One of the ongoing spats here in LatAm which flares up every so often is the Gestapo-esque attitudes of Spain's customs and immigration officials who love to lord it over the former colonies. Stories of ill-treatment float across the airwaves from media channels in nearly all South American countries that hit the same kind of wavelength; you get some minor infraction of a Latino trying to enter Spain, you get heavy-handed officialdom, you get physical ill-treatment, you get a big fat zero in justification or excuses from the Spanish authorities.
Spain might be enlightened when it comes to football these days, but stick a whole bunch of them in a government uniform and the dumbasses immediately knee-jerk themselves back to the day of Franco. Here's an example of the bad karma from Argentina's Clarín this morning (translated):
Another Old Woman Ill-Treated While Trying to Enter Spain27 July 2010
She has a weak heart and the authorities confiscated her medicines. She was locked up for 24 hours and then sent home.
By Victoria De Masi
Luisa Ormeño, 72, is devastated and under medical treatment in her home in Cordoba Argentina, taking tranquilizers due to the nightmare she lived through a few days ago. She was another victim of what her family is calling clear ill-treatment when she was not allowed to enter Madrid, Spain, to visit one of her daughters, her son-in-law and her three grandchildred. Luisa prefers not to talk publicly about the ordeal but one of her daughters has decided to make the story known.
Her ordeal started one week ago when she readied her baggage and set off for Spain in an Aerolineas Argentinas flight. She was accompanied by Carlos, a 20 tear old family member. The idea was to spend three months there. According to her daughter she had complied with all documental requirements. What's more, to be on the safe side she went to the Spanish Consulate in Cordoba to allay any doubts about paperwork. But when she arrived at Barajas airport in Madrid, she was refused entry. The reason given at Immigration was that the Entry Invitation (in Spanish 'Carta de Invitación') presented was not the original but a faxed copy.
24 hours incommunicado and without medication
They said that she complied with all requirements but the letter done the by son in law "did not comply because it was a fax", said Miriam, daughter of Luisa, to Clarín. She then went through an ordeal. According to her daughter they put her in with other "rejected people" in a locked room with no food and without her required medicines for her heart problem despite the fact that she had her medical certificate with her.
"We found out about this from out son in law, who had little information to offer because they wouldn't let him see her" said Miriam. Meanwhile, her family waited in vain in the arrivals hall with no word passed to them.