Free Market Paradise?
Ciudad del Este Travel Blog› entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
Ciudade del Este has drawn a different form of international attention as well.
A brief walk through the streets of this city and into the crowded, electronics
filled storefronts reveals not only Latin Americans, but Koreans and Arabics as
well attracted to Ciudade del Este because of the lack of income tax, liberal
immigration policies, and most importantly continual flow of “foreigners”
taking advantage of the tax-free, lower priced goods. It is these immigrants as
well as Paraguayans who have grown Ciudade del Este from a housing unit for
those working on the construction of the massive Itaipu Dam (1975-1982) into
the bustling market it is today.
only are the streets of Ciudade del Este filled with people from countries all
over the world, they are filled with goods from all over the world as well.
Cameras, laptops, mp3 players, televisions, tennis shoes, soccer jerseys,
hunting knives, fishing poles, books, DVD’s, makeup, perfume, this city has it
all, and all at an inflated price waiting to be argued down. Merchandise is
bought and sold in four different currencies: Paraguayan and Argentine pesos,
Brazilian reales, and U.S. dollars. While Spanish is the principal language in
A free trade paradise? Perhaps, but paradise comes with a heavy burden. The few police who are sprinkled throughout the crowded, chaotic streets offer little sense of security despite their massive rifles. Ciudade del Este carries with it a certain feel of chaos. Maybe it is the frenzy of merchants forcing upon you goods at every moment or the frenzy of buyers carrying tires, televisions, and everything imaginable across the bridge, or maybe it’s the trash in the streets and the congestion of cars, but it is difficult to imagine that people can call this city their home.