This is a short article this week and somewhat delayed in publication. And it relates to my experience with bureaucrats and embassy staff in general. I am somewhat despondent. I loathe and despise bureaucrats or anybody who I would classify as being a member of the political class. I don’t care what country. Political class people are all the same.
In this case, I had labored for about three weeks to assemble the documents that were needed, with all the appropriate legalized authentications from government institutions in the country that I was in, and everything was accurate, everything was legal, both here and in the country I was going to. So, with hope in my heart I went to the embassy. I was the only person in the waiting room. I showed up at 9 AM. I handed in my papers at 9 AM. They kept me waiting for 3 ½ hours. At which point a local national (not a member of the embassy) came out, gave me my documents back and said that the consul had said these documents are illegal in the embassy's country. And that was it. I wasn’t allowed to ask questions, I wasn’t allowed to talk to the actual bureaucrat who had made that decision. I was just sent on my way. I was enraged. First of all, there were only two documents. One was a local land title that had been certified not only by the city government but also by the country’s Department of State. The documents had not only been authenticated as genuine legal documents, but had been generated by an lawyer to ensure they were ok in the destination country. The only purpose of the Embassy was to verify that in fact the documents had been authenticated by the local country’s Department of State. And instead, all I get was a refusal with no explanation, no recourse, and no ability to speak to the person who had done that to me. And of course, one doesn’t dare make a fuss, because that will guarantee they will try to screw you if you ever need their help in the future.
Now I cannot say that this is unique to the that country's embassy. I have, in my decades of living overseas, had numerous experiences with American embassy staff. They are no better, in fact they may well be worse. They hide behind their massive walls, Marine guards, and bulletproof glass, and make sure that under no circumstances do they ever have to actually talk to you. I will tell you, at least as far as American embassy officials go, they have no reason for existence. A more useless set of individuals I cannot imagine. And, as with all bureaucrats, worldwide, they have a tendency to look at you like you are interrupting their obviously otherwise busy schedule. And incidentally, I’ve never met run across an Embassy anywhere that didn’t observe the holidays of its own country as well as the country they are in. How sweet is that?!
In my life as a civilian overseas, my parents and I ended up being evacuated from three different war zones. In two cases, we were assisted by the British consulate, and in the third, Vietnam in April 1975, we got out by ourselves. In no case did the American embassy lift a finger to help us. I think that if the entire Department of State was to be dissolved that would be a good start because are pretty much useless for anything (except of course as cover for the idiotic alphabet agencies).
I sat in a meeting once in a country which shall remain nameless, and listened dumbfounded while an American embassy official explained to me how the performance metrics for the consular officers were based, in part, on how many of the people they issued visas to, did a runner in the United States. So, that by itself, tells you, that for these morons, it’s always easier to say no and safer for them. Because their petty little careers depend on it. American embassies have a foul reputation worldwide. At least with people who have to deal with them from a civilian point of view. And I am not greatly surprised to find that Argentinian Embassy officials act very much the same way. I am sure that none of them will ever read this, but were they to read it I would ask them “How dare they sit in those offices and hide from the very people they are supposed to be talking to in order to assist them?” I have been to the Embassy in question three times and have yet to talk to a national of that country. I can’t remember the last time I spoke with an actual American at any American Embassy anywhere. Not in thirty years. Really! What use are these people?