Switzerland - A Facebook Surprise


Switzerland is one of the safest countries in the world.  It is fiercely independent and has a very low crime rate.  It's also secure, which is why many banks are based there.   So, it might surprise you to learn that during my 2018 visit to Zurich, I bypassed both Airport Security and Immigration.  And I shared what I was doing live with thousands of people.

I arrived in Switzerland to do some advance preparations for Peru's participation in the 2018 World Cup.  It was the first time in 26 years that Peru would attend.  And the national team's first stop was Switzerland for a warm-up game against Saudi Arabia.   (They won.)

The day before Peru was to arrive, I asked the Peruvian Consul in Zurich, German Vera, if I could join him when he welcomed the team to Europe.  He said he would try, but he couldn't make any promises.   The next day, I met him and his wife at the airport.   He said we were waiting for the head of security for the Zurich Airport to arrive.   Since German was a diplomat, he didn't need to worry about getting into the secured area of the airport.  I only had a regular US Passport and no diplomatic status.  

The head of security arrived and German asked him if I could go to the plane.   German explained that I was doing some work for TV Peru, the government TV station.  The head of security said okay and to follow him.  We hopped into a car, drove on the runway and pulled up to the gate.  We climbed the steps to go inside.   I was now in the secured area without clearing security or even showing my passport.   I unpacked my camera equipment and we waited for the plane.  When it arrived, German, his wife and I walked down the jetway to the door of the plane.   

There was a huge excitement in Peru about the World Cup.   As we were waiting for the plane door to open, I thought I would try to do a Facebook live.   It was a challenge; I was trying to shoot with a TV camera on my shoulder and a phone in my hand at the same time.

Finally, the door opened and the players began departing.   

Peruvian National Team Player Raul Rudiaz arrives in Europe for the 2018 World Cup

I wasn't paying a lot of attention to Facebook, but when I finally looked over at my phone screen, I saw I had 5000 viewers, then 10,000, then 15,000.   I couldn't believe how many people were watching.   I followed the team, keeping the Facebook Live connection, as they boarded the airport train and headed to customs.   I realized, I didn't have the paperwork to clear customs and only had my passport.  However, it wasn't a problem.  The head of security just motioned for me to follow him.   We bypassed customs and went on to baggage claim.   The number of viewers on Facebook was staggering.   At one point, it was getting close to 35,000 live viewers.   

I followed the players outside to their bus and finally stopped the live feed when the bus left the airport.  One of the many Peruvian fans who had gathered outside to welcome the team told me that her family in Peru had been watching my feed on TV.  It turns out that in addition to all of the people who were watching on Facebook, my feed had been picked up as "breaking news" by several Peruvian TV stations and broadcast on the video channels of some radio stations.   

There is no way to know how many people saw me evade security and customs, but it probably didn't register with them.  They were much more interested in seeing their team arriving in Europe.


For the first time, I did two stories by myself for "Peruanos en el Mundo."  I shot a segment with Jeanette Janata for "Peruanos en el Mundo: Zurich"  Jeanette was wonderful.  I would ask her the questions in English and she would reply in Spanish.  That story begins at 10:59  in the link below.  I also produced, shot and edited a package with German Vera about the FIFA World Football Museum, which is linked below.   He was a huge help.

Also linked below is a video from my 2014 visit to Switzerland along with a radio interview about my first visit to the country in 1984.  The part about Switzerland begins at 5:32.

My last name, Hunsicker, is Swiss.  There are many variations on the spelling, but most sound similar.  One of the questions I was asked frequently is if I was related to the famous Swiss actress, Michele Hunziker.  Her father was from the German speaking part of Switzerland, which is also where my ancestors originated.   However, I don't know any of them and have no reason to think we are related.

Dates of Travel

  • March, 1984
  • January, 2014
  • June, 2016 (Airport)
  • June 2018

Places Visited

  • Zurich
  • Chur
  • Arosa
  • Lucerne
  • St. Gallen


Radio Interview



This post is part of my series "One Photo - One Country."  I'm am selecting one photo and writing one story from every country I have visited.   Your comments and questions are welcome.  

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