The police were hopelessly outnumbered.
All they could do was take cover from the big rocks being thrown at them. Thousands of rioters had taken over the streets.
With the police powerless, looters ransacked the city. In the chaos, they stole food, smashed windows, and set fire to stores.
But this was not random violence. The angry mob was fed up with a government that had stolen everything from them.
The final straw was when the government shut down the banks. Once no one could withdraw money, it devalued the currency by 66%…instantly stealing more than half of peoples’ life savings.
The government declared martial law and the police killed 23 people.
At this point, it was too late for compromises. It was an “off with their heads”-type moment.
When the mob reached critical mass, it stormed the presidential palace. The president had to run for his life.
He escaped in a helicopter from the roof with only the clothes on his back.
Had he not escaped, the mob likely would have killed him Mussolini-style – shot him and then hung him upside down in public.
Can you imagine an angry mob storming the White House…forcing President Obama to run for his life?
It’s a scene you’d expect to see in an old war movie.
But this was in 2001…in a country that was once richer than Germany and France…in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, nicknamed the “Paris of the Southern Hemisphere.”
It happened in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina.
When most people hear “Argentina,” they think insane economic policies and an out-of-control government. After that, they probably think of the country’s world-famous beef.
Many people have never heard about the late-2001 crisis there. Probably because the 9/11 attacks overshadowed it.
But it was hardly the only time an economic crisis rocked Argentina. In the last century, the country has completely destroyed its currency four times.
In his excellent book Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb says experience with crisis has made the Argentines extremely resilient to economic downturns.
Studying Argentina is like getting an advanced degree in how to survive and profit from economic crises.
Argentina’s recurring crises didn’t hurt all Argentines. Those who diversified their money into hard productive assets, like real estate, profited. When the disaster ran its course and the Argentine economy turned back toward a freer market, those who owned productive hard assets made significant gains.
Today, Argentina’s problems are solvable with the right management. The country already has the ingredients for an economic boom.
Argentina has the fourth-largest shale gas deposits in the world. It has an abundance of agricultural land that produces some of the best beef in the world.
Thanks to its relatively large middle class, Argentina has the highest GDP per capita in the region. And because of its educated population, it’s socially healthier than many of its South American peers.
For nearly the last decade, a socialist government ran Argentina. A few months ago that finally changed. Argentinians elected pro-market Mauricio Macri as president.
Despite this major turning point, prices in Argentina are still very cheap. I don’t expect that to last long. I believe the country is turning a page to a brighter future. And that means now is the time to invest.
I was just in Argentina with Doug Casey, who spends a couple of months a year there. He probably knows more about Argentina than anyone I know.
Doug was in Argentina during the 2001 crisis. The disaster didn’t faze him or affect any of his assets in the country. Doug actually made a 700% return on his money in the aftermath.
We recently put together a video that shows how he did it. Click here to watch it now.