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Red And Green Light In Customs By Pressing Button!  
User currently offlineRootsAir From Costa Rica, joined Feb 2005, 4186 posts, RR: 40
Posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6160 times:

Hi folks,
As I mentioned in my trip report
Excellent MD11trip AMS-BON-LIM(pics And Videos!) (by RootsAir Oct 28 2006 in Trip Reports)
there is this case in Lima, where you have to press a button when you pass the customs. If it turns green they let you pass but if it turns red, they will check your luggage.
This practive happened in SJO but before ,and it seems to be quite common in Latin America.

1) In which airports does this practice go on ?

2) Have you ever had your light turn red?

3) Do you think this is an efficient method.


Regards

BM


A man without the knowledge of his past history,culture and origins is like a tree without roots
23 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 6161 times:

I don't think there's a lot of smuggling of contraband INTO Latin American countries by outsiders, but I could be wrong.

There is actually one of these set-ups at the San Ysidro border crossing between San Diego and Tijuana. Anyone proceeding into Mexico with luggage must stop and press the button. There's a lot of Americans utilizing TIJ for domestic Mexico flights as well as some people returning to Mexico.

I have also been the "victim" of a red-light at Morelia airport back in 1998. No problem - just a cursory inspection of my luggage, then a check of my passport, and I was done. The Mexican official was quite polite and even smiled.



Pan Am:The World's Most Experienced Airline - P(oor) S(ailor's) A(irline): San Diego's Hometown Airline-Catch Our Smile!
User currently offlineJohnJ From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 1687 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6113 times:

Quoting RootsAir (Thread starter):
1) In which airports does this practice go on ?

2) Have you ever had your light turn red?

3) Do you think this is an efficient method.

I've encountered the "stop lights" at Mexico City and San Luis Potosi. I got the red light at SLP, and my bag was given a quick search.


User currently offlineCarmenlu15 From Guatemala, joined Dec 2004, 4763 posts, RR: 30
Reply 3, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6083 times:

Quoting RootsAir (Thread starter):
1) In which airports does this practice go on ?

The airport at El Salvador has several of those "traffic lights", and I never had any issue with them during my trips. However, I can't for the life of me remember whether we have them here at GUA.  banghead 



Don't expect to see me around that much (if at all) -- the contact link should still work, though.
User currently offlineAUA747 From Aruba, joined Jul 2006, 136 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6048 times:

Quoting RootsAir (Thread starter):
In which airports does this practice go on ?

BOG has these lights too...no big deal. This is how they randomly check your luggage instead of custom agents picking someone for random check. I think its a fair deal.


User currently offlineIAHFLYR From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 4790 posts, RR: 22
Reply 5, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 6015 times:

Just follow the large busted blondie in the sundress, the light is always red!!!!! Who says the guy in the little booth isn't getting kickbacks from the inspectors.  eyepopping 

CUN used to do the green/red light, but haven't been there since before Wilma visited so maybe it has changed.



Any views shared are strictly my own and do not a represent those of any former employer.
User currently offlineLaxintl From United States of America, joined May 2000, 26150 posts, RR: 50
Reply 6, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5931 times:

As mentioned this procedure is in wide use across Latin America. One of the reasons for its popularity and continued use is that the random nature of red lights helps limit misuse of authority by customs officials.
Funny enough, such a system was being considered many years ago here in the US, and faced big opposition from the unions representing CBP agents.



From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
User currently offlineFlyAAS80 From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 113 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5918 times:

I flew into PVR last year where they had the lights also... Though when I went through customs they didn't even have everyone hit the button!


The only way to fly is by the seat of your pants...
User currently offlineISIDRINK From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 12 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5878 times:

In Mexico, this is a standard customs procedure whenever you are entering the country. It does not matter if you enter through an international airport or seaport, or if you cross the border in a car or bus.
This is supposed to work randomly. If you get a red light, a customs officer will go through your (and your familie's) belongings, in a way that is similar to the way they inspect bags before getting on an aircraft.
If they have the equipment, they might scan everything with the aid of an x-ray machine.


User currently offlineMGA From Nicaragua, joined Mar 2005, 726 posts, RR: 3
Reply 9, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 14 hours ago) and read 5835 times:

MGA has them. You get to press only if you have less than 3 bags with you, if not, youre going to be searched... its absurd... they have made me paid a lot of cash... The process is quite descriminatory...

MGA



Que viva el guaro, el dinero y los aviones!!!
User currently offlineYYZYYT From Canada, joined Apr 2005, 999 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 13 hours ago) and read 5791 times:

I've seen it at CUN as well... I think it is a geat idea, it gives customs some basis for random searches, rather than leaving it up to the discretion of the officers, who may or may not have a hate-on for 6-foot tall caucasion guys wearing red t-shirts on a Tuesday.

I would presume that these places also search people who they have actual reason to suspect are breaking the rules. (... like anyone who has the audacity to carry three or more suitcases)


User currently offlineLuisde8cd From Pitcairn Islands, joined Aug 2004, 2575 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5630 times:

It is done to prevent people from bringing more new stuff that what you are allowed to. Here in CCS, customs officials keep an eye on the number of suitcases that you carry especially if you come from the United States, where stuff is usually cheaper like clothes and electronics.

We had the traffic light in CCS until 2 years ago when the new arrivals level opened and now customs officials decide who they want to check on.

Saludos desde Caracas,
Luis


User currently offlineZRH From Switzerland, joined Nov 1999, 5569 posts, RR: 36
Reply 12, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5606 times:

Quoting AUA747 (Reply 4):
This is how they randomly check your luggage instead of custom agents picking someone for random check. I think its a fair deal.

This is absolutely idiotic and useless, as most randoms checks are. It must not be fair but efficient. As I know here in Zurich they make "face control". And control those people more from the destinations which are well known for drug traffickers (for example). They are quite well qualified in psycology and often catch people because of their behavior.


User currently offlineLuisde8cd From Pitcairn Islands, joined Aug 2004, 2575 posts, RR: 31
Reply 13, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 5556 times:

Quoting ZRH" class=quote target=_blank>ZRH (Reply 12):
This is absolutely idiotic and useless, as most randoms checks are. It must not be fair but efficient. As I know here in Zurich they make "face control". And control those people more from the destinations which are well known for drug traffickers (for example). They are quite well qualified in psycology and often catch people because of their behavior.

It's also idiotic to not understand each country situation. In LatAM we have trained officers like the ones you mentioned from ZRH but in the departure gates and exit passport control. Why? Because drugs usually FLY OUT of the country, not INTO like Europe.

Saludos desde Caracas,
Luis


User currently offlineDartland From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 646 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5528 times:
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Quoting Carmenlu15 (Reply 3):
The airport at El Salvador has several of those "traffic lights", and I never had any issue with them during my trips.

In SAL when you get a "red light" (which I've gotten many times), they just make you put your bag in a conveyer through some sort of metal detector or something. It's rather silly -- no personal check or anything.

Usually you had a much better chance of getting a "red" at the left line than the right one, but the line was always longer on the right (hmmm...) But you still usually got out faster going on the shorter line and getting a "red" light than standing in line on the right!! (yes, i used to travel to SAL a lot!)


User currently offlineZRH From Switzerland, joined Nov 1999, 5569 posts, RR: 36
Reply 15, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5478 times:

Quoting Luisde8cd (Reply 13):
It's also idiotic to not understand each country situation. In LatAM we have trained officers like the ones you mentioned from ZRH but in the departure gates and exit passport control. Why? Because drugs usually FLY OUT of the country, not INTO like Europe.

No offence. I actually not only meant this red/green light game (nothing more than a game). I am speaking of most random checks, like for example on US airports regarding security: absolutly useless. They probably pick out families with four small kids (quite unlikely to be terrorists, like my brother and sister in law and kids) or an 90 year old grandma in a wheel chair etc.


User currently offlineShowerOfSparks From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 5439 times:

Quoting ZRH (Reply 12):
And control those people more from the destinations which are well known for drug traffickers (for example).

Aaah, checks based on where you come from, sounds like profiling to me.

naughty naughty  Smile


User currently offlineLuisde8cd From Pitcairn Islands, joined Aug 2004, 2575 posts, RR: 31
Reply 17, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5422 times:

Quoting ZRH (Reply 15):
No offence.

None taken.

Quoting ZRH (Reply 15):
hey probably pick out families with four small kids (quite unlikely to be terrorists, like my brother and sister in law and kids) or an 90 year old grandma in a wheel chair etc.

Indeed, agree with you.

Saludos desde Caracas,
Luis


User currently offlineWjcandee From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 5338 posts, RR: 23
Reply 18, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5381 times:

Quoting IAHFLYR (Reply 5):
CUN used to do the green/red light, but haven't been there since before Wilma visited so maybe it has changed.

Yep. They still use it. You'd be surprised how many people don't realize that it's just a random check, and think that somehow it must be checking something else. That fact, combined with alert/trained customs agents, also permits some additional profiling based upon the person's response to the requirement that they push the button.


User currently offlineFlySSC From United States of America, joined Aug 2003, 7428 posts, RR: 57
Reply 19, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5372 times:

Quoting RootsAir (Thread starter):
In which airports does this practice go on ?

EZE used to have this system many years ago. Don't know if it's still valid.


User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8976 posts, RR: 39
Reply 20, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5341 times:

Quoting ZRH (Reply 15):
No offence. I actually not only meant this red/green light game (nothing more than a game). I am speaking of most random checks, like for example on US airports regarding security: absolutly useless. They probably pick out families with four small kids (quite unlikely to be terrorists, like my brother and sister in law and kids) or an 90 year old grandma in a wheel chair etc.

Or people like me, because a couple of years ago I was carrying two huge bags on my way to ATL (full of candy and stuff  Smile ). I got "random checked" at GRU - pulled aside from the check-in line. Now, random checked my @ss, chances are they saw that a single person at ~20 years of age carrying two huge bags must be suspicious. . . or so I am convinced  Wink

Cheers



"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlineAer From Guatemala, joined Mar 2004, 1048 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 8 hours ago) and read 5299 times:

Quoting Carmenlu15 (Reply 3):
However, I can't for the life of me remember whether we have them here at GUA.

That was a long time ago, actually I remember that it was when costoms was right before the exit at GUA so yeah long time ago.



nice and spacious airports in need of new airlines and flights... GUA or FRS anyone?... anyone at all?
User currently offlineCOERJ145 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1421 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 1 day 5 hours ago) and read 5121 times:

I was at CZM once when I was 8 and I got the red light. The result? full bag search, etc.  crazy 

User currently offlineTimRees From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2001, 355 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (8 years 1 month 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 4855 times:

I'd read about the traffic light system operating in Mexico City and thought it was amusing. I didn't realise it operated in CUN when I arrived there last year and never having encounted it before it made me chuckle! However, that was as good as having a red light as I drew attention to myself and had my bag quickly searched. I must say, that the customs officer didn't seem to be too bothered and quickly gave up. However, taught me a lesson - keep a straight face!

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