On Tuesday I went down to the Registro de las Personas to file a complaint about my DNI. It was supposedly denied because my mom’s maiden name wasn’t on the birth certificate, which is obviously a load of crap, so I went down, showed the lady behind the counter the surname, and she had me fill out a complaint, make photocopies, and told me to call back today, Friday. I nervously waited all morning for someone at the office to help me call. It’s not that I can’t handle a phone call, but when dealing with bureaucrats, it’s best to have someone who has full command of the language just in case.
My friend Leo took the phone out of my hand once I called the Registro and he explained the situation. After a couple of minutes she agreed that she saw the mistake and told us to call back in a half hour so they could figure out what to do. Once we called back at 1 pm, they told us to go down to the Registro Civil and get the rest of my paperwork back. Because the Registro Civil had originally only given me my birth certificate (and a couple of other things) the Registro de las Personas couldn’t just give me the DNI. They actually had a point. Once I had those papers back, I would have to take them to the Registro de las Personas so they could process the DNI (or reject it again, in theory).
Accompanied by Leo and Vero, we walked over to the same old Registro Civil on Calle Uruguay, which luckily is within walking distance of the office. If I worked on the other side of the city I would have been much more screwed long ago. Not even bothering with a line since I’m such a frequent visitor, I went straight up to the window where the guy I talked to last time was. He already remembered me, but this time I had back up, a powerful weapon for a foreigner. This was my 15th time at the Registro Civil. One more visit and I get kicked in the balls for free.
Now we had to explain to them what I needed, but not before we overheard the conversations of other people in line who had been waiting over a year and a half for their DNI, etc. At one point an employee picked up a form to process and the guy who was handling my file said, “Oh that woman’s crazy. Stack her back in the archives!” And the guy did it. That’s someone’s life, someone’s only identity that is just being tossed around, simply because the person behind the counter doesn’t like someone. And she’ll probably continue to wait for her papers for another two years as a result.
Explaining my case was again a process, and in the end they wouldn’t give me my remaining paperwork back. Despite the fact that I had copies of the missing papers and birth certificate, my “in process” papers, photos, a stamped slip from the Registro de las Personas, and they of course know my face and story by now, they said they needed a written note from the other agency giving permission for me to take back the paperwork. They just wouldn’t give it to me. Once I had that signed permission slip, I had to take the paperwork back to the Registro Civil SO THEY COULD MAIL IT TO THE REGISTRO DE LAS PERSONAS. Um, hello? COO-COO!
Rather than just giving me the paperwork, they created two extra steps for no reason. Now I need to go on Monday to the Registro de las Personas to get back my birth certificate, bring it to the Registro Civil, and wait for them to mail it all back to the Registro de las Personas. I swear to you, there is absolutely no thought process into why things are done in these government agencies. Things get slightly complicated in that a monumental strike is being threatened for Monday because a union president is being indited for money laundering in Switzerland. For whatever reason (in reality there is no reason) every mode of transportation has agreed to strike on his behalf here in Buenos Aires. This is going to absolutely cripple the city and make the commute to work hell if not impossible.
I’m flying to Chile on Thursday, so I just hope that these strikes are over with before then. Anyway, I still have miles to go before this Godforsaken DNI business is finished.