Four Years Down the Drain

Posted: March 27, 2012 in Life, Stupidity
Tags: , , , , ,

Uruguay has made it abundantly clear to us that we cannot become citizens as productive, independent people.

We met with a judge today at the Electoral Court, which deals with citizenship requests. We were accompanied by a representative from our lawyer’s firm. He arrived late, with no papers from our file, did not brief us on what was going to happen, left us hanging high and dry at the interview, and then offered no suggestions or solutions after the unmitigated disaster which unfolded. I’ll get into all that in detail.

The meeting with the judge started off pleasant enough. She was smiling and friendly. She asked us a few questions about our income and what we do, which we answered honestly. It was never about amounts, only where it comes from and how it works. I receive mine from royalties on art and books, and residual website subscription revenues. WifeBob recently sold her business so she is an official bum until she figures out her next gig.

The fact that my income is globalized and not Uruguay-centric bothered the judge and pretty much disqualified us right there. She was further bothered that I sell to the whole world at large, that I am the boss, and that I don’t answer to anyone as an employee. “You don’t have a studio here in Uruguay? You don’t work for anyone here?” she asked. No, you see, I don’t need to. We have this thing called the Internet. And I’ve been pulling residual income from it since 1994. That was 18 years ago. This is 2012.

“You don’t have a job here in Uruguay?”

“No.” A Uruguayan job would net me $100 per week, which is less than the $500 per month amount you require of your foreign residents. Why would I take a HUGE pay cut and then break the requirements? People like me do not work for other people. Other people work for people like me. Where do you think jobs come from? Of course I am not saying this to her, or I’d have Vince and Vinny throwing me out on the sidewalk. But damn it would feel good.

“Well, some people are not as fortunate as you.” SHE actually says this. I swallow my fury and think: Then maybe they should try harder! I did. And here we are. The internet lets you do this sort of thing. Don’t you want wealth and intelligence in your country?

“Do you have a bank account here?” she asks. Yes. “Well, that won’t help.” Then why did you ask?

I say: “We have records of deposits, withdrawals, bank wires which had to originate here and be initiated personally.”

“No, that won’t help.” (which we would later find is total BS, because other offices who conduct these interviews have this specifically on their checklist of things to prove “habitual residency”)

I say: “We own property, which we have not rented because we have been living in it. We recently built a house. We have every receipt of our bills which I have paid for years.”

“Yes, but you can get anyone to do that for you. You don’t have to be here for that. People like you have the luxury of being able to get people to do things for you.” Yeah. Isn’t that what you are looking for? People to employ your entire culture as underlings? Make up your fucking mind.

Which reminds me that I have years of legal paperwork, all taken care of via power-of-attorney, for the mired disaster that was my attempt to import a motorcycle. It’s been locked up in an Aduanas warehouse for 2 years now. But that doesn’t count, because I was employing an attorney to deal with it in my stead because I had better things to do. Adding to the economy, while adding to the economy. That’s bad here, apparently. That paperwork won’t count either.

“I have a truck, and insurance, receipts for gas…”

“No.” As if I would buy a truck at twice the world market price in order to pay someone to burn fuel with it at $7 per gallon… in addition to tolls…

“We have BPS receipts for payment on rural land.” Nope, not good enough.

Then we go to the information that will trump anything: “We have immigration records and passport stamps that place us here.”

And then the kick to the nuts: Not good enough. WHAT?!?!?!

“You need to prove that you have been living here.” What? We have been. We have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars here, renovated houses, built new houses, I built a boat in my garage last winter…

“You should have paid taxes on your boat, then you would have a record,” she says. I about blew my fucking lid but I kept it swallowed down enough to not become redfaced and scary.

“So there is nothing we can do?” we ask, completely depressed and dejected.

“Have you been to the hospital?” she asks. No. We are in good health. “No insurance?” No. I have only had to go to the doctor once for a general checkup, done a few labs myself (because I’m smart and keep tabs on things) and paid all out-of-pocket.

Well, that won’t work for you either then.

“Well then what *can* we do?” we asked her, out of ideas.

“Join a club. Then come back in 3 years.”

…pardon me but what the f’ing FF FFFFFF? All this complete distrust in 100% verifiable legitimate records, and joining a club will trump it all? We can join a club and then never show up. What good is that?????

In the end, what went down is that because we have the ability to freely come and go, and the wealth to hire underlings to do our bidding, we cannot possibly prove in any way, shape, or form, that we really live here. Had we been pobrecitos sucking the state’s tit for welfare money, or minimum wage drones, we’d be in like flint.

Join a club. Fuck you. No, really. FUCK YOU.

So we left. Lawyer-boy offers no help and no solutions, looks me straight in the eye, and says:

“I think it is hopeless.”

Then has the gall to tell me, “Email me about what happened today and I’ll see if I can figure any other ways.” What? Me email you? If I have to keep tabs on my own shit, and work for YOU, then YOU need to be paying ME, bitch. How about YOU go do YOUR job, and find a way to fix this disaster.

I told him some very frank things, about the firm and its mishandling of things in the past. When we first applied for residency, our file was trashed because of a typo in the forms which they should have caught but didn’t, which held our file back, which made it take 18 months instead of 6. Then we were held back at the end while Migraciones tried to extort us for extra fees and “backtaxes” which weren’t on the agenda nor list of requirements when we applied.

Then as soon as we received our legal residency, I inquired SPECIFICALLY about this sort of thing (see Exhibit A)

THEN, had they been keeping track of our file, they SHOULD have contacted us 18 months ago when we turned out to be eligible (3 years from application of permanent residency) instead of the 3 years from receipt of legal residency which is the “other official answer”. And THEN they should have revisited this little gem below, and gotten our shit rolling so that we would already be 18 months toward getting our passport for the second fucking time, which would have made the whole situation slightly less painful.

Let me offer a key piece of evidence from the past…

Exhibit A:

30 April, 2009 (when we received our legal residency status)

Lawyer wrote:
So, when the time comes, we´ll review your situation with you, to see what elements you need to add, to prove “habitual residence” which is what the Constitution requires to grant citizenship.

I wrote:
This sounds somewhat scary– 3 to 4 years from now is no time to find out that we should have been saving some asinine slips of paper, should have made sure to get something registered, stamped, etc. I want to know NOW what I need to be doing NOW, in order to be able to prove my habitual residence when the time comes to do it, not to collect things at the last minute only to find out that I should have done it years ago. If they can be “added” to “prove habitual residence” then let’s bloody add them and start a paper trail that the gnocchis can go after with their precious rubber stamps.

Our goal is to become passport-holding citizens.

===end of Exhibit A.

If that’s not irony, I don’t know what is. I never received a response. Surprise surprise.

I’m twisting the huge fucking knife in my back.

Now I am fantasizing about selling everything here (to the Argies!) in order to fund the construction of an unstoppable death machine which I will steamroll through the capital, blasting it into a smoldering wasteland of rubble and corpses.

The final word: what we are left with here is that we are now more confused after going to the interview with the judge than before we arrived. We don’t know what they want, and it seems that they do not know either. What we DO know is that they do not want wealthy, independent, productive people with the means to make things happen.

So many times I would have thrown in the towel and gone back to greener pastures if it were not for that light at the end of the tunnel which was the second passport. I have thrown away opportunity after opportunity whiling away the time in this communist backwater battling bureaucrats when I could have been building even more businesses and employing even more people, adding even more value to the world and innovating and creating even more new technologies.

We have wasted 4 years of our life chasing a lie.

  1. El Nose says:

    You’ve hardy wasted four years, unless the only reason you’ve endured this third world shithole (I’m being sarcastic) was to get a passport.

    I have looked with wonder as people you would consider midwest rubes, with no Spanish, move here and make unbelievable contacts by virtue of the fact that he’s a gun nut and avid hunter. I ain’t.

    I have often thought about how to integrate ourselves into the community, The most obvious, volunteering, is almost obviated by the fact that every joblet is filled on the government dole. Maybe rescuing seals or something isn’t.

    Join a club. Fuck yeah! Should have asked the judge what’s the current iteration of the Tupamaros?

  2. NewBob says:

    Sadly, I expect if you did join a club and come back in three years, you’d be told of some other reason why you don’t qualify.

  3. PuntaBob says:

    So sorry ExpatBob. You’ve already put in so much time I would try and stick it out. Can you share with us what you think would have been a form of acceptable evidence to the Judge? Other than a job with Antel for $12,000 a year. I still don’t understand why your passport stamps didn’t prove with certainty that you’ve been in Uruguay for the necessary time. Thanks for sharing….

    • Expat Bob says:

      1. Get a “job”
      2. Join a club or “philanthropic organization” (you must say that in a patronizing fashion)

      • PuntaBob says:

        So basically you should form a SA, and “employ” yourself? What a waste of money, fees, taxes, etc….

        Can you apply again anytime soon or must you wait another 3 years? What did your superstar lawyer say?

      • Expat Bob says:

        Our superstar lawyer says nothing. He said “I think it is hopeless” on the way out of the office. What kind of lawyer says that?

  4. PuntaBob says:

    I’m really sorry! It must feel horrible to have wasted so much time and energy. I am a few years behind you so obviously I’m watching in horror and fear. Before you pack it up I would switch lawyers to get another opinion. You never know….maybe you can wait a few months and apply again. It sounds like this is a completely arbitrary process and the ruling of one judge probably means nothing to the next. Also, its not too late to become an “employee” of your own company. Then during your next conversation with the judge you can pretend to be a poor exploited worker. Maybe even file a claim against your “employer” with BPS to show how Uruguayan you are! Please keep us updated!

    • Expat Bob says:

      The sad part is that I can pick up a napkin, write anything on it, and with my signature it becomes an official business document. I can supply them with whatever they need, but they won’t accept it.
      I can write some sort of employment letter to myself stating my presence here, but they won’t take that either. It has to be a Uruguayan company, or I have to show income receipts from Uruguayan customers.

  5. TraderBob says:

    Why take the slow route? Since you have the money and a second citizenship is important to you, why not go straight to St. Kitts and Nevis, or Dominica?

  6. ForgotWhatKindofBobIAm says:

    Really sorry to learn of this. There some who have received citizenship. Maybe talk to them to learn their experience and see who they used to help them?

  7. Wilson McWilliams says:


    You must bring the judge the broomstick of the Witch of the West, and she’ll grant your request.

    Now, go!

    Seriously, I’m sorry this happened to you. Sounds like a fairly dysfunctional society.

  8. No One says:

    I never made it as far as a hearing. The government just would not renew the cedula because of this undefined habitual residency requirement that was arbitrarily and retroactively applied. I would have brought tens of millions of dollars of new investments with me. I had outstanding property offers when I was rejected. But, the government has become very socialistic and resentful of people with money. Look at their President — he doesn’t care about money at all. I actually wrote to him about my situation, and my correspondence got booted around and ultimately back to the same person who denied me in the first place. Look, what this judge effectively said to you was: I don’t want you here. That’s it, plain and simple. You played by the rules, you would have been a valuable addition to society, but the government personnel said to you in so many words: We don’t want you here. Hopefully, enough people will read these types of posts and avoid Uruguay until the government makes some changes. A lot of countries are actually making it easier for people with money to immigrate. Anyway, Uruguay is a disaster waiting to happen. The property market has become a bubble, and the economy is still very dependent upon Argentina and Brazil. The banking and tax rules are becoming less and less inviting, particularly for neighboring countries. At some point, the people will see that their socialist and anti-immigration policies will not bring prosperity.

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