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Trust Issues

Are you considering moving to a foreign country? Either fully by choice,  perhaps because you, too, are “falling off” the economy of your home country in the Global North? Looking for your new world?

Hear, hear! That’s pretty much how I got Here, Here!

But you have to make choices about whom to trust. Unless you’re willing to figure out things yourself, even if some things take a bit longer. Many people trust “expat facilitators”, or as I’ve seen it too-aptly named, “fixers”, to handle immigration issues. Immigration issues which you could perhaps manage yourself, do yourself, or at least know enough about what you need to get done, in order not to be scammed by those who may do it for you for a fee.

Uruguay jail, with "Carcel" (Jail) engraved on front of building, pickup truck parked in front. Small white stone building.

A Uruguayan jail. Image from El País Digital

Or you could trust somebody who regularly gets involved in and hangs out at “expat gatherings”, “expat sites”, with your banking. It’s all fun and games until your “fixer” is in jail in Montevideo on charges of embezzlement. Which according to the local grapevine, is the new location of someone of which we have some acquaintance. The alleged victim and the cause for said arrest may or may not be what is in this other Latin American expat’s blog article in the “Uruguay” section. Who had a “fixer’.

No, not mine. Because I’m not using a “fixer”. Yes, I’m such an un-trusting soul. Falling (or being pushed) “off the hemisphere” does that to a person.

Plus I’m the type of person who likes to understand how things work. I know that nobody else except my wife Lisa has signature authority on our Uruguayan bank account, and I know from a personal-professional pre-existing relationship, the person who “introduced me to the bank”. Which is something that is done here in Uruguay, as opposed to pulling credit bureau and ChexSystem consumer reports if you want to open an account in USA and USA-like countries. Seemed odd at first, but then I realized the logic behind it. A lot of expats don’t make local connections other than via “expat gatherings”, where there may be locals happy to do things like “Help you with your banking” or “Go with you to set up a telephone account”. The vast majority of people who do that, whether out of friendship, or for a fee, are honest and are providing a valid service. But there’s always somebody spitting in your yerba mate gourd and ruining it for everybody.

In the criminal justice system in Uruguay, the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty. So I’m not naming names. But I’m glad that I’m not one of their stories.

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