Illegal to have English-language books sent here?

CoachGayle

Registered
Ayyy! Today I had a total Borgian experience with Customs at Correo Argentina here in San Nicolas. I handed the slip I had rec'd to the Customs official, who poked around the tiny office before setting a small box addressed to me on the counter between us. "What is in it?" he asked. I peered at the customs declaration, and answered, "A few books my daughter sent me for a Christmas present." "Those books better be in Spanish," he said. "No, they are in English." "Then they better be from a book publisher in a Spanish-speaking country, or they are not permitted entry." Whaaaat? (I bring a suitcase of such books back with me after every trip to the U.S.--and the Customs officials at Ezeiza look at them and quickly wave me through.)

He opened them to check, and said he would let me have them any way, though he gravely insisted that other "aduaneros" might not be so permissive. When I expressed incredulity, he reminded me that the U.S. does a lot of incredible things, "just ask the poor Iraquis"!!! I asked for the law regarding this ban, and he said it it is from the Ministry of Culture, available to check on the internet. My Argentine husband heard much of the conversation and was equally shocked (so it was not my misunderstanding the language). We got home and googled the issue...and have found no mention of any such restriction (and found Ley 25.446 which states no customs on books)! A local English teacher said the guy may have been hinting that a bribe was required.

Any comments here? Can this be TRUE? (After seven years here, I can actually accept that there would be such a crazy law....but I hope not.)
 

Napoleon

Registered
I've never heard anything like this.

I would not find it shocking that a customs agent wanted a bribe. If you can afford to have books sent to you from another country, then you can afford to bribe a customs agent. And that is why I want to bring a cattle prod in from Texas the next time I go home. There are a lot of people in the country who could use a little time on the live end of a cattle prod.
 

Attorney in BA

Registered
I've never heard of such a law, and I'm pretty confident that it doesn't exist. I have purchased books from Amazon and other online stores in the US many times, had them mailed here, went through customs, and never had any difficulty.

If they ever say it again, and insist that the books are not allowed into the country, they have to do it in writing, and you have a right to appeal. They cannnot just keep the books, etc.
 

CoachGayle

Registered
Thanks! I'll remember to get the crazy stuff in writing...but would the customs official comply without a little poke from a cattle prod? Do you think someone could mail me one? LOL! Without a good laugh, I'd go nuts here, so thanks again!
 

marksoc

Registered
Yep, he was asking for a bribe. And next time, hint that you are an important person in contact with the government, and that he could be sacked of his parasitic "job" if he acts like this.

Or pay the bribe. Or send an Argentinian to take your stuff.
 

objectiveous

Registered
CoachGayle said:
Any comments here? Can this be TRUE? (After seven years here, I can actually accept that there would be such a crazy law....but I hope not.)
Sorry to hear about your encounter with the abusive government official.

It's times like these when mobile phones can be pretty darn handy. Next time, consider hitting the record button. ;-)
 

sergio

Registered
Let me see if I got this right. You went to claim a few English language books sent from the US. The customs official made an irrelevant and offensive comment about US foreign policy in Iraq when you questioned an alleged Argentine law banning the importation of English language books. Can you imagine a US customs official doing the same - maybe bringing up the issue of Argentina's unpaid debt as an excuse for not allowing Spanish language books into the country? Now when you hear Argentines complain that their country is not "serious" you know what they mean!
 

steveinbsas

Registered
Napoleon said:
I've never heard anything like this.

I would not find it shocking that a customs agent wanted a bride. .... There are a lot of people in the country who could use a little time on the live end of a cattle prod.
Including brides?
 

arty

Registered
sergio said:
Let me see if I got this right. You went to claim a few English language books sent from the US. The customs official made an irrelevant and offensive comment about US foreign policy in Iraq when you questioned an alleged Argentine law banning the importation of English language books. Can you imagine a US customs official doing the same - maybe bringing up the issue of Argentina's unpaid debt as an excuse for not allowing Spanish language books into the country? Now when you hear Argentines complain that their country is not "serious" you know what they mean!
As crappy as people like the make the USA sound I never have to worry about a customs agent shaking me down.
 
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