They Can’t Take Away The Dance You’ve Already Danced
“Here in Argentina, the two-month summer season–January and February–is coming to a close,” writes Intrepid Correspondent Paul Terhorst from Buenos Aires.
“Beach and mountain resorts report huge increases in tourist arrivals, as much as 30% over last year. Everyone’s making money.
“The local press gives several reasons for the increase. First, neighboring countries have become much more expensive. Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile have revalued their currencies in real terms. Argentina has revalued, too, but much less so. These days Argentina costs more than a year ago and way more than four years ago, but our neighbors see it as a bargain.
“Figure Uruguay, Brazil, and Chile now cost between 50% and 100% more than Argentina.
“Unfortunately, the poor have become worse off, mainly because of misguided government policies (see below). But the poor rarely take vacations at the beach even in good times.
“Finally, again according to the papers, Argentines have become weary of their populist, abrasive government. They’ve decided to act now to get in a better mood, to enjoy life while they can. I love this attitude.
“Argentines even have a saying: “They can’t take away from you the dance you’ve already danced.” Argentines dance and dance and spend and enjoy. They let the future worry about itself.
“The future here includes presidential elections next year. The previous president, Nestor Kirchner, was replaced by his wife Cristina in 2007. Cristina’s term ends next year, and she says she wants out. We all believe Nestor will run again.
“The Kirchners appeal to the bottom rung of Argentine life. Kirchner people lost badly in last June’s local elections, and most people believe voters have tired of them. But I’ll go out on a limb and predict that Nestor will win next year. The Kirchners have started new hand-out programs, with monthly checks for the poor. Those checks should buy votes. And the opposition has been in disarray for years, with no new blood in the picture.
“Bet on the Kirchners. Those who rob Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.
“Meanwhile, autumn tends to be beautiful here, and March and April would be good months to visit. Make sure to plan time in Mendoza. Some 80% of first-time tourists visit only Buenos Aires. The others tend to take in the waterfalls at Iguazu, on the border with Brazil. But that’s about it, they go nowhere else.
“I recommend you forget the waterfalls and head to Mendoza instead. Enjoy views of the Andes, city streets lined with trees and irrigation canals, and green parks and plazas. Take in the fine arts museum in Chacras de Coria, where Argentine artist Fernando Fader spent summers with his wife’s family.
“Best of all, enjoy the local wine. Mendoza has become the food and wine capital of Argentina. Whether in downtown Mendoza, out at the wineries, or in one of the new B and Bs, you’ll enjoy local deer, rabbit, frogs, boar, and other game along with your Malbec.
“If you go to Mendoza, fly LAN Argentina from Buenos Aires, rather than Aerolineas Argentinas. Aerolineas Argentinas teeters on the verge of collapse, sustained only by government subsidies to the union people who run it.”
“Kathleen, by chance, will you be having a Retirement Program in Panama City in July 2010? We are scheduled to travel there on July for the entire month to look for property. If you have one of these Retirement Programs during that month, we could sign up for it. Hopefully, you will be able to plan something during this period?”
— Barbara J., United States
Unfortunately, no, we won’t be offering a Live & Invest in Panama Conference in July.
In fact, Lief and I will be in Paris for the month of July. We’re making plans, therefore, for a Live & Invest in France event late in the month. I’ll share details of the program as soon as we’ve finalized them.
“Kathleen, as I am considering relocating, I have been reading your e-mails. What I find is that, when you give your advice on different havens, you do not mention the political situations in those countries. I would not relocate to Nicaragua or Ecuador even if they were giving property away. The leaders of those countries are on the same wavelength as Mr. Chavez, who well may decide that all property in Venezuela belongs to the State, leaving owners with nothing.
“I live in Venezuela and am trying to sell my house before it is declared part of a national park!”
— Danuta B., Venezuela
As a general rule, we try to remain a-political. Politicians come and go, and their mostly silly ideas come and go with them, typically with little or no effect on foreign residents or investors. We do report on extraordinary situations–Ortega in Nicaragua, for example, who some investors see as a concern, and Martinelli in Panama, who is having such a dramatic positive effect on this country and the opportunities it offers everyone, including foreigners interested in spending time and money here, that we can’t help but comment.