| Nota: La autora de esta Carta Abierta a Nicolás Maduro es una joven venezolana-americana, estudiante del Doctorado en Literatura en la Universidad de Columbia. Alexandra es conocedora de la realidad social en los EEUU, en donde ha participado en particular en labores humanitarias en las zonas destruidas por el huracán Katrina y al mismo tiempo, conserva vínculos y un interés constante por Venezuela, su segunda patria.|
September 30, 2006
September 30, 2006
Dear Nicolas Maduro,
Since you're the Minister of Foreign Relations of Venezuela, I assume that you speak English. (At least I hope you do, since English is the international language of diplomacy. Either way, I'm going to address you in English, and if you can't read this, you can ask the lady who ineptly translated for you at the United Nations to translate this letter.) As a New York resident, I'm getting tired of your complaints about the "racist" treatment you received at JFK airport. I think I know why you weren't treated like a diplomat. I'm only a regular citizen, but please allow me my theories:
1.) You showed up thirty minutes before your flight to Miami. Normally, US airports ask that travelers arrive at the airport at least an hour before departure, and two hours if you're going to fly internationally. Thirty minutes before a flight, whether you're a diplomat or not, sets off red flags. Enemies of the United States used airplanes as weapons five years ago. The United States protects all US airports.
2.) You paid your airfare in cash, and according to witnesses, you flashed a considerable amount of cash. Airport personnel are trained to question when anyone travels with large amounts of cash. They are trained to carry out a second inspection of all passengers. Again, this is a precaution. Purchasing your tickets with cash sets off red flags. Enemies of the United States used airplanes as weapons five years ago. The United States protects all US airports.
3.) You purchased a one-way ticket. Airport personnel are always taught to investigate when a one-way ticket is purchased. Enemies of the United States used airplanes as weapons five years ago. The United States protects all US airports.
4.) According to witnesses, you became loud and verbally abusive when it became apparent a red carpet wasn't rolled for you upon your entrance. Airport personnel are trained to investigate any violent or unbecoming behavior displayed by any passenger. Protecting a US airport from terrorism is not an easy job, especially in the month of memory-filled September. Enemies of the United States used airplanes as weapons five years ago. The United States protects all US airports.
5.) You said that all diplomats are exempt from inspections at airports. Again, you are wrong. The United States doesn't have an agreement with the United Nations which exonerates foreign ministers from inspection. Given that you flagrantly violated the regulations followed at all US airports, airport personnel were simply doing their job and nothing more. Enemies of the United States used airplanes as weapons five years ago. The United States protects all US airports.
6.) You accused airport personnel of being racist. New York airport personnel are among the most racially diverse in the world. A quick walk through JFK reveals workers from Indian, African, and Latino descent, among others. The nationality of our travelers are also extremely diverse. Charges of racism are not prevalent. Airport workers are, however, very cautious. Enemies of the United States used airplanes as weapons five years ago. The United States protects all US airports.
Why does airport personnel in New York have to be so cautious? Why were you detained for an hour after you arrived late and paid a one-way ticket in cash? It is not, as you said, because of racism, nor was it because only a day before, your president had called the United States president the "devil", even though US enemies around the world also often refer to the US president as the "devil" or evil, or other similes.
The reason that airport personnel have to be so cautious at US airports is because on September 11, 2001, New York lost 2,801 innocent lives in terrorist attacks, when foreign men boarded airplanes and changed history forever. Among the lost were 343 firefighters and 95 policeman. Another 2,261 were injured at the World Trade Center.
While you may be a public figure in the Venezuela, you're just another traveler here.
As a US citizen, I'm extremely proud of the caution and professionalism used by airport personnel at John F. Kennedy airport and throughout the United States. I'm extremely proud that our airport personnel follow procedures under all circumstances, and aren't intimidated or bullied by petulant and denigrating diplomats. The days of tantrums are over. You should have joined politics before Chavez.
As a Venezuelan, I'm deeply ashamed of your behavior in New York, and following the incident. You and your president came to our city as guests, and you denigrated and insulted us, both at the most international forum in the world, and at a Church in Harlem.
Now, you are using our media to continue insulting the United States.
Next time, remember that you're in New York. That means that
1. You arrive at the airport at least two hours before your trip.
2. You let the US State Department know that you're going to travel.
3. To help the accounts department of the Ministry of Foreign Relations expense your trip, (How do they know how much cash you spend on state affairs?), I also recommend that you learn how to use a credit card.
4. And when a hard-working airport worker asks you for information, you provide it.
When you're a guest in a foreign country, you have to follow that country's laws and rules. Since you've only been a diplomat for a very short while, (and I assume that you weren't trained by diplomats), I wrote this letter to clarify any confusion or doubt.
Don't follow in the footsteps of your boss. After all, you seem to have a child to feed. If you want to be treated like a diplomat, behave like one.
New York, New York