Libertarian Influence | Escape America Now
Escape America Now

Archives for Libertarian Influence

A Note on the 2017 Chilean Primary Elections

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

However, this year (2017) the “Right” is having a primary election for its three top contenders on Sunday, July 2nd. Besides former president Sebastián Piñera (independent, populist, center-right), the other two candidates from the Right are Senator Miguel José Ossandón (an independent, ignorant-but-popular, centrist, pragmatic populist) and Representative (diputado) pro-life, libertarian-leaning Felipe Kaast (political evolution party).

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

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

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

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

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

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

Achieving that would mark an historic victory for the Right and put it firmly in the political driver’s seat. For that reason, some libertarians I know will be voting for Piñera instead of Kaast in July. They like Kaast better, of course, but are being pragmatic. They also see Kaast as just warming up now so that he can take the bid in 2021. Could be the case. I am no fan of Piñera. I am a libertarian. But I am a fan of Chile and I must confess that Chile will probably fare far better under Piñera than Guillier or Goic.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Right´s Landslide Victory in Chile’s 2016 Mayoral Elections

The Chilean Right (which includes libertarians), absolutely dominated the Left in the Chilean mayoral elections on October 23, 2016. This was very good news for expatriates living in Chile, or those in beleaguered Northern Hemisphere countries wanting to come to Chile, as well as for investors looking to start businesses and projects in Chile. Just as the 2012 Left-dominated mayoral elections predicted the outcome of the 2013 general elections for President and Congress, so the 2016 election would suggest that Chileans will swing back to the Right in 2017. There is an interactive electoral map of Chile by comuna so that one can see the distribution of parties. A list of results can be found here.

Source – emol

The Right won many larger population centers and independents, which tend to be Right-leaning, took many others. In effect, the Left was slaughtered and its representatives largely banished to many little towns.

The main population centers that were gained or retained by the Left  were Puerto Mont, Los Ángeles, Curicó, Quilpué and Coyhaique, along with many of its usual dens in metropolitan Santiago: Pudahuel, Cerro Navia, Independencia, Recoleta, San Ramón, San Joaquín, El Bosque, El Monte, Cerrillos and Talagante. The center-left (Christian Democrats) took Huecheraba, Quinta Normal, Renca, Lo Espejo, La Granja, La Cisterna, Peñalolén, La Pintana, Lo Prado, Peñaflor, Isla de Maipo and Calera del Tango.

The Right got back central Santiago and Providencia (former presidential candidate Evelyn Matthei won there). It also took Estación Central, Ñuñoa (with a right wing independent), La Reina, La Florida, San Bernardo, Padre Hurtado, Puente Alto, Maipú (with a right wing independent), Lampa, Melipilla, Paine, San José de Maipo and Buin. There was no doubt about the Right’s habitual lopsided wins in upscale comunas of Las Condes, Vitacura, and Lo Barnechea whose races, like usual, were not even close.

In the 5th Region, the Right got Viña del Mar and farming towns La Calera, La Cruz, Los Andes and Olmué. Its big wins in larger population centers elsewhere included Rancagua (with a right wing independent), Calama, Talcahuano, Talca, Linares, Valdivia, Castro, Punta Arenas and Temuco. It also took many smaller to moderately-sized cities like Frutillar, Río Bueno, La Unión, Fresia, Pucón, Villarrica, Puerto Octay, Futrono, Lago Ranco, Lanco, Loncoche, Gorbea, Puerto Natales, Chaitén, Arauco, Angol, Puerto Aysén and Chonchi.

Valparaíso and Concón fell to independents and, in metropolitan Santiago, so did Maipú, Quilicura, Conchalí, Pedro-Aguirre-Cerda and Macul. Elsewhere, independents scooped up Antofagasta, Iquique, Copiapó, Ovalle, Curacaví, Chañaral, Graneros, Santa Cruz, Ancud and Puerto Varas. Even where the Right did not win, in many cases either a moderate Left or independent did so. Hence, clearly, Chileans have shifted to the Right.

pueblos_indigenas1

Arica elected the Liberal Party candidate, which is like left-leaning libertarian in the United States in many respects, or one might say that it is the “best” of the Left. Northern Chile is largely leftist, so the swing toward the Liberal Party and to so many independents, plus Calama’s fall to the Right, indicated the rightward swing in general.

The hard left had a hard time getting elected anywhere, except Recoleta and Vallenar, even in the north where lots of independents and centrists won. Plus, it got smaller areas like Tierra Amarilla, Taltal, Diego de Almagro, Colchane, Nogales, Bulnes and San Fabián. La Serena still went Left though, like usual. Chilean news services said that the Left and socialists suffered a derrota (crushing defeat). President Bachelet and former President Lagos blamed it on abstention. There was only 34% voter turnout. There was 42% in 2012. Bachelet assured the country a few days later that the election did not reflect the country turning to the Right. She must be living in fantasyland!

The upshot of all of this is that Chile is becoming more desirable once again for libertarians. The country has really suffered at the hands of the Left for the last few years, and even the common man can see it. Left politicians have very low approval ratings. While the Chilean Right is hardly an exact fit for libertarians, just like the Republican Party in the United States is not for Ron Paul, but it is by far more conducive to libertarian views than the Left is.

Lesser Evil

In the United States, people are about the be Trumped or Hillaried. Either choice is really bad and should underscore the coming downfall and your sign to get out of Dodge as soon as possible. However, the recent Chilean elections should give one hope in an increasingly interventionists, statist, warring world: there is at least one place to flee to.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Looking to Leave America? You Should Be More Scared than You Are!

I was reflecting recently on some differences between Chile and the United States. This is an election year in the Land of the Free, and the candidates are so unpopular that the Libertarian Party is even getting considerable support. I should be overjoyed but, alas, even as a libertarian, I cannot get behind the libertarian ticket since Gary Johnson is in favor of abortion–a common American malady. There is no more egregious tyranny than killing innocent human beings on account of their underdevelopment, their inconvenience or because human reproduction requires the use of a womb. Yet, this sort of hypocrisy among American libertarians is widespread. At least one-half of American libertarians are willing to kill an unborn human being if the womb-provider objects to his existence.

This sort of irony traces back to great American libertarians like Thomas Jefferson, who enslaved people and even engendered children by some of his slaves. Then there were even greater American tyrants, albeit non-libertarians of course, like Abraham Lincoln, who feigned an anti-slavery posture to promote his own power at the expense of over 660,000 lives.

Chile’s libertarian element is not so calloused or brutal. Indeed, I find most of them to be far more consistent libertarians than their American counterparts.

Nevertheless, Chileans are also great hypocrites. Abortion is illegal in nearly all cases here and yet abortion still occurs. They say one thing and do another in this respect, so long as their unblemished image can be upheld. Chileans are so preoccupied about their public image that they go to great lengths to dress up in public, so as not to appear, for instance, as a day-laborer or maid en route. Plus, they try to get a home (even if poorly-built) in one of the best sections of town. Then they can boast of living among the upper classes. They buy image and status through acquiring a respectable address.

If you examine the construction quality of upper class apartments, you will usually find that the front door and foyer are lavish, well-built items; the landscaping and manicured lawn outside are often subpurb, too. However, true to Chilean hypocritical imagery, the quality of windows, doors, flooring, kitchen and bathrooms (among other things) inside each apartment is mediocre.

Socially speaking, most Chileans are not virtuous. The great majority secretly applaud lying, cheating and even stealing at times, often making jokes about how artful and adroit Chilean thieves are. Everyone laughs at those jokes since they know the substance to be true. Surely, the upper classes do not like being robbed, but loss by theft is sort of taken for granted in Chilean society.

Chilean “justice” is a joke for the most part, as I have commented on previously. People have to fend for themselves if they want justice and protection. Maybe laughing at the degraded level of their fellow Chileans is a way of coping with the reality of living in a dishonest society. It is a sad state of affairs.

Yet, people here get offended when I or others point out the foibles of Chilean culture. They do not want to hang out their dirty laundry for the world to see, and especially immigrants like me should never violate this sanctum of Chilean culture. They want the world to see Chile at its best as the most prosperous nation in Latin America and sophisticated enough to rescue its 33 trapped miners in 2010. For this reason, they all come together to support their soccer team when it wins international championships. They love to bask in favorable international limelight. Hence, there is an odd unity and solidarity here in terms of sports even if people do not trust each other.

The difference, then, between cultures up yonder and Chilean culture is that Chileans are desconfiados. While most Americans truly believe what others say or that the “system” works, Chileans do not. Ironically, one reason that Chile does not have an institutionalized welfare state like the United States, Canada, Australia or Europe is precisely because Chileans do not trust others; they know that their fellow countrymen will game the system. Thus, Chilean welfare benefits are not as widespread or lavish.

In Chile, no one is surprised when a politician gets his hand stuck in the cookie jar or is found to be corrupt. Such behavior is expected. On the one hand, in the “Land of the Free,” people still tend to be shocked or at least believe that such problems are confined to an elite political class of Clintons or Bushes. Some believe that a man like Trump will really be different since he is an “outsider.” When he turns out to be just as bad or worse, then these true believers will be temporarily disheartened. However, memories are short and in just four more years they will be ripe pickings for the next demagogue that comes along.

On the other hand, Chileans do not see things the way Americans do. They know that most candidates are running more for their personal gain than to serve the public interest or principles. They are used to people trying to beguile them and thus are not as easily beguiled.

Nevertheless, when it comes to successful policies of the Right, Chileans tend to be frequently tricked. In a recent interview on public television with José Piñera, the founder of the private Chilean pension system (AFP), that is now used in thirty countries, the leftist commentator and interviewer tried to paint the AFP system as a bad thing. He showed anecdotal evidence where a few pensioners interviewed claimed that they were only earning pensions of 200,000 pesos (US$300) per month. No one inquired if they had paid in to their plan for all years or if there were large gaps in payments (lagunas). Private social security only works if one saves. Like José Piñera said, the system may be a fabulous Mercedes Benz but if you do not put fuel into the tank then it will not serve you well. Moreover, one pension provider released data showing that the average pension for many thousands of men that had contributed for over 30 years is 650,000 pesos (US$1,000) per month, which is 6% more than the targeted 70% of replacement income sought by the system. Thus, the system is working, even with imperfections, but the Left will simply lie and discount this fact, which can be very frustrating for rightists and libertarians once the crafty leftists convince disgruntled voters. The Left is a constant problem. Even the best parts of Chilean economic life are being rattled, just like the Left continues to rattle countries in the Northern Hemisphere.

But let us be candid: while Chile has its problems, America has much greater problems (and so does Europe). Moreover, America does not have benefits like AFP that Chile established. It still is beleaguered by socialism. Whether Trump or Hillary wins, Americans will still pay far more taxes than Chileans do (perhaps four times more); their government will still kill innocent people at home or abroad (directly or indirectly); they will still have a raging, violent society, with brutal cops; they will still be affected by an ignorant populace, dumbed-down by the public school and media addictions; they will still face the hardships of political correctness and the undue burdens of over-regulation or property confiscations (either Kelo-style or by customs agents); they will face horrific danger from family court scoundrels and child services division thugs; they will still face a declining standard of living and egregious manipulations of the currency by the central bank; they will suffer from the fallout of pressure groups seeking privileges: homosexual activists, radical feminists, anti-religious people, radical ecologists and welfare cadets; they will have to face increasing socialism, Obamacare and welfare Ponzi schemes like Social Security.

Therefore, for all the negative things that one can says about Chile, America is far worse. All of the bad things just listed are prevalent and growing in America but have yet to take a foothold in Chile. I am not saying that Chile will never have such maladies, but for now we have mercifully fewer of them. Indeed, if you are living in America, you should be more scared than ever before! Chileans have little to fear from the civil authority, as bad as things might be here. But in America (and Europe) one faces a real and growing threat. Denying this fact will not make it go away.

Lesser Evil

Are you sick and tired of putting up with it in America or Europe? Why not consider Chile as a freer, saner alternative? It is not a perfect place, but you can more easily cope with social evils here than those common throughout most of the Northern Hemisphere. You can live in relative peace, and have a beautiful ocean view in Viña del Mar like I do, at a reasonable price.

The first step you should take is to buy the book Life in Chile (ordering instructions below) and read it in its entirety. Next step is to become a member of EscapeAmericaNow.info and participate in the monthly webinar. These two things will get you well-informed. Decide if you simply want to “get out of Dodge” or just establish a Plan B residence in Chile, “just in case.” Then make your reservations to come down and acquire the original, certified documents you will need to obtain a visa.

Do not neglect to move a substantial portion of your assets offshore. Without money, you will not be able to do anything. By delaying, you only hurt yourself and damage your own chances of survival.

Do not procrastinate. The world situation is not a board game. It is real and is coming your way quickly. If there were ever a time to be afraid or a little worried, it is now.

Also posted here on Steemit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cryptocurrency – Legit or Not?

I don’t get to post here as often as John does. Let’s face it – he’s the Chile expert. But once in a while something comes up that I can help out with, so I’ll offer some thoughts and/or insight.

First, a disclaimer: I’m not a tech expert and I do not fully understand cryptocurrencies. Very few people do. Having said that, their design and the tools available are such that you really don’t have to be a techy to get involved. It’s just a matter of learning the ins and outs. You do need some pretty advanced knowledge if you really want to maximize their potential, though.

Ever since Bitcoin (BTC or XBT) made it’s big splash, hundreds of smaller currencies have tried to jump on board too. The most prominent of these include Litecoin (LTC), Dogecoin (XDG), Ripple (XRP), Namecoin (NMC), Stellar (STR) and Ven (XVN), among others. Most have waned, being sort of interesting sideshows more than anything. A couple of them have made early adopters wealthy, simply because they multiplied in value since their inception. It’ll be interesting to see which ones stand the test of time.

The strength of BTC lies in a few factors.

  • It was the first successful digital currency. That gives it weight that the others can’t enjoy. They’ll always be competing with and compared to Bitcoin.
  • The equation for mining continues to increase in difficulty. Eventually it will be impossible, which limits the total possible number of Bitcoin to 21 million. As of today, 15,645,775 have already been mined. However, many have been lost for various reasons, which may or may not negate the continued increase in production.
  • They are easily transferable
  • They are mostly anonymous (depending on how you use them, where you store them, what services you use, etc).
  • They are infinitely divisible

Some of these qualities make it comparable to gold, and certainly superior to centrally controlled fiat currencies.

Gold                                             Bitcoin

Yes            Limited supply            Yes

Yes                 Portable                 Yes

                        Yes                 Divisible                 Yes, even more so

Yes                 Durable                 Yes

                         Yes            Inherent Value           Not really, but kinda

Centrally controlled currencies, on the other hand, are not limited in supply, are not endlessly divisible and have no inherent value other than the material they’re made of. Bitcoin’s inherent value is based on the fact that it requires energy to create and it is limited. But it really has no other value, so, while superior to centrally controlled currencies, it really doesn’t have inherent value.

Depending on your goals, desires and personal philosophy, the advantages of crypto-currencies may vary. If you appreciate anonymous or unreported transport and trade of currency, then there’s nothing like it. And vast amounts of wealth can be stored nicely, though subject to incredible volatility. So you’ll have to decide for yourself if it’s something that will work for you. There are places where trading in and for BTC will be difficult, but all of the advanced world is open to BTC trade, even where it’s frowned upon by the state.

While we won’t discuss all the coins above, there are three more crypto-related instruments I do want to discuss. One, Ether (ETH), is a cryptocurrency akin to BTC. It’s designed to work on the blockchain, but the language behind it is different. The purpose of its developers was to make it more conducive to peer to peer contractual negotiations, without the need for a middleman or any type of escrow. The contract itself serves as a sort of escrow, requiring both parties to finalize fulfillment. I’d like to share more, but it’s a bit over my head.

Just as with BTC, early adopters of ETH have profited handsomely, even though the coin has only been openly trading for a few months. In an effort to raise funds, Ethereum (behind the creation of ETH) presold ETH for BTC a couple of years ago. The USD price equivalent was less than 50 cents, varying according to fluctuations of BTC at the time and at what stage early investors entered into ETH. With a current price hovering around US$14, the earliest adopters have seen an increase in US$ value far exceeding 2800% – hardly something to sneeze at, especially considering that it’s only been trading for several months.

Another new crypto-instrument (not coin) is DAO (Decentralized Autonomous Organization). DAO had an initial offering of DAO tokens that could be purchased with ETH. Once this adoption phase was over, no more DAO were created, thus locking in the total available. The goal if DAO is stated clearly on their site – “The DAO’s Mission: To blaze a new path in business organization for the betterment of its members, existing simultaneously nowhere and everywhere and operating solely with the steadfast iron will of unstoppable code.” Those holding DAO can “invest” in various entrepreneurial efforts, though there doesn’t yet seem to be a clear structure to how this will work. You can find more information than you can absorb in the link above.

There are various places where you can trade these instruments. However, Kraken has jumped to the fore in recent months, perhaps offering traders the greatest versatility in trading ETH, BTC, DAO and other currencies/tokens.

For buying and selling BTC only, many appreciate LocalBitcoins. You can list your coins and sell to someone local, offer cash sales, transfer upon cash deposit or other methods of payments. Or you can search their ads for someone who might be selling coins near where you are, in many places around the world. Volume is high in the US, but not so much in many areas. Make sure you look closely at the spreads, consider how much you want to pay/sell for and be careful about verifying funds received and/or marking the trade as paid if you are buying. Marking it paid must be done within a defined time period, usually three hours, in order to lock the coins in escrow. Failure to do so within the prescribed time period may result in you losing the coins, depending upon the integrity of the buyer. LocalBitcoins will intervene in obvious situations, but who wants to go through that hassle?

While I think DAO will work well, I don’t really know what to expect of it. Time will tell. ETH seems pretty much unstoppable. During it’s presell period, I shared it with many friends. Not one of them jumped in. When it started trading, I shared with a few friends again. To my knowledge, only one jumped in and bought some. Within three months he had tripled his value in US$. As of today, he has roughly five times the value of his original investment. Obviously he’s pleased with his acquisition.

There’s another attempt to get into the crypto-currency market from an MLM angle. These sometimes work wonderfully, but often fall short as well. Early adopters almost always do quite well, while those who wait tend to flag a bit behind or even fail to realize a full return on their investment. It’s speculative, but also rewards those who are willing to work at promoting it.

one-coin

The company is called OneCoin, and must be differentiated from BTC and ETH (DAO is different anyways, and the others are small players). OneCoin is set up to get as many people involved as possible through somewhat of a pyramid structure that rewards those who promote it best. Tokens are provided for your efforts, as well as cash and actual coins. Tokens can be “invested” in mining, but also multiply over time. This challenges the holder to decide whether to invest now or wait until they have more. Like Bitcoin, the mining formula increases in difficulty, so it is possible that waiting will result in diminishing returns. The ONE Coin (ONE) is also backed by a certain amount of gold, though I have had difficulty discerning the formula.

John really likes OneCoin. For him it makes the most sense. So he’s started getting others involved. For me, they all have their purposes. I’ve been in BTC for almost three years now, have been trading ETH and also picked up some DAO. DAO is, in my opinion, the most highly speculative of the three, and clearly a different animal. ETH and BTC I think are here indefinitely, and will increase in value over time, perhaps substantially. OneCoin seems speculative to me as well. While I have gotten involved, I also realize that it’s a different animal than any of the others. So I’ll continue working all four in my effort to increase my holdings. Maybe one day it’ll all pay off, even if only through one coin (not necessarily OneCoin).

  • Go here to get involved in OneCoin. If you’d like help in deciding what to do, let us know and someone will get in touch with you.
    SPECIAL NOTE TO THOSE WHO REALLY WANT TO GET INVOLVED – We have spots saved for anyone willing to get aggressive. We will help you promote your marketing. Please contact us through the comments below and we’ll get with you shortly.
  • Sometimes folks like to send tips when they receive helpful info: 🙂
    • Send ETH here – 0x8766A096D012E9E604F62F113fc0018A10092991
    • Send DAO here – 0xbb9bc244d798123fde783fcc1c72d3bb8c189413
    • Send BTC here – 14VvCsaLRCVS2z5veVYTRumvFauLLEK1nE

Killing in Self-Defense in Chile

In Chile, it is legal to own handguns, shotguns, rifles and .22 caliber “assault” weapons. The guns have to be registered, and the owner must pass a gun and regulatory knowledge test plus a psychological examination. Many people in the upper classes own guns legally. Newcomers can do the same, even with a temporary residency visa.

Nevertheless, there is widespread fear among the upper classes that use of a gun in self-defense could result in a charge of homicide. In our upper-class neighborhood in Reñaca, there were two break-ins in March 2016. In one of them the occupants were at home and were tied up. One had a knife held to his throat by a criminal. It was scary.

The neighborhood WhatsApp group is quite active and whined about the event and tried to concoct solutions. When I suggested that we use guns to kill the intruders the people were terrified, not of the gun use but of the state putting them in prison. Even if that were the case what would be worse, being assaulted in your home and perhaps dying or killing the assailant and taking your chances in court?

I suggested to the group that we need to put a huge sign at the bottom of the hill much like those “accident-free day” signs we see in industrial plants. It would read: “Criminals Killed in this Neighborhood” and below would be two numbers, one on the left and the other on the right, with the inscriptions “by pistol” and “by shotgun” below each respective figure.

The cops (carabineros) cannot arrive in time. My sign would be a deterrent to criminals, especially if we actually start killing criminals and can put up some real numbers on the board. I checked with the carabineros in Reñaca and officer Marcos Villagra (on March 22, 2016) explained to me that we have the right to shoot in self-defense if a criminal is (1) inside our home, (2) in our yard, clearly not by accident, or (3) in any of our adjacent neighbors’ property (not including neighbors that must be reached by crossing a public street). He encouraged me to use my gun against criminal intruders and told me that he knew of many ex-military officers living in the neighborhood with registered weapons. In short, we can be a force to be reckoned with. The law is a bit ambiguous about certain places like one’s car, but clearly in one’s home or place of business a gun may be used in self-defense.

I have written about the terrible Chilean justice system, but there is some encouraging news that using handguns and shotguns in self-defense remain our advantage against criminals. On May 8, 2016, a story came out in national daily El Mercurio (page C12) about Benjamin Franklin Lillo Ramirez, age 61, a retired major (comandante) of the Chilean Air Force and presently a Petrobras service station owner. The business is located on Avenida Santa Rosa at the intersection of Calle Varas Mena (in the comuna of San Joaquin), a poorer, Marxist-infested, and crime-ridden part of south central Santiago. In over twenty-five years in the military, he never shot anyone. Now (May 2016) he is famous for shooting and killing a third and fourth criminal: Marco Muñoz and Eber Osses, and wounding another, that tried to rob him at his station. One died from his wounds on site and the other died at a public hospital, after fleeing the scene with an accomplice.

Lillo shot and killed two other criminals in May 2009 and June 2014. In both cases the local District Attorney (fiscal), Patricio Rojas, refused to charge Lillo with a crime. Rojas said that Lillo acted in legitimate self-defense.

Wow! The Chilean justice system does work sometimes. Lillo uses his registered gun, and he holds a valid personal gun license, plus a coveted concealed carry permit that few Chileans have. The district attorney requested a protection order for Lillo, although none has arrived in terms of officers to protect him. But it is probable that Lillo will be able to fend for himself pretty well.

In the 2009 event, while preparing his cash deposit for the day, Lillo distracted an assailant (Andres Catalan) long enough to get his pistol and shoot him four times, killing him. Lillo was not charged. In the 2014 event, Lillo was loading 22 million pesos in his car’s trunk when three criminals appeared and threatened him. He was shot in the hand and groin with a .22 by a criminal (two of five shots on target) before he responded by shooting back seven times and striking one assailant twice (Patricio Fernandez, a twice convicted and imprisoned criminal), in the throat and chest, killing him. He had the presence of mind to shut the trunk and throw the keys into the cage with his guard dogs. While the assailants went after the keys, Lillo used the time to present his pistol and shoot the assailants. Lillo was not charged.

In this most recent event in 2016, he shot one criminal in the forehead and two others in their torso when they tried to rob his cash box. Again, Lillo has not been charged with a crime. All of the events were captured on video surveillance tape and Lillo has been exonerated, even though the relatives of one deceased criminal have sought a homicide indictment and the state has provided a free attorney to represent them. Moreover, colleagues of the deceased have driven by and yelled death threats against Lillo since the May 2016 event. There could be more bloodshed, but I doubt that much more will come of it since criminals are cowards in the face of lethal force and are only brave against the weak and unarmed. Plus, they know that Lillo will not hesitate to kill them, creating a significant deterrent.

Hence, my neighbors’ fears of being indicted for acting in self-defense are unsubstantiated. This fact is a big plus for Chile, which still stands out against most every other advanced country in a largely gun-hating world (especially among Left-dominated OECD countries). Thus, we need not be so let down by the abysmal quality of Chilean justice. At least we can still defend ourselves, even if our tax money goes to waste on an inept justice system that otherwise favors criminals!

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

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.

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

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

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

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

Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:

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

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

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

There Are Terrorists There!

by guest writer, Frank Szabo

 

This kind of thing just doesn’t happen here.

Reflecting on our Lives in the US

In the summer of 2012, our aged dog wandered over to our neighbor’s yard.  We lived on an 88 acre parcel in suburban New Hampshire.  Our neighbor had never met our dog.  Out of concern, she called the local police.  About five minutes later, our daughter showed up to reclaim our prodigal canine.  The neighbor was relieved and immediately called the police back.  “There’s no need to worry about it, the owners just got their dog.”  “Sorry ma’am, we have to come anyway.”

Twenty or so minutes later, a squad car was pulling up my driveway; a long driveway clearly marked with “No Trespassing”.  The policeman pulled right up to my house and knocked on the door.  I was in my office, working, and ignored him.  He left a note.  He wanted to talk with me – about my unlicensed dog.

For the next month, we were harassed on almost a daily basis.  I was even threatened by the local police dispatcher with arrest if I did not allow a police officer to enter my home.  My wife was thrown back into fits of hysteria, remembering eerily similar treatment from Pennsylvania police regarding zoning issues and our chickens.  This was New Hampshire!  The “Live Free or Die State”.  I guess the police weren’t aware of the state motto.  The township sued me in court.  If not for the fact that my dog had since died, I don’t know what they would’ve done to me.

The reason I found myself reflecting on this is because my wife and I, in light of recent events, found ourselves discussing the reasons we came to Chile.

A Cause to Reflect on our Lives in Chile

A few weeks ago, when I was on Dr. John Cobin’s internet radio show, “Red Hot Chile”, we discussed some of the recent bomb threats and whether I felt that it affected me.  At the time, I had not even heard about the threats and stated that our lives had been unaffected.

The very next day, there was a bomb scare at the end of my friend’s block in upper Las Condes.  Nothing came of it, but it gave us concern.  Las Condes is one of the safest sections of Santiago.

A few days later, as my wife and I were just finishing lunch, we heard what sounded like a very loud explosion.  At first, we did not know what to make of it.  Living across from Escuela Militar (a military school), we sometimes hear them shoot guns or cannons as part of their military drills.  Perhaps it was just a cannon.

Shortly thereafter, we heard the sirens and knew that it was something much more serious. As it turned out, a bomb was exploded two blocks from my apartment.  Sadly, a number of people were injured, a couple of them seriously.  Thank God, no one was killed.

According to news reports, the bomb was left by Chilean anarchists.  Of course, who did it matters not to those who were injured.

As you might imagine, we were very concerned  …  about the people directly affected  …  about follow-up incidents  …  about our daughter’s trip home from school on public transportation.  For us, everything worked out.  Our daughter was home safe and sound and we all breathed a sigh of relief.

Last night, my wife and I attended the language exchange which we coordinate.  It’s a mix of native Spanish speakers and native English speakers.  I was particularly interested in hearing Chileans’ perspective on what had happened.  They were all just as shocked and appalled as we were.  “This kind of thing just doesn’t happen here.”

Reflecting

This morning, we were remembering a few of the reasons why we came to Chile in the first place. That’s why I was pondering on our beloved dog, and the terroristic harassment we endured at the hands of those who were ostensibly protecting our freedoms.

That was Then and There

A few years prior to the incident with our dog, there were reports of armed raids by federal and/or state agents, on  …  farms  …  organic farms.  The farmers were held at gun-point and forced to watch as their raw milk or other such “dangerous” products were destroyed.

In the spring of 2012, heritage pig farmers in Michigan were forced by state agents – at gunpoint – to destroy their pigs.  The US of A??

This trend has continued and worsened many times over.  Now, police are just as prone to shoot someone’s lost dog than help locate the owner.  Today, way too many SWAT and other armed raids on private Citizens results in the death or maiming of the unsuspecting, and often innocent, occupants and their families.  Reports come out almost daily of random killings; by cops or crazed anti-depressant affected lunatics.

This is Now and Here

Within the first few weeks of arriving in Santiago de Chile, we witnessed the unbelievable.  There was a Carabinero (the local police) changing an elderly woman’s tire for them!

Last week, my daughter came home with a note from school.  Vaccines were going to be made available for the students.  I simply had to sign that I did not wish my daughter to be injected with toxins.  There was no special dispensation or approval necessary from a doctor or religious authority.  Simple parental consent (or refusal) was all that was requested.  In the good ole US of A, students are now injected without even notifying parents.  Parents who protest can be thrown in jail.

In New Hampshire, I had intended to start an organic farm as a CSA.  It was painfully obvious that any local bureaucrat could destroy anything that I built with the flick of a pen.  In Chile, property rights are very well protected, parental rights even more so.

There are Terrorists

There are Terrorists

Bombings occurred in Boston, Oklahoma City, Waco, etc.  School shootings have happened all too frequently.  Sociopathic people can be found anywhere.  Sociopathic and oppressive governments terrorize me a heck of a lot more than individuals.

We came to Chile because of the amazing opportunities.  In my opinion, Chile is much closer to a free democratic republic than the increasingly fascist US.  It is also still very responsive to its citizens.  That has not changed.  In fact, the bombing has intensified quite a stir against Bachelet’s semi-Socialist administration.  Even the majority of the left gets upset when the reality of some socialist policies are seen for the catastrophes they are.

For my family, the bombing provided us with an opportunity to reflect, prompting us to come to several realizations.  Two stand out.

Terrorism: the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes.

When I think of terrorism, I think of an act of anyone to threaten the safety and freedom of another by force. In the US, the greatest threat to freedom, well-being and personal safety was always, and increasingly, from the state – in its various nefarious forms, acronyms and cronyism.

When you read of what happened recently in Chile from the “land of the free”, ponder the threats to your own personal freedoms and privacy in the form of the NSA, TSA, ATA, CIA, FBI, DEA, FDA, ATF, BLM, ETC. There are terrorists there!!

Thank God we live in Chile!

 

Frank Szabo is an entrepreneur who moved with his wife and daughter to Chile in 2012 – without speaking a word of Spanish. Since then, he has formed an organic farm management company, an importing service, begun to import/export organic food and wholistic medicinals, created a line of fermented, organic foods, founded AllAboutChile.com and EscapeArtist Chile, consults on general questions/issues about Chile, and is a New Hampshire notary. He can be reached at Frank@AllAboutChile.com.

Cerro Concepción, Cerro Alegre and Sector Almendral in Valparaíso, Chile

Many people mistakenly believe that the best highlights of history are the stories of great conquest, when in reality the best moments in history are those times when men are freest and liberty from state intervention is greatest. Valparaíso is probably the most historic city in Chile. In 1544, the Spanish conquistadors declared it to be “the port of Santiago,” and in 1820 (just after Chilean independence) it was designated an “open international harbor,” backed by the newly relocated customs service–under the law of free commerce of 1811, that also freed ports of Coquimbo, Talcahuano and Valdivia.

“Many people mistakenly believe that the best highlights of history are the stories of great conquest, when in reality the best moments in history are those times when men are freest and liberty from state intervention is greatest.” 

Yes, the free market works wonders! Subsequently, it became the most important Pacific port in the world during the 19th and early 20th centuries (until the Panamá Canal was built), and has a rich history of vibrant trade.

By 1870, the city was known as “The Pearl of the Pacific,” right in the middle of Chile’s successful free banking episode (1862-1879), when Chile had no central bank. If you had thought that the history of liberty was confined to the British and American traditions you were mistaken. Chile was the champion of liberty and classical liberal ideas in Latin America, and Valparaíso was the Hong Kong of its era. Chile’s first stock exchange opened here in 1850, and the national newspaper El Mercurio’s (followed by its elaborate building) opened in 1827, the oldest ongoing Spanish language newspaper in the world.

Bahia+Valpo+y+Aconcagua+1

Valparaíso also received important American, Italian (mainly Ligurian or Genoan), British and Scottish, German, French, Swiss and Spanish immigrations, and thus the city grew in national significance. The French opened what were considered the finest shops in South America (on modern-day Calle Condell, then called Calle San Juan de Dios, which runs from Plaza Victoria to the port downtown).

Plaza (de la) Victoria, incidentally, which was so-named after Chile’s victory in the War of the Pacific (1883), was the first place in Valparaíso to receive electric illumination in 1904, although there was already an electric tramway running since 1900. There were also minor immigrations of Danish, Croatian and other ethnic groups to the city, adding to its colorful history.

Indeed, for the first one-half of Chile’s history, there was no more important city than Valparaíso. Even important historic smaller cities like Iquique and Punta Arenas cannot compare with it. And its importance still remains today, even though greatly diminished, as Santiago has clearly been Chile’s most important city for the last century. As part of the modern Viña del Mar/Valpo metro area of over 930,000 people, Valparaíso lies within Chile’s second most important urban center, and is still home to the Chilean navy (although the naval shipyard is located on the better harbor in Talcahuano, near Concepción).

     Valaparíso is a “killed” city in my estimation. Panamá simply did it in (1914) and the city has not been the same for the last 100 years. The saltpeter (salitre) crisis in 1918 and the 1906 earthquake (8.3 Richter) and the ensuing gas leak and fire that leveled most of the city, did not help matters either. Why did saltpeter end up being synthesized and thus further collapse the Chilean economy in 1918? On March 14, 1915, there was a naval battle between British and German forces a little over seven months after World War I broke out–also seven months after the Panamá Canal opened. The German ship Dresden was scuttled in Cumberland Bay (Isla Juan Fernández) by its crew, sunk under fire by the British warships Kent and Glasgow. The naval battling had begun between Britain and Germany on November 1, 1914 in the Battle of Coronel (just south of Concepción), which the British lost. The British responded by sending larger ships with reinforcements and pounded the Germans to the point that the Germans gave up trying to control the Chilean coast. The Dresden was the last ship to escape and, with the help of Chilean Germans in Valparaíso, it was kept hidden in Chilean islands, fueled with coal and supplied with food. 

Note that both of the warring countries’ ethnic groups were thriving on Cerro Concepción in Valparaíso, as the pictures of churches below show, and were often sending merchant ships plus warships to the port of Valparaíso until 1914. Both British and German settlers living in Cerro Concepción sent troops to fight on their respective sides. One can imagine that Valparaíso was a very tense place in the 1914-1918 period on account of the war, saltpeter and the economic downturn caused by the Panamá Canal. The Germans needed the saltpeter for munitions for their war effort and the British beat them in a naval battle off the coast of Talcahuano and subsequently successfully blockaded all Chilean ports. Thus the Germans started studying how to synthesize saltpeter and did so in 1918. That was bad luck for Chile. Saltpeter was its most important economic resource, even more important than copper in relative terms. Once that happened, the Chilean natural resource had much less value and the mining industry and the economy in general took a hit. Therefore, a byproduct of World War I also helped finish off Valparaíso. Remember that the 1906 earthquake leveled much of the city. So it was already reeling. Then came 1914 and 1918. The city was left in shambles.

The structural deterioration that begin a century ago has hardly stopped and the level of poverty has only slowly been diminishing over the last three decades. Yet there are still remnants of the city’s rich past, even though some imagination is often required to experience it. Valparaíso has a significant amount of European architecture, although it has been smudged by graffiti. My wife and I saw some people scrubbing it off one building yesterday and inquired how often they have to do this task. They responded: “About every three months.” The nasty painting never stops. The city is, frankly, ugly on account of the graffiti. Also, most of the buildings are dilapidated and run down. Especially ugly are the ones with rusty tin siding.

Nevertheless, Valparaíso (the name might be derived from the words va al paraíso, or “go to paradise”), has been (deservedly) declared a World Heritage Site, but the shame is that the cadaver’s decay (naturally) has not stopped since the point of death. The Chilean government has been trying to boost its historic image on the web, but the internet visit will be, by and large, much better than the disappointing real life one.

The city sits upon 42 hills (interactive map) above a narrow, flat central area, and is divided into sectors, many of which had an ethnic beginning. The Italian immigrants were mainly poorer people from the region in and around Genova that worked menial jobs, but the American, English, Scottish, Swiss, French, German and most of the Spanish merchants and profesionals were quite wealthy. Perhaps that disparity is one reason why only the Italians chose to stay en masse after the city was killed, while most of the others left.

The Italians mainly moved into the Almendral sector, but also settled on adjacent hill sectors (cerros) El Litre and Las Cañas. Obviously, there are still remnants of the other ethnic groups as well, but the trend was to leave. There is still an Anglican church in neighboring Viña del Mar, providing English language services that cater to aging offspring of the British remnant. The British left a lasting impact on the city in other ares too: in its sports (soccer, horse track racing and rugby), its trains, its funicular elevators and its modern escalators that often run on the “wrong side.”

Old English Firestation Valparaiso 2014-07-11 13.01.01 2014-07-11 13.00.46

Each ethnic group had its own fire department, too, and the language of the station (and its written records) was English, German, French, Italian or Spanish (from Spain) up until 1973. Only those who could prove their ethnicity could join one of these companies but, other than the Italians, no one retains this stringent standard in modern times.

Note that Plaza Italia (not to be confused with its more famous Santiago counterpart) has buildings on it that look like they could have been transplanted from Genova, and the neighborhood school (with instruction in the Italian language), Scuola Italiana (1942), is located just down the road. British and American efforts were realized through the Mackay School (1905), presently located in the Reñaca sector of Viña del Mar, which had roots going back to the Valparaíso Artizan School (1857) started by Scottish profesor Peter Mackay from Glasgow.

Similarly, the Germans opened their school, La Corporación Colegio Alemán de Valparaíso (1857), which is now the Deutsch Schule in Viña del Mar. The locals were hardly left in the dust in this flurry of activity, with a number of now famous Chilean universities being founded, such as the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (1926). There were also Chilean fire companies as well, some starting in the early 1850s. In Latin America, only the Guayaquil, Ecuador fire department is older than Valparaíso’s. Nowadays, all Valparaíso fire departments fall under a single commander, but the rivalry and competition of yesteryear still lingers on.

Perhaps the best parts of Valparaíso, and the only places really worthy of tourism, are parts of sector Almendral, Sotomayor Plaza (pictured below, looking from above next to the naval building) and the decks or terraces of homes, walkways, churches and shops above it in Cerro Concepción and Cerro Alegre.

These areas can be reached by the funicular elevators called El Peral (built in 1901), which goes up to Cerro Alegre–featuring Paseo Yugoslavo and Baburizza Palace (now a museum, pictured below at dusk), and La Concepción (built in 1883) which goes up to Cerro Concepción. Both of these funicular elevators are close to Sotomayor Plaza and in the midst of some interesting European architecture. Even though they have apparently not been upgraded much since the time they were built, they are cheap to ride (under one Dollar) and are used by locals regularly to climb the steep hillsides. Below are a few images from Cerro Alegre and the El Peral funicular elevator entrance at rush hour. The mansion up top and the other houses in the area were owed by Croatian immigrants and thus the charming walkway is called Paseo Yugoslavo.

There are a couple of lovely, inexpensive cafés on the walkway with great views and atmosphere. Perfect for a romantic lunch or dessert.

The walkway itself is great to do at sunset and take in the harbor views, imagining what life there must have been like in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

 

Each ethnic group had their own church, where Protestant services by law had to be conducted in their own language. It was easy for Roman Catholic Italians and Spaniards to meld into already-Catholic Chilean religious culture. The same was evidently true for French Catholics, which opened their religious order in sector Almendral (1840) on Calle Independencia. However, the immigration of clasical liberal Evangelicals to Valparaíso is quite interesting (Anglicans, Lutherans and Presbyterians in the mid 1800s). The La Santa Cruz German Lutheran church on Cerro Concepción (1897, reconstructed in 2011) is pictured below.

The clock even works! The neighborhood near the church has also been cleaned up.

2014-07-26+15.00.07  2014-07-26+14.57.51  2014-07-26+14.57.09  2014-07-26+14.54.16

St. Paul’s Anglican church (1858) is located just a few blocks away, and also dons an intriguing neighborhood that stirs the imagination.

2014-07-26+15.51.24  2014-07-26+15.50.41  2014-07-26+15.53.17

The decks above the business district all have great views, pleasant walkways and, along with the wonderful weather, must have been very attractive for settlers in the 19th and 20th centuries. It is no surprise that so many immigrants stayed. The nearby Gervasoni walk freatures similar views and the El Mercurio regular cartoonist’s Lukas museum and café.

2014-07-26+15.17.06  2014-07-26+15.17.00  2014-07-26+15.16.54  2014-07-26+15.35.33

Lukas was the pen name for Italian immigrant to Valparaíso Renzo Pecchenino that became one of the most important Chilean cartoonists of the 20th Century. Lukas was noted for his pungent political wittiness and telling the history of Chile through his art. He had a special love for Valparaíso, too. Some of his work is captured int he images below.

Here are a few shots taken of and from the La Concepción funicular elevator:
2014-07-26 15.37.40  2014-07-26 15.37.54  2014-07-26 15.38.10  2014-07-26 15.42.39

And the business district down below where much European architecture can be seen (the customs building, Turri clock tower and other important buildings are in the area), including samples of graffiti and those hired to remove it.

    

The Avenida Argentina open air market (open on Wednesdays and Saturdays), located on the border of the Almendral sector (closer to where the Italian, Spanish and French colonies settled), offers probably the lowest priced seafood, fruits and vegetables in the country.

2014-07-26 16.30.50  2014-07-26 16.30.42

Cops (carabineros) in the area of the open air market enjoy making sure all people parked at the market have their vehicle papers up-to-date and in order.

2014-07-26 16.34.52

The Chilean Congress is seen across the street from the maret in sector Almendral.

2014-07-26 16.31.40

The first Presbyterian church pictured below, called Union Church (1869), is also located in sector Almendral on the formerly wealthy French shopping lane (now called Avenida Condell).

Union+Church+Valpo

I do not recommend that newcomers live in Valparaíso. It is dingy and depressing in many ways. However, it is a great town to visit once one reads its colorful history and knows where to go to see the museums, churches, walkways, plazas and funicular elevators. Indeed, a long day trip is in order for anyone serious about living in Chile.

Valparaíso is about as important to Chileans as Paris is to Frenchmen or Boston is to Americans. So be sure to visit and be ready to see beyond the dilapidation and graffiti. Also plan to do a little open air market shopping while in the city, and pick up some history books at the Lukas museum.

Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

A Sober Discussion About Immigrating to Chile

Too many expats think that they’ll get the red carpet treatment just for arriving in Chile. Showing up with nothing and no ability with Spanish is a recipe for disaster. This is made even worse if you’re not willing to just hunker down and do whatever it takes. Pioneers rarely have it easy. And an entitlement mentality will only serve to make things harder for you.
That doesn’t mean don’t do it. It’s rewarding and wonderful. Just don’t do so in such a manner that destines you for failure.

A Press Battle with Leftist Douglas Tompkins

In a recent exchange, I exposed Douglas Tompkins’ practice of billing himself as an ecologist, when his practices amount to nothing more than gaining power, profits and status at the expense of those without the means to defend themselves. This leftist succeeds in preserving nature, but poor people get hurt in the process as he helps fellow leftists buy in and trample any landowners unfortunate enough to stand in his way.

You can read much about this in a thread with my initial letter criticizing Tompkins and the response they published today rebutting his attack on me on Saturday are linked below. I have been in a big fight with Douglas Tompkins. Check out the press:
http://www.ellanquihue.cl/impresa/2014/01/13/full/9/
http://www.ellanquihue.cl/impresa/2014/01/18/full/11/
http://www.ellanquihue.cl/impresa/2014/01/20/full/9/

This points to another reason it would be advantageous to have more libertarian minded people join us in Chile. The voice of freedom rings loud in Chile, but sometimes gets drowned out by cronyistic practices of maxists bent on self promotion at the expense of all others. This happens in all countries, to one degree or another. Chile is still much more free than any western country. And this is why I continue to ask freedom lovers to come to Chile and help make a difference.

 

 

 

Mi amigo Tompkins

Aunque sean muy distintas en sus prácticas, los izquierdistas mundiales comparten un rasgo común de intolerancia, deseando eliminar su competencia. Desde Stalin y Mao, Lincoln y Tito, hasta Castro, Mandela, Chávez, Fernández de Kirchner y Tompkins, todos abrazan la idea de remover brutalmente a los que se les oponen, cuestionando su capacidad o cargo públicamente. (Si esto no es suficiente, puede encarcelársele, exiliarlo o matarlo). En el caso de Tompkins, le alabé recientemente por tener un parque de primera calidad y por practicar su medioambientalismo de libre mercado. No obstante, saqué a la luz la realidad de Tompkins y ahora él está pidiendo guillotina para mí, atacándome personalmente en su carta al director del 18 de enero. Jamás confesará que hay ganancias personales en su proyecto Pumalín—en forma de fama, dinero y poder. Finge ser ecologista para ganar, menospreciando a vecinos como Gregorio Enrique Godoy de la Vega, dañando a gente pobre sureña, al oponerse a la construcción de un camino vital que los conecte con el resto de Chile, bajando precios y llevando servicios que hoy escasean.
Tompkins declaró en su libro «La Carretera Austral» (2012): “Desde antaño los caminos han sido la vanguardia de la civilización—el medio de expansión de los asentamientos humanos, permitiendo el transporte del comercio y facilitando el intercambio cultural” (página 25). No obstante, en los párrafos que siguen, postula las razones por las qué chilenos del extremo sur deberían estar privados de tales beneficios, basándose mayormente en mitos de sobrepoblación (“abarrotada de gente”) y su visión miope de un mundo “súperdesarrollado”—vista seguramente desde su mansión del Primer Mundo, no desde Villa O’Higgins o La Junta.
¿Cuál es el motivo que subyace la prohibición de construir la carretera entre Hornopirén y Chaitén? ¿No es maximizar las utilidades de un hipócrita izquierdista que promulga miedos basados en fantasías de demasiado desarrollo o excedente de gente? La Izquierda frecuentemente se aprovecha de la miseria de los demás y es intolerante con los que piensan distinto. Como neoliberal, tolero diferencias de opinión con mis colegas universitarios, a diferencia de mi “primo” Tompkins, que no solamente está dispuesto a aplastar a sus vecinos, sino también a cualquier humilde académico que alce una crítica.

John Cobin, Ph.D. (Public Policy)
Académico
Facultad de Economía y Negocios

Pumalín y el interés del pueblo

Ser izquierdista, aunque solo sea una pantalla, puede ser muy rentable. Considere a Douglas Tompkins, norteamericano izquierdista, supuestamente ecologista y filántropo, con patrimonio de 150 millones de dólares y dueño de más de 2 millones de hectáreas patagónicas. Ha establecido el Land Conservation Trust, ayudado por partidarios abogados de Santiago y Puerto Varas, para proteger sus derechos en el uso del nombre “Pumalín” y oponerse a la idea de un camino pavimentado para conectar Chaitén con Puerto Montt, vía que pasaría por Parque Pumalín, X Región.
No tengo ningún problema con el capitalismo ni tampoco con las ganancias. El lucro está bien, ya sea en educación o conservación de recursos naturales. Me agrada especialmente que izquierdistas usen su propia plata para la conservación—algo así como un medioambientalismo de libre mercado. Sin embargo, me molesta la astucia de personas que fingen ser ecologistas para ganar plata. Prefiero comerciantes honestos.
Tompkins hace todo de primera en Parque Pumalín: campings espectaculares, senderos bien diseñados, céspedes perfectos en El Amarillo, negocios de campo con precios parisinos como un café en Caleta Gonzalo y una tienda con bencinera en El Amarillo—cuyas lentejas y galletas cuestan el doble que el Jumbo La Dehesa. Con todo esto, sigue intentando acaparar propiedades pequeñas como las de Gregorio Enrique Godoy de la Vega, dueño de termas privadas y Bed and Breakfast cerca de El Amarillo. Se comenta que está ofreciendo vender grandes parcelas de su Parque, en millones de dólares. Recuperará rápidamente su inversión en “conservación”. Leí las cartas en que Godoy estuvo amenazado por los abogados. El modesto hombre, que mueve su microempresa con luz de generador aluvial, sin internet y teléfono, me dijo que Tompkins le prometió acceso de tránsito a sus termas, pero no cumplió. Él cree que el gringo es un “chanta” que solamente quiere forzarle a vender su propiedad y termas, no para preservar la naturaleza, sino para aumentar su poder monopólico y el precio de las expansivas parcelas que vende. El mismo motivo subyace la prohibición de construir la carretera desde Osorno: llenar el bolsillo de hipócritas izquierdistas que fingen apoyo al interés público. Lamentablemente, la masa es ignorante de tal artimaña. Entonces, ¿Quién defiende los intereses del pueblo?

John Cobin, Ph.D. (Public Policy)
Académico
Facultad de Economía y Negocios

Center Left Presidential Candidate Bachelet Wins by Landslide

As expected, Michelle Bachelet was elected President of Chile in the December 15, 2013 runoff election. The center-left candidate was President during 2006-2010, a period of relative stagnation in Chile’s economy. The electoral landslide (62% in her favor) was not unexpected since the candidate from the Right, Evelyn Matthei, became sickeningly populist at the end of the campaign, making alienated rightist voters stay home in large numbers. Voter turnout was the lowest in history; fewer than 50% of registered voters voted.

While some fear that her radical feminist role in the United Nations has made her worse than she was before, many believe that she will continue to be a moderate leader. Her election further shows the need for more libertarian activism in Chile. Since the general election last month, there have been some worries about a leftward swing as the Left gained a lot of seats, almost enough to make some structural changes to Chilean policy. But I think the jury is still out as to how Chile will fare. Certainly, if radical changes are made and fail, there will be a greater opportunity for the Right to come back in four years. The most likely scenario is one of favor-brokering and rent seeking with crony capitalism.

2013-12-15 Chile Vote 2

Libertarian immigrants might be interested in knowing in which places (comunas) Matthei actually won. They might want to live where people are more like-minded. She only won in a few places in six of Chile’s 15 regions: little towns Camiña and Colchane in the 1st Region (regional capital Iquique, where she got 45% of the vote); Concón, Algarrobo, Santo Domingo and Zapallar in the 5th Region, with Viña del Mar being very close. In the Metropolitan Región of Santiago Matthei won (usually by a lot), not surprisingly, Vitacura, Lo Barnechea, Las Condes, La Reina, Providencia and Colina (Calera de Tango was close); in the 8th Region she won Pinto and Pucón in the 9th Region (where Lonquimay was close). In the 12th Region she won the tiny towns of Cabo de Hornos, Timaukel and Antártica. Other than the frigid areas in the cities listed above, these places are congruent with were most well-to-do immigrants would want to be, and any immigrant that favors liberty.

I was surprised to see the farming areas go so strongly for the center left this time around. Bachelet’s victory in mining areas of the north and south of Concepción was no surprise. Matthei did best in Northeastern Santiago, the Northwestern 5th Region, and not so bad in some places in the 9th Region. The only big regional cities where Matthei had a decent showing were Viña del Mar, Iquique and Temuco. The rest were a disaster. Honorable mention goes to the 22 comunas that mustered at least 43% for Matthei. These are:

  • Iquique (1st, 45%)
  • Papudo (5th, 44%)
  • Quilpué (5th, 43%)
  • Villa Alemana (5th, 47%)
  • Ñuñoa (RM, 46%)
  • Pirque (RM, 48%)
  • El Carmen (8th, 45%)
  • Tirúa (8th, 45%)
  • Curarrehue (9th, 45%)
  • Gorbea (9th, 48%)
  • Melipeuco (9th, 45%)
  • Temuco (9th, 47%)
  • Teodoro Schmidt (9th, 47%)
  • Toltén (9th, 48%)
  • Villarrica (9th, 48%)
  • Lago Ranco (14th, 45%)
  • Cochamó (10th, 47%)
  • Puerto Varas (10th, 47%)
  • Cochrane (11th, 44%)
  • Lago Verde (11th, 48%)
  • Río Ibánez (11th, 46%)
  • Caleta Tortel (11th, 46%)
  • Río Verde (12th, 47%)

Of these, I was quite surprised to see that smaller, but overall nicer communities like Puerto Varas, Lago Ranco, Papudo, Curarrehue and Villarrica (both near Pucón), as well as cities like Gorbea and Temuco, and perhaps Quilpué and Villa Alemana, did not outright go for Matthei. It is also evident from this election that the Right has lost its once strong grip on places areas surrounding Rancagua, Talca, Valdivia, Osorno and Puerto Montt. Very troubling results overall. Now more than ever we have something to work for!

The government reported that only 41.9% of registered voters actually went to the polls. This result is partly because the Left believed that they would win big (and did) and because the Right did not at all like their candidate. Thus the result was somewhat of a protest vote. A foreigner should certainly not come away with the idea that Chile is 62% leftist from the 2013 election. There are 6 popularly elected communists in the Congress. But there are far more than that who are libertarians. We must not lose perspective. The rightist parties chose a bad candidate and then chose not to vote for her.

Help Chile be a freer place by investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.

Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on the Overseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).

Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.

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

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

Page 1 of 2:1 2 »