Zandir Santos is a graduate from Rhode Island College who is a filmmaker. He declares filmmaking to be his “passion.” He says, “I love filmmaking. I’m so passionate about it. When I’m making a film it’s such a rewarding thing because it’s what I love to do.”
However, Zandir Santos is also passionate about other things. He is passionate for justice, for fair treatment and to be direct, for tariffs law reformation in Cape Verde, the island nation of his birth off the west coast of Africa.
Zandir declares that it is “horrendous and terrorizing the tariffs that Cape Verdeans pay to get items out of customs in Cape Verde.” He states that “such exacerbating tariffs are completely stifling economic growth in Cape Verde. You cannot develop an already super underdeveloped economy with such exaggerated customs tariffs, it is impossible!”
Zandir believes so much in this cause for tariffs law reformation in Cape Verde that he has even been arrested for manifesting his discontentment outside of one of the customs office in Cape Verde. The video is below.
“The custom tariffs are excessive beyond imagination in Cape Verde.” He continues, “There’s a saying, a terribly painful saying, in Cape Verde. It says: Whatever you buy that comes through customs, you buy it twice. You buy once from the original vender abroad and once at customs in Cape Verde.”
He goes on to reference a gentleman in Cape Verde who purchased a Jeep Wrangler in the United States for $7,000 USD and paid the equivalent of over $20,000 USD to get it out of customs in Cape Verde. “He actually bought the car three times. Once from the owner and twice from customs in Cape Verde.”
An image of the car and of the check paid to customs is shown below. What was incredibly alarming when Zandir publicized these two images to the public was the fact that the check had to be and was made out directly to an official dispatcher’s name and not to the customs of Cape Verde itself. A red flag was raised as to the probability and facilitation of corruption.
Similar occurrences such as the aforementioned are rampant in Cape Verde he declares. He says: “There are instances where Cape Verdeans have bought cars and brought them to Cape Verde and ultimately were forced to return them to the country they purchased them because the customs tariff was too much for them to afford.”
In the case with Elton Lopes Rocha the tariffs were excessive and the customs bureaucracy forced him to do exactly that, to return his car to the country where he brought it from. Watch his Facebook Live video below to find out all of the details.
Zandir states: “We’re fighting for tariffs law reformation because the status quo is a great disservice to Cape Verdeans. It is impoverishing Cape Verdeans. Such tariffs have literally decimated Cape Verdean owned businesses in Cape Verde. Due to such high tariffs Cape Verdean business people can no longer afford to import items and products to sell in Cape Verde. Therefore, foreigners have seized whatever economic prospects that may of existed in Cape Verde.”
He continues, “We can no longer tolerate such grave injustices to continue. And not to mention that corruption in the customs industry in Cape Verde is rampant. Some of the most well off people in the Cape Verdean society are those who are immersed in the customs industry of Cape Verde. Their salaries could never justify their lavish lifestyle in such an impoverished society with a minimum wage of roughly $150 USD a month.”
Cape Verde is a country that receives donations due to the poverty in the country. “However, customs of Cape Verde stifles even the receiving of donations. We recently exposed a scenario where the Red Cross and Firefighters Without Borders from Italy donated an ambulance, a fire truck and benevolent equipment to Cape Verde and customs of Cape Verde refused to let the vehicles out of customs without receiving the equivalent of almost $6,000 USD.”
Zandir Santos initiated what has become known as the #nada movement. Nada means nothing in the Criol language that is spoken in Cape Verde.
The movement is a movement to boycott customs of Cape Verde. To send #nada to Cape Verde via customs until tariffs law reformation are made.
Of the movement Zandir says: “ We’re imploring all Cape Verdean immigrants not to send anything back home to Cape Verde via customs. If they want to help their families we encourage them to send them money via Western Union and they can buy the items they need in Cape Verde. The reason we’re imploring Cape Verdean immigrants is because they are the ones who send cars, barrels, etc., via customs. If they don’t send #nada than customs of Cape Verde has #nada to exploit them with. Cape Verdean immigrants from America to Europe work incredibly hard and are seeing there hard earned money sucked out of them by excessive tariff laws and exploitative practices by official dispatchers of d customs of Cape Verde. This too we can no longer tolerate.
We’re almost 60 days into our boycott and we will continue in our efforts to make all Cape Verdean immigrants aware of our movement. A movement for justice and the securement of a greater, much greater Cape Verde, for the next generation of Cape Verdedans.”
VIEW FILMS BY ZANDIR SANTOS
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