Tuesday, April 04, 2017

White Elephants

Anyone who has spent any time living in and around this city must have speculated why there are so many essentially empty gated communities in the area. 

A visit to Google Earth can be instructive.

You might have already supposed that these would-be condominios are part of the wider phenomenon of over-exploitation of an actually limited economic opportunity that characterises so much of the 'entrepreneurial' exertions of La Antigua. 

We've seen it with cyber cafés, then spas and now taco joints. 

Or you could speculate that the relative returns from exploiting land for domestic real estate compared to say coffee cultivation are now so evident that speculators have been sucked into this marginal space somewhat feverishly. 

But the truth is that a significant number of these walled compounds have been tellingly situated beside roads which line the edges of the big estates. 

It's not that the big coffee fincas of DOC La Antigua are no longer able to make money from the bean. The sheer number of helicopters in the air around here at the weekends suggests otherwise. It's that advances in modern infrastructure over the past few decades have conspired to complicate their security issues. 

And so the finqueros either sell off the land on the edge of their estates or elect to 'develop' these outlying terrenos themselves. The idea being that weekending capitalinos or gullible gringos can be unwittingly co-opted into the role of wachimen

Even if nobody bites, they get a wall and a 24-hour guarida, which they have deemed sufficient deterrent to the incursive sort. 

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