Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Venezuela: Daring to Disrupt

When you think about it, there are very rational reasons
behind the truism that the squeaky wheel invariably gets the oil.  In fact, but for the acoustic disruption
triggered by said wheel, the bearings would silently grind down and bring the whole
movement to a standstill, without warning. The disruptive squeak serves as notice that something is amiss
and permits the possibility of corrective action by an attentive listener.



Today, in Caracas, Venezuela's squeaking is loud and clear
to me. As I meet with successful business person after successful business
person to discuss investment-based immigration, the growing concern over the
current political and economic climate becomes increasingly obvious. The
underlying vibe of "let's see what happens" which permeated last year's
EB 5 one-on-one meetings has gradually shifted toward a quiet murmur of deep
concern.  And while as an immigration
attorney this shift may well mean more business for me, I have known and loved
Venezuela for many years, so I share their concern.



The irony is that my professional friends here are all quite
busy and doing very well.  The island of
Margarita is booming with new construction; industry is busy, and the malls are
packed.  In fact, to the naked eye, the
Venezuelan economy appears more robust than that of the US.  But no matter the riches of this lush and
beautiful country, nor the diamonds and petroleum enriching its soil, the
disruptions which lead to the squeaking of the wheel serve to
undermine the perceived affluence of an economy, and the world's confidence in it.



Both the government and the private sector are populated by
strong and charismatic leaders with a deep abiding pride in the historical
entrepreneurship and democracy of Venezuela. 
Disruption -be it via social reforms intended to spread a nation's wealth or via the steady flow of new technologies, methods, and out-of-the-box ideas which fuel the growth of any market economy - is part and parcel of the cultural and economic evolution of every nation.

As a "serial disruptor" whose professional career has been defined by my unconventional approach toward investment-based immigration, I appreciate the fact that without such change, stagnation is inevitable.  For Venezuela, the challenge is to channel the disruptions in productive ways which can restore the confidence of its people, trading partners, and neighbors.  It is my sincere hope that as I begin my third decade of helping
Venezuelans invest in the United States, said investments will be driven by entrepreneurial zest over the abundant opportunities to be found in the topsy-turvy US
economy, and not by the ever-louder squeaking of the wheel which they fear just
MIGHT run them over.



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