Obama and Clinton to get ‘alien’ passports in Latvia

"Alien" passport for Barack Obama (photo from http://russkie.org.lv/)
Latvian human rights activists have issued “alien” passports for Barack and Michel Obama and Hillary Clinton to draw attention to the status of ethnic Russians in the country. Despite being born in Latvia, thousands have “non-citizen” passports.

­Latvian activists have sent “passports of non-US citizens” to the American embassy in Riga, where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is expected to arrive on Thursday.

Purple – as this color is widely recognized as a symbol of discrimination – passports for the US President, his wife and Hillary Clinton look exactly the same as those of Latvia’s non-citizens.

And this is not a joke as it may first seem.

Activists hope that with these passports of non-citizens of America, they might understand how aliens in Latvia feel, namely of being strangers in their own country.

Latvian human rights activists want the US to pay attention to the problem that more than 300,000 people face in Latvia. Despite the fact that many were born in the country, they are still considered “resident aliens."

This means they cannot vote, cannot work in many state-employed positions and often have trouble crossing borders. However, they still have to pay taxes.

"The US is the citadel of democracy in the modern world. And they cannot remain indifferent to human rights violations and harassment directed against minorities,” activists said in their statement, published by Latvian news outlet TVNET.

“When the Soviet Union denied Solzhenitsyn citizenship, the entire democratic world was outraged. When Latvia (as well as neighboring Estonia) denied citizenships for hundreds of thousands of people, the West, unfortunately, has remained silent,” the statement reads.

These passports should show the absurdity of the situation in Latvia.  

Even though all these families moved to Latvia when the state was a part of the USSR, they are not automatically eligible for Latvian nationality.

Only those born after Latvian independence in 1991 automatically receive citizenship.

“The Latvian elite is doing this with impunity, using the fact that Europe and America have enough worries at home and in other regions,” the activists wrote.

They insist that Latvia cannot struggle for democracy when the rights of hundreds of thousands are being violated.

“It’s hard to believe that non-citizens are in this situation only because they or their relatives did not live in Latvia before 1940. Nonsense!” reads the statement.