14 Oct 2017
No paper, ink to print new passports in Venezuela
Strange as it may sound, Venezuela ran out of paper and ink to print new passports and expired passports' validity has been extended for two years.
President Nicolas Maduro signed an emergency order owing to chronic shortage of supplies at Venezuela's passport agency.
About one million people have been waiting for months for the new documents; they can't travel in the interim.
Venezuela has no funds to even import basic things
After global oil prices dropped in 2015, Venezuela -which makes 95% of its foreign income through oil exports- has been suffering from shortage of funds while inflation jumped 700%.
It hasn't been able to import essential items like food and medicine; acute shortages stirred public anger toward President Maduro.
Violence, blackouts, and protests against the government are on the rise, especially in Caracas.
Maduro doesn't want Venezuelans to leave the country
In March, Venezuela's passport agency blamed a lack of "materials" for not being able to issue passports.
Demand for passports in the crisis-hit country is at a record high as people want to escape from the deep recession, political crisis, and steeply rising crime.
Earlier, "skeptics" said the Maduro government is delaying passports to stop people from leaving the "beleaguered nation."
Working to regularize the issuance of passports: SAIME Director
Admitting that there's a shortage of material, Juan Carlos Dugarte, Director of Administrative Service of Identification, Migration, and Aliens (SAIME) asked citizens not to request passport renewal unless they already have flight tickets in hand.
Also, Dugarte added, "A passport is not an identification document inside of Venezuela; it is exclusively a document to travel."
SAIME issues passports, ID cards, and other nationality documents.
SAIME Director Juan Carlos Dugarte's statement
Dugarte told citizens: "If you do not need to travel in the near-future, wait for your arrival, your travel date. While it is true that there has been a shortage of material, we have passports sufficient to meet the demand of people who merit travel."