What would happen if a few people weren’t dragging the rest of us down?

Justice for Colombian Musician, Andres Ocampo

Screen Shot 2019-11-11 at 4.39.06 PM.png

“The power of truth is much stronger than the total of their corruption.” – Frank Serpico


Andres Ocampo is a well-known musician from Medellin, Colombia, and has been a friend of mine for over ten years. He composed the theme music for the show I host and produce, Raw Travel TV and has contributed other tracks to the show’s sound design over the years. His band, Los Suziox (The Dirty), was the first act I signed for my digital record label Punk Outlaw Records back in 2011. Andres regularly plays big concerts and music festivals in his home country of Colombia and he has toured extensively throughout Latin America and most recently, Europe.

Andres lives and works in the working-class neighborhood of Castilla in Medellin, where he operates a concert venue called “El Sub” (the Underground), which he and some partners built themselves DIY (Do It Yourself) style. In addition to hosting musical acts from around the world at El Sub, Andres works with local youth to give them alternatives to the violent lifestyle that surrounds working-class barrios like Castilla. 

Andres’ mother and brother live in New York City, and Andres, with approved visa in hand, has visited twice before without incident. I always looked forward to seeing my friend when he visited. To my knowledge, he has never overstayed his visa or broken any laws in the US.


On June 4th, 2019, during his 3rd trip to the US to visit his ailing mother, Andres was inexplicably targeted, detained, and rudely treated by US Customs and Border Protection officers at JFK Airport in New York City. He was detained for several hours and was unable to communicate with anyone, including his family, who were worried sick because he was missing.

Andres reports that after his luggage was searched, he was accused by the Supervising Officer on duty that day, of seeking construction work apparently because he had a pair of boots in his luggage. Andres tried to explain to the officer that his boots were merely footwear and a fashion statement for a punk rock musician. Apparently, in the mind of the Supervising Officer, the boots were somehow proof that Andres was coming to the US seeking construction work. An intimidating interrogation began, but not before first rifling through the rest of Andre’s luggage and treating his personal belongings, which included Los Suziox Vinyl LPs Andres had brought as gifts, with complete disregard.

Eventually, under threat of imprisonment, Andres was ultimately coerced to sign a document falsely stating he was visiting the US to seek work illegally. He was then sent on what became a 30-hour odyssey back to Medellin. His elderly and ailing mother was shocked and heartbroken at the news she would not be able to see her son.

According to US Customs and Border Protection’s Website, their core values include integrity. Specifically, their website states, “Integrity is our cornerstone. We are guided by the highest ethical and moral principles. Our actions bring honor to ourselves and our Agency.”

I submit that forcing someone to sign a false statement is not exhibiting integrity.

Also, according to CBP’s website, their mission statement and sole reason for existing are “to safeguard America’s borders, thereby protecting the public from dangerous people and materials while enhancing the Nation’s global economic competitiveness by enabling legitimate trade and travel.”

I wholeheartedly support this mission and respect the officers legitimately trying to do this. However, Andres Ocampo poses no threat to the US, broke no laws, and was simply visiting his mother. Andres has children and runs a business back in Medellin. He does not desire to live in the US nor to work here illegally. I also submit that what separates the USA from many countries across the globe is “the rule of law”. If rogue officers at institutions like CBP who are tasked with enforcing the rule of law are actually flouting it, we have a corruption problem. Who is overseeing this agency to ensure their is no corruption?

Screen Shot 2019-11-16 at 4.02.33 PM.png

Robert & Andres

Reunited in Medellin.


I have come to learn that this is not an isolated case. Andres reported that he observed several individuals, including an elderly man in a wheelchair being rudely treated. He was eventually denied entry as well.

Several years ago, traveling internationally, I also was detained on a few occasions (someone flagged by law enforcement matched my name and description). I eventually paid for Global Entry and have had no problems since. Still, the experience gave me insight into how many of our Customs and Border Protection officers operate and treat our non-US visitors. It is not a comforting picture. I find it especially heartbreaking given the hospitality I have received visiting 70+ countries around the world the past few years.

After hearing Andres’ story, I feel that likely some of our US Customs and Border Protection Officers at specific ports of entry may be acting above the law and this could be symptomatic of a larger issue. Based on Andres’ experience, the supervisor on duty at JFK on June 4th, 2019, was treating visitors to our country in a discriminatory and arbitrary fashion based upon how they look, where they were from, or even perhaps, what kind of mood he was in on that particular day. Or maybe, he is merely following a misguided protocol from the top?

I do not know, but I do know, based on Andres’ experience, that it is clear US CBP was not behaving with integrity, one of CBP’s stated core values. As a US citizen and taxpayer, I find this unacceptable.

We have tried, unsuccessfully thus far, to obtain the name of the Supervising Officer on duty at JFK’s Office of Customs & Border Protection on June 4th, 2019, but have been stonewalled with polite but glib boilerplate responses from JFK’s CBP Department of Public Affairs. We filled out a Freedom of Information (FOI) Report that was recently rejected on a technicality. We plan to re-file.

How often does this happen, and on what basis are people denied or granted entry? Who is responsible for overseeing customs and border patrol offices? What of the money that visitors spend on airfare to visit this country, only then to be rudely treated and many denied entry after arrival? In Andres’ case, Colombia is not a rich country, and Andres, like many musicians, is not wealthy. The ticket to the US is not an insignificant expense for him.

This situation is especially tragic, given that many people, like Andres, are just trying to visit family members. 


Robert and Andres in Medellin, Colombia

Taken when the author lived in Colombia, first drawing inspiration for Raw Travel TV.


Our goals for JusticeForAndres.com are simple. We’d like to: 

1) Help Andres’ family recoup the money for airfare to and from New York City, an expense of around $1,000.  

2) Raise funds to help Andres apply for an Artist’s Visa so he can perform and tour in the US (just as he has in Europe), and will be able to visit his family. This expense, we anticipate being about $2,500.

3) Raise awareness of this issue and hopefully impact and improve behavior at the US Customs and Border Patrol Points of Entry so that they will live up to their mission and stated goals. CBP Officers are often the 1st Americans many US Visitors will see. If they are rude, dismissive, unethical, and dishonest, it reflects poorly on the entire nation and all US citizens.

We want safety and security for all citizens and understand that US Customs and Border Patrol Officers have an essential job to do. However, I believe they can do their job and be fair, polite, honest, and thorough in the process.

There is nothing more un-American than when good, honest people like Andres are denied entry to visit because of the way they look, the clothes they wear or the country they come from. We believe in freedom to travel AND the rule of law. These two concepts can and do co-exist in countries all over the globe, including countries with much bigger security issues than the United States.

We aren’t posting this blog and effort only for Andres. Justice for Andres is justice for other visitors and ultimately ourselves. This issue may seem small or insignificant in the scope of the travesties that happen daily on this planet. Still, small injustices add up, and we should all expect more from our country.

Coercing false confessions from visitors to our great nation is not an American value that any of us should support. If we sit back and do nothing, we are essentially sanctioning corrupt behavior.


Please help us right this wrong. If you would like to help Andres and the countless other visitors like him, please see below how you can help by donating, sharing your story, signing the petition and spreading the word by telling others to visit www.JusticeForAndres.com

1) DONATE: Please visit our Fundraising site at https://www.gofundme.com/f/JusticeForAndres to help Andres garner an Artist’s Visa so he can visit his mother and tour the USA. We are offering gifts for those who are able to donate:

  • The first 50 people with donations of $25 or more will receive a free download of Los Suziox CD “El Fin Justifica Los Medios” (The End Justifies the Means) and free entry to the 1st concert Andres performs in the US.

  • The first 50 people with donations of $60 or more will receive a free download of Los Suziox CD “Los Suziox CD “El Fin Justifica Los Medios” (The End Justifies the Means) and a Los Suziox or Raw Travel T-Shirt “I Support Freedom to Travel” in their size, plus free entry to Andre’s concert when he performs in the US.

Donations of $60 or more will receive their choice of “I Support Freedom to Travel” Tee

Donations of $60 or more will receive their choice of “I Support Freedom to Travel” Tee

2) SIGN THE CHANGE.ORG PETITION: This further outlines our objectives with respect to Andres’ specific situation and how CPB operates overall.

  • Transparency – We want the name of the Supervising Officer in charge on June 4th, 2019, and a full investigation into what occurred so that anyone responsible for wrongdoing can be held accountable.  We’d also like more information about how CBP REALLY determines who is and is not allowed entry into the US.

  • Visitor Bill of Rights – We’d like to work with CBP representatives to determine a “Visitor Bill of Rights” to ensure all visitors are treated with courtesy, respect and, most importantly, are judged in a non-discriminatory manner when entering the US.  

 Please learn more about this effort and sign the petition HERE.

3) SHARE THIS POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA: Please see the share buttons at the top of this page or copy the link and share it on your social media platforms.

4) SHARE YOUR STORY OR SEND ANDRES AN ENCOURAGING WORD: Visit Facebook.com/JusticeForAndres and let us know if you have a similar story or send Andres an encouraging word.

Thank you for any help you can provide, be it financial or moral support.

WANT MORE INFO? Please see the Introduction Video below or send us an email HERE.



Official blog of Robert G. Rose. Opinions are my own. Whose else would they be?

Leave a Replay

About Me

Don’t Drag Me Down is the personal blog of Robert G. Rose, a U.S. based media veteran and entrepreneur who writes about wrongs, slights, incompetence, corporate greed and more, he observes in his everyday life.

Recent Posts

Rob Writes Wrongs