The Ordeal of Legal Processes in Venezuela.
The TSJ (Tribunal Supremo de Justicia/Supreme Justice Court) in Cumaná, Venezuela is located at a building that was not meant to be a court house. Like many state-run institutions, these offices work at places that were expropriated or improvised to provide their services. The temporary buildings become permanent and so do the temporary vexations imposed on clerks and citizens.
In the last weeks I have been spending a considerable amount of hours running errands and mostly waiting in hot and smelly rooms and dark stairs.
None of the narrow stairwells are lit
There was a guy going up and down with buckets of water because there is not running water in the building. None of the bathrooms are available to the public and here most cases involve families, so women and children are usually crowding the halls and waiting rooms without having a bathroom in case of an “emergency.”
The whole building looks like it is falling apart. No repairs, paint, or any other improvements have been made in at least 15 years.
Only a few offices have air conditioners, none of the waiting rooms have. Most clerks try to vent hot and mold-infested spaces with fans. The most traumatic thing about having to go through a legal process in Venezuela is that every lawyer is charging you in dollars, while you earn bolivares; the amounts charged are obscene (a minimum of $40), considering the average person makes minimum wage (about $5); the corruption we witness in every step of any legal process is disgusting. Every worker, from doorman to judge has a price and expects to be rewarded for speeding up your documents; efficiency is not a word they know, most processes are not digitalized, piles of hard-copy files are stuck in every corner, finding a file can take months, if you are lucky, having your document on time takes time and lots of dollars.
The only colorful thing in the whole building. I want to read it as a sign of better things to come, a sign of joyful hope amid so much dispair.
**We can consider ourselves "lucky". My daughter's travel permit is done, after two weeks. Now we have to get the rest of the money to pay the lawyer (he will keep the document until his fees are paid in full). The whole socialist crap about the State providing legal representation if the person cannot afford it is just dead legalese. Much has been written in terms of laws to protect the citizens, but corruption rules and not even at the home of law, order and justice can we see those who better know the law fight for their own rights to work at decent places under decent working conditions, let alone fight to provide the public with decent, honest, and efficient services.
There is a lot to be done in this rotten country of mine.
Thanks for your visit
PS. I doodled this during my long waits
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