El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana

El Conquistqdor Francisco de Orellana
The Conquistador who put the Amazaon baisn "on the map"....Francisco Orellana

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Seizing Your Personal Freedom
Why Now is the Time to Relocate Some of Your US Dollars

Reporting from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil...

Joel Bowman

The third largest metropolitan area in South America is not entirely unlike what you'd expect. At least at first glance. São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, as it is officially know, is a heaving, sweating, bustling city of some 15 million souls, all working, hustling and scrambling to make ends meet under the watchful eye of Cristo Redemptor, the city's landmark statue, perched high atop the breathtaking Corcovado mountain. The sprawling urban mass below is magnificent, crowded, paradisiacal, overwhelming and dirty.

These are just our first impressions, of course. We only arrived in "Rio," as it is unofficially, more commonly known, on a flight from Montevideo a couple of hours ago. Our bags, however, did not. From what we can gather, they're staying over in São Paulo. Taking the scenic route, apparently.

While we wait for our clean shirts to join us, let's turn our thoughts back to yesterday...back to fresh, clean clothes and some great musings on the war against the US dollar (YOUR dollars, that is)...

"If you keep your money or savings in US dollars inside of the United States, you are a risk taker of epic proportions," cautioned guest columnist and self-styled dollar vigilante, Jeff Berwick, in yesterday's issue. To this editor's mind, Jeff is right on the money.

"Have you not been paying attention to what is going on?" he asked.

It's a fair enough question, Fellow Reckoner, and one worth repeating. Have you been paying attention to what's going on? Are you taking a good, hard look around you? Anyone who's been in and out of US customs recently ought to at least have an inkling of what's coming down the proverbial pipes.

"To begin with," observed Jeff, "the US Government now employs cash- sniffing dogs at most international airports. If you are carrying more than $10,000 in cash and don't declare it to the Government when coming in or out of the US, your cash will be seized. Thanks to these cash- sniffing canines, US customs officials seized $3.2 million at Boston's Logan Airport last year."

For those still a little foggy on the details, let's bring in good ol' dictionary.com for some clarity.

Seize (verb, seized, seiz·ing):

1. To take hold of suddenly or forcibly; grasp: to seize a weapon.
2. To grasp mentally; understand clearly and completely: to seize an idea.
3. To take possession of by force or at will: to seize enemy ships.
4. To take possession or control of as if by suddenly laying hold: Panic seized the crowd.
5. To take possession of by legal authority; confiscate: to seize smuggled goods.

Since we're dealing with the government here, we can confidently discount definition #2. Members of "the state" have had six thousand years to boss us
around and order our lives and they have yet to "seize" upon or comprehended in any demonstrable fashion the most obvious and powerful idea of all time: freedom. If they had, they would necessarily have to disband and seek gainful, meaningful employment in whatever productive sector of the economy for which they are qualified, namely, selling pencils from plastic cups on street corners and painting lines up and down privately owned highways.

That leaves us with four definitions of the word all requiring force of some kind, either illegally (as in, when individuals seize something from one and other) or legally (as in when the state does so). The reader will do well here to remember that the words "legal" and "moral" are no more synonymous than are the words "tax" and "liberty."

Continued Jeff, "Some government apologists might say, 'If you aren't doing anything wrong, why would you mind being x-rayed, sniffed, patted down, detained and questioned?'

"Besides the obvious absurdity of that question, the main reason this is of concern is because in every case in history when a government has inflated its currency into worthlessness they always institute capital controls. Just ask anyone from Argentina or Italy. And it won't take much to change the rules from having to 'declare' $10,000 to 'not being allowed' to take $10,000 out of the country."

Jeff goes on to raise some excellent - and timely - points, before concluding that, "The US has started another war. The war on money. Anyone with any amount of cash more than will buy them a couple NFL tickets and beers for the game is suspect. And if you are one of those deluded people who thinks the Federal Reserve is evil and is ripping you off and you buy gold or silver to protect yourself, you are a domestic terrorist. It's going to be a fun few years ahead in the US."

The message is loud and clear. If you haven't already thought about (or, better still, taken actions towards) getting some of your cash out of the United States, yesterday is still the best time to do so.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The real reason behind the US Abmassador´s expulsion.....

Politics and business often don’t mix well.  

Ecuador US politics have  boiled over a bit as explained in an April 5, 2011 BBC article entitled “Ecuador expels US ambassador over Wikileaks cable”
Excerpts from the article: Ecuador has asked Ambassador Hodges to leave as soon as possible. Ecuador has announced it is expelling the US ambassador in Quito.
The move follows the release on Monday by the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks of a US diplomatic cable alleging widespread corruption within the Ecuadorean police force.
He told reporters at a news conference the decision to expel the US ambassador had been taken after she failed to give a satisfactory explanation to accusations she had made in the diplomatic cable revealed by Wikileaks.
He said the move was not aimed at the United States in general but only against one official who had made serious allegations against Ecuador.
In the cable, the ambassador suggests Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa was aware of corruption allegations against senior policeman Gen Jaime Aquilino Hurtado Vaca when he made him commander of the country’s police force.
Mr Patino said the accusation against President Correa was “absolutely irresponsible and false”.
Gen Hurtado Vaca served as commander of the Ecuadorean police force for just over a year before his resignation in June 2009.
This may have something to do with the recent failure of the US Congress to renew the Andean Free Trade Act.

This has led Ecuador exporters to be using this:
US Harmonized tariff schedule.

Bringing a Car into Ecuador??????

How to Import a Car to Ecuador (and Not Pay Import Fees)

Unfortunately, we can’t drive from the US to South America, there is no road that connects Panama to Colombia.  And it’s no secret car prices in Ecuador are a little steep compared to those Stateside.

I remember, in 2004 in the US I bought a $350 car.  It sounded like a small aircraft, but ran, and lasted a few months until I left the States for good.

Finding a deal like that is not likely in Ecuador.

Some resort to importing their car from the States, but restrictions apply, know this:

Used cars are not permitted to enter Ecuador (with a few exceptions). New cars that cost over $80,000 are considered luxury items and will be taxes often for 100% of the estimated value. The same applied to boats and planes.

But Ecuador recently passed a new law to help encourage their citizens living in other countries to come home to Ecuador allowing them to bring back all their belongings or “household goods” without paying taxes within 6 months of their arrival in one bulk shipment.
So if you can prove that the car, boat, or plane is for pure personal transportation purposes only you can bring it in the same container as your “household goods” and not have to pay import taxes and fees (around 20%) on it.

Foreigners moving to Ecuador can also take advantage of this household goods exemption.  You will need some type of resident visa in Ecuador, upon acceptance of residency, you will have to leave the country and upon re-entry you will have up to 6 months to bring your stuff down without paying taxes (in one solo container).

When bringing a car in the container, the following restrictions apply…

The car can be exempt from all import tariffs and taxes if it is maximum 4 years old and has a current maximum appraised value of $20,000 and a maximum 3000 cc motor.  If the car is older than 4 yars old or is more powerful than 3000 cc you officially can’t import it, but I’d check with a customs agent or two in their offices around the airport in Quito to see if you can find a loop hole (restrictions subject to change).

The value is determined by the customs agents who will need your original receipt of purchase, and in the case of used cars, they apply a 20% depreciation per year.

One interesting thing to note is that Ecuador is favoring Hybrid cars, and if you import a hybrid car (it has to be new), you will only pay a 20% tax plus 5% import tariff (but the tariff varies slightly according to the cc).

To begin the process, you will need to present the car’s documents in the INEN (department of the Ecuador government) and get a certification before importing the car.

Gracias, saludos until next week!

Domenick Buonamici

Searching for Gold in Ecuador Part II


Searching for Gold in Ecuador Part I