Kimi Kash

Any excuse is good to put up a photo of my baby girl.

So, this may not be the part of this last week I will remember the most, but it is the one bit of becoming a parent in Québec that I can hang a Caracas Chronicles post on.

After Kimi was born, a seemingly never ending stream of doctors and nurses went through our room with various bits of official advice – on breast-feeding, on spotting the signs of deafness, on Shaken Baby Syndrome, you name it.

One of them brought a simple, inconspicuous, one page government form that took five minutes to fill out – a Declaration of Birth. If you didn’t look at the fine print, you might not even realize that this inoffensive little bit of paper entitles Kimi not just to a birth certificate, but also to Single Payer Health Care, a Pension Plan (talk about cradle-to-the-grave!) and…an Unconditional Cash Transfer!

Actually, two Unconditional Cash Transfers, since the Canada Child Tax Benefit is matched by the provincial-level Soutien aux enfants du Québec.

The specific amounts you get depend on your family income – the Québec transfer goes from a minimum of $611 per year per child to a maximum of $2,176, with an additional amount for single parents. The Canada transfer also varies depending on the family’s circumstances.

What doesn’t  change, though, is that they’ve devised a completely idiot-proof, hassle-free and painless way to apply for these credits – rolling them into another tramite you have to do anyway, so that if you’re not paying attention you may not even realize that you’re doing it.

And that aspect of it, if nothing else, is one Venezuela could certainly learn from: the process for signing up for Canada’s child-support UCTs is user-focused. Rather than doing what Latin American bureaucracies always do – thinking of the problem of how to sign people up to a new government program from the standpoint of the bureaucracy’s needs – here they’ve devised a system that looks at the problem from the parents’ point of view, minimizing the hassle to the parent and ensuring universal coverage – because, after all, every birth has to be registered, right?

Whatever the specifics of the CCTs the next government brings in, I hope they’ll start to look at new ways of extending social services that put the user first.

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  1. I would hope that if Kimi ever goes get a cédula, with her beautiful picture on it, it would be a chip encrusted debit card into which give her access to her share of all oil revenues, currently around 10$/day, or 3650$/yr. I will vote for the opposition candidate that most convincingly promises the closest thing to this hope of mine.

  2. First things first: she is a cutie!!
    Now regarding the cash transfers: don’t forget that the CTB ties to your income tax, that means only people that file their income tax yearly receive it.
    That way, the government can calculate and determine who is entitled to receive it and who is not, and how much those entitled will receive. It’s not a fixed amount and it will be recalculated every year, depending on your income, the age of the kid and if there have been any changes to your marital status.
    Oh, and you’ll get a cheque in the mail! (ipostel anyone?)
    The reason I point that out is that I’m transferring the experience to the Venezuelan system & reality. Who in the slums of Petare files taxes every year?
    By the way, one thing you will notice soon, the cheques will come on your wife’s name. You don’t count.

    • Taking Venezuelan reality into account is why one would set up a system that does not depend on Ipostel, or the taxation system, or age: equal deposits into all non expired V-cédula accounts on a daily basis. It’s doable. The toughest part is the sell to the non poor…

    • A couple of things:

      1-I dunno about you, but I’m signed up to Direct Deposit – no Ipostel/Canada Post involved, just a debit card.

      2-I bet if people in Petare started to associate “filing income tax” with “getting cash” – as, surely, for most lower income petareños the net tax flow would be to them rather than to the government – people would sign up in a hurry. This, I admit, is not how Cash Transfers are usually done in developing countries – where a simplified system unmoored to the tax system is usually preferred – but heck, why not innovate?

      • First of all: beautiful child.

        Your proposals are reasonable. What I still am not sure about is how to prepare people for the oil cycle.
        You say you would create a fund, like Norway has. That’s fine. Now: do we know the share we have to put there to catch up for when oil prices remain 20% low for 2 consecutive years?
        Venezuela’s economy has been more or less “growing” based on oil prices going up more than 10% year after year (very often much more, with 3 small drops in 2002, 2008, 2009). Most people don’t get this.

        I checked out the numbers for Canada and oil makes up less than 3% of the GDP. For Venezuela it is directly a third but a lot of the rest is very directly indirectly derived from oil.
        Venezuela’s productivity levels are very low.
        Is there a way we can put in that fool-proof “bill of rights” a warning, some understandable message that we are living off the contents of a limited number of piñatas?

        • Why couldn’t the cash transfer vary? Protecting citizens from themselves is dangerous. I seem to recall Alaska has a variable transfer. Or some deal like 1/2 to stash 1/2 to keep and a 1/3 to oil the necessary gears.

          • It could, it could, certainly. The thing is whether Venezuelans will understand why it is varying. They really don’t grasp it yet. They could but our politicians don’t want to explain anything that has to do with economics to people. Apparently people cannot even count.

            See: Canada is one of the top nations in education. The average pupil and thus the average citizen gets the best results within the OECD.
            So: even if the processes are fool-proof, it’s all easier.
            We need a true education campaign to explain why things vary and alll. It is not that people in Venezuela are idiots, but the average is indeed deeply ignorant. So I plead for a campaign to improve economic literacy ASAP.

          • oh, I don’t know, Kep. Call me a doubter, when a teacher-in-training tells me that some of her colleagues are a little deficient in spelling and grammar, or when parents doubt the quality of the instruction. Call me a doubter, when PISA measures student performance on tests, which doesn’t always account for broader comprehension.

          • Syd, I am sure you have reasons to doubt. The funny thing is this: some years ago there was a poll asking people about how happy they were with education levels in their respective countries. Some of those most worried were the Finnish, the Germans and, if I remember well, Canadians. In Latin America the most worried were the Chileans and Argentines. Venezuelans were some of the least worried. Now, you tell me how good Juan Pedro Rodríguez García is with reading and writing or with maths.

          • This may nail the issue of exports a little more clearly… .
            But not enough, for no mention is made of the ownership of the conglomerates that produce industrial goods and materials, in Canada. After all, this country has a (now lessened) legacy of a branch plant economy, except in certain sectors like the financial one.

          • sorry, I’m not replying very accurately .. the export and education issues all mixed up. (Evidently I need better education, LOL)
            As for the news report of the British PM who stroked AB egos, it might have been useful if the news reporter actually mentioned the source of measurements of international standards.
            I like my news with more teeth.

        • Kepler, I suggest a buffer fund. All oil revenue enters the buffer fund. If we calculate the average daily amount entering the buffer fund , say over 6 months, and pay out that amount, you’ve got a shock absorbing system.

          I do *not* suggest a Norway fund. Norway’s fund is a *managed* fund. The government uses the money in it for investments and pays out based on interests. I would not want the Venezuelan government managing such investments, nor deciding payouts based on parameters that they themselves control. Norway’s system, as is Alaska’s, has too many points of failure, and requires many more people involved than what I support.

          Trust people. Keep it simple: cash in, cash out.

          • Cash in, aguardiente in

            I translate freely from Humboldt, 1799:
            “the last [Indians] disappear progressively as a special race as they become part of the masses of mestizos and zambos, whose numbers keep growing. I have counted 4000 interest-paying Indians in the Aragua valleys. The biggest concentrations are in Turmero and Guacara. They are small but not as chunky as the Chaimas….they work like the free people, on a daily salary. They are energetic and applied in the short period they work, but what they earn in two months they waste in one week for alcoholic drinks at the cantinas that keep multiplying”

            And I can tell you it was the same in 1980 and in 2011. Now: you can say that’s their choice. What about their kids? Most of what kids get is from their parents.

          • Sí. Sorry, I translated on the fly from the German version as I didn’t find the passage in the English Gutenberg translation (which is ok but has lots of interesting parts missing)

          • Kepler, you’ve brought up the aguardiente argument in the past. I countered by providing links of studies showing that the poor people handled their money much more responsibly than ever expected. I also counter argued that no adult (in this case you) has the right to be dictating what other adults (in this case the poor) can or cannot do with their own money. I also countered that even if they did spend it on aguardiente, they cannot get too drunk with 10 dollars a day, and even if they did, that issue should be dealt with via other kinds of policies, not by withholding their monies from them or meddling in the market. At the same time, the providers of the aguardiente would be taking in the money, making them greater tax contirbuters, along with all other providers in that market chain. With the taxation money, the government could invest in education or other related programs. It’s like an employer withholding payment from an employee just because the employer doesn’t want the employee to spend it on booze. If it’s not affecting work, the boss has no say. It’s really that simple.

            Besides that, I’ve pointed to links from Quico demonstrating that access to financial institutions is positively correlated to use of more advanced financial tools and savings. Debit cards would help plug people into the financial system.

            As to the kids, I’ve also pointed out that I support having their debit cards be limited to cesta básica items, though I go back to trusting people, especially parents. If you believe in the democratic principle that each person’s vote is equal to anyone else’s vote, then you must support treating each adult as an adult, not placing yourself in a zookeeper’s position, dictating or limiting what the zoo animals can do. This zookeeper mentality is what got chavez here, and will keep bringing in more chavez’s. Every one who gets up to government thinks they know better how to spend that money. We need a leader willing to give up that monopoly over the oil money. That is the petrostate model. It’s got to go.

          • Hello- this is exactly what will happen again.
            Education, feeding children, etc. -bedamned.
            Probably population explosion, and more
            abused women…

          • CharlesC, three things:

            1) how do you support your view if all studies indicate quite the contrary, that the poor, given cash, educate and feed their children better?

            2) how do you justify *not* giving the cash to those who would spend it well just to avoid giving the cash to those who would “mispend” it?

            3) why do *you* get to be the judge for other adults what “mispending” is, or how many children is the right amount? I mean, if you believe in democracy, aren’t “those people” the majority? Do you exemplify the elite not wanting to give up power to the majority, until they think like you do, or are you going to set the example and empower the people, not just with their words but with *their* money?

        • Perhaps, you might want include the raw materials that make up Canada’s primary exports over oil, in order to compare apples and apples.

      • Quico, I chose to receive them by mail simply because I never liked the idea ofnthe government’s hands in my bank account…maybe the Venezuelan way of thinking.
        Also, they sometimes make mistakes, so I rather have a piece of paper with a statement to make the claims.
        I like the system and how is designed. It’s a help with people with little kids specially when they have to pay for daycares to go to work. As kids reach the school age, the amount goes down, and down gradually until they turn 18.
        All that tied to the family’s income. Those that make more money, get less. It’s really design to help low income people.
        Back to the Venezuelan reality: again, it’s about education. People need to understand that filing an income tax is a dutie. Not only the poor in Petare but everyone. Then the second back tom your first point: having a bank account! I don’t understand why it is so difficult to open a stupid bank account nowadays in Venezuela!! References, jobs letters, etc etc etc…

      • Yeah, why not condition the cash transfer on filing taxes? You’re essentially shifting the requirement from simply being a citizen to a requirement that you act like one. Not a massive difference in terms of eligibility (and a nice way of self-selecting some you probably don’t want to get the money anyways), but a fundamental one.

      • Quico, The CCTB is not “unconditional”… if you are above a certain income level (that is not ridiculously high, btw) you will simply not get it… nothing wrong with it.. but just to clarify

        On the other hand, everyone can access the Universal Child Care Benefit (UCCB)…

    • Actually, I am a bit scared. She is the offspring of two really smart and successful people. Can you imagine what could happens if their talents get mixed? Quico might arrive some day to his house to find out that it is covered in an artistic project in tape and paper… the paper being from Venezuelan politicians’ ads….

  3. i second mercedes… she is beautiful and obviously happy of being in this planet, not to mention having all those bureaucratic snafus solved from day one… that”s canada for you lucky guys. i wonder why the gringos always make fun of the canucks?? it’s seems a far more civilized country IMO… un apurruño para la bella…

  4. As a Canadian I applied by mail (DHL) from Venezuela for both my Canadian Pension Plan & Old Age Pension payments.
    The process was easy & they simply deposit the payments into my regular bank account in Canada. I never had to appear at a bank or government office.

    Compare that to the horrors of the Venezuelan Seguros Social pension. It is a crime the way they make old people line up each month to cash in their pensions. My wife’s mother is in her 70s & each month she lines up for hours to take out her BsF.1.500. She has to be photographed & fingerprinted. It’s humiliating.

    I wonder how fast things would change if the president or his ministers were forced to line up for their monthly pay cheques.

    • Wao, wao, wao! Canuck, that’s a brilliant idea! Someone should mention that: either we automate it and the elderly get their money directly as in the civilized world or Ramírez and Flores and all the others have to go personally to a bank

      Now: what happens in Canada to avoid fraud? In Greece they recently found out there were many thousand of people who had been dead for many years and who were getting their pensions (their relatives or friends were actually the receivers)
      Is there some kind of checkup ever?

    • “Is there some kind of checkup ever?”

      Not that I’m aware.
      They must have some way to check.
      They know I live in Venezuela.

      Or maybe it’s just that Canadians are so honest that the fraud level is very, very low especially for things like CPP or OAP.
      If I were to die I suppose my wife could hide the fact from the government for a period of time but eventually she would have to provide a death certificate with a date on it.
      Canadians are very trusting. I was able to get a bank loan this year at a Canadian bank at 5.4% interest even though they knew that I have lived in Venezuela for more than 20 years.
      The whole process took about 15 minutes & all they wanted was my signature.

      The joke is that the local Banco Provincial here in Margarita wanted an accountants “balance personal” & then turned me down after I’d been a loyal customer for 25 years.. They couldn’t grasp the idea that we mostly deal in cash & avoid the hour long lines in the bank like the plaque.

      The difference in the 2 cultures is amazing & difficult to explain to a Venezuelan who has not lived outside of Venezuela.

      • I understand perfectly well but it is interesting to see if there are checkups. I don’t know how it is here in Belgium but I suppose it is similar to Canada. When I firstly arrived in Northern Europe I was amazed how I could get into any bookshop without leaving my rucksack or any bag at the entrance. Also the security in the banks.

      • “…but eventually she would have to provide a death certificate with a date on it.”

        Yeah, and they will make her give back the money she received after you were dead, and if she doesn’t, not sure but I think she will be charged.
        The Canadian system is based on trust. It’s amazing. I don’t doubt that there is people out that know how to milk the system, but is not the general.
        One day we’ll talk about voting. There is where I find the biggest difference…

        • First time I was voting in Belgium I took a couple of pictures. People were giggling and puzzled why I was doing it. I told them: there are no soldiers here! They were even more puzzled.
          A Venezuelan friend heard at work during the pause over a year ago that “the government fell”. He suddenly said – trying to think of Venezuela – what if the military take over? Colleagues started to laugh and looked at him as if he were crazy.

      • The Canadian system is based on the fact that the individual is trustworthy. I think it was inherited from the common law system. The principle is that the State assumes you are telling the truth and the burden is on the State to prove otherwise. If you say your name is Island Canuck, nobody should question it .

        The Venezuelan system, I think that comes from the Napoleon code, puts the burden on the individual to prove everything. The State is a distrustful State and ask you continually guarantees that you are telling the truth.

        So it is not only a matter of culture, it is also a matter of the system’s law.

        Unfortunately, even the Canadian system is losing its freshness. It used to be that only your name was necessary on your medicare, that is no longer true, and that only your word was necessary to vote, no longer true either…

        • I would never leave my front door unlocked, even if I were to live in a small town, in the Canada or the US of today. That didn’t used to be the case, three to four decades ago.

          You’re right, Bruni. Common law starts wtih the assumption that you’re innocent until proven guilty. (Of course, no mention is made of the prosecutor who thinks otherwise, or the fact that you as a defendant, or your lawyer, have to come up with the burden of proof. So that saying is a complete euphemism, believed by innocents.)

          Civil law (Quebec and Vzla) is based on the reverse assumption: you’re guilty until proven otherwise. (There’s an interesting story about Napoleon and one of his drunken soldiers who kills a fellow man. But I digress.)

    • Actually, those people are waiting in line to withdraw their money from the bank account.
      (If one waits until next week-for example then, there are no long lines..)
      There may be lines at bank -example on Friday..

  5. First of all, “la hicieron bien, mi pana! Bien bella la Kimi!”

    Second of all, Quico, the post was not filed at or near 3:58 AM, as promised in your prior post, so it cannot count. I demand a do-over.

    Seriously, there are so many tramites that could be accomplished so easily in this day and age of automation and computers, it boggles the mind as to why these things are not so to begin with.

    That is, until you understand that once CAP I started with “full employment” there has been no reduction in our bloated bureaucracy. So, automate and “efficientize” as much as possible, but start thinking about where the excess workforce is going to work as well.

    • Roberto, all companies in Venezuela still have to send someone to the bank every month to pay Seguros Social, Banavih, etc., etc. We can’t pay these bills from our business bank account on-line.

      It’s so frustrating, inefficient, time consuming & annoying.

      • Good question Kepler.

        I assume it’s because their computer systems are so archaic that they can’t integrate them with the bank’s payment computers which is a little strange because the bank teller accesses the site to register the payment.

        Last month I thought I would beat the line & used the “mayor de edad” line.
        When I got to the teller they wouldn’t let me pay Seguros Social because it wasn’t personal. Oh well, nice try. 🙂

  6. I am blessed- my wife’s family are full of accountants. Naturally, my wife
    handles all ALL of our finances (except my small allowance-ha).
    In the past -I walked around with lot of cash- but no more- just acouple of
    cards…and a few $$’s for fuel and coffee-ha.

  7. Kimi fever… It’s contagious!

    About the cash transfers, I get double the regular amount because my daughter ended up with a handicap (she had bone-cancer). I did have to fill a form and mail it, to get both the federal and provincial supplément pour enfant handicapé.

    • I haven’t managed to go back to work because my daughter still needs a lot of help.
      The cash transfer is of much help to stay afloat.

  8. Amazing she can be so beautiful being just a few days old! Usually babies take longer to look like that.

    I am glad that my taxpayers dollars are being wisely used. In fact, as one of my collegues usually says: the problem is not paying more taxes, the problem is getting fewer services.

    When my kids were young, there were not so many family advantages. In fact the society was then dominated by double income-no-kids type of families that even had a tax advantage on not getting married. A few years ago the government of Quebec decided to change that to prevent population decline and started heavily investing in families so that people would have more kids. It seems that it worked and now the province is said to be the best part of the world in economic terms (I heard that on the radio last year) to raise kids.

    A word of caution: double check the name of everybody when you go to the city of Montreal to register the child because it is extremely difficult to change that once you get the Quebec certificate delivered.

    Ah! and you’ll probably want to do a post on the differences in registering a child here and in the Venezuelan Consulate…they will ask you to notariate the paper from the city and then notariate the notary (I am not kidding), go to a special bank, deposit some money on a special account, come back to the Consultate, buy a specific stamp, wait several days until someone makes you the favor of writing a very long paper…of course that after having notariated your wedding papers translated into spanish and with the notariated translator. Then once you go to Caracas, you realize that the paper that was supposed to have been sent by the Consultate was not sent and then you have to habilitate the register office and show your notariated paper with the copy of the notariated notary and the certification of the consulate that the notariation is a real one….enfin.

    Enjoy your beautiful baby. She will be 22 in no time!

    • It’s not really my business but I am curious: why registering her in the Venezuelan consulate? As far as I know, she – nor you – would ever benefit from that.

      • you never know, Carolina. Maybe Kimi is destined to be a great venezuelan political heroine and for that she will need a cedula and for that she will need Quico to register her in the Consulate …

        • That’s true, you never know.
          Maybe she will be PM of Japan too.Or PM of Canada.
          But you will never know until she grows up, and then, she can decide by herself. Meanwhile, if she has the double nationality, she won’t be able to travel to Venezuela without a venezuelan passport. It’s the venezuelan law: regardless of the due citizenship, one has to enter the country as a venezuelan.
          For people living on the east this might not be such a problem, just a matter of being patient (or not losing your nerves) with all the consulate bureaucracy. For us, it’s a hassle. We don’t have a consulate here and it wasn’t until a year ago or so, that we were assigned to Toronto. That means that we had to travel to Toronto to get a new passport or to register a child, or to do all consulate matters, including registering in the CNE. Now we have to travel to Vancouver, where they opened a new consulate. Still, it’s 1000 mms away…
          The one time I went with my kids to Venezuela, we were still able to enter as canadians, so we did. When we were leaving, the venezuelan customs person checked and double checked the kids passports, and started to ask me if they were born in venezuela and things like that, and stopped me there for several minutes. I got very paranoid actually, so never took them again.

      • I’m with Bruni on this. You do it because there is no forever with “el cabeza ‘e……” we have now.

        Yeas, and it’s funny how you have to have the notary notarized and all the requisite BS that goes long with dealing with a Venezuelan Consulate or Embassy. Sigh…..

  9. The audience of this blog (along with the writers) are supposed to represent the “change”, in the way of thinking, that Venezuela so desperately needs.

    The fact that 99% so far (I’m counting me out) don’t see anything wrong with a government giving tax-payer money to someone (no matter how cute) just because s/he was born, goes to show why Venezuela is fucked, and why it will still be fucked -in a the same royal fashion- many years from now. En la práctica, la plata de ciudadanos que no tienen hijos está siendo repartida entre aquellos que sí los tienen. How is that fair?

    Quitando eso, enjoy parenthood.

    • Ricardo, those that have no kids get sick as much as those with kids and they need to go to hospitals that are paid with taxes. Moreover, when they get old, they want their pension too. If there is not enough people to sustain the public health program, even those without kids are screwed because there is not enough money to sustain the system. The same with pensions: there must be enough middle class people to pay taxes for the pension system to exist.
      So that is why the government of Quebec decided to help those that have kids, because otherwise there would simply not be enough people to sustain the system. Is the system too generous? (Maybe, that can be discussed. For instance, Quico has not talked yet about the 7$/day daycare or the paid maternal or paternal leave that is given for six months). However, something had to be done to resist the trend of denatality. I personally did not had such a generous system when my kids were born, yet I am glad that the government did something to curve de-natality.For a Venezuelan that lives in a country where the majority of people is younger than 18, this might be difficult to accept and understand, but here the reality is another one.
      Now, I want to make another comment about your point about those that have no kids giving money to those that have kids..well, that is one of the norms of living in a society no? Those that are healthy pay taxes so those that are sick can get to hospitals; those without kids pay taxes so that other people’s kids can go to school and so on.
      school. In the end, everybody wins because one has a more educated, just and healthy society.

      • Not knowing anything about this, the question that begs asking is: do these cash transfers really make people re-consider not having babies? In other words, does it make a difference in the decision to have a baby?

        Quebec’s fertility rate is 1.74 births per woman. In the US, where cash handouts such as these do not happen (you get a child tax credit, but that comes later), it’s 2.05 births per woman.

        That’s how a program should be evaluated, in its capacity to change behavior, and by how much.

        • Juan, twenty years ago Quebec fertility rate was 1.4, the lowest in the developed world.
          Did the policy worked? You bet! It started with a huge handout for having a third kid. The government then realized they had a mini-baby-boom in their hands in a couple of years and they kept increasing benefits, like the 5$ daycare (now 7$), the paternity/maternity leave, the “conciliation travail-famille”, etc etc you see, they increased the fertility rate.

          The US or the ROC (rest of Canada) are another societies so you cannot compare. They were not under the very strong hold of the Catholic church that asked women for years to have larger and larger families (my older friends all come from families of at least 5 kids, if not 10 or 14!). The low natality rate was somehow a reaction to the Church rule.

          So the government, knowing that, set the policies to do something about it, and it seems they are having success.

          • You have to evaluate the effect of the program by controlling for other demographic variables. Observing a small bump in the fertility rate after implementing the policy is not good enough, that is not how serious program evaluation works.

        • Not so fast, Bruni, regarding the efficacy of the cash bonuses on Quebec’s fertility rate (1.4 vs. 1.74 in 20 years => growth rate of 1.2% p.a.), and its ability to change the behaviour of many women who refused to have children (and I know a few, so you are correct there) after growing up with very repressive Catholic Church in Quebec. There’s another variable that begs consideration: the rate of immigration in the years being analyzed, and the immigrants’ delight with the bonuses, where there was no such thing in their countries of origin.

          • wrong calculation. I think the fertility growth rate of Quebec over 20 years is more like (1.74 % – 1.2%) / 20 = .027% p.a. Is that a significant change in behaviour? Over a 20 year span? I don’t think it’s that great.

    • Ricardo: “The fact that 99% so far (I’m counting me out) don’t see anything wrong with a government giving tax-payer money to someone (no matter how cute) just because s/he was born,”

      Ricardo, cash distribution, if you do the math, is the most efficient form of reducing economic inequalities. Other methods have higher complexity and overhead costs, greater number of points of failure, more target persons falling through cracks, and negative effects on the market when the programs are eliminated (i.e., job loss), and they still create the same amount of dependence, without the advantage of allowing people to pull themselves up on their own in any creative way they can think of.

      So, it’s not that I don’t see anything wrong with it, it’s that I bet cash distribution is superior to anything you may propose.

  10. I’ve asked that question to different people in Québec and gotten a variety of answers: from a frown followed by a killer three-word-statement “porque ES venezolano”, to an indifferent “no vale, yo no pienso registrarlo”.

    • Tuti, a parent’s selection of one or more national identities for their child is a very personal one. I grew up with two (Vz and Cdn). To this day, it’s inconceivable for me to give either of them up, though for years I had to hide the Cdn nationality from Vz authorities, especially when travelling in and out of the country.

    • Tuti, your “porque ESss venezolano” now reminds me of a woman I met, in 2001, during a 50th anniversary of the founding of my escuelita in Caracas. At the dinner, this woman walks by the table I shared with others to ‘jactarse de que sus hijos son venezolanos’. She said it, of course, with much drama. Then she sought a new avenue by telling us that she had soooo much trouble getting her sons their American passport. Y dale con esa cuerda. At that point, I piped up and asked, bueno pero si es tan importante que sean venezolanos, por qué andas buscándoles un pasaporte americano? She switched the subject.

      So the comment (porque ES venezolano) can be hypocritical or it can be that of a lorito who repeats an often heard mantra. Kind of like the c. 1980’s version of “sabías que Caracas es la sucursal del cielo?”

      Como decía un primo hermano (qepd), “Aquí la gente no hace más que pensar en equipo.”

      • Syd, I’ve often sensed the cuaima drama-tone you describe. But I’ve also heard people dispassionately claim that having a dual citizenship is their kid’s right and as parents, their role is to protect it.

          • Go for them! Have Kimi be comfortable in as many cultures and languages as possible, preferably before the age of 7 (there’s a physiological change at that point that makes it more difficult to speak a language without an accent).

  11. I skipped all comments between No 1 (Alar’s) and this one because I had the exact same reaction as Alar’s-what an amazingly beautiful smile Kimi has. She is a QT pie.

  12. Congrats again! I still dunno why I was getting thumbs down for mentioning you must be happy to have had her born outside of Venezuela, but it seems this post hit the nail on the head. Take care and say farewell to sleep 🙂

    • “I still dunno why I was getting thumbs down for mentioning you must be happy to have had her born outside of Venezuela”

      I dunno, but perhaps because even with all that has happened, it is still Venezuela to us, still the country we love and call home. If we didn’t care about Venezuela, this blog and others wouldn’t even exist as we know them.

      So when you say that, it sounds like you’re pissing on Venezuela, and we still care about her.

      Just sayin, mate.


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