Jul

10

 The 100+ citizen line winds early each morning around the block across from Yellow Rose of Texas where I eat breakfast. There arrive from every two-bit port and jungle hamlet to Iquitos to replace their identity cards, the equivalent of a U.S. driver's license, that is required of each person over the age of 18. They will say their cards were lost to save money, to beat the system. This is the way it works. In Peru each person over the age of 18 must have an identity card at a cost of about $8, or nearly a day's wage. Peruvians are required to vote in the national elections every five years, and for the city mayor, and a sticker is put on the card at each election. If a citizen misses a vote his card is invalidated, and if picked up with an invalid card he is fined $70. It is cheaper to wait in line for hours and pay $10 for a replacement.


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