The drama of the challenged ID cards of hundreds of Venezuelans who live on the border state of Táchira

The drama of the challenged ID cards of hundreds of Venezuelans who live on the border state of Táchira

The logo of the Venezuelan National Electoral Council (CNE) is seen at its headquarters in Caracas on April 23rd, 2024. (Photo by Gabriela Oraa/AFP)


More than a thousand citizens who reside in the border municipalities of Bolívar and Pedro María Ureña in Venezuela’s Táchira State, had their identity cards challenged by officials of the Administrative Service of Identification, Migration and Immigration (Saime), and they beg that the General Director of this institution, Gustavo Vizcaíno, review their cases in order to offer them a prompt solution to their right to identity that is being violated.

By Luz Dary Depablos / Correspondent

In the case of documents that have been challenged related to a “canceled serial”, that is, people who became nationalized in one published number of the National Gazette, are now prevented from renewing their ID in the system or in any of the Saime offices closest to their residences.

“It is a big problem in the border municipalities, we have seen with considerable agony that Venezuelans born in our territory, turn out to have contested IDs according to what Saime states,” denounced Carlos Taborta, councilor of the Pedro María Ureña municipality.

Taborta explained that the ID cards objected to of Serial 15 annulment has no problem with the Saime, but it does have a problem with the National Electoral Council (CNE), which prevents citizens from being able to register in the Electoral Registry, a situation that has mainly affected young people of Colombian parents or even with one of their relatives of Venezuelan nationality, born on the Tachira border.

“Between Ureña, Bolívar and other municipalities in Táchira, there are more than a thousand people, not counting those who died waiting for a solution to their challenged documents,” he emphasized.

Taborta assured that they have already exhausted all recourses, since those affected have repeatedly gone to the Saime headquarters in San Antonio and San Cristóbal, they have traveled to the city of Caracas and complied with all the demanded requirements, but there has been no response.

Without solution

They have requested the Regional Legislative Council to investigate the situation and serve as a mediator in order to find a solution together with the Director of Saime, but there has been no response.

In the case of those who were born on the Táchira border, who are children of Colombians or of parents, one Venezuelan and the other Colombian, “the Caracas officials allege that they (those affected) could not be born in Táchira, because their relatives did not sign (register) a passport, although it is public and well-known that any Colombian in that Venezuelan border area can move freely without a passport, obviously if they have good behavior and are not requested by any authority.”

Despite proving that they were born in healthcare centers in Ureña and San Antonio, but because their parents did not register a passport before the birth, Saime officials do not provide a solution and violate their right to identity.

The claim has also been raised to the Regional Legislative Council and the Ombudsman’s Office on the border, where they even refused to sign as having received this document.

“If this director (of the regional Saime) is having trouble giving results to all these types of requests, he should be removed from office, these citizens should not have their right to identity violated,” Taborta stated.

Fight between Saime and the CNE-REP

Luis David Vivas, a 21-year-old young man, who tried to register in the National Electoral Council (CNE) branch office, appeared with an “error”, so they recommended that he go to the Saime in San Antonio, where they notified him that he had no problem with his identity document, and thus he repeated this process several times between the local Electoral Registry and the Saime office, because in one he could not register and in the other they assured him that everything was in order.

Until they finally informed him that his document had been objected “with an error number 15 and 16”, which prevented him from being able to vote.

Although they told him that his problem would be solved in the first days of June, the response was that he now must travel to Caracas, a procedure that he believes can be solved at any Saime office in the state of Táchira.

Obed Gómez, another affected person with an objected ID, said that he has been waiting for 20 years for the Gazette published in June 2004.

“My wife is Venezuelan, my children and my granddaughter are Venezuelan, I have been living in Ureña for more than 35 years, of which I have been working for 25 years, producing despite all the circumstances, making jeans, generating jobs,” but he has not been able to renew the commercial registration of his business because he does not have a valid ID.

He recently appeared fit to exercise his right in the elections on July 28th, at the La Frontera school in Ureña. “I got excited and I went to the Saime office of San Antonio, they treated me well, but the moment they received the documents, they told me no, that I still had the objected ID and that I had to wait four months or more. It was a bitter experience.” When that period expires, he does not know if they will give him the same answer again, and he has been in that process for more than 20 years.

They only hope that Vizcaíno will sympathize with those affected by the situation of these citizens and guarantee the right to identity, procedures that could be resolved at any regional headquarters, without being forced to travel to the city of Caracas, because they fear going through checkpoints where they would be at risk for not having valid identity documents.