Healing Colombia, Bogota, Colombia
Many Latin countries are challenging when it comes to getting much needed humanitarian aid through Customs. Consider all that goes into helping the less fortunate, as touched on in this report from Healing Colombia Project Managers Mario Torres and Sophia Dow in Bogotá:
”After several months of deliberating with customs officials, while friends and contacts avidly petitioned officials on our behalf, our latest two containers of donated new clothes from Taiwan were cleared through port customs. This culminated with us being invited to the Taiwanese Consulate to speak and Mario being interviewed on television concerning the importation of humanitarian aid.
”Initially customs officials had wanted to charge us $50,000 in taxes for this latest shipment; strict regulations made it an almost impossible situation. Three lawyers were designated to our case by a Government ministry, and we were finally cleared to receive the containers through a government agency with which we are working.
"The government has set up very strict stipulations that basically make it impossible to bring in humanitarian aid without paying both extremely high taxes and port fees, while having to submit exhaustive amounts of paperwork. To compound the problem; as was the case with our latest shipment, port officials seemed to have purposely tied up the containers for months at a time, forcing high storage fees.
"Well, as is said, there is no victory without a battle, and the good news that has resulted from this latest round of difficulties, is that, because of the nature of our work with demobilized persons, we now have more solid government assistance allowing us to more easily receive future containers. In the end, it has worked out for the best."
For more click the following link: Healing Colombia