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Letters To The Editor - July 15, 2017

Dear Sir,

I am sick to death of immigration, passports, visas, permits and all government interference in OUR access to OUR planet.

I just read an article by someone who doesn’t seem to understand what invasion of privacy is.  Matt Fink of the Guadalajara Reporter wrote an article, published on the front page, below the fold, Issue #26, that has an irksome tone of child-like exuberance at the coming technological invasiveness due to be installed at the Guadalajara airport.  Oh joy, facial recognition, biometric scanners and sooner, full body x-ray machines, because we know how many terrorists on this planet come from Mexico.  This is awful!

Firstly, I don’t want to be x-rayed every time I travel, for the reason that, although there is a small risk of the x-rays generating cancer, I don’t believe that traveling should expose me to any risk of developing cancer and immigration does not have the right to expose me to potentially lethal rays! Secondly, don’t lump me and everyone else in with criminals, just because it’s easier for you to pretend we are sneaking something illegal through just to catch the tiny percentage that truly are.

Let me explain something. Before World War I, anyone could travel anywhere, whenever he or she liked; if he/she could afford it. If you lived in the United States, you could decide to buy passage to Paris, stay in a garret in Montmartre and study art for a year and then come back home if and when it suited you. You could go to India, or Nepal, or Britain, or anywhere you liked without a permit from your government.

At the end of the war, there were battalions of unemployed soldiers roaming around the land. There were many unemployed relatives and friends of government officials who needed work. The travel permit was a dream of a few bureaucrats to give these people employment. Imagine that! They determined that they had the power to seal off from you certain parts of your world, in fact, all but your country if you didn’t get their “permission” through a travel permit.  Remember the “Pass Laws” in racist South Africa, where people were limited to their own section of the country unless they had a “pass?” Is this not the same thing on a global basis? Filling out forms and banging down inadequately inked stamps provided jobs for millions. Then the form fillers got lazy. They started making you fill out the forms they were supposed to fill out. And since this made it easier on them, they wanted more and more information on you, and you had to put it in for them, while they continued to draw their salaries and now just stamp the documents with serious, bored and slightly threatening looks on their faces.

My wife and I have to attend a wedding in Switzerland, and to use our many, many “miles” accumulated through a certain credit card, we had to book separate flights. Her U.S. passport is still valid for six months. She has to fly through Not-So-Great Britain, in transit, to Geneva. Britain, under the new right-wing Theresa May Tory Morons, now says you cannot fly to, or through Britain unless you have at least six months of validity left on your passport! So now we are in a panic to get my wife a new passport six months before the old one expires. On a ten-year passport that constitutes a 20th of the value thrown out the window!

She’s passing through! The document is valid and she’ll be back in two weeks! The passport will still be valid, but when she passes back through Britain she will be detained or refused as her passport will now have only five and a half months of validity left on it. What in the name of all that’s holy is going on in the bleeding world?

If this had all been in place before World War II I don’t think the Finks would have made it out of Austria. When will we all just stand up and say: “Wait a minute, you work for us, you are public servants; this planet is as much mine as it is anyone else’s. You do not have the right to permit or deny me access to any part of it!”

John Ward, Ajijic

Dear Sir,

Mexican banks have gotten a bad press from several expats who have experienced customer service issues. I would like your readers to note a very positive experience to offset this negativity.

This week, we were driving to Costco in Guadalajara when we blew out a tire on a huge pothole on the highway.  We didn’t know what to do, until two Mexicans, a woman and a man, both dressed in the uniform of Banco Azteca, stopped and offered to replace the tire with the spare.

They spent an hour helping us. When finished, we offered to pay them but they refused, indicating this service was from their heart. By the way, the woman did most of the work. 

Here is a perfect example of caring Mexicans who offer help and compassion when needed. Thank you Banco Azteca.

Ken Koyama, Riberas del Pilar  

Dear Sir,

This is in response to the letter (June 23, 2017) from Mr. Vidal, director of Lake Chapala Society, regarding the issues related to those of us who choose to live alone at Lakeside and the possibility of our being unattended after death.

I propose a less costly and possibly more secure method for persons living alone in the Lakeside area. This will ensure they have daily contact so they are not left unattended when incapacitated or dead.

Most foreigners in the area have a person who cleans for them. That person almost always has a cell or land line phone. I have an arrangement to call the number of my cleaner within a half hour morning period each day, then hang up after one ring. That let’s her know I am up and around. It doesn’t require any action unless I don’t call. She then will try to contact me and if unsuccessful, will come to my house to check. This system could easily be extended to evening hours for even more security for those who are already ill or infirm.

In addition, I have a plastic container hanging by my door with all the relevant information related to relatives and/or friends, especially those who have keys or would need to be notified in case of my illness or death. It also has the number of a friend who will come to care for my dogs. I have my doctor’s information and instructions in RED about who not to notify – e.g. police. There is also a plastic coated note on my mailbox, on the outside of my house, clearly visible, stating that in case of an emergency my next door neighbor has keys to my house.

Having concerns about data security and the hours LCS is actually open helped me come up with this alternative. It’s free and easy to do. Please feel free to adopt it.

I. Burnem