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John Cobin

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8.4 Earthquake in Central Chile (September 16, 2015)

Anyone who was not a true believer in Chilean construction quality before, sure must be now. On September 16, 2015, just before 8 p.m. (the sun had recently set), central Chile was struck by a powerful 8.4 Richter Scale earthquake, followed shortly thereafter by major aftershocks on that scale of 7.6, 7.2 and 6.7. The […]

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Offshore Banking Under Fire

One of the worst parts of holding an American passport, besides FATCA rules that impede financial privacy and freedom overseas in general, and the obligation to pay income taxes on worldwide income, is traveling among hostiles. I am not just talking about travel within Arab countries or places like Central America, Venezuela, Cuba, Russia and […]

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Size 13 Shoes in Chile

Not often, but every once in a while, a Chilean company gets a plug on my blog. I am not in the business of offering free advertising or promoting brands in general. However, when some benefit arises that truly affects the well-being of newcomers to Chile, I am happy to report it. For nearly 20 […]

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Chilean Spanish: Not So Aberrant

Language is a complex thing. For years, I have talked about how “bad” Chilean Spanish has become, degenerated over years of geographical isolation and popular ignorance. Much of the basis for my comments was rooted in the self-flagellation of Chileans themselves, which have on many occasions told me how poorly they speak by cutting out consonants […]

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Increased Real Estate Taxes in Chile

One of the worst outcomes of the landslide election in favor of the Chilean Left in 2014 was the reality of paying higher taxes. Now it is coming to fruition in some areas, although for most people coming in from abroad the effect will be minimal. Unfortunately, those few newcomers that will be engaged in […]

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Growing Blueberries in Chile

One of the most attractive features about Chile is agribusiness, and one of the leading up-and-coming export crops is blueberries. In fact, Chilean farmers have already been catching on to the opportunity. Chile produced 81% of all Southern Hemisphere blueberries in 2014, far ahead of Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Uruguay. However, this production (near […]

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Can You Trust a Chilean’s Information or Judgment?

The answer is, like many things in life, “It depends.” However, more often than not, the answer is “No,” especially if you are not dealing with a Chilean doctor from a top Santiago hospital, or similarly top-notch practitioners in law, accounting, universities, airlines (pilots for Lan Chile) and naval officers, etc. I tend to think that […]

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Caveat Emptor in Chile!

I know that the same thing happens everywhere: businesses, property owners and sales people slip up, cheat or botch deals that end up hurting buyers and consumers. But such is so often the case in Chile that I would be remiss not to bring up some examples so that newcomers can be better prepared. Here are a […]

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Private Medical Insurance for Folks over 65.

Until recently, it has been impossible for people over age 65 to get into one of Chile’s fabulous private medical insurance plans. However, one company (Banmédica) was fined by the government for this older-age discrimination and thus they are now evidently beginning to underwrite plans for people in their late 60s and perhaps in their […]

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Forestal (Poor Section of Viña del Mar)

With the exception of Vitacura (Santiago), every nice comuna in Chile has a nasty or poor section. Even Las Condes has a not-so-nice part of town near Colón and Padre Hurtado. Lo Barnechea (Santiago), with its posh La Dehesa district, also has some of the poorest places of Santiago along the Río Mapocho. However, Viña […]

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