Editors Note: Doug Casey lives in Uruguay
but have you ever wondered why?
Most people dont know much about the country. So
when Casey Daily Dispatch editor Justin Spittler
visited Doug at his Uruguayan ranch, he decided to get the
Justin: So, Doug. Why Uruguay?
Doug: Well, Uruguay used to be known as
the Switzerland of South America. It once had the most free-market
banking and financial infrastructures, and excellent privacy. It
was once very desirable from that point of view. All the Latin
Americans used it as a tax haven and a money refuge. It still
clings to remnants of that reputation.
Uruguay is also a small country. It is about the size of
Missouri. Its population is around 3.5 million people. Small is
good, especially when the financial industry is a big part of the
local economy. To me, small is attractive
Its quiet and backward. When I first visited in 1980, I thought
I was stepping back into the 1930sI kid you not.
Geographically, the place is like Julius Caesars Gaul. Its
divided into three parts.
One part is Montevideo, the capital. Its home to a million
people, and the center of economic activitysuch as it is. Its got
some upmarket areas, but its a dump for the most part.
Then theres Punta del Este, a beach resort town. Packed in the
season, from Christmas to February 1, but very very quiet the rest
of the year. Thats where the rich live.
Then, the third part, is the endless pampas in the countrys
interiorjust farmland. Theres really nothing of interest once you
leave Punta and the beach resorts. The country is like Kansas with
a sea coast.
On the bright side, there are some interesting, rich,
sophisticated people that live around Punta. Many of them are
Argentines that moved across the border for tax or political
reasons. Some people moved here simply because its a pleasant and
quiet, albeit backward, little country. I guess thats my excuse for
spending time here. Great place to catch up on reading, research,
I like it. But outside of the season its quiet. You have to
Justin: It seems relatively safe,
Doug: Yes, its also a very low-crime
location. In South America, the high-crime countries have always
been Brazil and Colombia. Now add VenezuelaColombia is improving
rapidly. The low-crime countries have always been Argentina,
Uruguay, and Chile.
Plus, Uruguay is also, along with Chile, the least corrupt
country in South America. You dont dare try to bribe a cop here.
Thats out of the question.
In Argentina, which is just across the River Plate, its
different story. I did an interview a couple years ago called Make
Corruption Your Friend. I promise you, its worth reading. [Editors
note: You can read both parts of Dougs interview...