Uruguayan President José Mujica met with hundreds of potential Spanish investors in Madrid this week and gave an exceptionally frank sales pitch. I’m not sure if the honesty impressed the investors, but it certainly must have been different from the usual dog and pony show they hear.
Among the best tidbits, Mujica noted that:
1. Uruguayans aren’t known for being hard workers. We are pretty lazy; we don’t like to work. No one dies by working too hard in Uruguay, but we aren’t corrupt, we are a decent country (this reminds me of Oklahoma’s former license plate motto: Oklahoma ok.)
Geez, one of these statements would have been shocking enough but he just went on and on and on. We get the point Mujica–Uruguayans don’t like to work. I’m just not sure why that’s supposed to attract investment.
2. Mercosur is important, but it suffers from numerous difficulties because of the weaknesses of its members.
3. They’re working with Brazil on bringing down tariffs, although he admitted that negotiations were going “sector by sector, with sweat.” I don’t know the exact translation in English, but the literal translation is pretty clear.
4. Uruguay suffers from a lack of infrastructure but investors have legal guarantees and it is worth it to invest.
These are all rough translations by me; the original is much better if you read Spanish.