Quiliano Antonio Méndez, a resident of the west of the capital Caracas, left his house very early in the morning yesterday and headed towards the headquarters of the Administrative Service for Identification, Migration and Immigration (SAIME) in Plaza Caracas, to process his identity card, taking advantage of the special day activated by the government to guarantee that all Venezuelans have their ID in order to properly participate in the upcoming Parliamentary elections, scheduled for December 6.
“I was very worried because I had been without a card since the start of the COVID-19 quarantine in the month of March. They informed me this weekend of the special day, and since my ID ends in the number one, I came to process it. The service was quick and I left the office with my ID in hand,” said Méndez.
SAIME offices have been closed since March of this year, when special measures were decreed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Venezuelans were expected to participate in this special plan and in some Caracas offices, like the one in Plaza Caracas, long queues of citizens waiting to process their request were reported by local news outlets. Many were expecting these kind of queues, but in that particular location lines of people not respecting social distancing cause alarm among many.
From early in the morning Gustavo Vizcaíno, General Director of SAIME, was monitoring the development of the identification day taking place at sixty-two offices, activated throughout the country so that people could renew their document in cases of loss, theft, deterioration or expiration.
“This special day of pre-electoral identification is carried out in respecting of the right that all citizens have to exercise their vote in the next elections of the new National Assembly. We have started the activation this Monday, October 19 and we will extend it until December 4. This is a free service, with the goal of delivering the identity document the same day that the user processes it, unless there is some kind of problem with the fingerprint system that might required a special review,” Vizcaino explained.
The days of attention were established by the last identification number in the following order, on Mondays the ID’s with last number ending in 0-1-2-3 will be attended; Tuesdays 4-5-6, while on Wednesdays 7-8 and 9, from 8 am to 2 pm; “but if there are people in the queue, they will be attended to, even if they go beyond that time”, said the director of the entity.
Thursdays and Fridays will be dedicated to the delivery of IDs for those people who at the time of processing had a problem with the fingerprint.
He explained that instructions have been circulated so that queue numbers aren’t handed out to those queuing up, nor can positions in the queue be saved. He added that priority care should be offered to the elderly, disabled or sick.
“It is recommended that people present a copy of their identification card (cédula), but if they don’t have this document they must still be serviced, since their identity will be demonstrated by placing their fingerprint on the fingerprint scanner,” he said.
Vizcaíno reported that the rest of the SAIME offices will offer attention to the public for the delivery of the documents that were processed before the quarantine, but couldn’t be delivered due to the closure of the offices when national measures responding to COVID-19 were decreed.
He added that, for the moment only the service of ID renewal will be provided; first-time ID requests, resident ID requests, and requests for new passports or extensions of passport validity, aren’t being processed.
“Many citizens ask us through social media about the first-time identification cards, especially for children, concerning the issue of enrollment in schools. We remind them that the authorities of the Ministry of Education published a resolution so that the procedures in the educational centers will be carried out without this document, until the sanitary conditions are improved to carry out this specialized process, one that requires more time, since the data of the children must be carefully reviewed,” he commented.
He asserted that the Government of President Nicolás Maduro ensured the material needed for the renewal of all the identification cards required for Venezuelans. He invited people to follow the SAIME social media accounts where they regularly post information of interest: on Twitter, @VenezuelaSaime; on Instagram: Redsocialsaime, and on Facebook: Red Social Saime.
Featured image: Hundreds of Venezuelan took advantage of ID day to renew their ID’s. In some Caracas offices SAIME was crowded with citizens in need of IDs, sometimes not respecting social distancing. Photo courtesy of La Razon.
(Ultimas Noticias) with OT content