Radar‘s guide to starting your own country

hether it be draconian drug laws, puritanical anti-pedophilia legislation, or the indignity of being required to wear a seat belt, it’s not easy for a free spirit to live within the borders of a “civilized” nation. If you had an army, striking out on your own would be as simple as staging a coup. But as an individual unwilling to sacrifice life or limb for the cause, you’ll have to get creative.

As we’ve seen in Iraq, nation building is not an easy proposition. But rest assured, with these helpful tips for creating your own country, you’ll be up and running in no time.


Imprisoned Columbian drug lord, Carlos Ledher, should have dreamed bigger


Are you committed to creating a country? Or do you really just want a getaway where you can preside over any number of small-scale illegal activities far from the long arm of Uncle Sam? The latter is a much easier proposition and worth considering. Most island nations will turn a blind eye to your kid-powered sweatshop or orangutan brothel, so long as you pay cash up front. For example, drug smuggler Carlos Lehder had complete autonomy over Norman’s Cay in the Bahamas, where he ran a multi-national narcotics operation that moved more than 300 kilos of cocaine per hour.


The problem with that tack is drug operations don’t last long. Lehder’s Norman’s Cay only made it through four years until the Bahamian government, under pressure from U.S. authorities, had the drug runner arrested and imprisoned. There is a lesson in Lehder’s story: if you have grand, long-term ambitions, a retreat that—in and of itself—is not its own country just won’t do.

Commit yourself to the island concept. They’re small, abundant, and easily defended, the places least likely to be invaded and most likely to have topless women.