A Safe Haven

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There are times when you just want a safe haven.

Escape to Panama

Many people, disappointed and frustrated by their government’s disorganized response to the corona virus pandemic, or fed up with political malfescence and polarization, longing for a society that was respectful, honest, and at least attemped some degree of equality, many of these people have been battered and brused and are looking for a safe haven.

If they can find such a safe haven are willing to pack up and move choosing to control their own destiny and seek a place where they can grow and thrive and experience some security.  For many that has been, and will continue to be even moreso, Panama.

Years ago, many people from Venezuela seeing the direction in which their country was heading, made Panama their “Plan B.”  They started moving their money to Panama, taking advantage of the fact that Panama has always used only the US dollar, providing a stability that few currencies offer.  They started buying up real estate and condos, many of which just sat empty until they were needed.  But when they were needed, they were there.  They even began moving entire companies and distribution centers to Panama taking advantage of the Panama Free Zone, the location of Panama at the “crossroads of the world,” Panama’s business environment, and its role as a digital hub.  As life in Venezula deteriorated, these wise folks were prepared and just had to pull the trigger on their “Plan B.”

Of course you’d have a “Plan B”!

There are many large corporations and even large international banks that own suites of offices in Panama City that are fully connected with the latest technology, but sit empty, just waiting for crises where a company or bank must have an alternate command center if they are to survive.

A friend of mine likes to point out that we are not trees: we can pick up and move.  Yes, there are some people who are stuck.  Maybe they really are stuck in a certain place, or maybe they just think they are stuck, in a rut so to speak.  But a rut is merely a grave with the ends knocked out.

When the next pandemic strikes, as experts tell us it will, where do you want to be to ride out the storm?

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Panama is a democracy, with a democratically elected president who can only serve a single 5-year  term and who, should they want another crack at to money/power pot, must sit out for ten years before running again.  Yes, we do have a problem with transparency and corruption just as most American countries do, except in Panama the corruption is a lot more obvious and visible.  Come election time, Panama getss very political and, remembering the dictatorship, generally throws out whatever party has been in power for a new party.  The turnover is a bit chaotic with all of the folks appointed by the outgoing party now unemployed, and the new party distributing its patronage.  But then, eventually everyone gets down to work for the good of the nation without any lingering great political divide.

Panama has a strong economy, anchored by the Panama Canal, registration of 18% of the world’s ships, the second largest free zone in the world, the largest airport hub in the Americas, and a robust banking and business center.  All of this bodes well for the post-Covid-19 recovery.  It is possible to live better for less in Panama.  Panama is still a small country with only around 4 million people which in  many ways has made it easier for the country to deal with the pandemic.  Because the US dollar is the only currency Panama has ever used, not only is it convenient, but the US dollar is still regarded as one of the most secure and stable currencies in the world.  Importantly since the overthrow of Manuel Noriega, Panama does not have a military so all that money from the Canal can be invested in infrastructure, people and programs, with, naturally, a few billion being stolen by politicians and lawyers.

Panama welcomes people from around the world, throwing out the welcome mat especially for those from these “Friendly Nations.”

AndorraArgentinaAustraliaAustriaBelgium
BrazilCanadaChileCosta RicaCroatia
CyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkEstoniaFinland
FranceGermanyGreat BritainGreeceHong Kong
HungaryIrelandIsraelJapanLatvia
LiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMaltaMexico
MonacoMontenegroNetherlandsNew ZealandNorway
ParaguayPolandPortugalKoreaSan Marino
SerbiaSingaporeSlovakiaSouth AfricaSpain
SwedenSwitzerlandTaiwanUruguayUSA

Panama wants to grow and it is fairly easy to get permanent residency and a work permit.  If you just want to work online, Panama is a major Internet hub.  And if you are lucky enough to come from a Spanish-speaking country you have the tremendous advantage of already knowing the language.  A growing nation has growing opportunity.

The country is very divorse.  Yes, you have the high-density, “Miami on steroids” big city of Panama City, but you also have tons of undeveloped and remote agricultural land where you can be almost totally self sustainable.

And although it doesn’t help in the midst of a pandemic when the air space is closed, Tocumen International Airport is the “Hub of The Americas” with nonstop flights to major citis in the US, Canada, Europe and Asia.

Ausilio Family

And, maybe most importantly, Panama is home to beautiful people, some … seven living Indigenous tribes specifically … who were here before Columbus arrived, and others who came through the centuries as conquerors, workers on the Panama Railroad and Canal, traders, and business people from all over the world making Panama today “the place where the world meets.”  The Panamanian people are warm, welcoming, and accepting.  Yes, there are a few crooks at the very top and very bottom of the society, but most of the real people, the “salt of the earth” folks, are fantastic.

And the country itself is warm and wonderful, outside of the hurricane belt and incredibly beautiful.

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