Monday, May 17, 2010

Understanding Venezuela's Prospective EB5 Investors

As I sit at the gate waiting to board for Caracas, I'm remembering the rules I have learned from my most recent trips to Venezuela to visit clients and prospective clients.


  • Don't wear anything red unless you want to be perceived as a supporter of the government

  • Don't pay for anything with your credit card unless you want to spend $500 on dinner; let your local clients invite you and square up later

  • Don't take a taxi except from the safe hotel where you are staying

  • Carry an extra wallet and cheap cell phone in case you are mugged; they are the sacrificial lambs.

  • Stop expressing surprise every time you realize that despite all the politics, crime, and problems, you are actually visiting a petroleum-fueled economic hot zone where an awful lot of people are living pretty good lives.


So the good watch is at home and the $10 one is on my wrist, a client is picking me up at the airport when I land, and I'm staying at the same massive, effective, and overpriced hotel...again.  If it ain't broke, why fix it?

As I take my show on the road again, it is notable that Venezuelans are in so many different ways distinguishable from my other prospective EB5 Investor clients, who are eager to move to the U.S. ASAP.   Most Venezuelans, it appears to me, want the prospect of U.S. permanent residency as a sort of "Ace-up-the-sleeve, Plan-B" solution for a "someday" which may never come.  The truth is simple in Venezuela:  if you can afford to invest $500,000 in and EB5 visa to get you and your family U.S. residency, you are probably living extremely well...and reexamining your thoughts about the mighty Green Card.

I suppose that last thought applies to EB5 investors from anywhere except perhaps Europe, where the line between the privileged and the underprivileged is more blurred than it is in developing nations populated by distinct "haves" and "have nots".

In talking to wealthy prospects, I am often asked this question: 

"Jose, look at my life here...why on EARTH would I want to leave this to join the U.S. Rat Race"

I can't answer except to tell them that I'm going on year two of fighting for the Spanish passport to which I am entitled by virtue of my Barcelona-grandfather...even though I doubt I will ever live in Spain.

I guess it is just my own "Ace-up-the-sleeve, Plan-B" solution for a "someday"... which may never come.

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