At Harris Bricken, we keep close tabs on what is happening around the world, and we know that our friends and clients do, as well. We are happy to provide this podcast series: Global Law and Business, hosted by international attorneys Fred Rocafort and Jonathan Bench, where we look at the world by talking with business leaders, innovators, service providers, manufacturers, and government leaders around the world.

In Episode #79, we are joined by Marco Algorta, Public Relations Manager at Khiron Life Sciences and a cannabis activist in Uruguay. We discuss:

  • Why Marco is less bullish about Uruguay’s cannabis sector than he was a few years ago.
  • Uruguay’s strengths and weaknesses as a cannabis actor.
  • What Uruguay needs to do to get its canna mojo back.
  • Uruguay’s broader political and economic environment.
  • Colombia and other countries to watch in Latam when it comes to cannabis.
  • Marco’s experience setting up CannaPur and selling it to Khiron.
  • What makes canna startups thrive (or fail).
  • Regional differences in Marco’s native Brazil.
  • Uruguay’s outsized role in world football/soccer.
  • Listening, and watching recommendations from:

We’ll see you next week for another exciting and informative episode when we sit down with Gregory Schaffer, author of Emerging Powers and the World Trading System.

This podcast audio has been transcribed by an automatic transcriber.

Fred Rocafort  00:07

Global Law and global business go hand in hand, but never seem to keep pace with each other. The importance on the global stage of developing and developed nations waxes and wanes, while consumption and interconnectedness steadily increase all the while laws and regulations change incessantly requiring businesses to stay nimble. But how do we make sense of it all? Welcome to Global Law and Business hosted by Harris Bricken International Business attorneys. I’m Fred Rocafort.


Jonathan Bench  00:37

And I’m Jonathan Bench. Every week, we take a targeted look at legal and economic developments in locales around the world as we try to decipher global trends in law and business with the help of international experts. We cover continents, countries, regimes, governance, finance, legal developments, and whatever is trending on Twitter. We covered the important the seemingly unimportant, the relatively simple and the complex.


Fred Rocafort  01:02

We hope you enjoy today’s podcast. please connect with us on social media to comment and suggest future topics and guests.


Jonathan Bench  01:22

Today, we are joined by Marco Algorta The public affairs and business development director for Khiron, he is the first President of the Chamber of medicinal cannabis companies in Uruguay. Marco, welcome to Harris Bricken Global Law and Business.


Marco Algorta  01:35

Thank you very much for inviting me. I’m very pleased and honored to be here.


Jonathan Bench  01:40

Mark, you have a very interesting background and we love to hear from you personally, what you’ve been up to how did you get to this point? What did you do before you were involved in the cannabis world and anything else you’d like to share with us a bit about your personal life. I know we were talking earlier that we both have five children. So between the two of us we have 10 which means that the both of us probably didn’t get a lot of sleep last night. So please fill us in a little bit more on on on who you are and how you got here to this point.


Marco Algorta  02:10

I am Marco I’m I’m still I’m studying always literature, books and all that I was studying in Spain. And and in this moment, I didn’t have any kids. But when I start there in Madrid in Spain and studying my first born, my first child was born. So I need to start to reward and, and win some money. So I started to work in the cannabis business. So that’s why it’s such a such award Nicolelis business. And after that, I really start to understand all the movements. That was 10 years ago. And really, I was it was very fast. Now everything is very fast in cannabis. So I start to start to learn how to grow. After that I was making a club in Spain. After that I was in Uruguay making Roshe up after that and juniors, I after that, I was in a cannabis program, medical program working on. I have built my own company, I have sold my own company, I make the first chamber of cannabis company in Uruguay. That’s all happened in 10 years in the same time that my kids have born. So it was everything in the same time and we know it’s slipping.


Fred Rocafort  03:29

Marco, you said in an interview with Chicago Tribune, that Uruguay has the opportunity to become to cannabis what Switzerland is for chocolate or what France is to two wines. Why is this?


Marco Algorta  03:45

I say that in July 2017. But things evolve over time now. I would way ahead more than four years ago, a very good chance of becoming an important player in the cannabis industry, had it focused on rapidly rendering its internal market more flexible, and investing in r&d. But unfortunately, none of that really happened. I had been interviewed again in September 2021. I think there will I would say Uruguay still has the opportunity to include in its production matrix, some cannabis related products. But this will only happen if Uruguayan authorities get to know this industry, generate an internal market are more pragmatic as far as decision making, and do not rely on the dogmatic views of many of its health authorities. We need much more than good intentions in every way. And we’re still waiting that.


Fred Rocafort  04:43

Marco following up on on that answer. Obviously from what you’re describing there, there is a need for for positive government action in this regard. But looking at the fundamentals, looking at Uruguay’s experience with, with agriculture, looking perhaps at some of the climate and other factors that your Uruguay has, might there be some benefits that that that the country has or some advantages that it has over other countries that would really justify that efforts to develop the cannabis industry there?


Marco Algorta  05:23

Yes, that’s true. Why strains have a lot of strains compared to other countries in the region. Now we’re like we’re saying, and in this culture of the an agricultural producer, long time agriculture producer, we have a political stability and legal certainty. In the cannabis industry, we have a skilled human talent with real experience. Now, that’s important. And I think that that always still the country that offers more guarantees to investors than any others in the Latin American continent. So I think that we have a lot of good skills, but our weakness that that’s our our biggest problem, our weakness, or the high cost, or why is expensive country, even much more if you compare with the rest of the Latin American countries. And up to this day, we still have a bureaucratic state that take too long to make decisions. Oh, yeah. So dynamic industry like it’s cannabis, that is really a problem takes so much time to make the decisions or new regulations. If your wage really speeds, the required required regulatory change up, it may become an innovation hub for the region, provided, however, it does not pull all its cards on the commodity, but on the added value, and r&d, instead, no way has everything that needs to become the you know, the Silicon Valley, maybe it’s too much but the Silicon Valley of the South America, but even including the terms of cannabis, but we really need to push up and accelerate this process.


Jonathan Bench  07:10

So Marco, let’s talk for a minute about the rest of Latin America, including require, it looks like the cannabis market is expected to reach 300 million US dollars by 2024. Where do you see Uruguay in their space on its current trajectory? And what are some of the other countries in the region that are making good inroads? And and how’s Uruguay is going to be able to compete with them?


Marco Algorta  07:35

Uruguay will compete if with r&d and being like the most, the most guaranteed and the most sure country in the region? No, that’s I think that’s the I was saying that the last question, the strains, but really, we have another country that we’re really moving for. So it this $300 million, that you’re saying, I think they’re away can have a good part of it. I don’t want to talk about numbers. The release the picture right now is that your way is the biggest producer and exporter of cannabis in Latin America. Now this number of 300 million that you’re seeing now, we have 15 Millions, there’s about 15 minutes that automaker has export the word about cannabis 10 came from motorway. So we still be the most important part of the cannabis industry Latin American economic genius in the world. But I saw other countries moving very fast with much more political movement around them. So I’m really concerned about the way right now, because if we if you don’t change some political view here, you can lose this good position that we have right now to be the most the biggest exporter of cannabis in the in Latin America.


Jonathan Bench  09:03

And we did see a quite a bit of movement last year a news coming out of Mexico with their country wide legalization. But our colleague in Mexico and other people that we’ve talked to about it if said that Mexico is doing what Mexico does best, which is start something and not be able to complete it. Right, you have big plans but not be able to follow through. So what are your thoughts on on Mexico? Is Mexico the most prominent in Latin America? As far as the development goes? Are there other countries outside of Mexico and Uruguay that are that are making good inroads, and that maybe we’ll actually be able to move forward on those plans.


Marco Algorta  09:43

I would say that the country that really must keep an eye in the region is Colombia, Colombia after many years of uncertainty. I think that the local industry is now explicitly supported by the President. When one month ago the press of Colombia have talked about the cannabis industry speaks explicitly. It was very interesting his interview. In he he really who he understood what cannabis is, and its potential, the internal marketing, Colombia is growing. And the country is offering good conditions to those who want to export. So I think that Colombia really is the winner right now. There is no doubt that you need to pay attention to other players. And Brazil, I think there’s a very interesting player, Mexico too, as you say, and Argentina, I think that the disorder No, the these markers are gradually opening, and major, a major change shall take place in the next couple of years. So, but that’s true that Brazil and Mexico they are like, they always pull from they are saying that they will, they will open and they not really open. But if you think in the Latino American market of cannabis, not producer but market, Brazil is the biggest. It’s the biggest market in Latin America right now. And Argentina is promising to move to move very fast. After that other players, such as Peru, Ecuador, Paraguay, and Panama, are also developing all those there are still many doubts about them. Anyways, I think that you need to be prepared, because really, things are really changing real here in Latin America.


Fred Rocafort  11:37

Marco, you, you point to some of the failings if I may, on the part of the government in Uruguay in terms of assisting its cannabis industry. And it strikes me that those concerns are present in many of the jurisdictions that we look at, including many of the states here in the US as a matter of fact, I think I think it would, it’s rare to find practitioners and members of the industry anywhere that would say, Yeah, or government or government is really getting everything right. You know, of course, there are exceptions. And there might be differences in terms of the criticism, but it does seem to be a widespread issue almost to the point where one cannot help but think that well, maybe that’s just the more common situation, right, a situation where government will, more often than not get in, get in the way of the development of the of the industry. But perhaps we can talk about some of the specific things that governments can do to help. And of course, our focus today is on Uruguay, but I’m sure that there are some commonalities with especially some of the the other jurisdictions that have advanced far along the road of legalization. So we never know, right, there might be someone in our audience that that is in a position to to influence policymaking in their particular country in their particular state and might benefit from this. So looking at it from your perspective as a as an industry insider, what are what are some of the things that governments could do that would really really help the industry grow and develop?


Marco Algorta  13:30

The first of it is really open the CBD market or the hemp market. Here in Uruguay you have a lot of tons of CBD, or flowers of CBD that cannot be sell, because we don’t have the mechanism to sell the way to sell. So really understand that we can make, I don’t know waters, beers, supplement nutritional supplements of CBD and allow the producer to resist her all this product. That’s something that’s really must happen in order way very fast because we have a big problem that a lot of people start to grow to grow hemp, we have a lot of flour, stones or flowers, you know the way but not known. None can sell we cannot sell them. So that’s the first one the CBD market, the hemp market. After that, really understand what is medical cannabis, what we’re talking when we talk about medical cannabis now because sometimes when when when some doctors talk about cannabis, they’re talking always about pharmaceutical products. But you see the pragmatic view of the market of cannabis is that pharmaceutical products, you have people who take flowers were vaporizing flowers to the treatment. People who take products that they’re not pharmaceutical, they’re like extracts But not with pharmaceutical qualities. They don’t allow the human way to use THC like a medicinal product. Okay, the only product management product we can register is just with CBD and less than 1% of THC. So all the things you market CBD flexible, medicinal THC, the use of flowers, to medical treatments, and really understand all these these different ways to treat patients with cannabis. That’s very important because they they’re always seeing the candidates, like a new form of pharmaceutical product. But the thing is much more than that. And that’s always a problem where I put cannabis I put like a pharmaceutical drug because it by the OMS or the the health organization of the world, they say that is an narcotic so you need to treat like a pharmaceutical product. Okay, but it’s not, it’s not to treat like that, you know, really understand all the different ways like Germany is doing okay, like Israel is doing. I think that there’s a problem. They have a much open market flexible, really to treat patients and to give answers to those patients. Because right now where you have you have producers are producing, and patients that are not receiving treatment, and remedial, you have a very obstacle I enormous obstacle regulatory obstacle. They don’t allow broad producers reach patients, and that cannot happen.


Jonathan Bench  16:45

Marco, I think it’d be very helpful to understand a little more about workwise political environment. Can you tell us a little bit more about kind of things going on generally how the economy’s doing and what the greater discussion is surrounding cannabis as as a part of the economy. But I’m really curious about about the political dynamics right now in in order guy, I think most of us are not familiar with what’s going on, it’d be great to have your insights.


Marco Algorta  17:12

Uruguay is a very democratic country is the most democratic country knowledge in America in all the rankings, they are always the first one. Okay, it’s a very free country. With press, very free press count. Press, really you have all the your like we are like European democracy more than Latino American democracy in our index. We have been for 15 years of a very, let’s say, very progressive progresses. Government. But two years ago have changed to more labour or Conservative government right now. Okay. But instead, other people’s think that the Conservatives Liberal government will change things in cannabis. Not that happened. They really they really tried to accelerate this process about cannabis, the liberal one because they see a very big potential economic potential in a way with cannabis. But they don’t they don’t they they they cannot yet negotiate in the in with the authority, the regulatory authorities of health, how to move these cannabis, how to export these cannabis or we have a very solid economy based on agricultural products. Okay, more than 70% of our exploitations are our commodities and we are your we’re the number one to sell meat cow meats after that, oh the cellulose industry the bigger industry. So he saw into selling a lot tourists and after that we have technology and software and know the things so we have a very big potential and know how in the agriculture sector. But we did not transform these knowledge to support the cannabis genius. That’s what really must do. All this knowledge that you have to know how to work the land, how to grow plants, you must really put in the service of the cannabis industry, but is still have some problems with that. The old farmers is still not like too much the the this this kind of product, this kind of of cultivation. So what really needed ways to embrace this opportunity really understand cannabis, and with all this potential with all this is stability, the more democracy stability, political stability, all this agricultural potential, push and support the cannabis industry forward.


Jonathan Bench  20:10

So let’s talk more about your experience with CANNAPUR, which you sold to Khiron Life Sciences, where you’re now the Global Public Relations Manager, love to hear I do a lot of international transactions, a lot of cannabis transactions as well. I’d love to hear about your process for your work at canopy sure how that changed, when you decided to sell the company and what that experience was like? And ultimately why you did it. You know what it what did you hope to gain. And you’re certainly still involved post sale, which a lot of sellers are not always involved in that way. But in the startup space, when you get acquired often here require a wants you to stick around for a while to keep continuity with your customers with your products. And so certainly, we’d love to hear more about your experience there.


Marco Algorta  20:57

To sell the company now is like, the first time you watch your child crossing the street alone, is not easy to emotionally detach from one’s brand from one’s way of doing things of my own management is not easy. I always have an emotional tension in this moment, however, be part of something bigger. It allows you to, to see to know what other things, learn and nurture new views. You know, be bigger know, if I really were to go back in time, I think they were will do exactly the same step. Now, it was a very, like, traumatic experience for now, two years ago. I’m very happy with the decision that I made. And why I sold my company. That’s a good question. I sold my company because one moment I realized that to develop an idea in this industry, you need a huge financial backing. It’s very difficult to do that with not a lot of money and a lot of support financial support. And also, I really was lucky in that I was lucky to find a company with my same view, because everybody’s see Latin America like an opportunity as a producer. But I always see Latin America, and above all, as a market. And really Khiron and Khiron they have the same view that I have. And I think that I just found the you know, the ideal partner, which allowed me to take a bigger step. So I really I and I’m very happy. That’s true that some persons both sell, they don’t still work in the company. But I really asked to still work in the company because I I, of course everybody wants to make money. That’s true. But if you have five kids, that’s that’s always a problem. But I really want mixing happen. And Khiron have supported me on this view. It was a very difficult but a very good process, sell my company to grow.


Jonathan Bench  23:20

So tell us what you’re doing now as the public relations manager, I kind of have an idea I’ve never worked in public relations and certainly you have a global scope to the business. So I’d love to hear what you’re doing, you know in order gwy in Latin America more generally, and and globally. What do you do on a day to day basis?


Marco Algorta  23:39

My work is to see the opportunities the current have in two countries, three countries, Brazil, all the way in Argentina. Most focus on Brazil because I live in Uruguay, but I’m Brazilian I am born in Brazil. So I know very well all the Brazilian market and other Brazilian players. So I always talking with another players in Brazil, seeing opportunities in the market, talking with authorities, politicians, Singaporeans a new way to that’s my work my work is is in finding the way that because very difficult to sell cannabis. Everybody that is in this market know that it’s very easy, not easy, but it’s much more easy to produce than to sell more cannabis. So I’m always looking the way finding a way to sell cannabis in Brazil in order way in Argentina finding logistic ways we have made logistic process even find a way to sell more shipper to less cost. Well, what are doctors are really prescribing what they are prescribing which region in each country because I was always very like almost done. But if she Brazil resumes like a continent no we have a lot of countries inside Brazil so we have states like some Paulo Rio de Janeiro they have one kind of persons one kind of doctors. After that you have in the south, another kind of persons, another kind kind of immigrations and have came to this part of Brazil, after that, if you go to the north is something totally different. Doctors have some very different views about cannabis so understand all this, this difference, understand all this complex word is Brazil, in Argentina the same? It is my my work to see how how get that how the patient, Brazilian patients can reach Khiron products in the best way.


Fred Rocafort  25:50

Marco since you brought it up. And by the way, I didn’t I didn’t know you, you were from Brazil. That’s interesting. I did not have an idea that that was that was coming. So So that’s great that that opens up new topics to discuss, although of course, there’s there’s plenty to talk about in in your way itself. But this is sort of going away from our main topic a bit, but I found what you just said about the different approaches and different parts of Brazil. And and how, how that reflects the country’s diversity to be very interesting. And and I’d like to take the opportunity to explore that a little bit just to lead us into this topic. I’ve been lucky enough to visit Brazil twice for work, both of my trips took me first to to the very south of Brazil, you know, the state that is adjacent to, to your why. And then from there, after a couple of days, on both occasions, we flew to the northeast, sort of jumping over everything in the middle. And of course, I mean, this is going to sound like a cliche, right. But it really was like going to a different country. At one level, anyone who looks at the map can can understand that a country that is as big as Brazil will have these these regional differences. But I’d like to go a little bit deeper into that and maybe looking at it perhaps from a from a business perspective, right, which is something with which you have experience. What can people going into into Brazil expect in terms of, of the differences as they do business around the country? And you bring up another interesting point, which is that when you’re doing business in a place like Uruguay, right, because of the size, you can more or less treated as as a market. But when you’re looking at a place like Brazil, you’re really talking about about many different markets. Could you share some thoughts with us about this?


Marco Algorta  27:55

Yes, of course, I will, I will give an example. And the biggest fast food restaurant in San Paolo is McDonald and 400 kilometres in Rio de Janeiro is a brand that called Bob’s and nobody knows them, but they are the biggest one real, you have just 400 kilometers of distance between one or two. You have always in the you know in market in Brazil always have products they are the leader in in one state and they didn’t appear in the top 10 in other states. So appear in the top 10 in other states. So really you need to understand each state and more than that. You need to understand cities, because I will go through an example in some Paulo, some Paulo, the state of San Paolo have 44 million persons, okay. And the city of San Paulo have 17 million persons, but the rest have 28 million persons, the rest have some power of the state of some power. And the economy of the rest of the state is comparable with a European country like Spain, you have a very high quality of life. And nobody knows that. Nobody knows that you have a series like I will say your name maybe nobody no campiness they have for three minutes and 800 persons. Okay. With our quality of life like I know Italy. You have another series like zoom je I’m talking during the video talking about more than 2 million persons San Bernardino Sockeye turn. So you have like is is an ocean of opportunities, but is in very important if you want to get in Brazil to understand that you cannot get Brazil as one. You really must focus make focus, you know, focus Okay, yeah, we’re working and region north of the state of Rio de Janeiro because I have right the right players and I will get that after that anyone knew strategy if I want to go to the south of the state of Rio de Janeiro, because they are different person, and they need different players to get in. So really understand all this diversity is the only way to get in Brazil because what I haven’t seen and we cannot change the habits to that they have one strategy to Brazil, and they fail, of course, they fail. So if you if you really understand that, like you say, now it was in the front, you blew away who got injured to sue, which was the state, and you go to the Norwich you go to Bahia is, is a different country, but totally they just speak the same language and use the same money. But the rest is totally different. The aspect of the person’s, how they work, how much hours of work, or what kind of problems or health problems they have, what their relation with Canada is, what the education that doctors have received to prescribe cannabis are totally different. So if you don’t understand the diversity, you will be lost in Brazil. That’s true. So you have always Brazilian saying something that I think interesting. See, Brazil is not for amateurs. And I totally agree. Brazil is very difficult. It’s a huge opportunity. But it’s very difficult. So you need to be very professional, you understand all the details of this country and CDs to really have a strategy to get in this market.


Jonathan Bench  31:31

So let’s move to topic of health. Certainly cannabis is in the conversation. You’ve mentioned your involvement, we understand that you’ve been involved in promoting investigations about how cannabis is potentially useful in autism diseases. Can you tell us a little bit more about the investigations? Who put them on what were some of the results that that are coming up in those studies?


Marco Algorta  31:54

Yes, yes was preclinical research that has been going for two years now. The first thing you have found is that, and again, we’re talking about preclinical investigations. lt six patients who may control the use of cannabinoids, and who are closely monitored by doctors have experienced a significant improvement of their quality of life. Really, cannabinoids are really beneficial for people who suffer from autistic disorders. These affect that’s that was very good cooperation will result from the investigation. And the second, the second thing that we have signed is in this research it was that not always struck works the same way. No and not cannabis, not no cannabis oil is the same. The very important to understand that these are universe of possibilities to explore, we must associate certain treatments to specify dynetics Row under certain range, and above all, using particular extraction process to get the best of those efforts in medical terms. Now it’s like equation genetics plus cultivation methods plus extraction methods equal one precise reserved results in terms of how that we were really impressed about that in this this preclinical trial because it was like, they are very similar, cannabinoid rates about THC and CBD to genetics, very similar Academy rates, but with totally different results about all the terpene flavonoids compounds. So really, we need to understand all these all these complex word because really you haven’t written there are a universe of possibilities to explore. And there’s still a thing that’s the most important conclusion of the research is there. There’s, there are no shortcuts. No when rush that it was it, if you don’t focus on knowledge and research, everything is dead. Now. Companies may have strong trademarks and brides have their shares may be high for a certain time. But for companies to continue to do business, especially for those who want to lead the final cannabis boom than that it’s coming in the next few years. This company, they need to deeply invest in research to come up with as many accurate data as possible. Now, this will certainly be the winners of this career of this rush of cannabis. So no shortcuts. That’s a very, it was like a very good result. No, only with knowledge. We’re gonna have strong companies that will survive all the waves of cannabis boom.


Jonathan Bench  34:51

So I think as a good follow on to that, let’s talk about startup companies in general and we can talk about cannabis startups as well. But I find that entrepreneurs who have owned their own startups have been involved in startups. Often, the lessons are very similar writing in what makes a company successful, what makes companies fail. You mentioned the kind of, we call a myopic viewpoint of what the company is focused on, which is an external, at least I’ve found for a lot of public cannabis companies. They’re very focused on boosting their share price. Getting out good news after good news after good news, and not necessarily disclosing any, anything that is negative about the company, right, trying to limit that as much as possible, which makes sense. But at the same time, what are your thoughts on companies, startups, especially as they’re in the early stages, they’re, they’re probably pre revenue. How do they? What should they be doing? What are some lessons you’ve learned, that you think are the best ways for startup entrepreneurs to run their businesses, as opposed to some of the things you’ve seen that that are not good ideas?


Marco Algorta  36:02

Oh, in these years of experience, I have seen that a lot of startups, many startups, the majority has a huge flaw. They are in love with their business models, with investments they manage to raise, and if they believe, to know about this industry, now, what makes a startup possible it first of all, knowing the right timing for your project and your steps or your project. Now, this is a industry of timing, you must find the right time to each step. Business model maybe be dead today, but excellent in two years, and vice versa. It’s very dynamic dynamics, and understand the evolution from a historical perspective. For example, to start growing cannabis now, I think is not a good business. The word the word right right now is plenty of flowers of cannabis. But But yes, they are many good other good business at this time. You don’t have to fall in love with your plan. But you do have to understand the moment the timing, that’s I think that’s the most important part of the, of a startup success. And always your team is also key, you know, he needs to have a vision and a mission that really seeks more than just profitability or press release, like you’re saying, you know, because companies, they’re always making new press release, and, but really most, make the focus on your vision. And your mission now, obviously, must also be able to implement such as plan and make it viable. That’s true. But it has to have a no result that is limited by an Excel spreadsheet, no. And it’s capable of reinventing itself every day to resilience. That’s another president’s very important he’s got in his industry, and sigue is the main asset of a good team.


Fred Rocafort  38:00

So Marco, I cannot talk to someone from Uruguay or Brazil for that matter, without without bringing up football or as it’s known here in America, soccer. It’s a different conversation, depending on which country we focus on. But But let me focus on Uruguay. It’s just an amazing trajectory that the country has had historically, in this sport, it seems that you cannot watch a game the European football game without at least there being a one player from Uruguay on the field at any given time, maybe more and, and making incredible contributions to those teams. So I’m interested in hearing your perspective on this. Because when these themes come up, and how is it that a country is doing so well, consistently producing so many top level players? You know, what one common answer is? Well, it’s a sport that people love, and then you’ve got so many youngsters that played from an early age. But that is probably true of a lot of countries or I know that to be true for for for a lot of countries around the world. And the results are not not the same. So I know it’s a it’s it’s probably a something that’s difficult to quantify. But to the extent that it’s possible, what is it about Uruguay? You know, speaking of exports, right? I mean, we talk a lot about beef, we talk a lot now Knapp is but but there’s also this again, incredible trajectory of consistently producing top level players. If you look at football as a as an industry, and it is, it is the equivalent of populating the apples and Tesla’s and Microsoft’s of the world consistently with high level executives. So we’d love to hear your perspectives on that.


Marco Algorta  40:00

Yeah, I love soccer. So I can talk about that. Uruguay like I always compare away like, you know in thought, philosophy, philosophy, race, but the way that mean that for football, all the rules of the football, all the first championship so have been organized or have important all the way the first World Cup was in Uruguay. So why is really in the origin of this sport, and through that having better by England, England, England, but when England came to why to make the trains, they bring those sport and really who had developed the sport of soccer it was a new way Argentina and in the south of South America, so you it’s like an old old alteration here soccer is not just a sport all the kids all the kids are playing soccer every Monday every Sunday. Every Sunday you have like an enormous Shambles where only one championship of kids about five years or more with four or five years you start to play every Sunday with your team does your team have your neighborhood you have small size fields fields of soccer in every never enable every corner so really it’s like it’s much more than a traditional like a religion if you’re new to why play soccer is like you cannot you cannot not play soccer is impossible it’s very difficult to find a new when we don’t know nothing about football soccer or don’t know how to play soccer. So and it’s very interesting because if you see demography in Uruguay you have 3 million persons Uruguay with a rate of growth of the person’s very like an European country so we don’t have too much young persons born every day every every year Norway but we export more players in the world for for for compared with population more than any country in the world. So it really is a like I exportation product the soccer players you know the way is I know that is like a tradition no you cannot separate away from soccer. You cannot separate your weapons. Everybody knows what is going with the national team who is playing the national team. The teams the two big things European euro and national everybody know what’s happening with them. Every news related about soccer is in the first page of the newspaper. The last day when we’re Uruguay wins again oh even the economy change people start to spend more money in the streets so it’s like an international problem a national issue the soccer so is is very difficult to explain to our friend because of course there is a sport to go. Oh crazy but now it’s like it really in the heart of Uruguay and even when the national team I know that other countries feel the same but really is like is like part of our life you cannot think that they will we found thinking about soccer or talking about soccer when an hour when you go with friends and then take a beer 25% of your time 40% of the time you’re going to talk about soccer how who plays game who make I go who How Uruguayan soccers have played in Europe everybody knows everything about soccer so is is very difficult to to to explain but like is is a is now our is much more it’s like in our dreams we dreams with with soccer so is are in constant is soccer. So it’s very difficult to to really understand the company even if compared with Brazil and Argentina. I think that Uruguay is a much more soccer country than all those countries. Because even we don’t have another sport. That’s another problem. We don’t have expressive results in any another sport. So it’s the only sport that you can be like like Okay, let’s go for it away. But yes, this is very interesting. What’s happened with soccer in Uruguay.


Fred Rocafort  44:29

Yeah, thank you for highlighting something that’s critical to this conversation which is the size of the population right because obviously yeah Brazil obviously and Argentina Yeah, they also again you you will not watch a high level game in Europe without there being players from from both of those of those countries but their populations of course are much larger than Uruguay’s


Marco Algorta  44:53

That’s true yes, Argentina have 10 or 10 no 12 times more person than Uruguay. And Brazil has seven 70 times more portions than Uruguay. Brazil have 200 millions to one and 10 Millions and we have 3 million. So yes, it’s a huge difference.


Jonathan Bench  45:08

Marco, it’s been wonderful to have you with us on the podcast today. It’s hard to believe we’re already at time. We always love to end with recommendations from me from Fred from you. So anything that you’ve read or watched or, or listened to recently that you’d like to recommend for our audience?


Marco Algorta  45:25

Yes. First, I’m going to recommend something that I prepared the Spanish for a rather Latin American audience, but you can see in YouTube with with subtitles, that talk that I gave for the platform cam to sporty countersued it’s about the four pillars of economic venture. I watched it again recently. And I was really surprised by how update up to date and accurate stay with so I think that was like a very good explanation how to make a startup or how to make a project about in cannabis. And, and my other recommendation may be crazy, but I love books, I love good stories. And I’m going to tell you something. Sigmund Freud, perhaps the foremost mind of the 20th century, learning Spanish, just to be able to read it in the original language and not miss a thing. Trust me, everyone should read Don Quixote de la Mancha the servant is because is an amazing book. And everything there is to know is in everything to know is in there. So really, I know it’s not cannabis not It’s not soccer. But Don Quixote de la Mancha is like a classic book, really take your time to read it, because it’s his, his death, the change everything when you start and finish with, you’re going to see, okay, something will happen to you when you read this book.


Jonathan Bench  46:56

Those are great recommendations. Thank you. Fred, what do you have for us today?


Fred Rocafort  47:00

Well, Marco, I have to say you, as I listened to you, I felt a panel pang of guilt, but also urgency. I grew up in Puerto Rico and don’t get hurt. That was part of the curriculum. But I, I think we read a condensed version. And of course, being who I was in high school, I didn’t really do a great job of even reading, reading bad, carefully, mud that I’m proud of that. But of course, it’s such a fundamental work, not just for Spanish literature abroad, but obviously for, for World Literature, really. And that’s very interesting the tidbit about about Freud. For my recommendation today, I’m slightly wary of making this recommendation, because I’ve just begun reading this book. But I’ve enjoyed every line. So far, it’s really well written and I have a good feeling about where this is going to go. It’s a book that’s definitely been in the news. But at least for people like me and Jonathan, China followers. This is a book that’s been commented on quite a bit. And it’s a it’s called Red roulette, an insider’s story of wealth, power, and corruption by a man called Desmond chum, it really takes us into into the world of China’s, I don’t want to use the term elite, because precisely part of what the book does is highlight the difference between the wealthy in the financial sense, and the true sources of power in China, which, of course, is the Communist Party and the tensions that exist. So you have to take that that that term elite with a grain of salt, but it’s a gripping read, just really well done really smooth. I haven’t finished it simply because I haven’t had the time. It’s just very interesting. And frankly, I’m still in the early stages of the book, reading about the childhood and adolescence of the author, right? So haven’t even gone into the really meaty part of it. But so far, so good. I’m just going to go ahead and recommend that to anyone who has an interest in China. Read roulette. Jonathan, what do you have for us?


Jonathan Bench  49:21

Oh, since we’re doing true confessions about high school, Fred, I have to admit that I played soccer in high school, and it was in the in the fall. And I started AP English my senior year. And the first thing the teacher said was, we’re gonna read two novels in the next week or two at the most right, two pretty thick novels. And I looked around and I said, Yeah, and now I’ve got soccer. I’ve got more important things to do than read a couple of novels in the next two weeks. And so I dropped down to regular English after after being an AP English. So true confessions. I was not a big fan of reading things I didn’t want to read in high school. But that brings me to my next recommendation, which is I’ve recommended this author before I think I’ve I’ve read or listened to, with my kids, all of the, all of the books by Brandon mole, he’s, we’ve, we’ve gone through several series of his just a great storyteller. And so this series, I’m recommending his whole, this whole series by him called the Five Kingdoms. And there are five books in the series, they’re all done. And it is, you know, from from I’m not going to call this high literature, right. But if you want a complicated but believable story, and this is these are fantasy based books, so there’s a lot of magic involved, but in each of these five kingdoms, the magic works in a different way. And so it’s really fun. It’s all tied together very complex, but but believable, understandable and fun, and his writing is great. So if you’re, if you would like me or a parent looking for something to read or watch with your kids or even without your kids, this is something that I highly recommend. This is my kids who are you know, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 that age range, they’re the ones who really enjoy this and of course, I’m, I’m well above that age range, and I still enjoyed them quite a bit. So the Five Kingdoms he called a Quint ology trilogy. I don’t know what you call a five a pentology, right? I don’t know what the word is. But five books by Brandon Mull in the Five Kingdoms series. And with that marker, we want to thank you for being with us. It’s been a lot of fun and hope that we can catch up with you again. Thank you very much. Global law and business is a production of Harris Bricken. The team includes Madeline Williams and Michaela Moore. The music is composed by Steven Schmidt. If you like the show, subscribe on iTunes and leave us a review there. We’d like to hear what you think of the show and it helps new listeners find us. Tune in next week for another episode. We’ll see you then.

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