Monday, April 29, 2013

What is a Haven?

Whilst driving around New Orleans this evening on a mission to procure tomorrow's coffee, I turned on one of the ubiquitous "conservative" talk shows whose basic arguments sound like the rantings of a 15 year old boy who just read the U.S. constitution for the first time in its entirety.

Everyone is an expert.  I mean, the shows are by design so simplistic as be cautiously relegated to the "entertainment" block of daily time as they provide a negative cognitive load.  Neither useful information  nor useful "analysis" is proffered.

Anyway, during one of the intermissions an advertisement by a website, BuyBelize, outlined some of the positive aspects of moving assets from the U.S.  I have heard many excellent things about Belize (and Panama, and various other Caribbean type tax havens) with respect to its excellent institutional infrastructure.  Its business practices appear to be of good standard considering the geography.

But what of real security?  What of "hard" protection of assets outside of civil means (using the prevailing legal system to uphold contract law).  I don't understand why this is not deemed a critical issues when analyzing any off-shore asset parking destination.

Belize, for example, has a Defense Force of 1000 people (unknown # of combat troops).  Its Air force comprises of Four (4) aircraft, all of a transport designation.  Its Annual Budget is 32 Million.  It borders Mexico and Guatemala.  It is close to Nicaragua and Honduras.

Imagine if a great many people followed the clarion call to park Millions (perhaps Billions) of dollars into Belize.  Imagine the real estate and economic implications.  Now consider what has happened in Venezuela, Cuba (especially!), Mexico, Nicaragua, Honduras, etc., etc.  Because with the military capabilities as they stand***, it would take considerably less than the book value of projected assets to topple the regime.

All risk assessment starts with Power.  Everything that follows is academic.

(***The Belize Defense Force has a partnership with the Louisiana National Guard...which would considerably bolster the defense capabilities of Belize, but it is unknown how far these political commitments would advance.

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