Patricio Vizuete-González is a content man, and for good reason. He is the owner of De Nuvio Casta, a successful development company, true. His contentment is not restful. His life is a gathering of resources, a constant harvesting of trades and knowledge. A pursuit of inspiration. His involvement with Hungary and, specifically, Budapest, goes back to the ending years of Communism. He arrived as a student at ELTE, the esteemed Eötvös Loránd University, continuing studies in engineering he began in Ecuador. “It was very competitive,” he said of his entry. “Very hard to get in.”
He enjoyed his life as a student, and noted stark contrasts between Ecuador and Hungary. “It was wonderful,” he said. “Everyone was reading, children, adults, everyone. I was also amazed at how they had every- thing for free, except freedom of movement.”
He completed his studies but wanted more. He went to London, where things became difficult. “I tried to study but could not raise the money,” he said. He returned to Hungary and finished a Juris Doctorate, just as Hungary was moving into a post-communist boom.
“I was working with the embassy, bringing products from one country to another,” he shared. Trade was flourishing. One project he was involved in was the shipping of fruit from South America. The Hungarian fruit economy was not good when he started.
“You had oranges and bananas were only available at Christmas,” he said. “A German port made things too expensive and supplies were limited.”
The solution was to gather bananas from South America and ship them trough Romania. Prices plummeted and supplies swelled, as did selection. Mandarins apples, peaches and other fruit have since followed. There was more to be done. Argentina, Columbia and his native Ecuador invested in farm equipment and factories from Eastern Europe. One need he saw and filled helped with food security for the Latin countries.
“Hungary has always had good preservation techniques for food,” he said. “We never had this in my country.” They do now, and food can sit on the shelves without going to waste. But soon, the trade game became less engaging than it had been. He still works in countries across Europe when there is an opportunity, but his development company keeps him close to Budapest. But even if it did not, other factors happily do. Vizuete-Gonzáles fell in love with Hungary and, as is so common, a Hungarian woman. Ildikó has born him two sons, Martin and Renato. A third is along the way, and he knows it is a boy, “I continue to build my football team.” he quipped.
He is not yet a citizen, and is content to be a resident. But he continues to contribute, he says, and gladly. “Perhaps my life would be easier in Ecuador,” he says. “Here, I have to work. Work, hard, work a lot. But there is so much here I love.” As if on cue his wife appears and the interview comes to a close with a parting thought. “If there is anything I wish I could give to the Hungarian people but have not been able to, it is my optimism,” he said with a sheepish grin. “Hungary has a very good future ahead.”
And that seems a fair trade, inspiration repaid in kind.
A special thanks from the Think team for inspiring us to launch an edition in Budapest! Photo: Attila Szvacsek, shot at Alexandra Books