envelopes, and even less justification to open so many of them.

But that is not all, it happens with the other international carrier too, DHL (he receives about 3 envelopes a month between both of them, all of them opened by the Nazional Guard in the last three months).


large plastified envelope
But it gets worse. If we assume that drug search is indeed the objective, then why are the internal envelopes also opened? He showed me an envelope that was meant to contain a single leaf of paper. That was the envelope that was sealed and placed inside the FedEx envelope to carry the letter. Removing it from the FedEx envelope was enough to observe that there was no object inside that envelope, that there was at most a couple of pages, and hence no drug whatsoever. A light bulb would have sufficed.  A dog would have sniffed.  Yet the envelope seal also had been broken, FedEx not reporting it, just putting back the violated envelope and re-sealing with the outside tape you can see in the attached pictures. I am not displaying that envelope as it would reveal the name of the company and you certainly can understand that it is not convenient to do so in Venezuela where the Nazional Guard does not respect any privacy whatsoever and no justice to protect you if you file a claim.

I need to stress that this friend is also an occasional business partner, that he is semiretired and that his businesses and money are perfectly legal and legitimate, justifying his comfortable but not rich lifestyle level, so to speak.
tape to reseal

Why is the Nazional guard doing that? Is he under investigation? And we can safely assume he is not since he came back to Venezuela last week in spite of the open envelopes.  That is, he probably sleeps well. Is it drug trafficking chase? In that case why focus on something that cannot ship more than a hundred grams of drug that would probably be caught in Europe at arrival anyway? After all the Nazional Guard should focus first on all the local traffic that numbers hundreds of pounds caught either on ships or planes....

No, my theory is very simple: the corrupt Nazional Guard, deeply penetrated by drug and people traffickers, and thus organized crime is abusing its power to read people's mail in order to try to get their worth, their accounts, etc., so as to try to blackmail them, or take them for ransom, or fraud their account and steal their money, etc, etc... they have it easy because in the era of internet mail only carries official documents, no love letters anymore to sift through.

You have been warned: do not send any document from Venezuela that may reveal your worth (bank info, checks cashed, etc...)

Update:  I did some additional home work.

My friend told me that ALL the received mail this year had been opened.  I do not personally of anyone that was long enough out of the country this year to check out with them but I am working on that.

I did happen to have to pick up at a FedEx drop place.  The attendant nicely explained to me that yes, indeed, drug traffic through FedEx and DHL was a problem.  That a couple of months ago a very nice older gentleman came to mail a "book" for his children in Spain and three days later the Guard came to interrogate her because the book was full of dope.  Since then she had a camera installed on her computer and takes a picture of everyone that comes to make a drop off.

This being said she did not know that all was opened and she thinks it is ridiculous because the thin envelopes cannot carry any significant amount of dope.  And business that are registered get the pick up and delivery without ID pictures, finger prints, etc....  So it was just more hassle for her.  At the end on her own she told me that surely there was something at play, "you know, with all those Cubans everywhere".

And thus the final conclusion seem to be that the Cuban snitches use the drug excuse to read everyone's mail.



24 comments:

  1. Island Canuck7:44 AM

    "But it gets worse. If we assume that drug search is indeed the objective, then why are the internal envelopes also opened? "

    It's probably money transactions. I use DHL all the time & nowadays you must sign 3 different pieces of paper allowing the GN to open your mail & verifying that you are not illegally breaking the exchange control laws.

    In addition you are fingerprinted on all the above documents & your photograph is taken.

    All this to send an envelope with 1 piece of paper to Miami.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Island

    This might be due to you in Margarita posting on your own. these envelopes were business envelopes of registered business that are picked up routinely at work as it happens everywhere else.

    Besides, even if your hypothesis was the right one, does that justifiy so many envelopes opened?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Island Canuck10:51 AM

    Daniel, they have laws in place that they can't control. Whether it's exchange controls or driving drunk everything is in chaos.

    If they had reason to believe that your friend's company was trying to send US$ or Euro cheques out of the country then maybe that would justify so many envelopes. The paranoia is at all time highs.

    They are trying to destroy what's left of the middle class & instill fear. It's all part of the plan.

    The 3 new laws are a good example of that. The rental law, the prices & earnings law & the new proposed labour law are all aimed at that specific end.

    I'm surprised that Miguel or yourself has not posted a thread on the new pricing & earnings law. I think that it's going to be one of the most destructive forces around in the coming months. The Seniat gestapo will be using it to threaten many businesses.

    This past week they closed a business here locally for not having 1 sello (rubber stamp) on 1 document. They threatened him with a closure of 3 days until after some "negotiating" they backed it down to 24 hours. This is a business where every single sale is given a receipt & every rule is followed.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Daniel is right. This doesn't have to do with cocaine or the like.
    Venezuelans can have more dosh than in 1998 but still they are stealing more.

    It's hard to steal from a package unless you tear it apart, even if I am sure some Chavista is investigating about how to beam the objects inside directly to her pocket.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I sent photos, food, and money to a friend in Caracas and the government correo system stole it in front of her face. They actually called her in, showed her the package, and they proceeded to keep the contents. After much protest they gave her the photos, but they kept the food and gifts I had sent.

    Rotten, legal, government thuggery is what it is!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Charly2:05 PM

    In my opinion this is just plain attempt at money stealing from the lower rungs of the GN. They do the same thing with luggage at Maiquetia. They X-ray the suitcase and if something interesting comes up, watch, camera, etc, they open it, steal it, it happened to me recently. The top brass are drug dealers and the privates just plain thieves in airports or extortioners at "alcabalas". Isn't their motto after all: "Las divisas son su honor"?

    ReplyDelete
  7. Outrageous.
    Somehow I am not surprised though. I stopped using Ipostel long time ago and replaced it by FeDex, feeling it was a secure way to send out docs, but obviously is not.
    I agree with Charly, this is just plain stealing, with a stamp of approval in a country where impunity is the rule and where the government makes fun of the citizens.
    And again and as Canuck comments, more fingerprints taken! Not only they are stealing the docs and the info, they are attaching it to your identity.
    Wow...

    ReplyDelete
  8. Scarey and infuriating stuff.The kind of stuff that when I am around it in person will bring out the firepiggy soul.

    They always stole packages there.Once my mother sent a toy to my grandson( post Chavez) and we received a notice saying it was suspect for drugs and that I had to go and claim it, down to some God awful dangerous barrio- I forget where-in any case, I left it of course; now a toy for some official's kid, I guess.


    But now things are even much worse.I so believe that.


    I have been wanting to send books to friends for Xmas but don't know whether or not to ....It used be that books were not coveted by officials.....are they stealing books too??

    Little by little people are getting used to a system that many don't actually realize just how bad it is, precisely because the 'getting -used -to' is so little by little and most don't have a choice to leave.

    It is shocking friends and family complain non stop about how bad it is, and about all the murders and thefts, but when I say I am afraid to go, they reply with the following type of exclamation:

    " Oh but firepigette, esto no es el lejano oeste!!Es el mismo Venezuela de siempre. "

    haha!!!!!!!!!!yeah sure.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous4:38 PM

    I don't know what the big deal is in terms of everybody beeing so surprised and aggravated. This is just another step towards the Cubanization of Venezuela.

    NOTHING enters or leaves Cuba without being opened and inspected for the purpose of intelligence / control of information with the perk of the inspectors being able to steal anything of value, in case anybody is stupid enough to mail hard foreign cash, or e.g. a little gold chain.

    But as I said the other day: the booze is flowing, tits are cheap and the availability of Blackberries is abundant, therefore: What? Me worry?

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous5:52 PM

    The same happens here in Ecuador, whether it is FedEx, UPS, or Correos. All packages are opened for 'inspection', with the idea that the customs label isn't true for contents. or there is something illegal inside the package! Whereas a simple x-ray of the contents would probable reveal all plus a dog sniffing each package!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Mike, that what you say is what worries me the most. People get used to the constant abuse so they don't react against it. If there is no reaction then, the abuse continues and gets bigger and bigger.
    People really have to start questioning these things out loud, refusing them, refusing to use the services, being more critic and less condescendent.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Island Canuck6:31 PM

    "...refusing to use the services"

    That only hurts DHL or FedEx.
    It doesn't stop the abuse.

    There are many of us here in Venezuela who need to send documents outside the country. We really don't have many options.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My friend/business partner are in the process of relaunching a bicycle clothing line of that I created in the 90s. He sent down a sample shirt for me to look at and I never got it. It disappeared. I told him not to send it, but he insisted thinking it'd get bounced back to him if I couldn't get it. No such luck. He doesn't understand the corruption here. This is one reason I need to leave ASAP. We'll never get the line relaunch with me here and this system. There is only so much that can be done via the Internet.

    ReplyDelete
  14. "People get used to the constant abuse so they don't react against it. If there is no reaction then, the abuse continues and gets bigger and bigger"

    Exactly!

    After a while people get so accustomed to things that they hardly know just how bad they are.

    Some are also getting used to working for the Devil to survive, and letting evil acts cruise by without a major uproar....and this is part of the problem.


    Island,

    There's not going to be some simple voting out process because it's not only about Chavez.There is Institutionalized crime in Venezuela with International links to terrorism.

    ReplyDelete
  15. CharlesC8:45 PM

    Reminds me of the quote:
    "Get your stinking paws off me
    you damn dirty ape!"
    These actions hurt the Venezuelan
    people very much.90% of what the steal is mostly little things.
    "Little things" mean a lot...

    ReplyDelete
  16. Juan Cristóbal9:22 PM

    Great post, Daniel. Your reason seems the most logical to me. I wonder if they've already run out of people to blackmail that they need to find new victims.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Anonymous3:06 AM

    Carolina,

    That is exactly my point. The value system / moral code of the majority of the Venezuelan people is so dysfunctional that they no longer "see" what's happening to them in front of their eyes. This is criminally abused by Chavismo, using the Cuban playbook of the road to communism, slowly but surely.

    Mike

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous9:02 AM

    'Open the big disgusting coloured suitcase' a female street Cuban accent shouted as I was about to leave the airport in Maquetia. Well I know my suitcase is a bit colourful but that's my choice.
    'There's canned food inside. Take the items up to the usual place'!

    The under-order Venezuelan chap opening the case was a bit embarrassed. After a cursory check he let me pass without problem.

    I headed along to the domestic departure lounge for a couple of Polars and sat enjoying the tits and arse procession in front of the departure gates.

    As for the postal sytem I no longer use it. Not that I am concerned about that which could go missing as I controlled the items I chose to post. What concerns me is that which could be placed inside my envelopes.

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  19. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  20. Since I'm trying to get my wife a permanent visa to Canada, so that she and my son (a Canadian citizen, since we applied for it as soon as he was born), can come and live with me, I've had to ask her to send several pieces of papers to Canada where I was at the time. We used UPS, and it was the same thing with everything that was sent.

    This is very sad.

    On top of that I've recently returned to Venezuela for vacation to visit my wife and son, only to discover that when I thought things could not get worse with water and electricity shortages here in Merida, on top of that there is gas shortages. It just boggles the mind how such gross incompetence can be overlooked by Chavistas.

    These days more then ever I feel that I have to get them out of this country. I know some are making an all right living, but it just isn't worth the headaches.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Given that the reason given is to control drug trafficking... yes, we all know it is an excuse, not the real reason... does it make sense to ANYONE that people would risk smuggling drugs INTO Venezuela???

    ReplyDelete
  22. Roy, hehe, that was a good one!!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Anonymous12:45 AM

    Los pongo todos de acuerdo, esto se llama violación del correo, si sospechan de droga o dinero, lo pueden abrir pero solo frente al que lo envia y no después que este cerrado el sobre. La Maga Lee

    ReplyDelete
  24. Scrawnyitalian10:45 AM

    Hey Daniel, first of all I wanted to thank you for your blog, is very interesting and you give nice insights with respect to the issues in Venezuela. I wanted to ask you if you know where the mail that your friend in France received was coming from (i.e What city in Venezuela, Caracas, Valencia, Barquisimeto etc..)

    Muchas Gracias!

    ReplyDelete

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