Venezuela… We need to talk

WeNeedToTalk

First of all, I want to start by saying that I am who I am today thanks to you.

I am thankful for the great education I got, not only academically but also as a human being.

I am grateful for all the beautiful sunny days I had growing up, and for all the gorgeous and unbelievable landscapes that you made part of my life.

I am thankful for all the delicious arepas, cachapas, hallacas, pabellones, empanadas, tequeños among all the many other dishes of your amazing cuisine.

And I’m thankful for all the amazing and happy people you have introduced me.

But… things are not going well

I cannot cope to live with a constant shortage of basic products,

I can’t stand the lack of medicines.

People are divided, and politics define you.

People have lost their sense of respect and values,

Intolerance grows proportional to corruption,

No one is held accountable for their actions.

Unemployment, and lack of opportunities surrounds us,

Thousands are being killed due to the high levels of crime and insecurity.

and You know what?

I don’t want to read all the nonsense news,

I am sick of politicians,

I can no longer bear with indifference,

I don’t want more deaths,

I dont’ want to be proud of living in the most dangerous city in the world,

So for now, I’m done here.

 

It breaks my heart, but this is not what I want for either of us. I want to make this work, but I need you to be willing to change.

Always yours,

A frustrated Venezuelan that never wanted to leave you


P.S. Whenever you are ready, I’ll come back to you.

This is me…

I’ve been feeling a lot of anger and pain. When I was there, I was desperate to have a promising future, and I could not see it happening if I stayed. So I decided to look for it somewhere else.

I know it may seem as if I am a coward for leaving when things got tough. I am more than enthusiastic to work for a better Venezuela for everyone, but I need to know the possibilities for a change are really there and I am not risking my life everyday.

At this moment, I have mixed feelings, I will always be proud of my roots but at the same time I am torn by the the current situation, of the government, and how everything is being handled.

The worst part is, what Venezuelans have to go through in their everyday life. It hurts that bullets are taking away the right of thousands of citizens to have a dream and fulfill their goals, because all they end up facing is death.

I will always wish for a better country, the safe Venezuela that my parents used to know; in which one we can actually live – not survive – and in one we are all willing to work for a better future.

There is not a day that goes by, that I don’t dream of going back to good old you…

Katy Da Silva

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Venezuela… We need to talk

CADIVI FOR DUMMIES

2014-10-27 23.54.00

If you have a friend from Venezuela, you may have wondered what is this “Cadivi” thing that he or she is always talking about. And why is it such a big deal?

“CADIVI (Commission for the Administration of Currency Exchange) is the Venezuelan government body which administers legal currency exchange in Venezuela.”

Reference: Wikipedia

In 2003, Venezuela’s government decided to create an Institution which main goal is to control currency exchange… and screw Venezuela’s economy. Every Venezuelan who wants to travel abroad for any reason, to any country, has to go through the arduous process of begging government to allow them to buy foreign currency with their own earned money. For example, students who have been granted an  F-1 Visa,  and need to exchange Venezuelan currency to dollars or euros, have to prepare a folder with A LOT of documents.  Some of these documents are copies of their ID, passport,VISA, and plane tickets; letter of acceptance from the school, as well as schedule of activities, and curriculum; a letter explaining the reasons of your major of choice, bank references and other legal requirements.

Subsequently to submitting the folder to the bank, it’s sent to Cadivi for evaluation. And this is the start of an inefficient process which could take 2, 3, 4 months or even more, before you finally receive an email informing you of their final decision. After that moment, there are two possible scenarios.

First Scenario: CADIVI approves the request

Nowadays, getting consent by Cadivi can be compared to winning a lottery, no one really understands the process or the factors which are being taken into consideration for the decision making. Although this scenario should be the only one, it happens and the majority of Venezuelans don’t trust the process because rumors of corruption are everywhere.

Most importantly is to say that people work hard to save the money in order to apply for CADIVI exchange rate and it’s not something that the government is giving for free.

For the lucky ones, the next steps would be going to the bank, have the money in the account and wait for the exchange.

Second Scenario: CADIVI denies the request

Although you did everything exactly as they asked, Cadivi still denied your request. Massive denials are being received by students around the world, particularly in the last month.

Sadly, you only have 3 options

  1.      Try again and introduce a “reconsideration”.
  2.      Go to the “black market” to get the foreign currency you need.
  3.      Go back to Venezuela.

1. Reconsideration

Going through reconsideration is a lost war. Your legal representative (mom, dad or the person in charge of your legal matters back home) has to go to the bank with a letter explaining your current situation; which they already know because it was one of the first requirements. Your legal representative probably has to submit more documents to support your request. Once again, you will need to wait 2, 3 or 4 months for their decision.

2. The Black Market

The only way besides CADIVI to have access to a foreign currency is going to the “black market” for selling/buying dollars in this case. This means buying dollars from independent people sources instead of those from the Central Bank. This is not legal but it’s the common practice.

You may be asking by now, why would people decide to go back to Venezuela if they have the option of getting dollars on the black market? Right? Here is the answer:

Math, simple math (Dollars vs. Bolívares — Venezuelan currency)

The Venezuelan Bolívar (Bs) is the currency of Venezuela (VEF). There are different exchange rates depending on what it is going to be used for. For academic purposes, for instance, the official rate is US $1.00 which is equivalent to Bs. 6.30.

In the Black Market the price for buying or exchanging bolivares into dollars is in constant change. There’s a popular website called dolartoday.com in which Venezuelans check, daily, the cost of the dollar.

According to DolarToday.com, October 22nd  $1.00 is equivalent to Bs.100.52

That means that any Venezuelan needs to have 15 more times the amount of bolívares to get the same amount of dollars than going through Cadivi.

Insane, right? That explains why many students around the world are facing difficult times when being denied by Cadivi.

Finally, let’s see an example.

Master of International Business at Hult Business School

This example shows the life’s cost for an International student at Hult Business School for a  one year Master program.

tabla bn

(*)Cadivi limits students to spend maximum $1,300.00 per month for personal expenses.

  • In Venezuela, with Bs. 379,890.00 you can buy a KLR650 Kawasaki motorcycle.
  • In Venezuela with Bs. 6,030,000.00 you can buy a 70m² apartment in Caracas (the capital of Venezuela).
  • In Venezuela, the minimum wage is Bs. 4,251.78/month.
  • In Venezuela, a professional with a Master degree and 5 years of work experience could expect to earn  Bs. 25,000.00/month.

For collecting the money for the Master Program at Hult, after being denied by Cadivi:

  • Venezuelan students need to have and sell 15 Kawasaki motorcycles.
  • Venezuelan students need to have and sell an apartment in Caracas.
  • Venezuelan students need more than 100 years to save the money with a regular job.
  • Because no one lives more than 100 years, Venezuelan students need to find a really good job and save money for around 20 years.

Although Venezuela has the world’s largest known oil reserves and it’s the fifth oil exporting country around the world, crisis is everywhere, affecting the future of the ones who live there and the ones who have to go back.

3. Back to Venezuela

After seeing the cost of living for students who got rejected by Cadivi, it’s easier to understand why most of them have to give up their dreams and go back to Venezuela. The amount of bolivares that they need to finish their studies is absurd, and few families can afford it.

This is me…

Sad but true, this is the reason why Cadivi is an issue for all of us. This is why we fight for our rights of studying the career of our choice in the institution and country we like, without depending on an unreliable institution for getting access to foreign exchange. In the end, our true purpose is to become better professionals, to gain knowledge, and learn from the great experience of studying abroad,in order to one day go back to our country, and be part of a generation that is capable of making a change, and build the foundations for a better country.

Katy Da Silva
CADIVI FOR DUMMIES