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A Couple of New Scams by “Friendly” Chileans

Chile is well-known for its scams.

It is society built on lying, cheating, stealing, dishonesty and deception. I do not know how I can put it more plainly. Yet, those of us raised in other cultures, even after living here many years, can still be blindsided by criminals and scammers. Thus, one can imagine how bad the situation can be for newcomers. That weakness is something profound that you should not take lightly, starting from the moment that you step off the aircraft at the Santiago airport. If you do not, beware the biblical adage: “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Corinthians 10:12), because you likely will fall!

Recently, a new client of mine arrived in Chile. It was the first international trip he had taken in his life, fueled by fears of being “Trumped.” He got scammed by a taxi service, ignoring careful instructions from me, or at least not taking them seriously.

Normally, we pick up all clients personally from the airport with VIP service. However, this one had made a last-minute plane reservation and had an arrival time that conflicted with other commitments we had, thus making it necessary to find an alternative means to pick him up. The client was so worried about President Trump and the coming expected world war that he did not want to waste any time in leaving “the land of the free.” Unfortunately, he paid the price for not acting sooner and giving us a chance to better-prepare for his arrival.

Many Chilean hotel transfer drivers have long since given up writing names of arriving guests on placards. Crooks would simply look for the names that drivers had written and write them on their own placards, figuring out ways to get to the customer first. Then they would drive him off and either rob him or at the very least charge him an exorbitant amount to get to the hotel–sort of a “ransom service.” Under current practice, many hotels just hold up a placard with the logo of the hotel and the customer is instructed to look for that logo instead of their name.

Nowadays, there are pirates at the arrival gate, masquerading as airport employees. The merry thugs and thieves hire a front-man that can speak good English, providing a welcome voice to weary international travelers in a sea of foreign language confusion. Yet, sometimes bilingual Chileans are the least trustworthy, even if they wear a convincing uniform!

The tactic is simple: identify a target as he leaves the sliding glass doors at customs. Gringos are usually easy to pick out, especially when they look lost or a little tired and bewildered. Then politely ask him if he needs some assistance, noting that (the pirate) is an airport employee assigned the task of helping international travelers: a sort of “welcome to Chile” service.

In the case of my unwary client, the pirate was informed that he needed no help since he was awaiting a transfer van from the Renaissance Hotel. Then the pirate replied, “unfortunately, that van had already left.” (Literally, “he missed the bus” and was about to get bent over without knowing it was coming.) No worries, however, replied the “airport employee,” since he had other trusted taxis that would whisk him away to his destination. This sort of mishap “happens all the time,” but the airport is prepared to serve visitors caught up in such difficulties.

In fact, the hotel driver was waiting just a few meters away with his placard held up, but was never able to connect with the client. Instead, the client was quickly taken to the nearby ATM by the pirate, who explained that it was necessary to pay for service in cash, in advance. Then, the pirate took him to one of the ring’s cabbies and loaded his luggage, He was then charged four to five times the normal rate for taxi service to the hotel, and of course paid in unfamiliar cash, further confusing the tired, bewildered traveler, not quickly apt to convert between currencies or to know that the normal rate should not exceed US$25 to US$30. Also, the employee (curiously) requested a 10,000-peso “tip” (which is about one-third to one-half a day’s wages for a common worker here).

Obviously, paid employees do not normally request tips, as if they were customary and obligatory. The fact that he did, should have immediately tipped off the client. The scoundrel was probably drooling as he watched the blue bills being spit out of the ATM. Thankfully, the client arrived safely at the hotel, even though he was ripped off and the hotel was annoyed that the airport driver had to wait in vain for over an hour at the airport.

We were worried, too, and had been on the phone with the hotel driver since the time the client exited customs. Indeed, prior to that we had been on the phone with the client since the moment he got his passport stamped, trying to ease his way out. During the 2 minutes that we lost contact with the client and he left customs, the pirate got him.

The point man probably split the cab fare with the cabbie thieves. Notice that it pays to be bilingual in more ways than one! In Chile, crime pays. And P.T. Barnum’s “sucker” gets off the plane “every minute,” from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. and beyond!

In another new, Samaritan-esque scam, local criminals are going around and letting the air out of people’s tires while parked. When an unsuspecting driver returns, and starts to drive off, the villain appears and points out that the driver has a pinchazo or a punctured tire. Not to worry, however, since the feigned Samaritan knows where to go to have the flat repaired. Once he leads his victim somewhere out of sight, especially if the victim has let him inside his car, he will pull a knife or gun and assault or rob his victim. Yet another reason to beware of helpful and courteous Chileans!

Furthermore, Chileans might be exporting this craft more frequently and easily in coming years. Did you know that of the 35 OECD countries, only South Korean and Chilean passport holders have visa-free travel to all G-8 countries (including Russia)? Another nice feature of Chilean citizenship, but perhaps not such a boon for the rest of the world that has just made it easier for criminals to arrive and practice their craft in new “territories.”

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 older (2014), not updated, 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)

Why Should You Live in a Very Flawed Country?

Chile is dominated by about twenty families. Some have connections to the Rothschilds in Europe and others to the Rockefellers. Most have no apparent affiliation.

Still, there is no mystery about Chile’s “feudalism” or corporatism. There is no false belief that there is a land of equal opportunity or that there is no classism or that there is less corruption among politicians and bureaucrats than in other places.

Viña del Mar 2The difference between Chile and other Latin American countries is that there are more powerful elites at the top in other countries (for instance, I have heard that Mexico has only seven ruling families–but seven times the population). Plus, the Chilean elite has permitted a very large and growing middle class in Chile. In that sense there is less classism, and from what I can tell there is less corruption than most countries of the world. Indeed, Chile falls in the top twenty-five least-corrupt countries of the world, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Moreover, the lower classes are “cared for” by their rulers such that all live fairly well, with adequate food, shelter, shoes, 90%+ literacy; plus, upward mobility is allowed and sometimes encouraged. Food supply is of much higher quality, as is the energy supply. And pristine natural beauty is abundant and encouraged.

Chile’s situation is similar to other vassal states like Switzerland and so many European enclaves like Luxembourg, Andorra, Liechtenstein, San Marino, Monaco—not to mention Hong Kong and Singapore. Generally speaking, the elite like to do business in places they dominate and crush others “below them” but choose to live in countries where there are large nicer sections and a large middle class. They all appear as wealthy countries, which are marvelous to visit and see their opulence, fine shopping, wonderful landscapes and so forth.

Most people considering emigration err by jumping to the conclusion that that since there are so few families ruling Chile then it is no better than the USA. Nevertheless, on the contrary, they fail to see the special role that the USA plays on the world scene for the Soros, Gates, Rockefeller, Rothschild, et al, networks. The war machine is a crucial piece of the overall strategy. The Fed and the (still) dominant fiat currency is another. The testing ground for any “ism”, any new theory that affects the population and needs guinea pigs, GMOs, imprisonment testing, psychological manipulation, family manipulation, police, DEA or ATF brutality, and much more, are yet other items on the agenda that make the corporatism, “feudalism” and “manorialism” in the USA far more egregious than in places like Chile.

The level of involvement that Chile and many other countries (including the smaller ones mentioned earlier) is a degree of magnitude less, if it exists at all, than what is going on in the USA. You must certainly know this fact.There are Terrorists

So why do folks keep on making lame excuses or quips to justify stupid, self-destructive behavior? Do you really believe that you are “freer” than other people, especially those that live in places like Chile? Just think about taxes, regulation, political correctness and danger you face compared to other places!

I live in Viña del Mar, overlooking the sea, pine groves and upper class structures. I do not awake each day worried that I might be mugged, murdered, or that the state will take 45% of what I earn by income, sales, property, capital gains, inflation or traffic taxes – or that the state will poison me, draft me (or my kids), shoot me by “accident” or destroy my family (family court, DSS).

In the USA I did have such worries and if you do not, then you are simply living in denial. I have not heard of any improvements since I left there in 2008. Am I mistaken?

“Oh,” you say, “but I live in Europe, Canada or Australia.” So what? Are you seriously going to say that those places are better than the USA with respect to the evil inflicted on its residents by the state?

I will also add that as bad as the current Chilean President Bachelet is, her approval rating is down to 15% and her left-wing coalition is on the ropes. We look forward to a swing to the Right in a year. On the other hand, you look forward to statist Trump most likely, otherwise sinister Hillary–elitist, power-brokering scoundrels that are hardly worse than the assorted character lineup in Europe or Australia. Do not kid yourself that you are pleased with politics in your country or do not think it matters much. It does.

In the final analysis, the question of migration never depends on whether the place you are considering going to is flawless, but rather: “Is it better, or less-flawed, than the place where you currently reside?” Those that reason otherwise are simply looking for excuses not to have to make hard personal choices, perhaps based on emotional and illogical decisions. They prefer to live in denial or an unwarranted optimism about the future of the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia and even South Africa.

Can you honestly say that I am mistaken? If not, they why are you still living where you do? Or at least why do you still not have “Plan B” residence somewhere else, like Chile? Wake up and smell the coffee! While you are at it, get a copy of my new book Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers and read it. At least by informing yourself about the Chile option will be a step in the right direction.

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)

Those Who Can, Cannot and Will Not Come to Chile

I have been a Chile consultant for many years. One thing that has always puzzled me are the ironies seen in the kinds and classes of people that want to migrate to Chile, as well as the turmoil or frustration that so many of them face.

Can and Do

First off, there are those that can and do come to Chile, at least to get a Plan B residence established. They are wealthier people, normally with assets over US$2 million, with some exceptions of single men that can get by on less, or they have pensions between US$5,000 and US$10,000 per month (which is more than enough to live in Chile). They are usually libertarians or constitutional conservatives. They want a freer, saner life than their increasingly beleaguered existence in the “Land of the Free” or some other Northern Hemisphere welfare state. They are not “turned on” by the likes of Obama, Bush, Hillary or Trump. They often have substantial assets out of their home country and thus already have a foot out the door. They are well-studied on the issues and make educated choices about where to immigrate and how to handle life. I will call this fortunate, “will do” group the top 20%. They are wise, as Proverbs 27:12 says: “A prudent man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.”

Can but Won’t

Next, there is the group of well-to-dos or upper-middle class folks that toy with Chile or emigrating, but never seem to get around to doing anything about it. They are masterful at making up excuses why they have not and will not act in their best interests to minimize political, economic and violence risk by setting up residence elsewhere in the world. “If the USA goes down, so will every other country in the world” or “I do not want to learn another language at my age” are favorite “reasons” why they would rather stay and perish or fall into an even more crass slavery than they presently find themselves. They dabble in expatriate literature and are genuinely concerned what the world will be like under the regimes to come. But they are not scared enough to actually act; unrealistic optimism always seems to win the day. They are more worried about being near family. Or they just think that maybe things will not be so bad. They are, in a word, “boxcar bait.” Those that can get out at the last minute will end up being “raft people” because there will not be enough seats on airline or boats to get them out when they want to leave. Full of endless excuses and procrastination, I hold out little hope for these people. I will call this mildly-arrogant, procrastinating, “will not” group the middle 50%. Their epitaph will read: “Could have escaped, but failed to do so.”

Would but Can’t

Finally, there is the most tragic case of those that really, truly want to leave but cannot do so. They simply lack the basic resources required for their family size to leave and/or resettle, and have little hope of working in Chile to earn enough to do so. They see the danger and want to flee but are trapped. Their situation is sad. They have often done their homework and want to come to Chile. They call me but, alas, there is little that I can do for them. Why is this (relatively large) group so much more insightful than the aforementioned reluctant group with resources? Who knows?

People from each of the three groups tend to be well-educated. The difference seems to be in courage, logic, sensibility and insight, as well and financial feasibility. People in this last group are willing to do whatever it takes to get to Chile but it is simply not enough: they do not have the Spanish or cultural skill sets to prosper in Chile, nor do they have the capital needed to start a business here. They are stuck on the sinking ship and, worse yet, they know it. The best they can do is keep researching and looking for that windfall that will send them where they want to go or at least open the door to get there. Otherwise, they uncomfortably await judgment day. A lot of grief and hardship are ahead of them. I will call this hapless, doleful, “cannot” group the bottom 30%. As Job said (14:1), “Man who is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.”

Where do You Fall?

Where do you fit in? Are you satisfied to be in that group? If you want to change, what can you do about it?

The first thing that any of the aforementioned folks should do is get my newly revised book and read it cover-to-cover. Anyone considering coming to Chile for real should devour the 1,665 pages it contains. As a newcomer you simply cannot get enough information about your new country. The new edition is like having six different books on relevant Chile topics in one volume. Sections can be read and re-read as needed. The US$149 will be paid for many times over in efficiency gains alone, not to mention orienting you in the direction which is best for you and thus saving you many hours of research and reducing time-wasting activities that often affect expatriates.

Also posted on Steemit!

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)

Chilean Cities with Highest Income

One might think that the most attractive places in Chile for newcomers would correspond to comunas with the highest incomes. While this thought is actually a pretty good guide, it has some holes. According to a study by the University of Chile cited by national daily La Tercera, the ten highest income comunas in Chile are:

1. Vitacura
2. Las Condes
3. La Reina
4, Lo Barnechea (which contains La Dehesa)
5. Ñuñoa
6. Providencia
7. Calama (2nd Región)
8. Diego de Almagro (3rd Región)
9. Antofagasta (2nd Región)
10. Magallanes (Punta Arenas, 12th Region)

It is not surprising to see the first six spots going to northeastern Santiago, although it is odd that La Reina is #3, ahead of #4 Lo Barnechea and #6 Providencia, and that Providencia is #6, even behind #5 Ñuñoa. I would not have expected that result. The rest of the list includes mining and natural gas cities, all of which are known for being highly-paid occupations in Chile.

The list goes to show that “money is not everything,” at least when choosing a place to live. For instance, Calama (#7) is the ugliest and most horrid city in Chile, and Antofagasta (#9) is not far behind, even though it has a nice sector amidst so many awful slums. Diego del Almagro (#8) is hardly a town, much less a city, and if the mine were not within its comunal boundaries there would be no attraction. It is certainly no place for an immigrant to come unless he is a miner.

Punta Arenas (#10) is in the extreme south, windy and cold, with very long nights in wintertime and very short ones in summertime. Still, it makes other top ten lists in some studies for being a very livable city, as reported in national daily El Mercurio. I am not convinced it is a good spot for newcomers, despite the history, great restaurants and tax-free zone. On the other hand, there are extensive wealthy suburbs in the Viña del Mar, Concepcion and La Serena metropolitan areas that also have high personal income but are not included in the top ten because of nearby poverty.

In that study reported in El Mercurio, the top thirty comunas with highest quality of living are:

1. Vitacura
2. Providencia
3. Las Condes
4. La Reina
5. Punta Arenas
6. Ñuñoa
7. Santiago
8. Lo Barnechea
9. Colina
10. Curicó
11. Rancagua
12. Valdivia
13. Macul
14. Osorno
15. Viña del Mar
16. Quillota
17. Huechuraba
18. La Florida
19. Chiguayante
20. Peñalolén
21. La Serena
22. San Felipe
23. Puerto Montt
24. Temuco
25. Los Ángeles
26. Quilicura
27. San Pedro de la Paz
28. Calama
29. Puente Alto
30. Coquimbo

I have been to all of these places. There is no way I am going to recommend to newcomers chilling #5 Punta Arenas, ugly #14 Osorno, upper-lower-class #29 Puente Alto, or industrial, smoggy and congested #26 Quilicura. Forget, too, mining town, ugly, high-elevation #28 Calama, and likely not largely Marxist mining enclave #30 Coquimbo. Largely lower middle class agricultural worker towns like #16 Quillota, #22 San Felipe, #9 Colina (especially if Chicureo is included) and #10 Curico all have a certain attraction, and are cheap places do live, but I really doubt they would suit the vast majority of immigrants from North America or Europe.

I have no idea why Viña del Mar is so far down the list (#15) or why neighboring Concon is excluded, unless it was subsumed in Viña del Mar. The same goes for lovely #19 Chiguayante and #27 San Pedro de la Paz, which are some of the nicer parts of Concepción and decent choices for a newcomer that does not mind cool and rain.

All of those places should be in the top ten, in my mind, ahead of #4 Ñuñoa and probably #6 La Reina, and certainly #7 Santiago, which really should not figure in the top twenty. I can see how the other places, especially #24 Temuco and #12 Valdivia, could be on a newcomer’s radar screen that likes smaller cities in the Pacific Northwest of the United States, and does not mind rain.

The Institute for Urban and Territorial Studies at the Catholic University in Santiago produced its “Index of Urban Quality of Life” for 2015, which ranked the 93 most prominent comunas in Chile, spanning ten metropolitan areas and 85% of the country’s population. The index and rankings were based on six variables of labor conditions, business environment, socio-cultural conditions, connectivity and mobility, health and environment, and housing and environment. The following list is the ranking for comuna in relation to the mean, most superior to the mean first.

1. Las Condes
2. Providencia
3. La Reina
4. Puerto Varas
5. Punta Arenas
6. Antofagasta
7. Colina
8. Copiapo
9. Villarrica
10. La Serna
11. Tome
12. Valdivia
13. Quilpué
14. Talcahuano
15. Huechuraba
16. Rengo
17. Temuco
18. San Fernando
19. Osorno
20. Villa Alemana
21. Rancagua
22. Coronel
23. Angol
24. Lampa
25. Calera
26. San Antonio
27. Quilicura
28. Curico
29. Linares
30. Estacion Central

This part of the study may make sense to some Chileans, but from a newcomer or foreign-onlooker point of view, it is pretty weird. Not only are Lo Barnechea (La Dehesa), Ñuñoa and Vitacura missing, having been beaten out by nearby horrid #24 Lampa, mediocre #30 Estacion Central (main bus and train terminal for Santiago), mixed socio-economic bag #15 Huechuraba, and #7 Colina where my former maid lives unless, again, fabulous Chicureo is included. Likewise puzzling is the superiority of scuzzy port town #26 San Antonio over elegant 5th Region neighbors Viña de Mar and Concón, which do not appear at all, while including middle class inland communities of the Viña del Mar metropolitan area like #13 Quilpué, #20 Villa Alemana and #25 Calera. It makes little sense.

The ranking also highlights boring #8 Copiapo, lovely #23 Angol and coal mining slum #22 Coronel, each Marxist hotbeds. Punta Arenas (#5), Rancagua (#21) and ugly Osorno (#19) made the list again, although I am not sure why, and more worker’s farm towns were added like #29 Linares, #25 Calera, #16 Rengo, and #18 San Fernando, but most of the ones on the previous list are not included.

A horrid, smelly naval port #14 Talcahuano is the only representative from the Concepción metropolitan area, displacing Chiguayante and San Pedro de la Paz? Give me a break! I guess there is some bias or stupidity in Chilean university studies. Maybe it was done by leftists?

The only cities listed that make sense, from my perspective, are #1 Las Condes, #2 Providencia, #3 La Reina, #4 Puerto Varas (they definitely got that one right!), and I would agree with #9 Villarrica (but where is Pucon?), #10 La Serena, #17 Temuco and #12 Valdivia being somewhere in the top thirty. However, the study’s rankings themselves are a bit different, even though still bizarre or surprising:

1. Las Condes
2. Vitacura
3. Providencia
4. Lo Barnechea
5. La Reina
6. Ñuñoa
7. Puerto Varas
8. Castro
9. Punta Arenas
10. Concepcion
11. Antofagasta
12. Maipú
13. Colina
14. Machalí
15. Copiapó
16. Talca
17. Villarrica
18. Quillota
19. La Serena
20. Viña del Mar
21. Tomé
22. Vallenar
23. Valdivia
24. Coihaique
25. Quilpué
26. Santiago
27. Talcahuano
28. Concón
29. Huechuraba
30. Puerto Montt
This list makes more sense, except for the curious inclusion of Concepcion over its much nicer suburbs, and the low rankings for #20 Viña del Mar, #28 Concón and #19 La Serena, which would certainly be more desired by nearly all Northern Hemisphere immigrants than mixed middle class #6 Ñuñoa (home of the national soccer stadium and lots of vandals), quaint but puny and remote #8 Castro, barren #9 Punta Arenas, #10 Concepcion, and the rest of the list starting with #11 Antofagasta (with the possible exceptions of #14 Machali, #17 Villarrica and #23 Valdivia for certain people). I know a couple of expatriates that like their farms near #16 Talca, but not necessarily the boring city itself.

According to a study by Centro de Estudios Públicos in 2010, the next highest income comunas of the Metrolpolitan Region are Santiago (centro) and San Miguel. I do know a few expatriates living in San Miguel, and it is a decent place, much less expensive than northeastern Santiago. So, obviously, it is a possible destination for newcomers. However, the third poorest and lowest income place in the region is Alhué, a small farming community that is clearly a lovely, quaint place, that could be of interest to newcomers that want to live in the country but yet not too far from the big city.

Iquique is very high on the personal income scale for Chile, but it is the bottom of the barrel on lists of most livable places in Chile. Yet I know several expatriates that live in Iquique and love it. It just goes to underscore that one cannot judge a comuna solely on the basis of personal income statistics, and probably have to take with a grain of salt the livability rankings as well.

Other examples are regional comunas like Viña del Mar (and Reñaca), Concón, San Pedro de la Paz, Chiguayante (and other parts of metropolitan Concepcion), Zapallar and nearby beach towns, Pucon and Puerto Varas. All of these comunas contain significant First World areas and amenities that make them clear possible destinations for newcomers. Yet the poorer neighborhoods that they contain, for example Forestal in Viña del Mar, are significant enough to drag down the median income figures. The same is true for Santiago comunas like Huechuraba and Peñalolen, which have significant First World areas within a sea of poverty. All of these places, especially the provincial ones, are much cheaper to live than the top comunas in northeastern Santiago and should be on the list of relocation spots under consideration by newcomers,

If we can trust Wikipedia GDP statistics for Chilean regions, they might add something to the discussion about where newcomers might be most comfortable.

1. Santiago metropolitan area (GDP US$101.7 billion)

2. 2nd Region, Antofagasta and includes Calama (GDP US$21.8 billion)

3. 5th Region, Valparaiso, includes the Viña del Mar metropolitan area (GDP US$16.7 billion)

4. 8th Region, Biobío, includes the Concepcion metropolitan area (GDP US$16.5 billion)

5. 6th Region, Libertador General Bernardo O’Higgins (GDP US$9.4 billion)

6. 7th Region, Maule, includes Talca (GDP US$7.7 billion)

7. 4th Region, Coquimbo includes the La Serena metropolitan area  (GDP US$6.6 billion)

8. 3rd Region, Atacama including Copiapó and Salvador, mining (GDP US$5.7 billion)

9. 10th Region, Los Lagos, including Puerto Montt, Castro and Osorno (GDP US$5.14 billion)

10. 1st Region, Tarapacá, inlcuding Iquique (GDP US$5.12 billion)

11. 9th Region, La Araucanía, including Temuco (GDP US$4.7 billion)

12. 14th Region, Los Ríos, including Valdivia (GDP US$2.5 billion)

13. 12th Region, Magallanes and Chilean Antarctic, includes Punta Arenas (GDP US$1.8 billion)

14. 15th Region, Arica and Parinacota (GDP US$1.3 billion)

15. 11th Region Aysén of General Carlos Ibáñez, including Coyhaique (GDP US$0,99 billion)

It is pretty clear that Santiago dominates the country economically. Antofagasta and Calama are high on the list on account of mining earnings which does not translate into a generally high quality of life in my opinion. Next up are the Viña del Mar and Concepcion metropolitan areas, for good reason, since they are the main centers for industrial production and tourism outside of the capital city. They are followed by farming regions and some more significant mining in the 3rd, 4th and 6th regions. Lumber, dairy and fisheries are on the low end of overall economic production in the southern regions. Living where there is a lot of economic activity generally translates into a higher quality of life. That fact should provide a good starting point for newcomers making choices about where to live.

Another good indicator to consider is the median household income statistic for 2009, by comuna. The data are a little bit old and in a dynamic country like Chile, things like this statistic change a lot in a few years. But at least it will provide a good idea. The data were obtained from the webite of the Library of the National Chilean Congress.

Remember that only Vitacura is nearly completely free of a significant poorer section. Lo Barnechea and Las Condes both have them, and Providencia’s has been growing. However, Viña de Mar, Concón, much of Concepción and Las Serena have very large poor neighborhoods, dragging down considerably the community average. Considering Viña del Mar in particular, it is likely that the coastal section, especially Reñaca, has a median household income similar to south Concon, which is certainly much higher than the Concon statistic in the following list (which includes poorer sections in north Concon). Indeed, if Reñaca and south Concón were to become a separate comuna, as some Chileans have been pushing for, then it would probably be 6th in ensuing list.

Comuna (selected) Median Houshold Income (pesos)
2009
Lo Barnechea (La Dehesa) $ 3.256.310
Las Condes $ 3.246.457
Vitacura $ 3.066.970
La Reina $ 2.281.099
Providencia $ 2.271.430
Ñuñoa $ 1.255.232
Santiago (centro) $ 1.230.676
Concon $ 1.076.438
Antofagasta $ 862.784
Rancagua $ 865.167
San Pedro de la Paz $ 853.545
Punta Arenas $ 773.823
Huechuraba $ 763.445
CHILE $ 754.795
Iquique $ 752.842
Valparaíso $ 720.623
Temuco $ 705.271
Concepcion $ 702.613
Alhue $ 699.130
Colina (Chicureo) $ 695.812
Puerto Varas $ 681.652
Osorno $ 654.351
Viña del Mar $ 642.786
Chiguayante $ 624.401
Quilpue $ 620.451
La Serena $ 585.880
Talca $ 584.756
Valdivia $ 567.329
Zapallar $ 555.243
Olmue $ 549.263
Puerto Octay $ 546.021
Rengo $ 520.720
Castro $ 484.848
Pucón $ 461.966
Coronel $ 454.950
Alto de Carmen $ 432.987
Puqueldon $ 409.010
Vichuquen $ 399.796
Camiña $ 345.269
AVERAGE $ 952.667

Hopefully this information will help the prospective newcomer have a better idea of where he chooses to live 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.

Dr. Cobin’s 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 $49.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom.

This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.

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)

Bring with You to Chile These Little Things

Over the last 20 years that I have been associated with Chile and bringing things down here from the United States and Europe, several “little” items pop up as necessities that simply are not available in the country. Therefore, I suggest that whether you are bringing a container, pallet or many suitcases that you slips some or all of these things in.

1. Wax paper

2. Casters for rolling high-back leather or other desk chairs

3. Three hole punch and corresponding file folders

4. Manila file folders

5. Pie pans, disposable and otherwise

6. Blue cheese dressing (sometimes can be found here but it is not very good)

7. BBQ sauce

8. Power strips and extension cords with 110V plugs (USA)

9. Parallel and standard leather-covered Spanish Bibles.

10. Vaseline

11. Murphy bed kits, if you are in to space-saving

12. Bedding for USA size beds you bring, if applicable

13. Spanish grammar books and dictionaries, as many as you can find!

14. High quality paint, which is very expensive in Chile with poor selection (Behr is here)

15. Interesting kitchen cabinet insert racks

16. Door knockers and handles, available here but with limited selection

17. 9V extension cord adapters/power strip for car cigarette lighter plug

18. Toner for your laser printer, depending on your chip might not be available here

19. Cordless landline phones, available here but expensive and in more limited supply

20. Most electronic devices that can be plugged into 9V or 200V, except alarm clocks: GPS, radar detector, windows-based notebook PCs, tablets, etc. since they are more expensive here.

21. Plastic bed peg/wheel risers and plastic storage boxes to slide under the bed

22. Car parts, in case you happen to know what kind of car you will have here

23. Red and black licorice ropes

24. Skiing, camping, kayaking and fishing equipment

25. Used, good condition furniture: lazy-boy chairs are a great idea, hardwood coffee table, couches,  

maybe a dining room set, and also chairs and coffee tables. Quality used furniture can be sold at a profit.

26. Replacement electric razor heads/foil

27. Big bottles of vitamins

28. 3 x 5 note cards

29. Christmas cards to send out, basically not available here

30. baking powder

31. lamp shades

32. tape measures in inches, better variety up there than here

33. 10,000 pellets in case you expect pests where you will live 

34. Size 13 shoes and other shoes that are quality in general, better variety up there than here

35. Power transformer, 3000 watts, available here but mroe expensive 

36. Shelf liner

37. Spanish version of Kiersey temperament analysis book, Por Favor Compréndeme 

38. Books published in Argentina or Chile on grammar, also dictionaries, lexicons, verb guides, picture books, Spanish-English dictionaries (very valuable!).

39. Books on Chilean historyand geography (in English), especially Out of the Ashes by James Whelan. 

40. Maps of Chile

41. Nice chess sets 

42. Nice hardhats, if you plan to be in work areas

43. Comforters for beds 

44. High thread count sheets

45. Tums

 I might come back and add to this list so be sure to check back!

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 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.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom.

This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.

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:

Immigrants that Are not Welcome in Chile

Immigrants from 51% of the countries of the world are not readily welcome in Chile. It is very difficult for most people in the world even to obtain a tourist visa. The restriction applies mainly, although not exclusively, to Third World, Muslim, violence-ridden and communist countries. Some notable non-Muslim standouts included in the lists are Armenia, Georgia, East Timor, Belarus, Ukraine, Guyana, Granada, Dominican Republic and Taiwan. Notable poor countries not on the lists include Haiti, Bolivia and Central American nations.

In our residency program, we frequently receive queries from people in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Iran, Vietnam and other Asian or African countries (other than South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, Fiji, Mauritius or South Africa), as well as some countries from the Caribbean and Eastern Europe. There is little that we can do for them.

According to a document from the Chilean Consulate in New York, the Chilean government requires extra-normal steps for citizens of the following countries to receive a tourist visa to come to Chile. These nationals must apply for a tourist visa prior to coming to Chile, unlike the rest of the world’s countries whose citizens receive visas in the Santiago international airport or one of Chile’s ports of entry. I have highlighted entries that might be surprising to our readers, especially ones that tend to have people that make residency program inquiries or ones where former Americans choose to become citizens of after renouncing their American citizenship (e.g., the Dominican Republic).

Applications and background checks submitted at least FOUR weeks in advance of travel to Chile:

Afghanistan, Angola, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Armenia, Azerbaijan
Bahrain, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Brunei, Burundi
Cape Verde, Chad, China (People’s Republic of), North Korea, Cuba
Djibouti
Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Eritrea, Ethiopia
Georgia
India, Iran, Iraq
Jordan
Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait
Lesotho, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya
Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Mozambique
Namibia, Niger, Nigeria
Oman
Pakistan, Palau, Palestine
Qatar
Senegal, Sierra Leone, Syria, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan
Tanzania, Tajikistan, Togo, Tunisia, Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan
Yemen

Applications and background checks submitted at least TWO weeks in advance of travel to Chile:

Belarus, Botswana, Burkina Faso
Cameroon, Central African Republic, Comoros, Congo
Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic
East Timor (Timor Leste), Equatorial Guinea
Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Granada, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana
Ivory Coast
Kiribati
Laos
Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Myanmar
Nauru, Nepal
Papua New Guinea
Rwanda
Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Swaziland, Solomon Islands
Taiwan, Tuvalu
Uganda, Ukraine
Vanuatu, Vietnam
Zambia, Zimbabwe

To apply for a tourist visa, these nationals must submit the following documents: (1) a visa application form; (2) their passport valid at least from the beginning to the end of the visa; (3) a letter of invitation from someone who lives in Chile stating his/her name, address and telephone number or letter of the company or institution that invited the applicant stating the reason for his/her trip to Chile; (4) proof of economic solvency such as bank statements, and/or a letter from the company that supports the visa applicant stating his position and compensation, and/or letter from parents to ensure their financial support for the duration of the visa; (4) marriage certificate (only if the applicant is married to a Chilean citizen); (5) a health certificate issued by a physician stating that the applicant is in good health and has no diseases, issued within 30 days prior to the date of application; (6) a certificate of HIV blood test issued by a health department, laboratory, or physician, in the same period of time; (7) a criminal record certificate issued by the police; and (8) a recent photograph color passport size (2″ x 2″). All documents have to be translated into Spanish, but I imagine that documents printed in English will also be accepted. Consular fees vary according to applicant’s nationality.

Once a visa is approved by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the applicant must appear before a Chilean consulate for an appointment to have his/her visa stamped. For further inquiries, folks may write to cgchileny.visas@minrel.gov.cl. Stateless persons, refugees whose status has been recognized by international organizations and political refugees also must apply for a tourist visa.

The long and the short of it is that for the great majority of human beings, coming to Chile will be difficult if not impossible. While I personally feel sad for any libertarians trapped in the aforementioned countries, I have to admit that Chile’s immigration public policy probably does reduce the risk of threats to Chile and thus makes Chile more attractive to others. This policy explains in part why there are so few Muslims in Chile. I should also note that there are significant Palestinian and Chinese (mainly Cantonese) populations in Chile, indicating that people from some countries on the lists above are more readily welcome than others.

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 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 $49.

Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.

Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom.

This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.

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:

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 70s. I just learned that another company, Vida Tres, is doing the same. The rest will likely follow suit soon.

There are some conditions to bear in mind: if a person has diabetes or any blood sugar-related problems, or hypertension (high blood pressure), those illnesses will be excluded from coverage. I imagine that one can expect that any illness directly related to these diseases will also not be covered.

In addition, if one has surgery, the company will require an 8 to 12 month waiting period after the surgery to apply for coverage. Therefore, logically, one should apply for the insurance before doing any elective surgery.

By all means, consider getting this coverage if you are in the 65+ age bracket. A good plan might run 200,000 pesos to 300,000 pesos per month (US$325 to US$490), depending on age and gender (women being 20% more expensive). And the price can be optimized (lower) if one can select a private supplement plan (add 50,000 pesos [US$82] per month) for one of the best hospitals in northeastern Santiago, such as Clinica Alemana or Clínica Las Condes.

A person can be covered for doctor’s visits, lab work and hospitalization the best hospitals, treatment centers and doctors in Santiago and Viña del Mar, along with everywhere else in Chile. Plans can also come with limited international coverage and prescription coverage.

If you need help getting the process done, we can usually consult with you, perhaps in a day ($1,000) in Viña del Mar, to get your insurance applied for. There is no guarantee of policy issue, of course, but there is a good chance at least.

With our services, we can arrange for medical forms to be mailed to you in your home country. You will have to send by Moneygram the consulting fee, plus one month’s premium, plus US$35 for 4-5 day express delivery.

We can handle all age groups. For those under age 65, and especially under age 60, the chance of policy issue is quite high. A Chilean ID (RUT) number is not required. We will help you get through the process and Spanish-language disclosures that must be completed.

Don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of getting Chilean medical coverage. If you would like more detailed information on Chilean medical insurance, be sure to purchase my books listed below and read the sections pertaining to insurance and medical care in Chile. Escape America Now members are also able to ask direct, detailed questions about these motifs during the monthly webinar.

 

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 and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s 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 $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom. This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.
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.

 

Plight of Construction Workers in Chile

Governments usually foul things up worse than they already are, especially when its intervention is propelled by Marxist and socialist doctrines. Such has been the case in Chile, although public outrage has stymied the worst of leftist policies from being implemented in 2014.

Moreover, the future is bright in Chile. It seems less likely that the left will be able to maintain itself in power after President Michelle Bachelet’s term ends in three years.

Nevertheless, enough leftist venom reached certain sectors of the Chilean economy to cause lasting damage. One of the more important casualties of leftist public policies has been in new construction, where media reports put national unemployment for the industry at 12%.

In Viña del Mar, a construction firm posted four internet ads in order to recruit a total of three day laborers, offering to pay 350,000 pesos (US $577) per month. The sites selected were www.yapo.cl, www.vivastreet.cl, www.elrastro.cl and www.locanto.cl. A print ad was also ordered for the local daily El Mercurio de Valparaíso, but the ad was canceled before it ever ran since the internet sites alone yielded over 25 calls from prospective workers.

Hiring good construction workers is easy these days in the Valparaíso metropolitan area. The cost of construction is also quite low on account of lower labor costs. Bad business conditions led big box store Construmart (a chain like Home Depot) to close its Concón branch, adjacent to Viña del Mar.

The situation is worse in Iquique, where government policy has stifled the opening of a new copper mine and a planned salt mine by a German firm. Some genius in the leftist government decided that these minerals will have to be mined by state-owned companies, or at least not by foreigners.

What is the result of such folly? Fewer jobs and layoffs. One mining support firm recently laid off 600 people in town.

None of this activity has helped the construction industry, which has slowed considerably. Iquique was booming but now there are only 6 or 7 apartment tower projects left going, and government policy has made little land available for anything but tower projects, stifling single family home and town-home construction. Workers in Iquique used to be making as much as three times the salaries of their counterparts in Viña del Mar, but now their futures are bleak. They face a state-imposed slowdown and little help from tourism (nothing like what is available in Viña del Mar) to impel progress.

The story of leftist failure is repeated time and again. It is “obvious” to libertarian-minded people that the state fails. And Chile in 2014 has added yet more evidence against interventionism.

Chile also provides a good present opportunity to buy real estate on account of the huge and growing immigration numbers, up 21% since March, 50% over the las 5 years and over 80% during the last decade. Most immigration stems from Perú but there are plenty of professionals coming from Brazil, Argentina and Spain, as well as Germany and the United States.

Despite the bad local news, foreigners are coming to Chile in order to escape the failed interventionist paradises where they reside. These people demand homes, just as tourists from Brazil and Argentina continue to demand summer beach homes near Viña del Mar.

Those are some of the reasons why housing demand is not just a function of a bubble bolstered by artificially low interest rates (which is also the case in Chile 2014). It is a sheer function of demand and good value relative to other countries.

Even with the rise in selling prices over the last few years, compare home prices in Santiago and Viña del Mar (or Iquique) with prices with Auckland (50% to 80% more than comparable Viña del Mar) most European or “developed” Asian cities. Chile remains a bargain.

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 and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s 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 $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom. This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.
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.

Local Household Moving in Chile

Labor costs are cheaper in Chile than other First World countries, but more expensive than Third World countries, including the rest of Latin America (which are perhaps 40% to 70% less). Chilean laborers typically earn 20,000 to 30,000 pesos per day, about USD $35 to USD $50, with movers being on the lower end of the scale.

In Santiago wages tend to be a bit higher, but not always. It simply depends on the demand for labor in local areas. In smaller towns, labor costs can be much lower. The larger cost of moving household goods will be the truck and driver rental, which can run from 40,000 to 60,000 pesos (USD $70 to USD $100) per half-day for local moves.

Be prepared in case your driver shows up late, in order to avoid having your belongings rained on or subjected to potential theft. Lack of punctuality in Chile is common and ends up being a means of theft of others’ time. Sometimes car rental agencies online, Chilean-based rather than international firms, will offer specials for renting moving vans with or without a driver.

Remember that these prices are what a Chilean can get, speaking with a Chilean accent. Other Spanish speakers might do pretty well with price negotiations, but if one is a gringo and tries to arrange services himself, he should expect to pay more, perhaps much more. It is simply the nature of living in a Latin American country.

When looking for a mover, one must look for the word mudanza. There are other words for transportation that should be understood so as not to be confused with moving services. For instance, locomoción colectiva and movilización refer to taxis and other public transportation for passengers, some of which might be carrying goods but will not move entire households. The same is true for bus lines, that frequently transport items from pharmaceuticals to items of furniture.

One will often see the word fletes, too, which usually refers to delivery trucks that take large items from home appliance stores, furniture stores or home building centers to one’s home. These drivers can do household moving too, but their trucks are often too small or too dirty from carrying things like gravel to make them suitable.

Words like repartir and reparticiones are deliveries of things like pizza, typically, and have nothing to do with household moves. Hence, the word to look for is mudanzas, and one will see many road signs for these services or signs on sides of trucks painted with contact information for doing a mudanza.

Long distance moves between cities, for example Santiago to Viña del Mar, can cost up to 300,000 pesos –  including the truck, driver and movers – with the understanding that all will be done in one day. Movers can unload things directly into one’s new home or into a storage unit, called a bodega (self-storage centers are called bogedaje) which typically cost 42,000 pesos per month (USD $70). While moving and storage rates are not cheap by Latin American standards, they are not expensive compared with what immigrants from countries north of the Tropic of Cancer are used to paying.

When shipping goods by sea to Chile, it is best not to use door-to-door services offered in the home country since the in-Chile charges are far higher than one can get by inquiring locally. In fact, most (if not all) of my consulting fee will be paid for with the savings I can provide by handling your container with one of the customs agents we use and a local mover. Check out www.EscapeAmericaNow.info for more details.

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 and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s 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 $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
Dr. Cobin’s next sequel, Living in Chile: Key Details of History, Culture, Politics and Places for the Serious Immigrant, goes into detail that mainly those people living in Chile already or serious immigrants will be interested in. It is also of special importance to libertarians that want to know something about the political and ideological undercurrents, past highlights (like having a free port much like Hong Kong or free banking), and people that want practical information and where they can retire on their budget. The travel section compliments the other books in the series so that those that read all three books can be sure to have covered the key places of the country from top to bottom. This book is chock full of savory details that only a true immigrant and former American with many years of experience would know. Some things are only learned over long periods of time and observation. Take advantage of tapping into Dr. Cobin’s deep knowledge of the country and insights of importance to serious immigrants.
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.

Places to Retire in Chile for Every Budget

I have been dealing with newcomers and immigrants from different walks of life for many years. Some are relatively rich, others relatively poor. One’s economic situation is independent of his political views and thus freedom-loving people from all social classes are making their way to Chile. Some plan to work. Others plan to start a business.

Most likely these two types of people will locate near Santiago, and possibly near Viña del Mar or Concepción and possibly even Iquique, Talca, Temuco or Puerto Montt. However, many come with the intention of full retirement or partial retirement with some consulting, travel or internet business. In fact, most newcomers tend to be in their late 40s and 50s and are looking to retire or semi-retire. While every retiree would like to live in the nicer parts of Chile (First World sections), many will find these areas to be out of their financial reach.

I hate to see people be discouraged when they arrive or feel like they are living beyond their means. Thus, I hope to provide a “short list” of cities or towns for people to consider, listed according to one’s economic situation, which will allow them to begin studying options prior to coming down.

Where should retirees be looking to live? The table below summarizes my suggestions based on a couple’s net worth and/or pension check. These are my recommendations. And remember that I have been in every town over 500 inhabitants in Chile (except Isla Juan Fernández). So I speak from experience.

There are certainly other communities that would fit each category, especially categories 2 and 3, but I have chosen the places that I have visited that have some virtue and (with a few exceptions) that have at least 5,000 people. Hence, the towns come with at least a few shops, stores, churches, restaurants, etc.

Of course, the larger urban locations listed come with far greater commercial and social benefits. Having said that, I should point out that there are dozens of tiny towns, often in the middle of nowhere, in which a couple could survive on a very tight budget if they chose to do so. I just find that almost no couples that I have met have expressed such a preference.

Immigrant’s Net Worth; cost of home (USD); typical size in square meters
Possible places to retire (Dr. Cobin’s suggestions), towns ≥ 5,000 inhabitants, congruent with social class and affordability
Level of medical care quality, monthly cost per couple (USD)
Probability of personally having to do some agricultural or construction work to survive; local food costs
Likely transportation mode; non-local travel potential
Social class; variety of shopping, clubs, churches, jobs, schools, maid service, etc. accessible
Category 1
Net Worth: $75,000
House budget:
$11,000
House size (m2)
70
Rainy, coastal, cold
§ Puerto Aguirre (2,000 inhabitants only, isolated)
§ Puerto Cisnes
§ Porvenir
Low, $75
High; low
Bus, ferry; none
D; poor
Category 2
Net Worth: $250,000 or
$100,000 plus monthly pension of $1,000
House budget:
$45,000
House size (m2)
90
Desert, no rain, river
§ Camiña valley area (tax free zone)
§ Pica (4,200 inhabitants, tax free zone)
§ Alto de Carmen and San Félix valley area
Desert, no rain, sea
§ Huasco
Arid, little rain
§ Vicuña
§ Salamanca
§ Petorca
Dry 6-8 mos., farming
§ Limache
§ Quillota
§ Villa Alemana
§ Los Andes
§ San José de Maipo
§ Santa Cruz
§ Curicó
§ Chillán
§ Los Ángeles
Dry 8 mos., sea coast
§ Algarrobo
§ El Tabo
§ Quintay
§ Laguna Verde (near Valparaíso)
Green, rain, quaint
§ Curacautín
§ Lonquimay
§ San Pedro de la Paz
§ Collipulli
§ Angol
§ Santa Bárbara
§ Victoria
§ Temuco
§ Pitrufquén
§ Valdivia
§ La Unión
§ Río Bueno
Green, rain, lake
§ Lago Ranco
§ Futrono
§ Puerto Octay
§ Chile Chico
§ Cochrane
Green, rain, sea coast
§ Puerto Montt
§ Ancud
§ Puqueldón (only 1,000 inhabitants but close to bigger populations)
§ Queilén
§ Chaitén (tax free cars)
Green, rain, lake
§ Futaleufú (tax free cars)
§ Palena (tax free cars)
Cold, rain, sea, views
§ Puerto Natales (tax free cars)
§ Puerto Williams (tax free cars)
Moderate, $200
Moderate; low
Bus, metro, ferry;
C; modest
Category 3
Net Worth: $600,000 or
$300,000 plus monthly pension of $2,000
House budget:
$175,000
House size (m2)
90
Desert, no rain, ocean
§ Arica (tax free cars)
§ Iquique (tax free zone)
Arid, some rain, sea
§ La Serena
§ Papudo
Arid, some rain, river
§ San Pedro de Atacama
§ Paihuano
§ Ovalle
§ Illapel
Santiago area
§ Huecheraba
§ Chicureo
§ Ñuñoa
§ Las Condes (south)
§ Providencia (west)
§ Peñalolén (southeast)
§ Freedom Orchard (Curacaví)
Dry 8 mos., farming
§ Limache
§ Quillota
§ Villa Alemana
Coastal 5th Region
Dry 8 mos., coastal
§ Maitencillo
§ Viña del Mar
§ Concón
§ Algarrobo
§ Algarrobo
§ Rocas de Santo Domingo
Dry 8 mos, mountains
§ San José de Maipo
§ Santa Cruz
Green, rain, river/falls
§ Curacautín
§ Lonquimay
§ La Unión
§ Río Bueno
§ Valdivia
§ Coyhaique (tax free cars)
Green, rain, lake
§ Villarrica
§ Panguipulli
§ Puerto Octay
Cold, wind, sea
§ Punta Arenas (tax free zone)
Good, $400
Low; high
Bus, metro, ferry, basic car
C; very good
Category 4
Net Worth: $1,000,000 or
$650,000 plus monthly pension of $2,000
House budget:
$400,000
House size (m2)
140
Arid, some rain, coast
La Serena communities
§ Las Tacas
§ Puerto Velero
§ Serena Golf
Santiago area
§ Las Condes
§ Vitacura
§ La Dehesa
§ Providencia
§ La Reina Alta
§ Freedom Orchard (Curacaví)
Coastal 5th Region
Dry 8 mos.
§ Zapallar
§ Concón (south)
§ Reñaca
§ Viña del Mar (west)
§ Miraflores
§ Algarrobo
§ Rocas de Santo Domingo and Las Brisas
Concepción area
§ San Pedro de la Paz
§ Andalué
§ Idahue
§ Pingüeral
§ Lonco
Green, rain, city
§ Temuco
Green, rain, lake
§ Villarrica
§ Pucón
§ Panguipulli
§ Puerto Varas
§ Frutillar bajo
§ Puerto Octay outlying area
Excellent, $500
None; highest
Metro, ferry, nice car
C or B; excellent
Category 5
Net Worth: $10,000,000
House budget:
$2,000,000
House size (m2)
500
La Serena communities
§ Las Tacas
§ Puerto Velero
§ Serena Golf
Santiago area
§ Lo Curro
§ Santa María Manquehue
§ Las Condes
§ Vitacura
§ La Dehesa
§ Providencia
§ La Reina Alta
§ Freedom Orchard (Curacaví)
Coastal 5th Region
Dry 8 mos.
§ Zapallar
§ Concón (south)
§ Reñaca
§ Viña del Mar (west)
§ Miraflores
§ Rocas de Santo Domingo and Las Brisas
Concepción area
§ Lonco
Green, rain, lake
§ Pucón
§ Puerto Varas
§ Vichuquén (4,335 inhabitants)
Excellent, $600
None; highest
Metro, ferry, nice car, plane
A; excellent

Note that Freedom Orchard’s (Curacaví) target market is for categories 4 and 5, and possible category 3. Special thanks goes to my wife Pamela for suggesting that I do this blog entry and providing some input into the contents and structural improvements to the table above.

    Chile is a freer place than most countries (ranked 7th by Heritage Foundation for 2014) and looks better and better all the time. You might consider investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Buy your “Plan B” lot in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s 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 $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
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)These and other resources can be found on the Escape America Now resource page.

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