Simon Black On Why Cuba, That Bastion Of Communism, May Just Be The Ideal Home For Future Expats

Tyler Durden's picture

Sovereign Man, Simon Black, writes in from Santiago Chile, shares his latest observations on gold and provides his two most recent recommendations for those who have decided to expatriate and are now just contemplating which country to call home. In summary: "I would recommend the country for pioneer expats who
don't mind putting up with squalor and the lack of amenities... but Cuba
makes up for it in other ways, like warm weather, gorgeous women, great
salsa culture, and zero crime against foreigners." It will be the most supremely ironic end of the US empire if those disgruntled with the regime end up defecting to the one country which currently best exemplifies Regan's "evil empire. "

Questions: Cuba, Gold, and why Chile is the answer, via

It's a long flight from Auckland to Santiago.  Hell, it's a long flight from Auckland to anywhere. You know, Australia is about 15 hours from anywhere, and New Zealand is 3 hours from Australia... so it's out there.

My primary mission over the last three weeks in New Zealand was to spend time all over the south island looking at agricultural property. I wanted as much information as possible to make a final decision on where to base our sustainable community, and ultimately it came down to a handful of choices.

I've recently ruled out Uruguay due to its relatively weak economy that is sensitive to what happens in Argentina. I've also ruled out Panama as I'd prefer a country with a less cozy relationship to the United States.

I've been leaning heavily towards Chile, though New Zealand was a viable candidate... as such, I wanted to spend a few weeks on the ground gathering intelligence so I could be absolutely certain of my decision.

New Zealand is definitely a wonderful country... though it's not the right place for our community: too far from anywhere, high taxes, and a bit socialist in its cultural mentality.

Most of all, I want the community to be in a strong, thriving economy that represents the future, not the western hierarchy of the past. Chile is the answer.

I'll have a lot more to say about that in future letters once I return. For now, I'm transiting on to Argentina where I'll spend the holidays with a few friends, sort out some personal business, and then hopefully drive across beautiful Patagonia back into Chile and up towards Santiago.

For now, I want to answer a few quick questions and wish you all the best for the holidays.

First, I wrote an article earlier this week about some indicators we'll see in the future once gold reaches a top-- I think that all those "we buy gold" signs will become "we sell gold" signs. In response, reader James asks:

"Simon, you mention that the 'we buy gold' shops capitalize on people's ignorance. The free market is comprised of nothing more than voluntary transactions between two or more parties. Do you feel that what they are doing is immoral?"

No, absolutely not... and I certainly didn't mean to imply that. Perhaps I should have expounded a bit more. I know there are multitudes of honest, upstanding gold dealers out there (my favorite being Van Simmons of David Hall Rare Coins).

Right now, the public is largely unaware about what's happening in the gold market. Some people find themselves short of cash, and they see a sign that says 'cash for gold'. Poof, problem solved.

This is nothing more than a lawful transaction between a willing buyer and a willing seller, and I'm all for it.

But let's be honest... if you scrap together an ounce of gold and someone offers you $400 for it, and you take it simply because you don't know the spot price is $1400, they've just made $1000 (less melting and assay costs) on your ignorance.

Again, there's nothing wrong with this. My only point is that these outfits are able to generate huge margins simply because of public ignorance... indicating that we are a long, long way from the top.

Eventually their margins will be squeezed because public ignorance has faded. The average person will know the price of gold because it's on the nightly news, billboards, weekend infomercials, and all over the Internet. When this happens, it will be a sign that we're near the top.

Next, Hans asks, "Hi Simon, I was wondering if you could address Cuba. I know it is quite communist but how do you see it as a place of refuge since it is so anti-American?  It has a lot of potential if only they would migrate to a more pro-business approach."

Cuba is a complete disaster, but it's hard to imagine the place getting much worse. There does seem to be a lot of potential, and the country could turn into a boomtown overnight given the right conditions.

Two things need to happen in order for Cuba to substantially improve-- first, the government needs to reduce its control over the economy and start allowing private employment, private ownership, and private businesses. This is already happening.

The second thing is that the ridiculous trade embargo needs to be lifted.  I'm convinced that Barack Obama is keeping this card as his ace in the hole, and he'll use it in 2012 if the Presidential race is tight. Lifting the embargo  would help him tremendously with the Latino vote and likely win over Florida.

In the meantime, I would recommend the country for pioneer expats who don't mind putting up with squalor and the lack of amenities... but Cuba makes up for it in other ways, like warm weather, gorgeous women, great salsa culture, and zero crime against foreigners.

Last, Stephen asks, "Simon, I've enjoyed the New Zealand guide that your friends Mark and Chris put together. I'm interested in moving there, what is your impression of the small business opportunities?"
As I've written before, New Zealand is an exceedingly beautiful country, though I think there's better opportunity here for retirees than investors and entrepreneurs. The tax situation is a bit cumbersome and the regulatory environment is bureaucratic.

But if you're looking for a place to lay low and enjoy some peace and quiet while still being in an English-speaking, civilized country, I highly recommend it.

That's all for now, I'm off to catch my plane. I hope you have an absolutely wonderful weekend, and we'll talk again soon.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Simon Black

Senior Editor,

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MeTarzanUjane's picture

"putting up with squalor and the lack of amenities"

It's clear you've never been there...

There is a bigger plan in action that has been developing down there over the last 20 yrs. Fidel Sarcastro; in the spotlight.

There is something about a determined population that has been cut off from a giant recognizable ponzi for such a long time.

They tend to be the anti-ponzi. You may want to check it out in earnest.

gwar5's picture

It's the women, gotta be the women. I've never been.

Would love to hear stories, tips, on getting there and & hanging there

MeTarzanUjane's picture

COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Cuba is a totalitarian police state which relies on repressive methods to maintain control. These methods include intense physical and electronic surveillance of both Cuban citizens and foreign visitors. Americans visiting Cuba should be aware that any on-island activities could be subject to surveillance, and their contacts with Cuban citizens monitored closely. The United States does not have full diplomatic relations with Cuba, but Cuba welcomes American travelers and Americans are generally well received. The United States Government provides consular and other services through the U.S. Interests Section in Havana. The U.S. Interests Section operates under the legal protection of the Swiss government but is not co-located with the Swiss Embassy. Read the Department of State Background Notes on Cuba for additional information.

Does this sound familiar? Homeland security? Believe me, no Cuban involved in the "totalitarian police state" is going to be touching your junk? There is no Jewish(israeli) company monitoring security cameras on Cuban roadways and buildings.... Like in the US.

Why? Because Cubans will not allow Jews to take over their country. No AIPAC.

No Arab in this world will blow up a Cuban building, they RESPECT Cuba.

And with this there is security and happiness. No spinning dreidels and hanukkahs. No Woppi Goldbergs.

Sounds like heaven?

Azannoth's picture

Who knows maybe the current regime in Cuba will outlive the current regime in the USA, that would be irony !

Diogenes's picture

The Castro regime has already outlasted Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, and Bush2.

DosZap's picture

Yes, and its been a paramount of the ultimate in living stds when compared to every Admin you noted.

Thanks, but no thanks during the ones mentioned.

Now, is another is just going to get a hell of a lot worse.

But, trust me, as soon a Fideldo dies, and his bro makes nice w/the USA, then the same shit will happen there to expats.

And their too damn CLOSE TO THE US.

Chile sounds great, New Zealand, is more costly to live in than the US, and is farther than Toadsuck,Ok.

jeff montanye's picture

fidel outlasted a lot of u.s. administrations.  when fidel is totally dead raul may try a deng x. move and, especially if the embargo lifted, it could change a lot.  

also the water is beautiful; better coral than the virgin islands and points south.  

destraht's picture

I'm fairly sure that the recent oil volcano in the Gulf with the corexit has reached Cuba. I won't be eating those fish for five to ten years and the shelled creatures for the rest of my life.

lynnybee's picture

..... a truth-talker !   i like a person with the guts to tell the truth !   the truth is hard to hear, don't junk him.    i wish there was an "applause button" here on ZEROHEDGE ! 

trav7777's picture

Rack up those junks, son!!

I'm going to pile some for myself by saying the magic word:  JEW

alien-IQ's picture

It's amazing and disturbing how any mention of AIPAC or Jewish control over an economy or anything for that matter attracts a bombardment of "junking"... I guess megaphone is out in force doing their thing.

Anyways..regarding Cuba...I was born there. I have lots of family still there. To say things are difficult there would be an understatement. However, I agree that a change is in the wind and when conditions towards business and private ownership change, it will be one hell of a place to live.

Culturally, the place is simply delicious. From the music to the food to the art...Cuba has much to offer and it is a place artists and anyone with an appreciation for art and culture will certainly love.

All in all, it's hard to imagine a place with more potential than Cuba. The key is for the country to remain independent. If it becomes another Puerto Rico, forget it. But if it remains sovereign nation, it's gonna be FANTASTIC. And I plan to be there...again.

As far as the women go. Yes and yes. I know. First hand.

Look me up when you folks get there. I'll make you a mojito, we'll throw on some Celia Cruz music and we can have a few laughs.

destraht's picture

If you want to see a crazy amount of nasty under workings with respect to AIPAC and Jewish control then check Its the conspiracy sub-channel. There is a whole bunch of interesting stuff there on many topics, but wow if anybody even brings up the idea that modern day Jews are not weak and helpless then a torrent of shit comes out and groups like the ADL go on the attack. The surgical ability and response time of the unseen Jewish-defending-zealots is mighty. That is all that I really know for sure.

Blano's picture

I can only give you second hand info, but here goes.

I have an uncle that spent several years going to Cuba.  He's a US citizen.  He would take a roundabout way flying from Michigan to Chicago, then through Mexico City and then some other southeastern Mexican city which name I forget (Cancun?  Cozumel?  I don't know).  He said when you are at that last city before flying to Havana, they don't give a rat's ass whether you are allowed to go there or got a ticket, you go. 

He would spend a month or two there at a time....even had an apartment in Havana for a few years.  He would call the landlady a couple weeks before showing up so the place would be ready for him.  The embargo never seemed to stop or hinder him at all.  The only time he was sweating was coming back when he flew nonstop from Toronto to Havana and back to try that route, and he was smuggling some Cuban cigars back with him.  Apparently there were US agents at the airport in Toronto.  Other than that, seemed like a piece of cake.  He loved it there.

And yes, it was about the women.  He became friends with a number of Americans and Europeans there, and now they hang out in Thailand.

velobabe's picture

oh my Dad loved Cuba, for the woman i am sure. my parents went to Cuba all the time, until they couldn't. my daughter went about 5 years ago. she thought it was depressing. her then BF was a photographer and did get a lot of great film. she said there were really cool old american cars, but looked in and mostly destroyed interiors.

i would love to go, for the music of course.

Spitzer's picture

Nothing beats Thailand. The perfect mix of 3rd world chaos with all the amenities.

trav7777's picture

I'll throw my hat on S. America, particularly brassssilllll

Popo's picture

You think Thailand is 3rd world???? Dude. Get out more.

b_thunder's picture

Cuba is...  an interesting (basket) case.

warm weather - check  (except during hurricane season)

gorgeous women - check

great salsa culture - check

zero crime against foreigners - well,....  true, as long as Cuba remains a police state where 1 in 10 is a government snitch/gov't agent, and if you don't count government expopriating all your property at will as a "crime."

Cuba will try to show it's "best face" to foreign investors, BUT you will always be at the mercy of their government policy and won't have protection from all sorts of bureaucrats demanding bribes.  If you're betting on a post-communism Cuba, take a look at Nicaragua.  First, people over there are basically unable to work/to hold a job.  Even a basic job as a house maid.  Most of the 80% unemployment rate may very well be due to the fact that during the Sandinista regime most of those 80% lost the ability to work, as in to come (even approximately) on time and to  actually perform work (rather than watch telenovellas on the tv.)  And the only way for a gringo to survive there is to become friends with the local police chief ($100-200 per month) who will make sure local "ladrones" know not to bother you, and become friends with a local judge ($300-500 annual investment) to get a license to carry a Glock in case some non-local "ladron" starts bothering you.



Motorhead's picture

Yeah, aren't tourists more or less confined to compounds there in Cuba?

Anybody read Jeffrey Robinson's book The Sink?  Cuba is one heart attack away from it being the next off-shore banking haven.


BobPaulson's picture

No, I wandered around the streets and alleys of Havana in the middle of the night (with almost no street lights!) and never once was hassled. 

My main complaint about Cuba is that it's hard to interact with the locals. You have to have well placed local friends if you want them to be able to mix with you. Proletariat locals are not allowed to hang out with the tourists. Friends of mine who are professors can go where I go but it is not a "free" place where a guy off the street can sit down and have a drink with you. As for women, there are tonnes there working as part-time amateur hookers (as the opportunity presents itself) so it makes having a normal friend challenging if you're worried they might just be trying to get something from you.

bankonzhongguo's picture

"one heart attack away"  yes sir.

Having been chased out of every Caribbean and Latin nation for protect your assets the only place will be Cuba.  You can't even trust the Swiss anymore.  Raul and Fidel have to go and within 6 months it will be a gold rush for land.  Start making your Miami real estate connections for your new hurricane-proof gunner compound.  Lets hope the IMF doesn't fuck things up.


Saxxon's picture

KAH-CHING Motorhead.  Check out the CUBA fund.  There are certainly other ways to play that bastard's demise but CUBA comes to mind.  I am probably going to buy a few shares to set aside for the double (for starters) when Fidel bites his final cigar.

DosZap's picture

Cuba will turn into a US bitch, when the money gets right, and Fidel is dead.His Bro will make kissy ass w/the USSA,and sell out the people and especially the foreigners.

Off-Shore Banking has become a thing of the past.

When the Swiss caved, that was it.

honestann's picture

Let me see a show of hands.  How many of you in business in the USSA are NOT "at the mercy of government policy"?  Anyone?  Anyone?  No one.

goldsaver's picture

It goes much deeper than that. Cubans have been under absolute dependent rule for 50+ years. Think of Cuba as a slave plantation. If they let the slaves go free tomorrow, they would have no clue what to do with this freedom. Corruption and personal misery are now part of the culture. Its going to take at least a generation to reverse the damage done to Cuba.

And you are wrong about the Florida Cuban population wanting the removal of the embargo. They are the most vocal proponents of the embargo. The opponents are mainly North Easterners and members of academia / socialist elite.

Although I do agree with you. At this point the embargo is useless. Of course, one of the consequences of lifting the embargo would be US banks extending "credit" to the Castro brothers for purchase of US goods (grain, oil, etc). And since the "loans" would be backed by the .gov, the taxpayer gets stuck with them after "Surprise!" the Castros fail to pay.

Azannoth's picture

The Cuban Embargo is unilateral by the USA any other country in the world can trade freely with Cuba

honestann's picture

Those who run farmers markets know precisely what to do with their freedom.  And it might catch on.

tom's picture

Cuba has great potential. How many times can you say that. I'm not convinced the US trade embargo is their main problem. They've got the entire rest of the world as an export market. Europe is a bigger market than the US anyway, is it so hard to ship across the Atlantic? Yet it's so poor most parents will gladly sell you their teenage daughters for whatever kink you're into. That's what draws most of the tourists fueling the bloody economy. The authorities make everything so bloody expensive for foreigners that becoming an expat there is almost impossible, unless you're really stinking rich and looking to become much less so, have business with the regime, are a diplomat, or perhaps a journalist for a major media outlet - although I'm not sure any of them bother to post correspondents in Cuba.

Sad Sufi's picture

Very nice website.  Slick, and no squalor indicated.  Makes me curious for a visit. 

Met a christian missionary who went down there and said:

"They were the happiest people I ever met.  Very poor, but happy.  How do you explain that?"

honestann's picture

Perhaps because they don't walk around all day every day with a 12-ton ball and chain of debt?

Cuba is not for me, but the "one up the Jones" kind of mentality certainly doesn't lead to happiness - it leads to psychosis and life-long debt slavery.

Cursive's picture

Cuba is not for me, but the "one up the Jones" kind of mentality certainly doesn't lead to happiness - it leads to psychosis and life-long debt slavery.


Lord Koos's picture

Maybe it's because they aren't constantly blaming their problems and their anger on everyone else.

alex_g's picture

i have a beach place in rural mexico, people are poor, happy as hell.  sun, easy living conditions, who the hell needs to make a ton of money.  surf all day, drink all night, got the life...

johan404's picture

Word. Food, water, shelter, warm weather, poon. What else do you need??

lynnybee's picture

O.M.G. ....... MountainMan ....... I went on that Cuban website....... it was like a gift.   thank you.    i've always dreamed of going to CUBA.   I've told my daughter that I only have two wishes before I die ..... 1.) to see CUBA  &  2.) to stand on the equator.    (I love tropical climates.)   If anyone has a pile of gold & silver & wants a companion to spend their remaining days on a tropical beach with just flip/flops, sunglasses & a beach hat......... call me !

Cursive's picture

It's the squalor I could do without...and I lived happily in NOLA back in the day....

Nine Pies's picture

The US embargo on Cuba will not be lifted until the Castro brothers die.  You cannot engage in trade with a dictator who was part of a conspiracy to kill your President (JFK).  William F. Buckley spelled it all out in "Marco Polo, If You Can."

Once the Castro brothers pass away, the embargo will be lifted.  It's that simple. 

MeTarzanUjane's picture

Wrong, once the rulers of Cuba accept the Jew Mafia as their supreme leaders then the embargo will be lifted. Allow AIPAC in to restructure and everything will be normalized.

Azannoth's picture

The Zionist Jewish Role In Causing World War II

The Jewish Role In History Re-evaluated

The Jewish Role in Destroying America


Azannoth's picture

So I see the Jewish Lobby finaly discovered ZH !!!

They come out in force to junk every1 speaking against TheZionists

gotta keep the Ponzi going No? Well eat shit modafukers you're gonna choke on it sooner or later

Mr Lennon Hendrix's picture

I'm convinced that Barack Obama is keeping this card as his ace in the hole, and he'll use it in 2012 if the Presidential race is tight. Lifting the embargo  would help him tremendously with the Latino vote and likely win over Florida.

If the man had thought of this, it would be his only political 'coup degraic' motiff.

I was thinking Iceland would be cool, but maybe I want to find the Cuban heat?  We will see how stable the police state is post peak oil production, because I bet the regime crumbles.  Either way...

velobabe's picture

jimi, O/T does one's tummy hurt, when it is trying to digust animal meat? well, more specifically, if the stomach is not use to it.

Blindweb's picture

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil

This is the real reason to move to Cuba.  Cuba is the world leader in post peak oil living.  They use 1/8th the energy percapita but have the same age expectancy as the U.S.

tip e. canoe's picture

an amazing movie that is.   thought it was very interesting that the castro boys recently released restrictions on farmers' markets, which are not only the most 'free' market there is in Cuba (or elsewhere for that matter), but also a shining example of 'communism' (as far as the means of production are concerned) in its purest form.

why bash ideologies when you can remix themónicos

Segestan's picture

Complain about the US and then settle in a communist shit hole... ya that's got long expats.

Rodent Freikorps's picture

It's a test. How did everyone score on the Frustrated Wannabe Elitist scale?

Make sure you all take your gold and guns to Cuba. I'm sure they'll let you keep them.

I moved to Texas. I'll stand here.