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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

This says it all

Thos excerpt was taken from "Surviving in Argentina", the best survival blog I have found, written by someone who has lived through political unrest and upheaval and some very tough times.

This was written in response to someone who wants to leave the U.S.A. and relocate in Central/South America because of the probable/possible hard times we will be facing here soon.
It's understandable that given the current economic situation world wide, people want to leave their country looking for greener pastures as you said.
I’ve talked a bit before about relocating, try using the search function here and look up “Uruguay”. Its probably the only Latin American country that doesn’t feel 3rd worldly. Chile is solid but you have a serious problem with earthquakes. Brazil has some nice parts but the social difference between rich and poor is terrible there and that’s a can of worms you don’t want to open. Then you have Uruguay. Uruguay is cheap to live in because of the currency exchange rate but there’s a feeling about the people there of dignity and education, you don’t get that in the rest of Latin America. The current president of Uruguay wasn’t much of my liking but I recently heard him talk about not artificially protecting the country’s industry like Argentina did, letting the free market find its own way and wanting to turn Uruguay into a country that exports technology and knowledge to the neighboring countries. Uruguay is the only country in south America where every single kid in school was issued a laptop. I’d prefer it to Panama.

Back to leaving USA, I see why a lot of people are considering it right now. Things aren’t looking good and they won’t BE good for a long time. The crisis will go on, maybe get worse, but is it going to be better in other places? What are you giving up for that cheap exchange rate? In most countries (Uruguay being one of the few exceptions in the world) you’re giving up security, and you’re getting yourself involved in a society Americans know very little about: Societies where there’s extreme poverty and a small, powerful elite. 
Places like Panama, they are corrupt beyond what Americans are used to. Everyone is used to corrupt politicians, but not everyone is used to bribing cops and official authorities as an everyday fact of live. 
And its not just about security. I simply do not like walking around the streets of a city and having people begging on the floor every 3 yards. Some people dig that, I don’t. I’ve read Doug Casey mentioning how people would work almost for food here in Argentina as if that were a bonus to a location. I suppose people have different opinions of what quality of life means.
I did a bit of research on Panama and it sounds good in many ways: cheap exchange rate, good gun laws, you can carry and own a broad variety of firearms. Small with excellent tropical climate… yet its still a 3rd world country and those of us that have lived in one for some time know what it means. Rest assured that for every American wanting to leave USA, there’s 100 that want to move in, often people that come from those same countries Americans consider relocating too.

Finally, its simply not home for you, and it will never be. Do you really want to live in a place you just don’t fit? Some lefty tree-hugging liberal may love living in Colombia, the province of Chaco here in Argentina or some other rat hole, but a conservative American wont. Your friends are right, you’ll always be a second class citizen. They’ll smile at you, most people will be nice, mostly those you do business with (no surprise there) but you’ll always be the rich gringo (even if you’re not rich ) that thinks he owns the world. If there’s ever a problem and they have to back someone up, you’ll always be in second place. Finally, you already have friends in USA, you wont be making good ones in Latin America any time soon. Not knowing Spanish will just make all of this worse, huge dissadvantage. Think about that before making a decision.

In America you can wake up every morning not worrying about a noise you’re not used to being someone trying to break into your house. You can walk or drive to the closest dinner without watching over your back every 10 seconds. You have the right to carry a firearm for self defense and if you ever use your gun in such a way, some filthy judge wont be asking you for some exorbitant bribe or even worse, throwing you in jail.
You have stores of every type, whatever hobby you have, you’ll find everything you need. That simply doesn’t happen in other countries. You like books? Even a small US city has huge book stores like nothing you’ll ever find in Latin America. You want to drive a car you like? You wont have to pay 5 times the price you pay for it in USA like you do in most 3rd world countries. Big brother is all over the world and in most other countries you don’t even have the right to privacy you have in USA. It just doesn’t compute in people’s head that a government sticking its nose into your business isn’t right.  Big brother is accepted  in the 3rd world with opened arms, it always has. Don’t think you’re getting free of that by moving elsewhere.
I understand downsizing, maybe moving to a cheaper state, but leaving USA? Not really, not unless some mayor event forces you out of it and what’s happening now occurs all over the world to a  greater or lesser degree. All in all, USA is a good place to be in during this storm.
You have taxes in other countries as well, and even worse, in 3rd world countries you have corruption that will bite you when you least expect it. Give me taxes over corruption any day, specially when those taxes aren’t being entirely stolen and going to the president’s pocket like it occur in 3rd world countries.
In spite of everything wrong with it, America is still a bastion of freedom. Anyone doubting that just hasn’t spent enough time in other places and sure hasn’t suffered 3rd world countries.
I agree with your wife, I think you should stay in USA. Maybe make a few changes but stay in America unless you’re 100% sure of what you want to do.

If you want my advice, this is it: Stay in America, you’re already in the best country in the world, don’t give that up. You already have contacts, gear and friends in your location. You know the country and how it works. If you’re not happy with your current location, try moving somewhere else, preferably close to friends. Those are priceless. Weather you stay or move, get involved in your community, see how you can help out, try looking at it from a different angle. This helps a lot. It sure has helped me. Just as an example, I’m trying to find a place so that an acquaintance of mine can give self defense lessons. I’ve been asking around my neighborhood, local gyms and such.  I’m helping him out by finding him a place for the classes and maybe a few more students, and I’m benefiting from it too by having a good place to train near by. He’s also a police officer and I know he would gladly help if I ever need it. I also offered to review the security of my kids school. Don’t underestimate the power of getting involved and talking to people. Your community is one of your most important assets, even if when the chips are down 9 out of 10 people wont be there, there’s still that one guy you can count on.
Hope that helped some.
Take care,
"Memento mori"