Thursday, November 26, 2015

Annoyances of the New Identity Card

Annoyances of the New Identity Card / 14ymedio, Sol Garcia Basulto
Posted on November 26, 2015

14ymedio, Sol Garcia Basulto Camagüey, 25 November 2015 – One year since
the start of the issuing new identity cars in Cuba, many recognize the
advantages of the modern ID card, but criticize the complex process to
get one. In Camagüey province the manufacture and distribution of the
new identify card started last May, but delays in delivering them and
long lines continue to characterize their arrival in this region.

To learn about the details of the process, 14ymedio approached the ID
card office this Tuesday, where people interested in applying for the
new polycarbonate card had gathered since the early morning hours. The
applicant must bring one or several stamp/seals with a total value of 25
Cuban pesos. Fingerprints are taken on the premises and the applicant is

Among those waiting to update their identity card was Gabriel Villafaña
Bosa, whose previous document had deteriorated through use and the
passing of years. This Camagüeyan believes that the new format is
"stronger and more durable," so that the number of times it needs to be
replaced because of damage will be reduced. However, to get it he had to
overcome a long wait.

Yosbani Martinez commented, "I still don't have the new card because
everyone in the world is here." Living near the office, the young man
says that he has passed by the place at four in the morning, "and the
line goes to the corner."

Trying to reduce the avalanche of requests, the authorities have warned
that the document can only be replaced in case of loss, damage, change
of address or reaching the age of majority. In statements in the
official press, several officials have insisted that it is not
obligatory to possess the new card, because the two prior formats
continue to be valid.

The dissatisfaction with the long wait even made the pages of the local
newspaper Adelante this last September whenthe journalist Yasselys Perez
Chaos commented to a friend, "after waiting five days in nighttime lines
I was allowed to enter the office, where a single unhappy looking
official was able to issue only three to twelve cards a day."

The delays mean serious problems for those who have lost their
identification. "Imagine a police officer stops me and asks for the
card. When I tell him I don't have it they take me to the station for
fun," said Villa Faña Bosa. The lack of the document has even affected
his collection of remittances. "What do I do if my dad sends me money?
How can I collect it at Western Union without the card," the young man
asks, standing in the middle of a long line.

Others resist losing patience despite the obstacles. This is the case
with Adalberto Perez Arteago, who says, "It's the first card I have,
because I spent 25 years in prison and didn't participate in the prior
change of format." The man also feels that the design of the new
document, "looks better."

Among the changes in the document is that the identity number is
embossed, there are security features, the content is printed in
invisible ink, the bars are machine readable, and there is a ghost image
on the back.

The most repeated complaints also address the continued interruptions in
the service of delivering the new cards, for various reasons. This
Tuesday the building was being fumigated, which paralyzed the process in
the only office authorized to issue them in the Camagüey capital. A
couple waiting for the process so they could get married decided to
return another day, earlier. "It's already five in the afternoon and
look at the number of people who are here. We lost an entire day on
this," the woman pointed out.

As of last June, 380,645 new-format identify cards had been issued in
the entire country; that covers 4% of the population over age 16. In
Camagüey the numbers are more modest; with a population of 717,686
adults, only 5,746 had obtained the document by that date, some 0.8% of
the local population.

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