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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:

Making Decent Money Teaching English to Chinese While in Chile

One problem facing non-retired newcomers to Chile is finding a way to earn money in their new environment, especially when they do not yet speak Spanish. However, one thing that native English speakers can do is teach English to Chinese (ages 4 to 60) via video chat or Skype. If you happened to have homeschooled your kids then this job will be particularly easy. Apparently, a college degree is required and some experience teaching children (but homeschooling counts!). That might knock out a few prospects, but there are ways to improvise. Maybe one could sell them on a junior college degree and teaching piano lessons or heading up a boy scout troop can be used as proxies.

There is no prep time and no commuting time; nothing to grade and no department meetings to attend. You work from home and get paid via PayPal. Plus, many advanced Chinese students, which have faced censorship throughout their lifetimes, will gleefully pay you to “free talk” with them about pro-liberty and anti-communist / anti-state books like <i>Animal Farm</i>. The company strongly prefers American and Canadian native speakers, but (from what I understand) British, Australian, South African and Kiwi applicants are not excluded, even though it will be harder for them to land the job. They also do not mind if an employee lives in Chile or any other ex-pat destination. As of October 2017, the company had 6,000 teachers, just over one-half of them filipinos, 1,900 Americans or Canadians, and 1,000 other native speakers.

Resultado de imagen para logo 51talk

The NYSE-listed company is legitimate and I have confirmed that monthly, tax-free fee payments are made to English teachers. If you can get in as a one-on-one instructor, you will start at USD $15 per hour and if you work hard at it you will be raised to USD $20 per hour in just a few months. Eventually you will top out at USD $22 per hour. However, the demand for 4-child group glasses is so high now that they are requiring new hires to go in as group teachers right off the bat at USD $18 per 45-minute class. With some hires, it is not clear that they will ever teach individuals, and thus may not be able to get raises for a longer period. It may be something to negotiate. The company provides all the online teaching materials.

It is decent money for a stay-at-home-job. After one qualifies as a group teacher and starts working, he can then branch off and do extra individual classes. In April 2017, the company had 1,400 teachers. By October 2017, there were 1,900 teachers just from North America , not counting the thousand from other English-speaking countries or the Philippines. The demand for teachers is huge among Chinese parents and adult learners, especially if for Americans or Canadians with experience. Most teachers are women and women are in greater demand than men among the Chinese, but both genders get hired.

You can work as little as 15 hours per week (nine 45-minute small group classes) or full time+ and get to select the hours and times that you work. Actually, For one-on-one teachers, the minimum requirement is that one make himself available “at least 30 hours during peak for a period of 15 days,” which translates to 15 hours per week. Peak periods are 6am to 10am (New York time/EDT), plus 10pm to 6am on Friday and Saturday nights and working all night. Making oneself available does not mean that you will necessarily be teaching or earning money. You probably will (there is a seemingly unlimited supply of Chinese learners), but the requirement is that you be in front of your computer ready to go, while you do whatever other computer work you wish, or perhaps working as a part time proofreader (search for such jobs online or go to www.flexjobs.com). If you distinguish yourself, you might be asked to teach small groups or do training assignments long term, generally working full time, at a rate of pay up to USD $26.40 per hour or more for group classes, which also pay bonuses monthly, quarterly and semi-annually.

While the job is hardly high-paying, the money goes a long way in Chile or other Latin American countries (or places like rural Italy!). One can live (or travel) anywhere with a internet connection of at least 2 mbps download, 2 mbps upload. You need to have a camera, microphone and earphones. If you are interested, please follow this signup link for 51Talk. Make sure you fill out the form completely or you will not be interviewed right away.

Who knows? You might even make some business contacts in China that lead to enriching opportunities to import goods to Chile and export Chilean natural resources to China. What have you got to lose by trying? It is like getting a backup job that you can bring to a boil during times of slow regular employment, and let simmer as a weekend/evening hobby when normal work is going well. It is also an ideal part time job for a housewife and stay-at-home mom who wants to augment family income a bit.

After trying this for a while myself, I am ready to recommend that all non-wealthy newcomers to Chile join 51Talk (or something else similar) prior to coming to Chile. They should work from their home country on the weekend or evenings as a “hobby,” and do enough work to attain the $18 or $20 per hour level (which happens after 100 hours or 325 hours of one-on-one work are successfully completed). Then, whenever they need it, they can turn it on as a full time income source, starting at USD $18-$20, when they get to Chile. It makes a lot of sense. No visa needed. No taxes. Get paid via the ATM.

Again, whenever you do not need it, you can cut back to the minimum availability of 15 hours per week. It is like having an asset in your pocket to be used at any time. That has to be worth something to many newcomers. In fact, it might make the difference between choosing to come or not. Best of all. you can make sure you like it by doing it for a few months in the home country.

P.S. There are hundreds of online ESL teaching companies, especially aimed at China, South Korea and Japan. For instance, this site lists online ESL companies all over the world. Apparently, 51talk is quite competitive. However, this is one standout worth checking on, FastSchool, which apparently pays much more ($40 or $125 per hour). If that rate were true, then more serious money can be made. However, my attempts to get meaningful communication out of them has so far been fruitless. They may not be a serious organization. For teaching Chinese children, 51Talk’s main competitor seems to be VipKid. That company apparently pays more than 51Talk but is harder to get on with. You might try them as well if interested.

P.P.S. For the 51Talk phone interview via Zoom: The people that interview you do not speak perfect English. They will ask about what your teaching experience is, especially with kids. Mention homeschooling and teaching at church, scouts, whatever. Make it sound to them like you know how to teach. They will never check out anything you have said. Tell them you have a college diploma and that you are a native speaker from America/Canada (or wherever). I am not sure that dress is that important so long as you are business casual or better. Age is not an issue, as far as I know. Get your Internet upload speed to at least 2mbps, then take a screenshot of speedtest.net to send them. Upgrade your internet after you get the job if necessary. You will need a résumé of sorts, as I recall. Tell them what they want to hear. How the money works: A student told me that he pays US$30.50 per half-hour (25-minute) class with Americans/Canadians, or 200 Yuan RMB. (Some might pay less since I have hear as low as 90 Yuan RMB in 2016 but perhaps rate have gone up.) Group classes are only one-fourth of that rate, which is the same price charged for individual instruction by filipino 51Talk teachers. Teachers get paid as low as $7.50 to start for individual classes and rise over time to as much as $11 for that same half hour, which is 36% of the class fee. By the way, one young lady wanted to know if it was “just” for a capitalist to earn that increment and I told her it was. The business owner has to have (in volume) a return on his capital after paying teachers and hundreds support personnel and computational setup/expenses. The question came up while she was reading the summary of Marxist ideology in chapter one of <i>Animal Farm</i> with me, particularly old Major (Marx/Lenin’s) speech abut how people are miserable since businessmen allegedly rob them of their true due. Of course, 51Talk is hardly going broke and probably has room to grant even higher salaries and bonuses (some group teachers can get a monthly US$150 bonus for perfect attendance and even another $150 for not being late to any class, making the houly for group classes as high as $35). Anyway, that is how the money part works. You need not tell the interviewer that you have this information.

P.P.P.S. I suggest that you get a TESOL or TEFL certificate of at least 120 hours of training. It is not required but will help you get the job if you have one. The TESOL is not hard to get and might help for this job or in the future. As of the time of writing, Groupon was offering the course at a 98% discount: only US$9. Click this link to purchase and then get it done. If you have any background in this stuff at all, 120 hours can be done in under 10, if not under 5. 51Talk and other places recommend (or even require) either this TESOL certificate or the TEFL, so it would seem like a good use of time to get it, especially at a 98% discount.

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)

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:

Quiet Townhouses with Ocean View in Reñaca

QUIET LIVING! Beautiful Ocean View in the World’s Best Climate!

Unit N°1 (156m2/1,948sf + 40m2/430sf covered terrace/balcony) 2 stories, 4 bedrooms, 4,5 bathrooms, hardwood kitchen with green granite, 3 big closets and high-up kitchen storage, very large terraces, open-air private Jacuzzi, two parking spaces and large storage unit (10m2), in-floor heating, solar heating system.

Unit N°2 (107m2/1,151sf) 2 stories, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 5 big closets and high-up kitchen storage, balcony, two parking spaces and large storage unit (9m2), hardwood kitchen with green granite, in-floor heating, solar heating system. Dining area can be enlarged 8m2/85sf and include visitor’s half bath (additional cost approx. USD10,000). 

Unit N°3 (100m2/1,076sf) 1 level, 2 bedrooms (one of which is a large living room that converts to a bedroom with two Murphy beds, American kitchen, 3 bathrooms, 3 hardwood shelves/”closets” and laundry area, very large terrace on garden level, one parking space.

New building with three units (or townhouses). All are for sale. A 50% interest is available in N°3, permitting a 60/40 split of rental income and providing a Chilean address and place to live for some/most of the March through December (except Easter weekend, July 15-August 5 and September 15-21). Price for a share in that one is 2,900 UF or half of USD 244,000.

The townhouse for sale is perfect for newcomers from North America or Europe.

Unit N°1 PRICE 10,500 UF (280 million pesos on September 26, 2017) USD 440,000

Unit N°2 PRICE 6,200 UF (165 million pesos on September 26, 2017) USD 260,000

Unit N°3 PRICE 5,800 UF (155 million pesos on September 26, 2017) USD 244,000

Units N°1 and N°3 can be combined to make a much larger 3-story townhouse.

2% discount for cash purchase. Buyer pays all closing costs, including notary, legal and any realtor fees.

50% discount on property taxes for ten years (government discount under law DFL-2)

Very low monthly community fees: 3UF in units N°3 and N°2 and 4.5 UF in N°1. 

Note: The UF is an inflation-indexed currency surrogate that is used in Chile for major purchases and loans. It has a value in pesos that changes daily according to inflation. For example, 0n April 1, 2017, one UF was worth 26,472 pesos (about US$39.69). [UF = 26.650 pesos on Sept. 26, 2017.]

Here is the view:

La gran puesta del sol 31 julio 2015 edificio los arándanos de Reñaca Cobin puesta del sol 31 julio 2015 edificio los arándanos de Reñaca Cobin20150525_185940

Puesta del sol desde los Almendros 1 agosto Los Arándanos de Reñaca Cobin parte 2

Puesta del sol desde los Almendros 1 agosto Los Arándanos de Reñaca Cobin

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IMG_20150108_175356

 Nov 1st sunset

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LOCATION – LOCATION – LOCATION

The location of the new townhouse in northwestern Los Almendros, a highly desirable section of Reñaca, a sector of Viña del Mar.

Street address is José Suárez 185, Reñaca, Viña del Mar,

Longitude/latitude to find the lot with Google Earth: 32°58’00.00″ S  71°31’26.10″ W.

Viña del Mar has been named the city with the best climate in the world on EscapeArtist Chile. It is similar to coastal Southern California. Also see this article that I wrote on Viña del Mar, this one includes Valparaíso and this one that I wrote on Reñaca Beach in 2014. Others that might interest you include:

PLANS

Townhome N°2 is highlighted in yellow in the drawings (designated as “Depto 2”), Like Townhouse N°1, it is two stories and thus is on two different drawings. It is the one indicated as 105.6 meters squared on the plan legend, 107 meters squared if one counts the deep end of the large downstairs closet in the count (1,151 square feet). The deck for Townhouse N°2 is 3.5 meters squared (37 square feet). Townhouse N°1 has a 15m2 balcony and a 25m2 terrace. Townhouse N°3 has a garden terrace of approx. 50m2.  The storage unit (bodega), which could be converted into more living space or an office, is 9 meters squared (97 square feet) for Townhouse N°2 and 10m2 for Townhouse N°1. Both of these later features make the effective living area larger. Some people might consider enclosing the outside flower bed outside Townhouse N°2, enlarging the dining area by 64 square feet, adding a visitor’s half bath and possibly making the balcony larger.

A lot of Americans cannot imagine living in such a “small” space but once in Chile, like Europe or Japan, one gets quite used to living in smaller spaces comfortably, especially when there are common areas for BBQs, grassy yard with fruit trees and view decks, plus large, high-ceiling storage shelves and cabinets, in addition to the square footage for the apartment itself.

Looking down to the apartment from the street, it can be seen at the top of the drawing (for reference, the public area with marble sidewalk starts where the dashed line is indicated, the building property being to the right of it). Looking up at it from the ocean, it is on the upper right with the large view windows of the living room and master bedroom visible in the drawings.

Look at the architectural plans below, which can be downloaded as PDF files and printed. The parts labeled “Bodega” are storage areas, and one has been converted to the maid’s quarters or a fourth bedroom with full bathroom (Townhouse N°1). They have 2.87 meter (about 9.5 foot) ceilings and two go all the way to the property line, seen on the plans as a dashed line (right underneath the parking space, one highlighted in light blue). The rest of the top floor likewise has high ceilings. The apartment comes with two parking spaces, highlighted in yellow in the plans. Visitors can easily park on the street or in the large cul-de-sac, too. The lower floor, back and sides are made of solid reinforced concrete construction, as is the bodega and spine of the upper floor, with welded metal and metal framed (like one would find in low-rise office buildings) and stuccoed construction for the rest, Townhouses N°1 and N°2 share a common wall.

The yellow highlighting shows the kitchen, living and dining room and bedrooms and bathrooms. The outside landing and bodega that pertain to Townhouse N°2 are shaded in other colors.

The street-level, marble rooftop is a common area for gatherings and viewing, especially things like the famous New Years Eve fireworks displays over the port of Valparaíso and other shows over Viña del Mar, Concón and Reñaca. (This area is mixed with the parking area.) The small amount of land that “by law” goes with the apartment by law is not estimated in the highlighting.

Click on the links for each plan image to enlarge it. You can open, print and/or download a clean PDF version of the plans.

nivel-0 PDF here Street level with view deck (commons) and parking spaces, solar heating

 piso-0

nivel-1 PDF here Top floor (kitchen, laundry, living room, dining room, balcony, bodega)

piso-1

nivel-2 PDF here Lower floor (bedrooms, bathrooms and closets)

piso-2

nivel-3 PDF here Lower floor and garden area (commons)

piso-3

VIDEOS AND PHOTOS

The townhome is in a building that features 240 square meters of elegant marble flooring–2,582 square feeet! Residents even park on marble. It is quite elegant and makes the owners feel proud of their home. Much of the marble is on the view deck and staircase, both of which are shared or common areas.

Note: Videos show some debris/incompleteness becasuee they were taken prior to building completion.

View deck and blueberry plants up top

Parking area and View deck

Walk to front door from lawn/garden area below

Marble entrance from street and parking area down to front door Townhouse N°2

Kitchen Townhouse N°2 similar to other kitchens

Climb staircase Townhouse N°2

Master bedroom starting at bathroom Townhouse N°2

Master bedroom starting from hall Townhouse N°2

Study or small bedroom and other bedroom Townhouse N°2

Second bathroom Townhouse N°2

Banister and walk down Townhouse N°2

Cozy living room dining room Townhouse N°2

Kitchen Townhouse N°2

 

Neighborhood

View from up top

Looking down from view deck

Storage unit Townhouse N°2

Garden 

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FEATURES

° solid hardwood (lenga) interior doors, stairway, hand railing

° spacious custom closets, in Townhouses N°1 and N°2, with storage room under the stairs and high up in the kitchen, too, plus the bodega outside.

° black marble entrance way in Townhouses N°1 and N°2.

° hardwood (raulí, cedar o lenga) kitchen cabinets with green granite countertops.

° custom (mostly hardwood) bathroom cabinets with green granite or brown marble countertops

° upgraded bathrooms with European fixtures, one with Jacuzzi tub in Townhouses N°1 and N°2.

° carved-out of the hillside lawn and garden (common areas) on flat area; dramatically cutting wind and any noise, and creating greater earthquake security.

° internal rainwater irrigation support system to reduce plant watering costs

° in-floor radiant heating system in Townhouses N°1 and N°2.

° video phone/camera gate opening system; four exterior security cameras with video feed to household computers.

° solar energy supplement for vital systems and hot water boost in Townhouses N°1 and N°2.

° higher ceilings, 9.3 feet on bottom floor, narly 10 feet on top floor in Townhouses N°1 and N°2.

° engineered cherry wood flooring with areas of porcelain flooring (especially in  in Townhouses N°3 but in all kitchens).

° solid reinforced concrete base and perimeter with and welded metal internal structure, lessening potential dampness problems.

° PVC thermopane windows and terrace door with quiet insulation (Germany).

° Ecological surroundings with 150 blueberry plants and seven different fruit trees plus flowers and summertime fruits and vegetables such as watermelons and tomatoes.

There is only one other year-round resident next door. In the summer there could be carefully-chosen renters in the townhouse below. The environment is very quiet.

 

COMPETITIVE PRICING

This price is competitive for this upscale (class “B-“) area of northwestern Los Almendros de Reñaca. In upper middle class (“C1”) areas of Reñaca, used houses or apartments (even without a view) average 1.3+ million pesos per square meter. Along the coastline, prices are nearly double. The upscale section of Los Almendros tends to be priced in between. The pricing of these units is commanded for its construction quality, its cozy setup with only one other full time family in the building rather than one unit among dozens in a larger building, the fact that it is impossible to obstruct the view, the fact that no elevator is required, the high quality of surrounding homes (some of which are 500m2 to 750m2), and the advantage of having a dwelling that is brand new without any wear and tear or earthquake history.

Earthquakes and Tsunamis?

The building in construction suffered no damage whatever from the September 16, 2015 earthquake (8.4 Richter Scale, epicenter 95 miles north) and hundreds of subsequent aftershocks (more than a dozen of them over 6.0 Richter Scale up to 7.6 Richter Scale). The townhome is safely located at about 124 meters or 410 ft. above sea level, and therefore there is no tsunami threat. Hurricanes have never threatened Chile.

Did we mention LOCATION?

The townhome is located exactly 2km to the Tottus Express supermarket and the many banks, restaurants, mail services, hair salons and shops in Reñaca, and 7km to the Jumbo and Líder Express supermarkets and the strip malls of Concón. The casino and restaurants of Viña del Mar are about 15 minute’s drive. You can see some images of the Reñaca and Concón commercial areas below.2014-01-30 21.10.31

The area is booming with new construction and roadways, making an increase in property value likely. The bus stop for line 607 is only 300 meters away, making it easy for the maid to get to work, or for renters or others to get to the store or the beach. The local bus fare is around 300 pesos or 43 US cents local travel and 68 US cents to central Viña del Mar or Valparaíso. Line 607 comes by every 10-20 minutes (until 9pm/10pm in Summer) and goes to Reñaca, the nice areas and malls in Viña del Mar (and close to the Santiago connections via the Viña del Mar bus terminal) and Valparaíso.

These images are taken from the top of the lot during the day, at sunset and at dusk. The apartment has parking and access from the street level where the photographs were taken and then the owner will walk down a flight of stairs to his apartment entrance. That means that the apartment’s second story will be below street level.

2014-02-14 20.28.47 2014-02-14 20.31.37

COMPARATIVE SHOPPING

Online searching for properties in Reñaca will reveal a wide range of prices that reflect variables like (a) ocean view, (b) proximity to the beach (good for summer, if one can take the summer and long weekend traffic jams, but not for household humidity the rest of the year), (c) proximity to local transportation, schools and shopping, (d) age of the house and its surroundings (including its earthquake experience), (e) physical condition and/or remodeling needs, (f) ability to escape from summer and long weekend traffic jams, (g) tsunami safety, (h) busy-ness of the residential street or loud nightlife parties, (i) adequate parking (for owner and visitors) and storage, and (j) the desirability of the neighborhood in which a property is located (including the quality of surrounding homes, nearby parks, etc.).

There is a link below to an article I wrote about the best neighborhoods in Viña del Mar. The rule of thumb price for newer homes in nicer neighborhoods without ocean views is 1.3 million pesos per square meter. This property obvious offers much more and thus should fetch over 2 million pesos per square meter. It is a good deal and a place you will enjoy coming home to. 100_3591

For example, these “cookie cutter” tract homes 1km down the street in the “C1” section of Los Almendros are selling for ~US$250,000. The location is nice, but there is no view of the ocean, and the homes are of noticeably lower quality.

LAYOUT

In the drawing with the windows, the apartment is on the upper right side (as seen from the ocean). It is an inverted “T” shape, wider on the first floor (-2) than the protruding, twice as long (deep) second floor (-1) with its obviously independent roof-line. The architect put figurines on the apartment’s deck in the drawings above.

Layout details: 2 stories, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, big-windowed living room and dining area (white PVC thermopane), kitchen, marble entrance with a garden where flowers and shrubs can be put in, or it may be converted into more living space or a Jacuzzi; a deck for outdoor relaxation or place to put your BBQ on the street level or on the garden level below, large storage area (bodega) and parking space. Radiant floor heating and solar panel support. The bottom floor (-2) has the master bedroom with bathroom, another bathroom and two other bedrooms, one of which could be used as a study or a den. The apartment is located on a secure cul-de-sac and thus has no significant traffic or loud parties.

NO ELEVATOR REQUIRED

Yes! No elevator is required, which is an advantage given that this is technically a townhouse or condo setting. You will have to take stairs one level down from the parking area and front gate, a walkway which could be beautifully lined with flowers. Remember that in Viña del Mar, flowers grow like weeds. You can already see the garden setting that has been put in, along with a rainwater collection system with 13,000 liters of irrigation storage.

WHAT YOU GET FOR THE PRICE


Finish work:
  • “Porcelanato” and engineered cherry wood floors 
  • Hardwood interior doors and entry door.
  • Walls painted in a neutral tone in Townhouse N°2 with white crown moldings, other in Townhouses N°1 and N°3 have green walls and some colored rooms.
  • Central heating and water heating system with solar heating support and solar backup for pumps and key outlets in Townhouses N°1 and N°2.
  • Cherry colored wood baseboards
  • Hardwood (lenga) hand railings, stairs in Townhouses N°1 and N°2.
  • Bedrooms with closets, except Townhouse N°3 that has open hardwood shelving.
  • Kitchen with tall, hardwood-faced cabinets (not typical in Chile)  in Townhouses N°1 and N°2.
  • Bathrooms with upgraded tile floor and toilet, sink and tub/shower in one bathroom, spa tub in the other.
  • The bottom floor and back half of the first floor is made of reinforced concrete (hormigón), with the remainder being thermically-efficient steel beam framed on concrete backing, nestled against the hillside. 
  • Efficient LED light fixtures are included, which is not typical for Chile.
  • Wider oven in Townhouses N°1 and N°2., dishwasher, modern faucets, gas range and hood; gas dryer connection ready in Townhouses N°1 and N°2.
  • No curtains or blinds are included.
  • Some appliances are included: range, hood, sink, wash basin.

Note: Central heating is installed in the floors in Townhouses N°1 and N°2, but air conditioning is not needed in Reñaca.  in Townhouses N°3 uses a portable heater and has a natural gas Calefont water heating unit

AGAIN: WORLD’S BEST WEATHER

The EscapeArtist Chile mentioned above referenced this article online from a weather expert that says that Viña del Mar has the best weather and climate for humans in the world.

LANDSCAPING

Landscaping is not included in the main entrance way flower bed but is provided everywhere else on the property. Flower gardens are easy in this climate. The backyard has grass, flowers, blueberry bushes and fruit trees planted (cherry, apple, pear, minature lemon, orange, two avocados, fig), along with some occasional vegetables. The main home and apartments are not built on fill.

RESERVE THE PROPERTY WITH 15% DOWN

You can reserve one of these properties with a non-refundable deposit of 25% down.

The Chilean tax IDs are 3032-564 for townhome N°1 and 3032-568 plus 3032-569 for its bodegas (storage units). The Chilean tax IDs are 3032-565 for townhome N°2 and 3032-567 for its bodega (storage unit). The two in-line parking spaces assigned to each of these units do not require a separate tax ID. The Chilean tax ID is 3032-566 for Townhome N°3. It has only one parking space and no bodega.

Chilean residents can go to a bank and borrow the full amount for the property.

LOW CONDO FEES

“Gastos comunes” (condo fees) will be much lower than typical properties. The apartment will have its own property tax account, its own water, internet/TV, phone, gas and electricity bills.

The apartment owner will pay to keep up his terrace, electric gate opener, gate or fence damage, pipes and wiring maintenance or repair and walkway/patio repairs or changes.

A fund used to pay for the following common exterior items will be created:

  • Painting of walls and front gate or fencing
  • Wall and roof repair
  • Rain gutter upkeep
  • Sewage pump maintenance and replacement every 2-3 years
  • Lawn, flowers and tree/bush/plant irrigation
  • Lighting in common areas
  • Solar systems maintenance

The main property owner (Townhouse #1) will be in charge of having this work done when it is needed.

The charge will be UF2 every month, for Townhouses N°2 and N°3 which is about US$78, and UF 3,5 in Townhouse N°1. It will need to be deposited by you directly into a designated bank savings account. Instead of paying the low condo fees in this apartment, people that buy other apartments (condos) in buildings frequently pay more than $1,250 per quarter.

A lien will be placed against the property for the amount due, a penalty of 10% extra for each month the payment is late, and interest charged at 20% per year. In addition, the Townhouses N°1 and N°2 buyer agrees that his bodega titles will be forfeited after one year of not paying this small maintenance fee. Obviously, the penalty is large just to make sure that the apartment owner never falls behind.

The repairs and upkeep will be done when needed with no specific time frame. Should there be a major problem like dry rot or weather/earthquake damage, the costs of repair will be shared proportionally. This cost is above and beyond the UF 2 /3.5 charge every month.

All owners will agree to maintain fire and earthquake insurance on the property. This coverage should offset many repair costs due to fire or weather.

Please keep in mind that there are technically three living units in the building but one family will be using two of them, unless one of those units is rented or even sold later on. This is a pretty intimate relationship that family will share with the apartment purchaser.

RESTRICTIONS

The apartment owner will agree to make sure that the colors and materials remain uniform. The restrictive covenants have been recorded with the Chilean equivalent of the county recorder, called the Conservador de Bienes Raíces.

The buyer will also agree that no loud parties will take place, especially after midnight, by himself or by renters.

LOW MAINTENANCE EXTERIOR

The brick exterior will be as low-maintenance as possible for a pacific coastal climate.

The small roof area is covered with “estate grey” color asphalt shingles.

The double-pane windows are white PVC window frames from Germany, providing high security and energy efficiency. They provide a quiet interior, too.

RENTAL INCOME

Also note that the apartment owner has full rights to rent out his apartment, of course, which can be quite lucrative in Reñaca during the summer months Dec. 26th to March 5th, and still possible after those months at at least 50% occupancy. Furnished places can get around 2 million pesos per month in the Summer if administered well (USD 100-150 per night), especially in January and February, and also good rent during the week prior to Easter, the last two weeks of July (winter break) and the week around Chilean independence (September 18th). The best ways to rent out a Townhome are with Booking.com or Tripadvisor.com. During the non-summer months, people from Santiago also come and rent furnished places for about the same rate, viz. once again, in mid to late July (winter break), Easter week, long weekends around May 1st, May 21st and October 31st-November 1st, as well as the week around Independence Day (September 18th). So there are other rental opportunities during the year from Chileans. A market also exists to rent to foreigners that visit Chile for short periods. In general, one can expect 90% occupancy and full price during the summer, and about 30% less with 50% to 70% occupancy during the rest of the year, on average.

100_3198

For those that want to keep a unit as a full-time rental all year, many people rent to university students, maybe 5 students to an apartment, for $175 per month each, during the rest of the year. But doing so is probably not going to yield as much as using online services.

Bear in mind that the owner is responsible to make sure that renters agree not “to party” or make lots of noise, especially after midnight.

Others keep their coastal apartments open for their own use during the rest of the year. Viña del Mar is a great place to live year-round and one might consider doing so or leaving it open for weekend use even if they live in Santiago most of the time.

Another choice is to live in northwestern Los Almendros de Reñaca from March through December and then rent the house for the summer while the owner rents a place down by the southern Chilean lakes and mountains or travels abroad. A very pleasant option for those that like to travel!

WINTER HUMIDITY

There is some humidity problem in this location during the wintertime that can easily be dealt with by running dehumidifiers. Listen to the evidence from the market. Locals tend not to live close to the beach for a reason, and lower price is not the only one. They want to avoid even higher humidity indoors. Townhouses N°1 and N°2 are designed to reduce dampness even further with partial steel beam framing.2014-04-26 19.26.15

TAX BREAK

Because the property is new construction and under 140m2, Chilean law DFL-2 provides for a 50% reduction in property taxes for 10 years. I do not know what the effective taxes will be, but I am guessing that they will initially be around 70,000 pesos (US$125) per quarter. They could be less.

If you are interested, please send an email to osorno7@earthlink.net or call +56-32-3277712.

Here are some other images of the area. The neighborhood park, near the bus stop, is just 300 meters from the apartment.

P1040131 P1040121 P1040130

 Houses in the neighborhood (seen in the photos below), across the street, have between 400 m2 and 750 m2, or around 4,300 sq. ft. to 8,000 sq. ft., while adjacent apartments tend to be around 140 m2 or 1,500 sq. ft. The cul-de-sac located apartment you will be buying is located in good company for sure!

P1040128 P1040127 P1040124 P1040123 2014-07-16 12.14.02 2014-07-16 12.13.47

See a couple photos of local buses below, running through Reñaca sector, the first one being number 607, stopped at the little plaza near the property.

IMG_20150120_191735 2014-07-16 12.26.19 P1040134

Strip malls, the small Reñaca mall and other nearby shopping and services, including the new Tottus Express supermarket, all less than 2 kilometers away.

IMG-20141218-WA0009

IMG-20141218-WA0011

IMG-20141218-WA0013

IMG-20141218-WA0015

 The Reñaca area offers all the conveniences of life: restaurants, supermarkets with a wide variety of goods, beauty salons, banks, mail services, money and exchange services, appliance stores, fast food, stationery stores, and more:

2014-07-16 12.25.19 2014-07-16 11.58.50 2014-07-16 11.32.45   P1040113 2014-07-16 11.30.14 P1040111 P1040110  P1040107 P1040105 P1040104 P1040102 P1040101 P1040100

If you’re seriously interested in this wonderful opportunity, send an email or fill out the form below and I’ll get back with you as soon as possible. Please don’t use this form for any other purpose.

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:

Important New (Mostly Bad) Legislation in Chile

Besides the imminent opening of the new Metro Line 6 in central Santiago, and the fabulous season-end flop of the Chilean national soccer team, along with the upcoming presidential and congressional elections on November 19, 2017, hardly anything has been more polemical than the controversial, new legislation that has passed, which has been recently affirmed and is now being implemented by the Chilean Left. Indeed, the Left is making its mark before losing power, and the resulting tattoo is bad for Chile.

First, the least-pernicious change: as of September 2018, Chile will have a 16th region. The new region of Ñuble will be split off the north end of the 8th Region (Concepción) and will thus be comprised of only about 440,000 inhabitants. Nearby regions have almost twice that amount. The provincial capital will be Chillán. It is still unclear how this new region will benefit the Left, other than that it creates a whole new level of bureaucracy and wastethings that leftists typically love—and this new region will have its own legislators—although it is unclear that they will be from the Left, given that the central valley farm belt towns do not tend to vote leftist.

Second, Chile is no longer a pro-life country, at least not in legal practice. The Left has successfully subverted the Constitution. The Chilean Constitution of 1980, Chapter 3, Article 19, Paragraph 1 says that, “La constitución asegura a todas las personas el derecho a la vida y la integridad física y psíquica de la persona. La ley protege la vida del que está por nacer.” That affirmation means, “The constitution ensures all persons the right to life and their physical and mental integrity. The law protects the life of the unborn.” [Emphasis added]

Yet, in spite of Chile’s constitutional provision to protect life from the point of conception, the Left rammed a bill through the Chilean Congress that permits abortion in the three cases of (1) the life of the mother being in jeopardy, (2) the baby being deformed or defective and (3) rape. The Right challenged the new legislation in constitutional court and just recently lost. (Chilean judges tend to be leftists.) As a result, just like in the United States, the Constitution simply does not matter. By extension, Americans should be put on notice that even obtaining a right to life amendment to the U.S. Constitution would have little or no effect on saving the unborn in the face of leftist meddling and manipulation.

What’s worse, the rule allows women to self-declare or self-proclaim that they were raped, without evidence, in order to obtain an abortion. They do not have to report the rape to the police, ask the fiscal (District Attorney) to prosecute the named aggressor or be certified as having been raped by a doctor (with a sample of residual semen and DNA taken). Chilean culture is full of lying and mistrust, of course, and thus this new legislation has virtually achieved the same openness toward abortion on demand as found in North America, China and Europe.

The policy is a real tragedy for Chile and liberty, as innocent unborn human beings can now be slaughtered with impunity. The fact that a child’s father is a horrible man (or even a criminal) should not lead to the unborn human being compelled to die, in order to adjudicate the crime of another. Doing so is inherently cruel and certainly anti-libertarian.

Obviously, the mother should be compensated by enslaving the perpetrator for 18 or 23 years, or more, once the legal facts are established and the accused is found guilty. But killing an innocent party for the crime of another cannot be just. The internet has many videos and articles featuring adults that were generated as a result of rape. I suggest you watch one or two of them. Nevertheless, the rape issue matters little in the Chilean case, since the “rape” exception is just a leftist ruse to permit a backdoor means of limitless abortion on demand.

There is some hope that the rule will change once the Right is back in power and once Chileans realize that the rule allows de facto abortion on demand. At least very few, if any, “doctors” are stepping up to the plate to start the murderous racket so far. Abortion is not widely approved of in Chile. Even so, one of the things I have liked most about Chile as a libertarian has been trashed: very negative news indeed.

Third, the famous binomial parliamentary election system in Chile has been replaced, both houses of Congress have been redistricted, and the number of diputado and senado seats have been increased by approximately 30%, from 120 to 155 and 38 to 50, respectively These changes will likely favor the Left by removing the binomial protection of minority interests.

Under the new system, individual parties will continue to form coalitions. The highest vote-getter in each coalition will serve as a benchmark, with the second place candidate being assigned a value of one-half of the benchmark, the third place candidate a value of one-third, the fourth place candidate a value of one-fourth and the fifth place candidate a value of one fifth of the benchmark. This method was developed by D’Hont.

After the final scoring is tabulated for all coalitions, the score sheets are merged and winners are assigned from each coalition. Since some places in Chile are dominated by the Left (mainly) or the Right, one can expect that the benchmark value for the favored party will be so high that the opposition parties will hardly be able to have their top vote-getters exceed 50%, 33%, 25% or even 20% of the favored party’s benchmark figure. Thus, in some places, it is evident that four or five seats (maybe more in some congressional districts?) will go to the dominant coalition’s candidates.

New senator counts: Smaller regions will have only two senadores: 15th (Arica), 1st (Iquique), 3rd (Copiapó), 16th (Chillán), 11th (Coyhaique) and 12th (Punta Arenas). Middle-sized ones will have three: 2nd (Antofagasta), 4th (La Serena), 6th (Rancagua), 8th (Concepción), 14th (Valdivia) and 10th (Puerto Montt). Larger regions will have five: the Santiago Metropolitan area, 5th (Valparaíso), 7th (Talca) and 9th (Temuco). One-half of all senators and all congressmen are elected during each presidential election cycle.

New congressmen counts: Extreme northern and southern regions will have only on district with three diputados: 15th (Arica), 1st (Iquique), 11th (Coyhaique) and 12th (Punta Arenas). Of the remaining regions, smaller-sized ones will have one district with five of them: 2nd (Antofagasta), 3rd (Copiapó), 16th (Chillán) and 14th (Valdivia). The 4th (La Serena) has one district, too, but with seven diputados. Middle-sized regions will have two districts with varying numbers of congressmen: eight in each of the two for the 5th (Valparaíso), five in one and four in the other in the 6th (Rancagua), seven in one and four in the other in the 7th (Talca), eight in one and five in the other in the 8th (Concepción), seven in one and four in the other in the 9th (Temuco) and five in one and four in the other in the 10th (Puerto Montt). The Santiago Metropolitan area has seven districts, two with eight congressmen, two with seven, two with six, and one with five.
In total, there will be 29 congressional districts across the 16 regions of Chile (as of September 2018), of which 7 (24.1%) pertain to the Santiago metropolitan area. The Santiago metropolitan area has 30.3% of all Chilean congressmen, the 5th Region (Valparaíso/Viña del Mar), 10.3%, and the 8th Region (Concepción/Talcahuano), 8.4%. Some fear that the new distribution and gerrymandering will benefit the Left, but it is still unclear how, except that they might possibly pick up extra seats in heavily-leftist areas of the country under the D’Hont system.
The system does benefit libertarian independent candidates significantly, since they can gain a seat in Congress with just 11% of the vote in the largest districts of Santiago and the 5th and 8th regions, and 25% in the smallest districts, with 13%, 15%, 17% or 20% needed in districts with sizes in between. Under the previous system, independents needed 5% more votes (e.g., 30% in smaller districts) to have a shot. It would be nice to get a true libertarian in the Chilean Congress from central or northeastern Santiago, Viña del Mar, Concón, Temuco, Villarrica, Pucón or San Pedro de la Paz!
Fourth, a stupid new gender rule has been imposed upon political parties and coalitions, requiring that all coalitions have at no more than 60% of their candidates from one gender. Noncompliance will result in all the candidates from the offending coalition being removed from the ballot. As a special incentive, the government (taxpayer) will award UF500 (US$21,400) to a party for each female candidate that it successfully gets elected. In addition, the victorious woman will get a prize from the state of UF0.01 (US$0.43) for each vote she received, which may be used to reimburse campaign expenses. This sort of blatant feminist public policy is nothing less than sickening, and bodes poorly for Chile.
Finally, here is a legal change from back in 2014 that I have not gotten around to reporting until now: personal bankruptcy is now possible in Chile. Before that year, only companies could file for bankruptcy protection. Bankruptcy may be declared once every five years. I view this as a positive step, especially in a country where credit card and personal/consumer loan (“signature”) debts can all now be secured eventually by real property. That’s right: there is no such thing as unsecured debt in Chile insofar as banks and credit institutions are concerned. By charging exorbitant interest rates for such products, those institutions get to have their cake and eat it, too.
On balance, other than this last bit of bankruptcy legislation, none of these new rules bodes well for Chile. Even though the country stands head and shoulders above other nations of the world in terms of possible ex-pat destinations, it appears that it should now be knocked down a bit.
Time will tell if the new 16th Region and the new parliamentary election rules will end up being negative or positive on balance. The first test will come during the November 2017 elections. We will also see if the evil or stupid abortion and feminist policy rules stand up under the expected right-leaning government to come. So, do not be so quick to cross Chile off your list of country candidates. Other places are still much worse. And some things might actually improve in Chile yet! Thankfully, the current mood is very anti-Left.

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:

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