Southern Exposure

Desde as Entranhas dos Labirintos Latinos.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mayan Caves - A Large Part of Belize's Tourism Industry

The Central American country of Belize gained its independence from Great Britain in 1981. It is in a tropical region, located in between Mexico and Guatemala and to its east is bordered by the Caribbean Sea. Belize is a very culturally diverse nation, and the only Central American country that has English as its official language. Spanish and Belizean Creole or Kriol are also spoken by the ancestors of the Mayan, Spanish, British, African and other ethnic groups in the region, with Kriol being the most popular language actually spoken by the people.

Belize's limestone rich mountains are also home to many caves, and these caves were the home to the religious ceremonies of the Mayans. Archaeologists discovered the use of these caves dates back as far as 1000BC, or more than 3000 years ago. The Mayans believed that the natural karst topography of the region that lends itself toward these types of caves in the sides of limestone or dolomite rock were actually passage ways to the underworld, or the world of the dead.

This tangible ancient history has made Belize a natural tourist attraction for anyone with an interest in the mystical, the ancient, or simply beautiful landscape. The tourism industry in Belize accounts for 25 percent of all employment in there and 18 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product. The interesting habits of the Mayans during their rituals also makes the goings on inside the caves in Belize so fascinating to many people. There is some evidence that many sacrifices of humans of all ages were likely a typical occurrence.

The Caves Branch Cave System is a very popular tourist destination. Cave tubing tours allow visitors to ride the rivers inside the caves on inner tubes in guided tours of the ancient site. There are also caverns including the Actun Tunichil Muknal, or more easily pronounced ATM, that are accessed on foot. Visitors walk through the river and once inside the cave are able to climb above the water. Inside ATM are many representations of pottery and skeletons.

There is one skeleton of a teenaged female sacrifice victim inside one area of the cave called the Crystal Maiden that has been covered in a sparkling stone over time and who draws a lot of visitors to the cave. Visitors in canoes, on inner tubes, and those swimming and hiking on foot frequently visit Belize to navigate the caves.

Because tourism is such a large part of Belize's economy, there is a lot of attention paid to ensure the safety and entertainment of the tourists that come to this country. The Belizean Tourism Department plays a large role in trying to educate the tourists that come to their country of the rich heritage and long history of the region.

Larry Pudoky frequently produces detailed articles on areas relating to portugal. Through his detailed publications, the writer established his deep knowledge on issues dealing with faro portugal.

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Legal Issues in Peru

Peru seems to always be changing its rules about legal translations and requirements for documents.

The first step seems to stay the same and that it to have the Peruvian Consulate or Embassy from where the document was remitted legalise it. In other words, if you were born in California, you need to have the Peruvian Consulate in California legalise your birth certificate before you can do anything with it in Peru.

In 2006 I just needed the Peruvian Consulate to legalise the document, then the official translation, then the RREE stamp. In 2007 they required the Peruvian Consulate to legalise the document, an RREE stamp on the document, a notarized copy, the official translation and an RREE stamp on the official translation. As I said before, rules often check, so be sure to ask or simply go to a translator and pay for them to do everything

After that steps start to change. Your best bet is going to an official translator and paying them to do everything for you. It saves a lot of time and frustration, also they know the steps, so you won't be running around needlessly. They don't charge too much and it's well worth it. For example, I needed my degree to be registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (RREE). The translator charged me 200 soles and this included a legalized copy, an RREE stamp on the legalized copy, the official translation and an RREE stamp on the official translation. I dropped my degree of on Friday at the translator's office and they delivered it to my house on Thursday with everything ready to go. Shorter documents cost less, the same translator charged me 100 soles for my birth cert, and took it around to get stamped and signed, just like my degree.

Documents in Spanish
If you need to get documents legalised that are in SPANISH, first you need to have them legalised by the Peruvian Embassy or Consulate that has jurisdiction over where the document was emitted. Then you will have to go to the Ministerio de Relacciones Exteriores (RREE). Prices vary (but are usually around 20 soles) so go to RREE and do a search for "legalisacion". You will have to go to the Banco de la Naci?n to pay the fee.

Documents Not in Spanish
If you need to get a foreign document legalised that is NOT in Spanish, first you need to get it legalised by the Peruvian Consulate or Embassy where it was remitted (usually around 30 USD) and then translated by an official translator and then legalised by the RREE. Only official translations are accepted by the Peruvian government and they have to be done in Lima. A list of official translators can be found at RREE and do a search for "traductores officials". Prices are about 60 soles a page. They might also require you to get a notarized copy somewhere along the way or legalised at RREE before it's translated.

Documents may also have to be notarized, which can be done at any public notary and they usually charge around 5 soles.

*** Rules often change, so be sure to check with the Municipality first. ***
Getting married in Peru can be a headache. It usually takes between 2-4 months if your documents are not in Spanish. Obviously if you're in Lima, it's much faster because you'll have access to the Ministery of Foreign Affairs and Official Translators. If you are marrying a foreigner, everything is the same except both of you have to go through the process for foreigners.

Getting Married if You're Divorced
Here, because you are divorced, you need your birth certificate and divorce papers (all must be legalized and dated no more than 6 months from the date of registration to get married in the municipality).

1. Both sets of birth and divorce documents must be signed by County Clerks and Secretaries of States then Legalized, Stamped and Embossed Sealed by the consulate or embassy. Then the legalized apostille is sent to the Consulate of Peru in Washington, where it is legalized and then sent back to you, and then it has to come to you in Peru. Then the same process is required for the divorce certificate, except what you seek from the court is the official judgement nisi. So you must find out the process within the county in which you were divorced to acquire that judgement nisi. There is a different Consulate of Peru for different states. (Some Secretary of State's office will accept the judgement nisi directly without a notary or county clerk signature.)

2. Take them to Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores del Peru at Avenida Lampa 545 in Centro de Lima. Anyone can bring the documents to be legalized, it does not have to be the applicant. The cost of processing the documents was 22.60 soles for legalization of each document.

3. Once legalized, the documents must be officially translated by accepted translators, see the list on the Ministerio website.

Civil and Religious Ceremonies
Only civil ceremonies are legal, so if you want to get married in the church, first you have to get married in the municipality (town hall). Exact requirements vary, so check with your municipality. Most municipalities require you to have two witnesses who must be Peruvian or have Peruvian residency, an AIDS test and publish your marriage announcement in a newspaper.

Foreigners Getting Married
You (foreigners) need: your original birth certificate, legalised by the Peruvian embassy or consulate where you were born, a certificate saying that you are single (which can be gotten in the country where you have residency or in your embassy or consulate here in Peru) and a photocopy of your passport. If these documents are in another language besides Spanish, you will have to get them translated by a certified translator (see 6B for more information) After you get them translated, or if they're in Spanish, you then have to get them legalised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ministerio de Relacciones Exteriores, RREE) (see 6B for more information) Before you can do this, you have to go to the Banco de la Naci?n and pay a fee. Bring the receipt when you go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Your soon-to-be-spouse needs their original birth certificate and DNI (National ID Document).

While you are waiting for your documents, you can go to the Municipality and pay a fee in order to get an AIDS test form. Then you take the form to a certain medical post, pay another fee and take the AIDS test. The next day you can pick it up.

Bring your legalized birth certificate and legalized certificate saying that you are single, (their translation, if needed), the photocopy of your passport, the AIDS test, your soon-to-be-spouse's DNI, their birth certificate, and photocopies of your witnesses DNIs or carn? de extranjer?a. You will then have to fill out forms and pay a fee. Then they will tell you that you have to publish your marriage announcement. You pick the day and then they give you a choice of newspapers you can publish it in. From the time you go to the Municipality, you usually have to wait a certain number of days, usually 7-15 before you get married. You also have to buy the newspaper and bring the entire page that has the marriage announcement to the municipality the day or day after it was published.

Finally, you're ready, bring your receipt from the municipality, your passport, your soon-to-be-spouse's DNI and your witnesses DNIs or carn? de extranjer?a. The whole ceremony takes about five minutes and then everyone has to sign and fingerprint the paperwork. Then you are given your Partida de Matrimonio. Congrats!

The easiest and fastest way is for one of you to go to Nevada in the USA (Las Vegas is the easiest). You have to "live" there for 6 weeks and it doesn't matter if your not a permanent US resident. After 6 weeks + 1 day you can be divorced, and a divorce in the US can be "legalized" in Peru (or almost any other country). According to recent legal framework , if you have been separated for more than 2 years , you can get divorce and you don't need your spouse for the legal papers, you can do it by yourself. If there are children involved, it is 4 years.

Using Peruvian Documents Abroad
If you want to use Peruvian documents abroad you'll have to go to a Notary, Colegio de notarios RREE, then finally the Embassy from the country where you'll use the document. The acceptions to this are birth, marriage and death certificates. You take these to RENIEC and have them legalise them, then to RREE and then the Embassy from the country where you'll use the document.

Sharon de Hinojosa (naturegirl321) has lived and worked (mainly teaching English) in the US, Scotland, Spain, the Czech Republic, China, Korea, and Peru. As well as teaching short-term in Venezuela and Taiwan.

She has created The LA Job List which lists schools, institutes and universities in 19 Latin American countries which offer English teaching positions.
Since living in Peru since August 2006, she wrote The Ultimate Peru List With 60 pages it's a comprehensive guide for those living in or moving to Peru.

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