This is the story of my experiences living as an ex-pat in Mexico since 2003. It's to culminate in a published book. With your help, I'll be editing, selecting a title, and cover art: a participatory project. Your comments encouraged!

Sept. 30, 2017

Fiasco with the Federales

At three AM the red-eye bus going home from the coast ends at a service control stop. The authorities decide my papers are not acceptable and I take my backpack and get into the truck.

We ride for 15 minutes to Acapulco. Inside I'm instructed to take off my belt and shoelaces. “Just as on TV,” I quip. I understand it's not an office.

Providing a foam pad and a packet of toiletries, I’m escorted to a unit with a plaster slab bed. The bars close. I am troubled. What will come of me?

Every half hour an officer with a sub-machine gun comes to look. I don’t sleep that night.

In the morning I join two other fellows for breakfast. It's pieces of hot dogs scrambled into eggs provided with tortillas.

After lingering a protracted hour, the upstairs office calls. A computer check shows things are ok. They rode me to the bus terminal. When I got home, I was to travel to Mexico City to straighten out my condition.

How did this develop?

Several years before this event, I traveled to Toluca, two hours from where I was living, in Chalma. They said I lacked another form and needed to come back. I made another trip. The form wasn't compete. That's when I got a lawyer in Mexico City. This experienced counselor didn't overcharge.

Here’s what happened with the lawyer. There were two degrees of year-long residency visas. After five years, this led to qualification for permanent residence. The second stage required information with six bank statements. There wasn't enough revenue. The counselor suggested an initial deposit, and again in the month make two withdrawals. "Recycle the cash for the six months." Only deposits were checked, not withdrawals.  

The lawyer required a Mexico City address. I adopted a friend's.

The lawyer contacted me after several months. Something was incorrect. I needed to start anew.

Were temporary papers available for an annual trip to the coast? No, he replied.

I resolved to pack the expired card. If required, authorities could review its status by computer. 3 AM at the checkpoint, offices with computers were not open. I'd not considered that.

The Mexico City immigration office had addressed a warning to a non-existent address. The friend had moved.

Getting a rebate: an administrative tangle

Because the application failed, there was a rebate of about $300 US. To obtain the repayment, I made five trips to a commission in Cuernavaca. Cuernavaca is a half hour bus drive away from Tepoztlan.

No one informed me the of the method. One needed to first apply for the Mexican equivalent of a social security number before appealing for the repayment. What an administrative tangle!

In an earlier blog, I spoke about Mexico as a dangerous country. I found this interesting article. It explains how the policies of the United States cause the astronomical levels of drug violence and corruption in Mexico.

Are you planning to travel to Mexico, or perhaps move here? Do you find these blogs helpful? Or do you just find them interesting?

Please let us know by commenting below.


Letters from Mexico


The red arrow points to Zipolite, the beach in Oaxaca where I go frequently (more about that in the next blog).

FYI: a favorable factoid about Mexico

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