Chile Culture | Escape America Now
Escape America Now

Archives for Chile Culture

Chilean Ethnicity and Ancestry: A Somewhat Surprising Mixture

A lot of things are surprising about Chile, especially its natural beauty. Relatively few people seem to be aware of just how stunning the coastal and mountain/lake landscapes can be. The same is true about Chile’s ethnicity, ancestry and culture, which is decidedly European and certainly not Mexican or Central American (e.g., the tacos and burritos in Chile might disappoint you!). Indeed, along with the other two “southern cone” countries, Argentina and Uruguay, Chile is racially far “whiter” and culturally far more European than any other place in Latin America.

That aspect of Chile is due to the fact that between 15% and 29% of its people are direct descendants of Europeans. Note that while those percentages are far higher in Argentina, and even in Uruguay, they still have had quite a significant impact on Chile. And the diversity of Europeans that have come to Chile is somewhat surprising, too. Mostly, one hears about the British and Germans who came. But there were many other sizable, important immigrant groups from places like Switzerland, Austria, Palestine, Armenia, France, Italy, Hungary, Greece, Holland, Belgium and Croatia.

Chile’s New World story is not entirely different than America’s: people escaping oppression or looking for better economic opportunities. That fact is most certainly true of the vast majority of Latin American immigrants that have arrived since the 1990s, but it was also true from 1850-1950 for Eastern European Jews, Palestinian refugees, Armenian and Greek genocide refugees, German libertarians, anti-communist eastern Europeans fleeing the Soviets, Russian Molokans (non-Trinitarian Pentecostals) looking for religious liberty, persecuted Baptists seeking relief, and myriad poor central European farmers, miners or fishermen that fled their aristocratic homelands in search of peace and prosperity. Many thousands of them found a new home in Chile. The same is true for well-to-do European and Asian merchants and professional that settled in Chile, hoping to find fortune and opportunity in a new land full of natural resources.

The table below summarizes Chilean ethnicity and ancestry information. The sources of information were articles encountered on the internet, as well as Wikipedia. I found rather large differences in figures between sources, so I have reported the findings as ranges. Please do not take this article as either good history or good science. It is neither thing. The objective is to provide those interested in Chile with a general idea of the topic, based on presumably reliable and easily accessible sources. There are also cultural elements today which collaborate the figures: ethnic clubs, ethnic firemen in Valparaíso and Santiago, ethnic schools, tombstones in Valparaíso and Punta Arenas cemeteries written in various European languages, and a variety of European last names. The impact of Far Eastern immigration has been far less, but there are still notable traces, especially seen in Chinese “malls” and restaurants.

As I have said repeatedly, those who plan to come to Chile as a freer, saner alternative to Northern Hemispheric empires and vassal states would do well to learn something about Chile’s culture and history. That history has been changing in the 21st Century with hundreds of thousands of black immigrants from Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Colombia, as well as hundreds of thousands more from other parts of South America, especially Peru and Venezuela. In just two years, 2016-2017, 150,901 (net) Venezuelans and 144,589 (net) Haitians immigrated to Chile. Those migrations will change Chile’s national skin color a little more, making it less “white” and more diverse. Chile is changing, mostly for the best, and newcomers should be apprised of where Chile has been and where it is going. I hope that this article has helped facilitate that quest at least a little.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Historical Immigration to Chile: Overview of the 19th and 20th Centuries

Like the United States, Brazil and Argentina, and many other countries in the New World, Chile is a country deeply indebted to immigration. In the last few decades, the great majority of immigrants have come from Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Columbia, and, to a lesser extent, Ecuador, Brazil and Mexico. However, in the last five years especially, these countries have been nearly eclipsed by the combined influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing Maduro’s Venezuela, along with hundreds of thousands of poor people from Haiti and the Dominican Republic. They are all coming to Chile to try to find a better life (joining the ranks of poorer Peruvians, Bolivian and Colombians that have continued their influx). Chile’s 21st Century has been marked by massive inflows of immigrants. Not all of these folks stay, of course. Perhaps a third of them leave, after having worked in Chile for a year or two.

Source: Samuel Vial M., 1998, Historia y Geografía de Chile, page 115, 5th ed. Ediciones Universidad Católica.

Just as the reach of Chilean territory has changed over the past two centuries, mainly due to wars with the combined forces of Bolivia and Peru in the 19th Century, and treachery or squabbles with Argentina (in the image above notice how Chile reached to the Atlantic for the first seventy years of its existence), so has the mixture of its people. A lot has happened since Pedro de Valdivia arrived as a Spanish conquistador (from southwestern Spain), along with 150 men, and founded the cities of Santiago, La Serena, Valparaíso, Concepción and Valdivia during the 1540s.

There is a lot of questionable history, if not popular mythology, that states that many of Valdivia’s men were prisoners in Spain who were given a shot a freedom by fighting under the conquistador. Unlike imperial penal colonies like Australia that received 160,000 prisoners, there is little evidence to corroborate the apparently fictitious claim that Chile’s founders were criminals and, by extension, a genetic reason exists for why so many Chileans are liars, thieves, adulterers and cheaters. If the story were true, it seems that there would be significant historical evidence to be found. There is not.

What is clear is that these men from southern Spain (regions of Andalusia and Extremadura mainly) mixed with the native American (female, obviously) population with whom they constantly fought and attempted to subdue. While many more Spaniards would eventually make their way to Chile, especially from the Basque country, but also from Catalonia, Valencia, Galicia and elsewhere, the Spanish race was hardly left “pure” during the centuries of Chile’s imperial subjugation (1540-1810). From the time of Chile’s complete independence from Spain, it was comprised of a largely mestizo race. Sure, a few Portuguese, Italians, English, Croatians, French and other Europeans had also been added to the mix during the colonial period, but their influence was hardly significant.

However, after independence, the new Chilean government made a smart policy move. Like New York during the same period, several ports were made free ports, starting in 1820, attracting many Europeans (along with a few Chinese Coolies in the north) who sought their fortunes in saltpeter, iodine, gold, silver, wines, retailing and sheep ranching. Valparaíso became especially important, and large businesses grew up in that port to warehouse goods for transient foreign ships securely, making sea voyages more profitable and keeping goods safer on land rather than in a ship’s hull. Valparaíso blossomed and quickly became the most important port on the Pacific Ocean. It was a tax haven, with secure property rights and a wonderful climate.

In 1845, the government also instituted a program to recruit Europeans to settle areas of the south central part of the country. It mainly took off a decade later, placing settlers from Lebu-Angol-Victoria (north of Temuco) down to Puerto Montt and the island of Chiloé, what are today the lower 8th, 9th, 14th and 10th regions of Chile. This brought in several important waves of German immigration, but also poorer Czech, Austrian and Swiss settlers. Meanwhile, Valparaíso swelled with British, Irish, Italians, Swiss, Germans, French, Croatians, Americans and Spaniards, along with a smattering of other nationalities, from the mid-19th Century through the time that the Panama Canal opened and World War 1 commenced in 1914. Significant immigration did not stop until the 1930s, when the saltpeter crisis occurred.

Smaller towns like Punta Arenas swelled with Croats, British and some Portuguese looking for gold and eventually doing well with massive sheep ranches in the late 19th Century, while Iquique and Antofagasta (after Chile won those territories in the War of the Pacific, ending in 1883) became a saltpeter mining magnet for Croats, British and some Italians, Swiss and Chinese.

I am no historian, and the table below is simply a summary of what I read in sources that came from internet searching and Wikipedia. But I hope one can get an idea about the significant immigrant groups that made their way to Chile. This country is hardly Brazil, Uruguay or especially Argentina, whose European immigration numbers completely dwarf Chile’s. Still, European, and to a lesser extent Middle Eastern (Mediterranean, largely non-Muslim, mostly Orthodox or Jewish), immigration significantly impacted Chile’s ethnic and racial makeup. Please note, too, that I leave out many minute details in this sort of presentation. For instance, I do not mention the Danish engineers that came to Valparaíso and Antofagasta, or the first Baptists to settle in Chile, in the lower 8th and 9th regions from 1892 to 1896 (Contulmo, Victoria, Quillén station, etc.), having come from Germany. One other thing: when considering the figures in the table, note that Chile’s population was only 3.2 million in 1907.

If one plans to live in Chile, it pays to know at least something about the country’s history. I hope this article helps facilitate that objective.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Turning a Blind Eye to the Evils of One’s Homeland

In spite of recent positive election results in Chile, there are still many people who refuse to consider immigrating to this country on account of its national sins and defects, apparently ignoring the magnitude of problems where they presently live. For instance, in response to my previous blog entry (December 2017), a man posted on Facebook: “Regardless of who is in office Chile is still not a safe place to live. lying and stealing are rampant everywhere. Stealing from their neighbors and then bragging about it is part of their culture. Piñera or anyone else cannot change that.”

Nevertheless, this man’s perspective is riddled with questionable logic and seems to be turning a blind eye to the evils of his own land. There is no doubt about egregious extent of lying, stealing and cheating in Chile. I have written about such repugnant practices extensively. Yet, no place on earth is perfect. We must choose places that serve up the least amount of badness. And most people cannot afford Hong Kong, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Singapore, Andorra or San Marino, nor do they want to live out their days on a small island somewhere. So what place is better than Chile for most people?

The dismissive Facebook comment begs the question: are things really better anywhere else?

I mean, Chilean dishonesty may top the list of notable evils compared to all other countries, but that commentator apparently forgot that other countries have problems that are at least as bad if not far worse: abortion, political correctness, warfarism, welfare statism, quantitative easing (central bank intrusiveness), Draconian business regulation, high murder rates, violence and police brutality, drone killings, NSA surveillance, family court and DSS/CSD atrocities, confiscatory taxation (along with Gestapo tactics), EPA mandates, radical ecology policy, political correctness, and much more. Chile comes in remarkably low on all of those scores.

So, why is the gainsayer willing to put up with all those evils just to avoid having to deal with rampant lying, cheating and stealing? Pretty selective in his sin avoidance/intolerance, no? He seems to be making an implicit decision that Chile’s negative aspects are far worse than a whole host of other evils. It also seems like he is making up excuses for why he wants to stay in a far eviler place than Chile.

Denial is a prevalent trait among Northern Hemisphere dwellers. I recommend that my readers unshackle themselves from such denial. As Ayn Rand famously said, you can deny reality, but you cannot deny the consequences of reality. You doubtless see all the warning signs. Why take the chance?

A more insightful comment was posted elsewhere: “Given Chileans are as dishonest and backstabbing as you suggest, I don’t understand how the average North American or European could ever integrate and live comfortably. Violent crime is rampant in large American cities (trust me, Chileans would faint in parts of Detroit or Baltimore!), but watching our backs at every corner for slick, well-dressed scam artists is quite another matter. Any advice on how to cope? Do Chileans ever take genuine, good-natured interest in foreigners, or is it almost always a ploy?”

There is no easy way to cope in Chile other than to train yourself to not take people at their word or trust anyone you have known for under a year. So, while difficult, it can be done. Also, a reasonable minority (maybe 10%) of Chileans are nice, trustworthy people, at least in my experience. Remember, too, what your alternatives are staying in the U.S.A. Consider the previous points that should be useful in shaking up your thinking and clarifying what you need to do. Chile may be bad, but probably everywhere else you can think of is worse. And that is the stark reality we face in a fallen world.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Recent Trends in Chilean Immigration

Chile is a great country to live in; just ask its nearly 500,000 immigrants (3% of its population). That figure is likely to double by 2025 as even more immigrants pour into the new El Dorado on account of its economic prosperity. According to La Migración en Chile: Breve Reporte y Caracterización, or report on the characteristics of Chilean migration, since 2001, Chile has become the leading migrant destination in Latin America. This trend has also held true for First World immigrants this century, with significant increases in South Koreans, French, Germans, Dutch, Austrians, Czechs and Americans, with honorable mention going to British, Italian and Japanese immigrants.

Although the percentage of First World (OECD) immigrants from places like the U.S.A. and Spain sharply declined during the now outgoing Bachelet administration, it should reverse itself now that the leftist threat has subsided and President Piñera will be back in office, and Latin American and Caribbean immigration has not stopped soaring—and that trend continues. No country in Latin America has experienced a higher boom in immigration recently than Chile. Although the lion’s share of immigrants are workers in their 20s, 30s and 40s, they are not entirely uneducated. In fact, the Chilean government states that the average education level of an immigrant is higher than that of a Chilean citizen—a fact which bodes well for Chile’s economic future.

Furthermore, many immigrants will take any job. I personally have met Venezuelans fleeing the horrors of life under Maduro in once-prosperous Venezuela. Many of them are now working as maids, auto mechanics and electricians in Chile, having earned university degrees from their homeland in education, construction engineering, and industrial engineering, respectively. They are also earning wages that are perhaps 10% lower than Chileans earn.

Such is the cost of being a refugee and one reason I have always advocated getting a second passport (besides the Chilean one). One never knows when things can turn bad and it becomes necessary to leave. How much better is it to arrive in a new place as a citizen rather than a refugee?

According to Población Migrante en Chile, roughly translated as “immigration yearbook,” published by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peruvians still comprise the largest immigration group, making up 27.5%/21.2% of total initial visa applications approved/applied for in 2016. They are followed by Colombians (17.8%/17.7%). The Colombian case is interesting since I would say, along with many others, that Colombia may be the second most desirable place to go to in Latin America, neck-and-neck with Panama. Yet the “market” indicates that large numbers of Colombians would rather live in Chile, a figure which has continued to increase dramatically in recent years—even surpassing Bolivian immigrants—implying that Chile is a far more attractive place.

Bolivia comes next (17.1%/13.3%), which, along with Peru, has easy connectivity with the far north of Chile. Indeed, while the Santiago area attracts 61.6% of new, legal immigrants, the far north (Antofagasta, Calama, Iquique and Arica) attracts an impressive 23.3%, especially remarkable when compared to only 4.0% for Valparaíso/Viña del Mar (Chile’s second largest metropolitan area). They are followed by Haitians (5.8%/16.0%), Venezuelans (5.7%/14.7%), Argentines (4.8%/3.7%), many from the latter two countries being professionals, then Ecuador (3.1%/3.0%), Spain (2.6%/1.4%), the U.S.A. (2.5%/1.4%) and Brazil (1.7%/1.2%). Some of the Spaniards and Americans are freedom-seekers, but most are either retirees or working professionals coming down to work for a few years and then return to their home countries.

Note the figures (percentages) represent requests for initial, temporary visas. The country rankings are somewhat similar when considering applications for permanent residency, with Bolivians leapfrogging Colombians, and Haitians falling below everyone (2.0%, just ahead of Brazil), followed by strong rises in applications made by Argentines, Spaniards and Ecuadorans. The U.S.A. dropping out of the top ten at that stage (reflecting that most Americans in Chile come for short-term assignments with their firms then go back), being eclipsed by other nations, even the Chinese (2.3%) which are on the rise at this stage—along with people from the Dominican Republic. About 10% to 12% of new immigrants settle in wealthier sections like Las Condes or Providencia; most of the rest live in poorer or lower-middle-class sections of Santiago and cities in northern Chile, indicating that the great majority of immigrants are not wealthy, nor qualify as upper-middle class.

I remember how unusual it was to see a black person in Chile during the 1990s. Nearly everyone stared at Negro visitors on the Metro out of curiosity. In 2008, I mentioned in an Escape America Now blog entry that Chile has very few black people. That has totally changed since 2015—especially in the last year. Blacks from Haiti and Colombia are now seen everywhere. There is no institutionalized welfare state in Chile, so these people come to work, even though Colombian women often end up being prostitutes. They are seen doing menial cleanup jobs, heavy lifting and loading, house cleaning, and selling candy at intersections with longer-wait stoplights. The Haitians hardly speak Spanish.

From 2015 to 2016, the number of Colombians applying for visas increased by 40.7% (28,361), Haitians by a whopping 419.0% (35,277), and Venezuelans by a remarkable 323.7% (30,751). Working as much as we do with immigration services for our clients, we have every reason to believe that these large increases skyrocketed even further during 2017. At immigration offices in downtown Santiago, the line to enter (since 2017) now stretches around the block, largely full of immigrants from these three countries. Note that the figures cited do not include illegal or undocumented immigrants, whose number is surely significant, especially from Peru and Bolivia.

In the same way that Chile discriminates against 51% of the world’s countries by making it much harder for them to come to Chile, the ease of getting a visa once in country also varies according to Chile’s revealed preference for First World or professional immigrants. For instance, the average wait time for the initial temporary visa for Venezuelans is 63.2 days, with Americans slightly behind at 65.2 days, followed by Argentines (66.9), Spaniards (70.3), and Brazilians (74.2). However, the wait times are much longer for people from countries that send poorer people: Peruvians (152.7), Colombians (133.9), Ecuadorians (119.3), and Haitians (99.4).

Chile needs immigrants. Nowadays, Chilean women produce only 1.9 children on average, which is not enough to replace the country’s population. And immigrants, especially educated ones, tend to be a boon to the economy (Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2, 1996). Moreover, Chile’s demographic makeup is changing racially and politically. Skin color is not quite a white as it was a few years ago. And people from Venezuela and Argentina, and possibly Argentina and Brazil, are likely to support anti-left, anti-communist candidates, given the fact that they fled countries that have been beleaguered and damaged by them. That fact bodes well for libertarians and constitutional conservatives in Chile, since we may expect a rightward or freedom-minded political shift over the coming decade. (Remember that one may vote in Chile after achieving five years of permanent residency.)

Overall, therefore, we should welcome the recent demographic changes caused by immigration to Chile. Even the government, employers and even huge labor unions agree. Chile has passed the “market test,” as growing thousands pour into the territory seeking a better life. Is not that a good indicator for you? While you ponder the grave situation you face in the Northern Hemisphere, now is as good a time as any to consider setting down roots (or at least a “Plan B” residence with visa) in Chile. Visit Escape America Now to find out more about or residency and consultancy services. You will be welcomed and well-liked in this country situated at the end of the world.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Presidential Election 2017: Chile Turns Right

About seven million Chileans and permanent residents voted in today’s runoff election (December 17, 2017), about 700,000 more than a month ago in the November 2017 general election. Still, voter turnout was remarkably low (48.7%), probably meaning that the disgusted hard Left largely stayed home; contrary to those folks, early indications are that the Right went to the polls in force. The candidate from the Right, Sebastián Piñera, won handily 54.5% to 45.5%, keeping pace with the general rightward political shift in all of Latin America. The nine-point spread is significant given that Chile has often been considered to be a leftist nation. Exuberant celebrations shut down major arteries in Santiago, Viña del Mar and elsewhere.

Piñera beat Alejandro Guillier (despite the journalist’s strong gestures to communist party members and a promise to soak the rich) in the Santiago metro area and 12 of the 14 regions of the country (his two regional losses were in the deep south: Punta Arenas and Coyhaique; he also lost in leftist hotspots like Castro on Chiloé, Valdivia and San Antonio). Piñera simply killed it in Northeastern Santiago, Concón/Viña del Mar, Concepción/Talcahuano, Iquique, Puerto Varas, Santa Bárbara, Los Angeles and Temuco, and did well in the farm belt of the Central Valley (Rancagua, Curicó, Talca, Chillán, etc.).

He surprisingly won in traditionally hard-Left mining areas in the north and southcentral part of the country (La Serena/Coquimbo, Antofagasta, Calama, Copiapó, Coronel, Arauco). He lost as expected in leftist Valparaíso (44.5%-55.5%) but dominated in Concepción/Talcahuano (56.5%-43.5%, surprisingly) and the entire 8th region (58.5%-41.5%), Viña del Mar (57%-43%) and Concón (64%-36%), as well as the inland central 5th Region areas of Quilpué and Villa Alemana, Olmué, Limache, Quillota, La Calera, San Felipe and Los Andes. Even lackluster Osorno and Puerto Montt went for Piñera.

All of Northeastern Santiago was dominated by votes in his favor, with the three largest comunas handing Piñera 81% to 88% of the vote in a lopsided victory (no surprise other than the margin). He won the other four Northeastern Santiago comunas handily, too, and also downtown Santiago. His only surprising Santiago metro area losses were in Estación Central, Puente Alto and La Florida.

Two-thirds of the effectively-irrelevant worldwide votes cast in Chilean consulates (15,766) went for Guillier, most of them coming from families exiled under Pinochet. The Left’s hope that votes from Chileans living abroad would be a significant boon turned out to be unfounded.

Libertarians, Christian ones or otherwise, should be cautiously happy with the outcome for several reasons. First, although the Chilean Congress is sharply divided, there is a chance that the three exceptions for legal abortion might be overturned with the (now puny) Christian Democrats crossing over and voting with the Right. Second, there is also a possibility that taxes will be reduced, participation in politically-correct left-wing groups like the United Nations will be diminished, as well as radical environmentalist policies cooled, and that immigration will be encouraged. Third, there is now a greater chance that regions (including areas like Viña del Mar, Concón, Concepción and La Serena) will get more infrastructure funding. Fourth, there is now a chance to cut down Chile’s external debt—which has risen under recent leftist rule—and to take the heat off of private universities’ profits. Fifth, Chile should now take a slightly harder stand against criminals, especially thieves, with the police given a freer hand. Finally, there should be a huge uptick in the economy as the world returns to invest in Chile’s production of natural resources. Look for the next four years to feature an economic boom in Chile, as the country returns to being the clear “go-to” place of choice for freedom-loving North Americans and Europeans.

The Chilean Left is rather insipid, ignorant, calloused and even silly, and libertarians should be happy to not have to deal with them for the time being. We need to hope that presidential candidate José Antonio Kast, the closest man to a libertarian in the 2017 race, receives a prominent post in the Piñera cabinet, setting him up for another presidential run in 2021. Minister of Public Works would be a logical choice. Remember that Kast garnered 7.9% of the vote in the 8-way presidential race last month, running as an independent. Compare that to Ron Paul or Libertarian Party and Constitution Party candidates in the U.S.A. in national elections (that might get 1% to 3% in a 4-way or 5-way race) and one can immediately sense that there is a much stronger constitutionalist/libertarian tendency, percentage-wise, in Chile than in other parts of the world (even America).

We also need to take advantage of the new congressional election rules that allowed candidates with as little as 2.8% to win a seat in Congress last month, putting truly libertarian candidates forward in the larger places where Piñera won big (that have 7 or 8 seats up for grabs) and let them get dragged in on the coattails of the victorious right-wing (Chile Vamos) candidates in 2021. The congressional vote of a 7th place vote-getter counts just as much as that of the one who came in 1st place! Now is the time to select our candidates (six or eight of them if possible), running as libertarians or independents but coalitioned with the Right’s parties, and raise money for their campaigns.  We might actually have a shot at winning a few seats across the country in Northeastern Santiago, Concón/Viña del Mar, Concepción, Los Angeles, Temuco, Rancagua, and perhaps Talca. Remember that, in Chile, a congressman does not have to live in his district. Having a post-Pinochet era presidential candidate from the Right win twice has now set up a whole new political landscape for Chile that is thus generally favorable for libertarians. This 2017 victory was absolutely good for Chile.

However, let’s be careful not to get too excited. Piñera is a very rich centrist at best, even though he is supposedly representing the Right. The median voter theory indicates that national election winners need to be centrists and pragmatists in two-way run-off races, and Piñera fits that mold. Piñera is not going to promote liberty and free markets. He is not going to fully champion personal liberties. He favored corporate tax rate hike during his last term, the “morning after pill,” egregious gender-based labor laws, small handouts to the poor, and gay civil unions (instead of getting government out of the marriage business altogether). He is not going to legalize drugs, nor reduce taxes and regulation to nearly zero.

The only libertarian-leaning policies we can expect might be seen in more liberal immigration, less state-control of enterprises, the salvation of existing private medical insurance and private social security plans, slightly lower taxes and maybe slightly less-Draconian labor laws than his predecessor championed. In short, Piñera is not our man. His own past is hardly spotless, and many have doubts about his character and vainglorious motivations, as he carves out his spot in Chilean history. Some outright say that he is disingenuous or even evil and a former embezzler (from a bank Talca long ago).

Such is the nature of the state and its key leaders, at least for libertarians. Consequently, libertarians should be delighted to have gotten rid of the leftist threat and the expected improvements on account of Piñera’s victory, but should hardly get their hopes up for a significantly more libertarian Chile via his policies. Our most exciting horizon has to do with winning some congressional seats in 2021 and that should be our focus. Come on down and join the party!

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Speedy Online Service in Chile

I never thought I would see the day when email would show signs of becoming a dinosaur, but it seems like other social media and certain cell-phone-based applications are becoming the preferred media for general communications and business around the world. Most of the world uses WhatsApp now–at least outside of the USA (SnapChat, etc.) and China (WeChat). In Chile, businesses advertise their WhatApp numbers as preferred means of contact. Supposedly ultra-private Signal has been making great inroads, too, eating away at WhatsApp’s market share a little, further cementing this category of communication’s phenomenal rise.

For the first time in decades my regular monthly cell phone bill has dropped to USD$11. I am just not using the thing to make many voice calls any longer, and I do not use that much data away from Wi-Fi zones or at home. I barely speak 100 minutes per month on the cell phone outside my home. I do make other calls from my landline, since I mostly work from home now. I spend a few extra bucks a month for my internet provider (VTR) to give me a cell-phone-enabled landline, which is cheaper and more convenient than using cell phones at home. VTR won the 2017 OOKLA speedtest award for Chile, apparently dominating its six competitors with average speeds being at least twice as fast.

My cell service (Virgin Mobile) gives me unlimited WhatsApp use (non-voice) with my cheap “antiplan” and I find that the overwhelming majority of my daily communication for business, church, friends and other contacts is done via WhatsApp. Sure, I still use email, but it is no longer the most important communication medium for me.

The internet itself is the only consumable that has increased more than WhatsApp in my life. I now generate even more of my income from internet-based activity than ever before. Whether it is IT, crypto-currencies, day trading, blogging, editing/proofreading, or teaching English online, more people than ever are generating portable, tax-advantaged incomes over the internet. Who would have thought that such a world would have existed in the mid-1990s when I first left the Land of the Free?

Speaking of the internet, I thought it would be worthwhile mentioning how extremely pleased I have been with internet speeds in Chile, a country which has had fiber optics installed everywhere for over three decades. So long as the service is connected correctly, we can easily attain plans that feature 160mbps to 320mbps download, and 8mbps to 15mbps upload, in any of Chile’s major population centers. The monthly cost is usually somewhere between USD$55 and USD$65, which includes the aforementioned landline phone. Basically, all newcomers to either Santiago or Viña del Mar (which is probably 98% of them) can enjoy fantastic, reliable internet connectivity. Data services on cell phones, and the hot spots they can create are also decent and often very good.

Admittedly, I have not been in the United States (thank God) for going on ten years. So I may not really be able to “feel” the difference in connectivity speeds between here and there. But as far as I can remember, Internet service speeds and quality have been better in Chile than the Land of the Free since the end of the Twentieth Century. Newcomers and more recent clients that I have interviewed on the subject confirm that the same is still true. In fact many cannot believe that I get speedtest.com download numbers around 180mbps. I could pay another ten bucks a month and get over 320mbps, but why? I will just use the savings to pay my ever-declining cell phone bill. For what I use the internet for, I probably would never notice the difference between 180mbps and 320mbps anyway.

When it comes to Europe, especially Italy, which I seem to visit once or twice a year, I have had more recent comparative data for internet speeds. I also have experience from my occasional visits to Germany, Spain, Switzerland, France and other parts of Europe. Maybe it is just bad luck, but wherever I stay up there I am lucky to get between 2mbps and 10mbps (download or upload). Indeed, my internet connection in Chile is vastly superior. Now, I am sure that if I had been staying longer term in Milan or Munich I would find great access to the internet somewhere, but it is simply does not seem to be as widespread as it is in Chile. I hear from others that China and Japan also have generally better connectivity speeds than southern/central Europe or North America. Perhaps they do.

Nonetheless, I was looking at Speedtest’s global rankings of 131 countries for internet download speeds by either fixed or mobile services and was actually surprised that Chile is ranked as low as it is: 47th (fixed broadband) and 66th (mobile data). The United States is 9th/45th. Italy is 51st/35th. Germany is 24th/43rd. China is 22nd/24th. Hong Kong is 2nd/26th. Japan is 14th/55th. I guess my travel experience, that of the family in the USA and clients and newcomers I know, is not indicative of general reality elsewhere.

However, I think a more plausible explanation is that Chileans opt for lower broadband speeds for economic reasons. Although Chile is a lower-end OECD country (30th out of 35), not everyone here is willing to pay US$60 per month for internet service. For people in Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden and Norway, that cost is a minuscule part of average monthly income. I am sure the opposite is true in smaller cities in Italy, where many people “squeak by” on monthly incomes under 1,500 Euros, and perhaps the same holds for block apartment dwellers its larger cities there. Does the same dynamic likewise prevail in America and Canada, where so many North Americas live on less than US$2,000 per month? Maybe massive use by businesses and big city dwellers skew the statistics in those places? My guess is that per capita GDP is highly correlated with average sustained internet speeds. Unlike America or Italy, Chile only has one big city that generates business-related internet usage.

Accordingly, Chile’s internet speed rankings are plausibly lower on account of consumer choice rather than technological limitations or barriers in the country. Therefore, the upper classes, not to mention nearly all immigrants from “First Word” countries, will have no problem whatsoever attaining Hong Kong-level performance in Chile’s larger cities. As a result, newcomers who depend on the internet need not worry that they will have difficulty getting connected in Chile.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

 Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Note on the First World Status of Chile

Is Chile a First World country? During the Cold War Era, the term “First World” referred to the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Western Europe, which were industrialized and had a large and growing middle class. The “Second World” referred to communist countries, especially in Eastern Europe, but by extension also in Asia, and even Cuba, perhaps. The “Third World” was basically everywhere else, mostly poor and/or oppressive countries run by a few wealthy families in Africa, southern Asia, Latin America and most Pacific and Caribbean island nations.

Note that in the compounds where the rich live within the Third World, the environment may look like the First World for a few blocks or even several square kilometers. Such is the case in cities within countries like India, Brazil, South Africa, Bolivia, Peru, Panama, Malasia and Thailand. Nevertheless, the limited existence of a high standard of living for those fortunate 1% or 2% of the population does not elevate the country out of its Third World status.

Since the end of the Cold War, the world’s political landscape has changed, and such terminology has fallen out of favor. But I still like using it. Hence, in my writings, I have chosen to hijack the term Second World and redefine it as something in between First World and Third World. The concept was accordingly morphed to refer to those countries that have a lot of urban blight and old or ugly buildings and infrastructure, but also have a significant and growing middle class with some disposable income. As a result, in countries meeting those criteria, there is very little hunger, nearly everyone has shoes, as well as access to technology (e.g., cell phone), education and basic medical services.

An online search for the term First World reveals that the word technically means, “the highly developed industrialized nations often considered the westernized countries of the world.” Beyond this definition, however, Wikipedia actually has a pretty good, embellished meaning that better relates to the modern-day scenario: “the definition has instead largely shifted to any country with little political risk and a well functioning democracy, rule of law, capitalist economy, economic stability and high standard of living. Various ways in which modern First World countries are often determined include GDP, GNP, literacy rates and the Human Development Index.” Obviously, this definition precludes the inclusion of countries like Cuba, China, North Korea, Vietnam, Belarus, etc. However, it also allows for the inclusion of countries like Chile, Israel, South Korea, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, all of which have large and growing middle classes, and possibly even opens the door to soon let in places like New Caledonia, Mauritius, Bahamas, Namibia, Turkey, Mexico and South Africa.

Building on that paradigm, in my book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, I argue that Chile is (by many standards) a First World country, especially in its central part, which includes Santiago and Viña del Mar-Concón. That rationale does not mean that Chile offers the same standard of living as Japan, Hong Kong, Western Europe, Canada, Australia or the United States. However, Chile does share some common features with them, a fact that is reflected by Chile being the only Latin American country to have qualified for the USA’s “visa-waiver program” and that it is no longer eligible for World Bank or IMF aid (like its neighbors). Chile’s standard of living and quality of life continues to rise, too, along with its amenities and infrastructure quality. Indeed, Chile has great, private inter-urban highways and the strongest, most earthquake-resistant, buildings in the world. Both things are hearty pluses for the country.

The case for Chile’s “first-worldliness” is underscored by its inclusion among the ranks of the formidable 35 OECD countries of the world. The OECD website states,

Today, our 35 Member countries span the globe, from North and South America to Europe and Asia-Pacific. They include many of the world’s most advanced countries but also emerging countries like Mexico, Chile and Turkey.

Excluding small island countries and minor, rich, enclave countries in Europe (e.g., Monaco, San Marino, Andorra), the OECD list basically includes the wealthiest 20% of all countries in the world, in terms of economic, political, social and legal development. Not surprisingly, Chile is ranked 30th in terms of GDP, and enjoys the company of Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Portugal, Greece and Estonia just ahead of it, and Poland, Hungary, Turkey and Mexico just behind it. All of those countries, excepting perhaps the last two, are widely considered to be First World countries. Why then should Chile not be?

Chile is certainly not the Third World but, admittedly, most of it would certainly fall into the Second World category if it were carved up. Nevertheless, judging from my travels to OECD and other countries, Northeastern Santiago, Viña del Mar-Concón, Pucón, Zapallar and Puerto Varas would all qualify as First World areas of Chile, with parts of the Concepción and La Serena metro areas making a run for it. That means that the majority of Chileans live in or next to First World environs. By extension, I think it is not unreasonable to place Chile marginally into the First World category.

Stating this fact does not mean that Chile’s standard of living is like that found in countries with much higher GDPs, like the United States, France, Norway, Switzerland, Japan, etc. All First World countries are not equal. One need only to compare most of Italy, Greece and Portugal with the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and Austria to see that reality born out. The same is true with the United States, Australia and Canada, which have vast internal, socio-economic differences: bustling and beautiful major city centers surrounded by pockets of degraded neighborhoods or slums, and many shanties, mobile home parks or rural areas that can only honestly qualify as Second World sectors within First World boundaries.

Not all Americans, for instance, live in Manhattan, Michigan Avenue (Chicago), Boca Raton, Santa Barbara or Beverly Hills and make six- or seven-figure incomes. The great majority of Americans live in small towns, rust-belt, run-down inner-city slums (e.g., Watts, south Chicago, Detroit) and rural areas, mostly in the South or Southwest, where many earn less than a couple thousand dollars per month. American poverty is common and often abysmal in the aforementioned places. Over 20% of Americans receive welfare, not counting Social Security recipients.

The same thing happens in Italy, where large earners live in Turin, Milan and Rome, but myriad small towns and rural areas are chock full of families squeaking by on under 1,500 Euros per month. Such widespread income disparities or pockets of poverty do not disqualify America or Italy from being considered First World countries. The average or per capita measure is used to rank them. The same logic applies to Chile.

Chile is First World, but situated in a lower rung of the group. That fact is not in dispute. Accordingly, newcomers will have to make some adjustments. One newcomer recently remarked to me, “Bottom line–we will have to adjust to the lower standard of living or leave. That’s all there is to it.” Actually, he will learn over time that the upper middle class in Chile actually lives at a higher standard of living in Chile than in the USA or Europe. Here people from that class can afford household servants, private schools for their kids, better-quality vehicles, beach/lakeside second homes, country club memberships and specialized medical care that can only be afforded by the upper class up yonder.

Newcomers simply need to be patient and learn to break into this rung. They cannot see soon after arrival what the benefits will be, but they should ask themselves: “Why is it that the upper classes here do not try to live in North America or Western Europe, even when a great number of them hold American, Canadian and especially EU passports from Italy, Germany, Sweden or Spain, as well as their Chilean ones? It is at least in part because their standard of living and quality of life is higher in Chile than it would otherwise be up yonder. They have goods and services here that they could not dream of up there. That is why so many expats that come to Chile under contract with mining or agricultural firms try to stay on in country after their contract ends.

Anyone who claims that comunas like Las Condes, Vitacura and Reñaca-Concon are not First World has obviously not traveled much, even to non-glamorous parts of the USA or Europe. As an OECD country, Chile is classified among the world’s wealthiest nations, and noticeably more so every year. I see it more now compared to when I first arrived in 1996. If Chile continues to grow the same for the next two decades, it will surpass many other countries on the OECD list. Still, the USA is presently a richer country than Chile; no one is denying that fact. But how many wars, central bank disasters, EMPs, nukes, plagues, etc. is the USA away from facing more widespread poverty? Chile is mercifully free from those threats.

Indeed, Chile has already exceeded most other OECD countries in some things. It has far better internet connection infrastructure than any other country I have been to, including the USA, Spain, Germany, New Zealand and Italy. After ousting the communists in 1973, Chile installed fiber optics everywhere. Other countries are still catching up. Chile also has, hands down, the best and strongest buildings in the world. Indeed, building quality (excluding the finish work) is much better in Chile than in the USA, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Canada and Western Europe. Neither of those credentials are unimportant. In addition, Chile has some of the most modern mining and port facilities in the world. The only place in the Western Hemisphere with superior medical care to the top Santiago “clinics” are the top places in the USA and maybe the Einstein system in Sao Paulo. The same may be said of some spots in the UK and Germany, and perhaps France and Japan, too. That fact is huge. One never knows when he will need good medical care.

Cell phone service in Chile is as good as in Europe and better than in the USA. It is top-notch in Chile. The intercity highways are on par with the richest OECD countries, too. People rightly complain about the poor quality of city streets in Viña del Mar, and rightly so, but their condition does not make Chile less than First World. Bigger First World cities like Naples, Italy have roads that are at least as bad. Supermarkets and super centers or malls are at least as modern in Santiago and Viña del Mar as I have seen in the USA and Western Europe. Santiago has a modern, fast and convenient international airport. These are just a few important indicators. If I were to spend a few hours pondering, I could come up with other things. Chile also copies some of the best things found in other OECD countries, such as magnetic, inclined moving walkways that grab onto the shopping cart’s wheels, and a system of red/green lights over parking lot stalls in larger garages that let drivers know if there are open stalls available in any given row.

Some newcomers complain about air conditioning and heating systems. While air conditioning is largely unnecessary in almost any part of Chile, with the possible exception of west-facing apartments in Santiago, heating is needed in most places. Most modern buildings have central heating but some do not, since locals prefer to use cheaper floor heater units instead. Nonetheless, even in this preference, Chile is not different than many other OECD countries.I have lived in Chile the better part of 22 years and have never needed or wanted air conditioning in either northeastern Santiago or Viña del Mar. Ditto for ceiling fans. If either were needed, Chileans could easily import them.

The Santiago summer heat is possible to beat by just opening the windows in the morning and closing them in the afternoon. (The maids are used to coordinating this effort.) The only apartments that one will see with air conditioning units are directly west-facing ones, which always sell for less on account of this feature. Some apartments are designed without central heating since it is expensive and many people prefer to save the additional cost for central heating and simply bring their own US$250 Toyotomi (Japanese, kerosene) or other portable heater. However, that fact does not mean that apartments in Santiago are without heat. doing without heat is a choice people make. Indeed, I have central heat where I live in Viña del Mar. So, one can get it.

A newcomer once complained, “Outside of Northeast Santiago  there are shanty towns everywhere. Toilets don’t work right (don’t flush the paper). There is no toilet paper in public bathrooms, every house has to have its own dungeon-like security setup. There are homeless dogs everywhere. That’s my definition of Second World.” While some of these aspects admittedly discredit claims to Chile’s first-worldliness, they generally do not. Remember that relatively few OECD countries a perfect in every category of modernity, anti-theft measures, infrastructure, wealth and overall prosperity. Protective gates and fences, for instance, are also commonplace in First World Europe.

He also complained about oppressive relative costs for tolls, energy and other items, generated by taxes or monopolies in Chile. That idea is certainly true when it comes to gasoline and certain regulated monopolies, including notaries, real property recorders, along with electricity, water and natural gas providers. However, any observable relatively higher cost of certain goods and services, whether due to being taxed by government or corporate “tyranny” (even if such a thing did exist in a market economy), has nothing to do with whether a country is First World. Spend a little time in Western Europe, Japan, Singapore or Hong Kong and you will see very relative high prices for things and yet still those places are still very First World. Newcomers that state that high relative prices are part-and-parcel of the Second World are  non-economists using economics jargon in a nonsensical way.

Let me comment further on some of the claims of this newcomer. First, there are shanty towns in Chile, but they are no worse than those found in the rat/drug-infested Bronx, inner-city Detroit, Oil City, Pennsylvania, the miles of slums along the West Virginia/Kentucky border, “rust belt” slums, shanties in many parts along the Mississippi River or in many Arizona/New Mexico Indian villages. Ditto for many places in Europe, especially Portugal, Greece and Italy. Being “First World” does not mean the near absence of shanties, but it does imply far fewer of them over time. What Chile bears is nothing compared to what countries do in the Third World, like Bolivia and Brazil and, other than external appearance, generate not much worse living conditions than the non-seismic-safe, centuries-old edifices in poorer areas of Italy, Portugal and Greece.

Second, homeless dogs are definitely a point against Chilean first-worldliness, although Chileans think that euthanizing them in the other First World counties shows then to be in fact brutal regimes; ditto for abortion other than “in a few exceptional cases.” Third, people steal the toilet paper and that frequent situation is why one must “carry his own” unless he uses a pay restroom (better). Doing so is a total hassle but the absence of toilet paper has nothing to do with whether a country is First World. All public restrooms in pubic places in Europe are paid, too. Note that not being able to flush toilet paper due to inadequate sewer infrastructure (not the toilets themselves) does certainly indicate something less than First World, but it is the only thing on his list that is clearly so. Let’s hope the situation in Chile improves. Until then, we must grin and bear it.

I have done what I can to help my reader understand what to expect in terms of standard of living in Chile. What I said about costs and infrastructure is accurate. I pull no punches with regard to Chile and I have the relevant university degrees and extensive travel experience to back up what I am saying. When Chile needs to be slammed I do so, but I am not going to level untrue or unfounded claims at it based on incorrect definitions of things like “First World” or judgments about the features of the OECD group of countries. Chile has its problems but so does every country.

For newcomers reading this article, I suggest that you just be glad you are in a safe place in the Southern Hemisphere and learn to make the best of it instead of complaining a lot or throwing out sweeping, unsubstantiated claims. You did, after all, choose to come to Chile because you felt considerable uneasiness about living in the old country. As bad as Chile might be, it is probably still much better than a FEMA camp or a false-flag zone, no?

Prewar Germany, England and France were jewels, too. A lot of it soon became rubble, with all the associated carnage among their previously-thriving populations. Do you really think that the same thing cannot happen again in Western Europe or in North America? If you think that the risks of staying in the old country are too high, and have come to Chile to “escape,” then I suggest that you learn to be an optimist and adopt a positive outlook. No one likes to be making a go at something new and difficult, and to be frequently bombarded by whining and nagging people, reminiscing about how things were better in the old country. Chile is going to be what we make it.

I do not worry about being in my Chilean building if and when there is an 8+ Richter Scale earthquake. However, I would be very worried if I were in California or Italy by the prospect of such a large earthquake (and yet they are still First World places, too, no?). My food quality in Chile is better than in other First World places (and yet they are still First World, too, no?).

There are other things that I enjoy in Chile. I get to have an ocean view and can grow organic blueberries in my backyard. I have lots of avocados coming on the tree now, too. I have a gardener that tends to things. My view makes me smile every day. My internet almost always flies (over 170mpbs download and 8mbps upload). I have far more here than I ever had in the land of the free or Italy. I am content with what God has provided and hope to make more improvements. Can you say the same where you live?

Friendly last word to newcomers: Try not to focus on negative things. It does not help to do so. We know they are here in Chile. But there are a lot of positive things, too, right? Do you fear jack-booted thugs breaking down your door by accident one night and shooting you? How about a “terrorist” bombing/shooting/stabbing/vehicular homicide? Or a family court stealing all your assets and filching your children? Is there any concern that the feds might steal your retirement savings? Will the EPA or FCC use you like a guinea pig? Is there a chance that you will be fired for not being politically correct enough at work? How about chem-trails, GMO foods, possible radiation? While, I am not sure about the true extent of any of those threats, I am confident that I do not face them here. It seems to me that all of us in Chile have a lot more to be thankful for than many are willing to admit. I hope you will agree and put on a positive attitude moving forward in our adopted First World country.

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Memorandum to Newcomers

From: Dr. Cobin, Instigator

To: All Newcomers to Chile

Re: Fundamentals, Expectations and Rules of Conduct

Please take careful note of the following:

1. Chile is not the United States (i.e., “We are not in Kansas anymore.”), nor is it Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore or a Western European country–thank God. It is also not New Zealand or Hong Kong,

2. The way things are done in the aforementioned countries is not the only or “right” way to do things. Believe it or not, there is usually a good reason why things are done the way that they are done. You may not know those reasons now or for some time after arrival.

3. People do things differently in Chile than where you come from. That fact does not mean Chile is bad, but rather that Chileans have found different ways of coping with the challenges of their cultural context. “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Do not be an ugly American. It is not any fault of Chileans that you have to move.

4. You will pay more to live in Chile for the first 14-20 months than citizens and permanent residents do. This fact should not be surprising since tourists (newcomers) usually pay more than locals in any country of the world. Be prepared for the extra expense (i.e., “get a grip” and “deal with it”). It is part of your cost of emigrating from the “land of the free” or wherever. Over time, you will see that the overall cost of living here is probably lower than where you came from. Reducing costs might require you to change the way you have done things in the past.

5. You will not know everything you need to know about Chile on the day of your arrival, or even a year later. You will undoubtedly learn by the school of hard knocks. However, you can greatly minimize your butt-beating by not being lazy and taking my advice: read Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers before you land in the Santiago airport. Also, attend as many Escape America Now webinars as you can prior to coming. If you do not read every page of the 1,500+ page book prior to coming, and hence attempt a life-changing, international move in a state of near-total ignorance, you forever forfeit your right to complain. Onlookers might also consider you to be somewhat moronic.

6. Your negativity, worry and complaining have never really helped you before and they will not help you in Chile. No matter how bad things seem, they could be worse. Best to look on the bright side and make the best of it. There are a lot of “bright sides” in Chile. Dwell on them instead, along with all the ugly/nasty/unpleasant reasons that have impelled you to leave “the old country.”

7. Chile is a Spanish-speaking country. Do not expect more than 2% of Chileans, nearly all found in Northeastern Santiago and Viña del Mar-Concón, to speak English. At some point, you will have to begin conducting your life in a different language than your mother tongue.

8. Plan on learning Spanish (starting now). Doing so will be really hard, take you years to accomplish and you may have to spend up to US$1,000 per month, per person for classes or tutors for up to a year. “Get a grip” on this fact. Add the “budget item.” There are a few things you can do from the old country to learn the language prior to getting here. Follow my advice from a decade ago. It is still valid.

9. If you choose to bring a “reluctant wife” with you to Chile, she will not become less so after she is in-country. She will make you ten times more miserable as a newcomer than you would ever have been if you had come alone. Indeed, you will experience rancor, odiousness, grumpiness (maybe even mean-spirited tantrums), resentment and grief like never before. If you are smart, you will think about how to minimize this emotional cost long prior to arrival, and take the proper steps to alleviate the problem. Note: there is a chance that you will not succeed.

10. You will need to spend money in Chile and have an income from somewhere. Put your assets in offshore havens and bring ATM cards with you so you can access your cash from Chile. If you are not wealthy, you should immediately sign up to be a 51Talk teacher and get a few weeks or months under your belt, so that you will have an income upon arrival in Chile. Doing so is also great for older children that accompany you, reluctant wives needing something to do and efficient homemakers. Even if 51Talk teaching ends up only being a stop-gap measure for a couple years until you have a “real job,” it could be a lifesaver. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject. Alternatively, you can also bring any other internet-based business with you.

11. Chile may be “somewhere over the rainbow” but no one ever promised you a bed of roses. Grow up. Your life in large part is what you make it.

12. While you may not be responsible for your present circumstances or the need to emigrate, you are responsible to make as wise and thoughtful move as possible. Do not blame me, the instigator, if you do not comply with this directive and prepare as best you can for that life-changing transition. Also, remember that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Therefore, stop being lazy, fatuous and otherwise complacent when it comes to proper preparation!

cc. general file

moron file

get-a-grip committee

Kansas/rainbow crossing/deal-with-it project

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged 2015 book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewhat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

A Note on the 2017 Chilean Primary Elections

Chile does not usually hold presidential primary elections. For that reason, we typically arrive at election day in November with seven or eight (or more) candidates on the ballot and thus no one ends up getting at least 50.1% of the vote. Therefore, the top two vote-getters do a run-off election in December, called la segunda vuelta.

However, this year (2017) the “Right” is having a primary election for its three top contenders on Sunday, July 2nd. Besides former president Sebastián Piñera (independent, populist, center-right), the other two candidates from the Right are Senator Miguel José Ossandón (an independent, ignorant-but-popular, centrist, pragmatic populist) and Representative (diputado) left-leaning Felipe Kast (political evolution party). The most libertarian and pro-life candidate is Representative (diputado) José Antonio Kast (independent, ex-UDI). He did not get enough signatures to be on the primary ballot but will be on the November ballot.

The hard Left is participating in the primary, too, with key contenders being radio reporter Beatriz Sánchez (supported by the Humanist Party and also many left-leaning libertarians, including the Liberal Party) and sociologist Alberto Mayol (from the “wide front” coalition). The Right and hard-left primaries will narrow the candidate field a bit in November.

Since the “moderate” Left could not come to any agreement within their coalition to have a primary, their two prominent candidates: senators Carolina Goic (Christian Democrat) and Alejandro Guillier (Radical Party, also backed by the Socialist party) will both run in November. The centrist Christian Democrats are even talking about supporting the Right instead this year in the second round (if Goic does not make the cut) should favored centrist Sebastián Piñera win the Right’s primary. Morevoer, if things look bad for Goic in November, these voters might turn to Piñera in the first round instead, which might push him over the top and preclude the necessity of having a December run-off.

If you can read Spanish, see the write-up at this link where you can learn more about each of the candidates. Remember that both citizens and permanent residents (of at least five years) can vote in Chile. Permanent residents and citizens living abroad can also vote; they should contact their local Chilean consulates to find out how to do so.

At first glance, libertarians that vote should do so for José Antonio Kast. Like Ron Paul, he will likely not win. In the end, we will probably be stuck with Piñera again. He will face Guillier, Goic, José Antonio Kast and whatever other socialist, green-leaning or communist candidates that appear. If José Antonio Kast were not running, Piñera would clearly be better, in spite of his populist support for the “morning after pill” and silly labor laws used to “buy” votes.

Since the primary ballots allow voters to select either leftist or rightist candidates, some have suggested that the hard left will go to the polls in July to vote for Felipe Kast or Ossandón in order to derail Piñera and keep the Christian Democrats in the leftist fold. The center-left candidates would have a shot at beating Felipe Kast or Ossandón but would be unlikely to beat Piñera. So, the strategy makes sense.

At the moment, the Right is far ahead. Chile has endured four long years of detrimental leftist-rule and the populace is tired of it. Whichever rightist candidate wins will undoubtedly receive the support of the backers of the other rightist pretenders–just as with the Republican Party in the USA. Once again, if Goic supporters fall in with Piñera over Guillier, then it is even possible that the Right could win in the first round (la primera vuelta) of elections in November.

Achieving that would mark an historic victory for the Right and put it firmly in the political driver’s seat. For that reason, some libertarians I know will be voting for Piñera instead of Ossandón in July. They like José Antonio Kaast better, of course, but are choosing what they consider to be the best option in the primaries. Ossandón is considered to be like Ronald Reagan by some Chilean libertarians. They also see José Antonio Kast as just warming up now so that he can take the bid in 2021. Could be the case. I am no fan of Piñera. I am a libertarian. But I am a fan of Chile and I must confess that Chile will probably fare far better under Piñera than Guillier or Goic.

The bigger races to watch are, perhaps, the congressional seats in hotly contested parts of Chile, especially Viña del Mar, Concepción, Punta Arenas and some areas of south central Chile (Temuco to Puerto Montt). Iquique and Arica might also turn right if the politics are well-played and the rightest candidate is only opposed by a hard-left one.

As always, the northeastern part of Santiago will go to the Right. However, adjacent parts like La Reina, Santiago, Puente Also, Ñuñoa and Huecheraba will be, as always, in a tug-of-war between Left and Right. The same is true for Estación Central, Maipú and La Florida. The Right needs to do well in these districts if it wants to be able to shift Chile back on the right track. The Right typically forms a tight coalition in the houses of Congress, meaning that individual ideas are less important. The balance of power needs to be shifted back and recover the ground lost in 2013.

If the Right wins big like it did in last year’s mayoral races, Chile could become even more solidly libertarian and an even better place to do business. Keep a close eye on things. 2018 could be a very good year!

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2017 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, Fourth Edition, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $129.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights (somewat outdated) found in the larger book. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Chilean Census – 2017

In Chile, the national census is taken every five years. Wednesday, April 19, 2017 was census day, and people were forced to take a confined (paid) holiday in order for census workers to get around to them and conduct a ten-minute household interview. The idea was that other than emergency personnel and the census takers themselves, everyone should have been in his home. (That fact might explain why there was a large, Summer-style traffic jam coming into Reñaca the evening before.) At any rate, every resident, tourist, newborn (but excluding unborn children) that was located in the home as of 00:00 on April 17th was counted as living there. Even people that died later that day were included (even if the death was prior to the arrival of the census taker).

Source

All stores were closed, at least until 8 p.m. Bus and Metro lines only ran for a couple of hours in the morning and evening in order to bring census workers to their locales. Census workers started quizzing people at 9:00 (except for homeless people, which were counted earlier before they got a chance to get up and move away). In spite of the wide publicity about the coming census, many people were still surprised when the knock on the door came. Our census taker, a young man doing military service apparently, did not arrive until after 1 p.m., and we were only the second household of the eighteen he was required to do. He was obviously behind schedule.

President Bachelet herself went to Renca (a lower middle-class comuna in north central Santiago) and personally did the census for eighteen households. She saved taxpayers 15,000 pesos, or about US$23 (supervisors got US$15 more), that would have been paid to someone else. The young man that came to our home said that he received nothing for the effort, since it was apparently part of his public service requirement.

Census questionnaires were available in Mapudungun (local Indian/Mapuche language), English, Portuguese, Creole (reflecting the growing Haitian population), French and German. The census committee wanted to make sure to correctly count tourists, new arrivals and tribal elements within the overall population. Hotel guests and passengers on trains, planes and buses were given questionnaires to complete, too, albeit with different questions than households received.

Overall, for most people, Census Day was boring and largely unproductive. Some people with small shops still opened, like my vehicle mechanic, and people with Internet-based businesses could still work. But there was little economic activity resulting from people moving around or shopping.

Many people feared (and newspapers reported) that some of the twenty-one census questions had been turned in a politically correct direction, like allowing people to declare their gender, even if different than their sex at birth. I am not sure how much traction this particular rule got, but it was annoying to read about it. Nevertheless, the census worker did not ask us our gender, but rather decided for himself that I was a man and my wife was a woman. Hence, the transgender questions were probably put “out there” for public image purposes while in reality Chileans just ignored the provision. I inquired about the matter with the young man doing the census and he just shrugged and gave me a puzzled look. Apparently, he was not gender-confused. I bet the vast majority of Chileans are not.

The “head of household” had to be declared in each home, and could be anyone age fifteen or older, regardless of gender or income. Again, in the case of our census-taker, we were never asked who headed the home, as it was evident that I did. Once again, political correctness was trumped in Chile. The gender and head of household gestures were published as a concession to leftists that ended up meaning nothing in reality.

Contestants were, apparently, allowed to remain anonymous, by only giving nicknames to census personnel. We just gave him our names when asked, since we did not find the census to be intrusive. No question was asked about household religion, as people on WhatsApp had been discussing during the week before. The only questions asked of a personal nature were one’s age, how many children he has (living or dead), one’s employment status, if he had a job last week, one’s city of birth, where one was located during the last census (in 2012), where one’s mother lived when he was born, and how many years of education one had completed.

In sum, the census was simple and hardly as contentious as some people were making it out to be. Just in case you are here in 2022, you can expect to go through the same process.

The bigger contention came late in the evening on Census Day, and the next day, when it was revealed that many people living in large buildings and certain provinces did not get counted. Scores of people wrote comments under online news stories that people were neither interviewed nor counted in places in Santiago like Maipú, Ñuñoa, Conchalí, Estación Central, Quilicura, plus provincial cities and towns like Colina, La Serena, Puerto Varas, Peñaflor, Quilpué and Ercilla. In Maipú alone, 1,358 census workers did not show up to do their job. Elsewhere in Santiago, 390 census takers did not show up in Cerro Navia (and 1,500 homes were missed) and 350 failed to do so in Pedro Aguirre Cerda (leaving 7% of homes missed). The Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas reported similar problems with absenteeism (on a lesser scale) in San Ramón, Conchalí, Cerillos, San Miguel, San Joaquín, Macul, Ñuñoa, Las Condes, La Pintana, La Granja, La Florida (where 3,000 homes were missed), La Cisterna and Huechuraba.

Like most public policies, the 2017 Census was an example of government failure. Replacements (usually bureaucrats from the municipalities) were running around the next day, and even for a couple weeks afterwards, trying to collect the missing data. Just how accurate Chilean censuses end up being is a matter for considerable debate. Academics are also upset that more questions were not asked during the push. To go to such an effort and yet only collect a paltry amount of data seemed quite wasteful to them. It is good to have it over and done with.

Fuente: Emol.com – http://www.emol.com/noticias/Nacional/2017/04/20/854989/Censo-2017-En-Maipu-1358-voluntarios-inscritos-no-llegaron-a-sus-locales-para-el-proceso.html

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.info. Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country.

Dr. Cobin’s updated and enlarged 2016 book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $149.

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books. Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)

Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)

A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)

Page 1 of 6:1 2 3 4 »Last »