Living in Chile | Escape America Now | Page 4
Escape America Now

Archives for Living in Chile

Chilean Cities with Highest Income

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chilean Justice System

The Chilean criminal justice system favors criminals more than victims, period, except in cases of egregious violent crime or massive scams. Even those crimes go unpunished if perpetrated by disgruntled Mapuche Indians in the south or a Leftist activist with bombs or gun violence against the Right. Remember that Chile is by far the world leader in theft crimes and the great majority of them go unnoticed and are not prosecuted. There are simply not enough district attorneys (fiscales) and insufficient prison space.

If the amount of your loss from a scam or theft is lower than USD10,000 or perhaps more, and there was no violence involved, you can forget about getting any justice. I have not only heard this from lawyers, two fiscales have told me straight up in their offices. Apparently a fiscal is a very good lawyer but his hands are tied by very few resources and a leftist set of justices and laws that let criminals get of Scot free. He has so many cases that he can hardly handle them.

criminal

For one thing, there is not enough jail space for the amount of delinquents in Chile. Criminals, especially first time offenders, are usually not going to get a five-year or longer prison sentence which is required to be sent to jail. Instead they will get 41 or 61 days with an ankle bracelet and confined to home at night. They get to go out for work during the day. That is obviously not much of a disincentive to commit crimes. They steal and get caught every now and then. Those ‘getting caught times’ just provide needed family time in the evenings for a couple months before the criminal goes back to practicing his trade.

I spoke to the criminal that washes my car. He does not worry about being a delinquent. He burglarized a house and was arrested in 2015. The cops do a fair job but their work is often left in vain. This man, somewhat retarded and the bastard son of an influential judge in Valparaíso, disappeared for several weeks. I asked his associates where he had gone and they told me that he would be locked up for years for participating in a big-time burglary. Then the guy suddenly appeared. His father got him off by threatening to claim abuse by authorities in dealing with a person with a mental deficiency. A letter that would make a scene. My car washer told me lots of details proudly and boldly, and he said that he is un-convictable in Chile. He might be right.

Speaking of cars, my crew boss had his car stolen in downtown Viña del Mar in early 2016. The cops did little more than take a report and then, a couple weeks later, found the shell of the car stripped of all it wheels, motor and parts–all obviously resold and untraceable. It was dumped in a remote area of the hills above Viña del Mar. My foreman has no hope of getting justice for his loss and just takes it in stride, concluding that the law favors criminal more than victims. In Chile, it pays to buy car insurance because there is no other way to have a shot of getting your money back again for your car, if stolen.

The same is true you hire someone. It they complain or sue you for something you will likely have to pay them, sometimes thousands of dollars, since courts will likely side with “poor” workers against “rich” employers. The leftist bias is disgusting. Maids will sue you. Be careful. Maestros and other day laborers will, too. They have a special government agency (CIT) that hires a lawyer for them and takes their case up against you. You have to hire a lawyer. The wicked employee knows that if the amount is low enough it will make more sense for you to pay instead of paying more for a lawyer and also risking losing in court, too. It is terrible.

You might not even get to tell your full story beyond the summary you give to the police. The fiscal assigned to your case might hear the criminal’s response and just close the case, even if the criminal uses falsified documents or lies to clear their name. You will come to the hearing only to find that the case is being closed and the criminal can never again be charged for the crime. You will be screwed. The judge will tell you that you can go hire an attorney for a couple thousand dollars to file a querrella (civil and criminal complaint) and keep things going, but if you did not lose over a couple thousand it hardly seems worth it. You will come away with the feeling that the libertarian anarchists are right: justice by the state hardly exists and thus why should we have it? Better to rely on market forces. Although imperfect they will probably do better than the state does and lots of taxes will be saved. Whoever said that prisons a good thing anyway? Some penitent Quakers? Why not just enslave these criminals and make them work off their debts?

Thus, in Chile you have no legal backstop. You have to rely on more scrupulous judgment in deal-making and in protecting your assets. You will not likely be raped or murdered in Chile, although both things happen, but you will very likely be a victim of robbery, burglary, labor complaint or a scam. So be careful, and be prepared. Businesses build-in legal losses to their budgets. They have to do so. It may be sickening but it is true, so get over it and learn to cope.

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)

Dishonesty in Chile: Once Again a Nightmare

Lying, cheating and dishonesty are par for the course in Chile. This fact has hardly been hidden from my readers. The problem is so pernicious and pervasive in Chile that it is worth mentioning again, and I have recetly been reminded of it as I myself fell victim to a clever scammer.

I was speaking to a Baptist pastor recently and he shed some light on the matter of why Chileans are generally so dishonest. One reason has to do with the leftover influence of Roman Catholic religion, he says. For Catholics, sins are divided into two categories: mortal and veneal, the later being “not so bad.” Apparently, much lying falls under that category and thus the sin gets practiced in Chile. I think the Baptist pastor might be on to something.

Consider that  Chilean liars and cheats are polished; oftentimes so nice and seemingly well-intentioned, even if they are disorderly. Eight dignified, well-spoken and nice men and women have ripped me (and others) off in Chile. To be fair, one was from Costa Rica, and my wife assures me that all Latin American countries are replete with liars and cheaters (She trusts no one, period.). They are at times just out and out con-men. Other times they are just bumblers trying to get their hands on some capital to try some doomed-to-fail-due-to-incompetence project, that end up lying and being dishonest to try to rectify the consequences of poor decisions.

In my experience, dishonest Chileans have come in several varieties: the farmer, the realtor, the university department head, the new car sales manager, the private loan officer, the property development expert, the venture capital liaison and the building subcontractor. Some just milk you for what they can and then vanish without a word. Others make up excuses for why they lost your money or why they were actually “owed” what you gave them for “work” that produced nothing. Others will assure you that a non notarized contract is all that is necessary since they are a man of their word, at least until they screw you (paying you little or nothing) and they are the first to note that the contract you signed with them is not binding. Still others will take off with your foreign credit card and spend US$4,000 over the weekend on food, clothing, gymn memberships, gold and jewelry. This is possible since in Chile no PIN numbers are required on foreign cards, just a signature, and clerks never check card names or match signatures. Some folks will run away with the crops or goods, without a trace, and make it look like they are innocent. They are all dishonesty experts. They know how to game American, Canadians, Australians and Européans. They will seek you out and they will at some point beat you. Be ready for them if you can!

Why can they do it so easily, even to those of us that have been here for 20+ years? Because we are raised to be honest and trusting people. We learn to look out for criminals, but when the Chilean scum come across so smooth and friendly, establishing a relationship for many months, we let our guard down and open up to them, trusting them. At that point they let us have it! The payoff justifies the cost of holding up the charade and waiting for months for the prey to be unaware of falling victim. Sometimes the dishonesty leads to outright theft. At other times, we lose when the Chilean fails to perform or follow through, or make good on his promise. The end result is still the same: we lose and the “scum” (as my wife calls them, scoria) wins.

I do know many fine, honest Chileans, and my son reminded me that he, too, knows many good Chileans. They are businessmen, doctors, lawyers, professors and even a few construction workers. But the truth of the matter is that more than 90% of Chileans are liars and cheaters, and most of the remaining 10% could probably be persuaded to be such if the circumstances were right. After all, dishonesty is probably just a “veneal” sin, unlike murder and adultery. (Speaking of cheating on one’s spouse, Chileans are pretty good at that craft, too, even though it is a mortal sin. I guess even the religious imeptus has limited explanatory power.)

In terms of calling the police or relying on the justice system, it is almost not worth bothering. Criminals are hardly punished for contract breach or crimes related to dishonesty. Dishonest people in Chile also seem to care less that you will never do business again with them once they burn you. They prefer to go with the bird in the hand than risk getting uncertain future gains from you. Reputation has no bearing either, since being a liar or cheat in Chile is hardly an impediment to future work. It may even make one more contacts and better pay, as one boasts about his successes in taking advantage of others.

At any rate, it is probably best to consider that being taken advantage of by a Chilean is not a matter of “if” but rather of “when” for any newcomer to the country. The land is full of dishonest people, from the President and Congressmen to businessmen to day laborers. You will not be safe from them and they will hunt for you. It is a bleak reality. The best you can do is try to minimize the impact of loss from deals and arrangements that you make as an employee, employer or consumer. Do not rush to get too close to Chileans and do not trust them with money matters for several years.

Be prepared to start thinking differently even before you get to Chile. The country is great overall, but there are some things like dishonesty, that will drive you crazy for years to come.

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:

Bring with You to Chile These Little Things

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

1. Wax paper

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

3. Three hole punch and corresponding file folders

4. Manila file folders

5. Pie pans, disposable and otherwise

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

7. BBQ sauce

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

9. Parallel and standard leather-covered Spanish Bibles.

10. Vaseline

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

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

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

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

15. Interesting kitchen cabinet insert racks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

23. Red and black licorice ropes

24. Skiing, camping, kayaking and fishing equipment

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

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

26. Replacement electric razor heads/foil

27. Big bottles of vitamins

28. 3 x 5 note cards

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

30. baking powder

31. lamp shades

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

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

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

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

36. Shelf liner

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

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

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

40. Maps of Chile

41. Nice chess sets 

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

43. Comforters for beds 

44. High thread count sheets

45. Tums

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

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

Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service–Chile Consulting–where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they

would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $149.

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

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

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

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

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

Using a Firm Hand with Suppliers as a Business Owner

It is difficult being a manager or business owner: long hours, dealing with employees and their problems, financial and time pressures, etc. In Chile, add to the mix poor customer service and often deceit. Let me give a couple of recent examples of situations in Chile when the business owner had to deal with returning a product and purchasing new imported goods. They will serve as good lessons for any newcomer starting or running a business in Chile.

Bigger stores in Chile, like construction supermarkets Easy and Sodimac, can be especially problematic. Volumes of sales are high and there are many employees, many of which do not think like store managers or owners when dealing with customers. Like most Chileans, especially among the lower classes, they are mediocre, ignorant, lying, irresponsible and do not solve problems well or even, at times, pay attention to important details.

In the market economy, entrepreneurs and business owners are important agents of change. In one important aspect of this role, they vote with their purchases. And when establishing their businesses in Chile these folks should be ready to fervently complain, raising voices as necessary (Chileans hate it!), in order to bring market discipline to bear. In one case, a business owner had purchased hundreds of thousands of dollars from construction supermarkets in Chile. Part of his monthly tasks include returning excess or unused products for exchange or refund. Managers understand this and are happy to take back a small percentage of a larger purchase. It is good business for them.

Nevertheless, front line employees do not often get this fact and their reaction when presented with returned goods is to create hassles for the business owner. “I cannot accept this return of $30 worth of product because you do not have a receipt.” The owner responds, “It is with the accountant and I do not have it.” The hassle continues until the business owner, already pressed for time and hardly willing to spend significant time recovering US$30 or dealing with an empowered minimum wage employee that seems to enjoy hassling an upper class person, begins to complain and work his way up the managerial chain of command in the store.

The scene made at the store to embarrass the employee with finger pointed at her in front of her boss is useful for changing store policy and getting action to resolve the problem. Sure, making a scene is a hassle and uncomfortable the first time, but it does put fear into the hearts of the employees to provide better service and next time take 60 seconds to look up and print the document they want in the computer system. The reprimand from the store manager will help improve employee attitudes and his personal phone call apology to the business owner will be a bit gratifying, but especially useful since it paves the way for future efficiency. So by all means raise a ruckus in Chile when you get bad service. It is worth it. In fact, the majority of employees in the store will grant greater respect and be even more helpful. I have seen it happen firsthand.

In another case, a business owner was looking for imported bathroom fixtures and found a line of goods with the Briggs USA brand. The store was full of imported goods and the saleslady affirmed that the Briggs line was American. However, when the purchased goods arrived, the boxes were clearly marked “Made in Chile” and the same insignia was embedded in the porcelain of the product itself. Curiously, on the floor model there was no such indication. In fact, the floor model was indeed imported. As always, buyer beware. Chileans will deceive and do what they can to take advantage of a situation. They will import the floor models to make the customer believe that they are getting the same and then deliver locally-made goods instead. In the case of Briggs, more than likely the product quality is fine and the local producer has purchased the right to replicate the Briggs models and use its logo. But this fact should be revealed and it is not. Thus, when living in a land of tricksters, hucksters, liars and thieves, where honesty is hardly the best or preferred policy, it pays to ask the questions that the business owner or manager does not think to ask.

What should a business owner do in a Briggs-like situation? At the very least, assuming he does not reject the product outright, he should register a complaint and make his displeasure known to the store management for the trickery on the showroom floor where everyone can hear, then be sure to spread the word to some others outside the store about the trickery. That is market discipline. Maybe even write a letter to El Mercurio‘s “Línea Directa” to complain about bad service or products. Firms hate the bad publicity and will often work to correct it.

In some cases a dirty look and frown do the trick, along with a pledge to stop purchasing from a supplier. One such instance comes to mind when a business owner returned a box of broken tile that had arrived to the job site in that condition but was undiscovered (under dozens of boxes) until later. No owner has time to rush down and return the box to get his US$20, but when it was eventually done, the shop refused to take it and insinuated that the owner could have broken it later after delivery and that he could be lying now just to get the US$20. This attitude is very prevalent among Chileans and should be met with disgust and disdain until such time that Chilean companies realize that it makes no sense for a business owner to go to the trouble to cheat the supplier out of small change and that maintaining a customer is worth more than the loss of US$20 by accepting the tile. I suggest leaving the box on the manager’s desk and under frown, quietly leave the store. That can be an effective way to register one’s complaint, too.

Lower level employees do not “get it” oftentimes, and even some managers. So register your complain and vote with your money and your selection of suppliers. Chile will change better with foreigners putting pressure on suppliers to improve business practices. Thus, newcomers have something else to be prepared for after they arrive and get established.

 

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:

Size 13 Shoes in Chile

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

For nearly 20 years, I have searched in vain in Chile to find size 13 shoes (size 46 in Chile). Normally, one can find up to Chilean size 44, and in recent years size 45 shoes have been seen. But beyond that size there are slim píckings’. Chileans rarely have larger feet, except for the occasional guy of German, British or Croatian descent, and thus there has not been sufficient demand to keep larger sizes in stock. The usual answer I have heard to my inquiries at shoe stores was to get shoes in another country or have them tailor-made.

There are a couple of big and tall stores in Santiago that have carried larger sizes now and then, but the supply has been anything but constant, in my recollection at least, and I did not bother to check much because price to quality ratios were outrageous in those stores. It was simply easier to pick up a few pairs of shoes while traveling abroad to the USA or Europe. Shops in Argentina also carry larger shoe sizes, especially in custom-made dress shoes. Another choice in recent years has been to use Amazon or another service and just pay the expensive shipping and customs duties.

However, USA chain Merrell in Chile now has some size 13 shoes in stock. While checking out 5 or 6 stores in the Marina Arauco mall in Viña del Mar, I was surprised to find that Merrell had two pairs of size 13 shoes! None of the other stores did. I picked up one of the two pairs on hand.

Note that shopping for size 13 shoes is a different buying experience in Chile. One does not start by looking at the shoes on display and asking to see one in his size. Instead, one asks that all size 13 shoes available in stock be brought out. Actually one asks for both size 46 (which until now has not been available) and size 45, on the odd chance that one finds a large or incorrectly-tagged 45.

Merrell’s only presence in South America is in Chile, and it has nine stores in Santiago, and one store each in Concepción, Viña del Mar, Temuco, Los Angeles and Valdivia. Their website has details, also stating that they ship anywhere in Chile free of additional charge. Plus, returns and exchanges by mail are also free of delivery charges. So Merrell is bringing some American convenience to Chile. If you are not familiar with the brand, I can attest that it is very high quality. The shoes are not cheap, but the prices are not outrageous and they are a bit cheaper on the internet. Check for seasonal lineup changes so you can get 30% to 40% off on the outgoing stock.

By the way, I checked back with the Viña del Mar store a few days after my initial purchase and found that a new shipment had just arrived, including 5 more pairs of size 46! I rushed down to see the spectacle and asked the saleslady to bring out all the available stock. She did so. However, two of the five were actually size 45 and thus did not fit. The other three pairs of shoes were fine, and I left with two of them. A man with bigger feet in Chile learns to stock up when he can.

If you want the last pair or two in Viña del Mar, better hurry! The saleslady there called branches in Santiago for me and found that four of them had size 13 shoes as well, probably in more copious quantities. So, like most things in Chile, if you are living in Santiago you will have an easier time finding larger shoe sizes. And if you are living in Viña del Mar and the local Merrell store does not have any size 46 on hand, you can always make your way to Costanera Center in Santiago, Metro Tobalaba (red line 1).

Be sure to become a member of Escape America Now and gain access to the monthly webinar. Details at www.esccapeamerianow.infoVisit 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:

Chilean Spanish: Not So Aberrant

Language is a complex thing. For years, I have talked about how “bad” Chilean Spanish has become, degenerated over years of geographical isolation and popular ignorance. Much of the basis for my comments was rooted in the self-flagellation of Chileans themselves, which have on many occasions told me how poorly they speak by cutting out consonants like s, c and z from words, and chopping off or concatenating other words like para allá becoming pa’llá or por si acaso becoming porsiaca, as well as generally pronouncing and enunciating poorly.

Now, let’s be clear – all languages evolve and there is no right or wrong dialect in an absolute sense. There are variations from the norm of the day and what has been standardized that causes inefficiency and lack of comprehension, especially in broader audiences. But no single way of speaking is in a moral sense superior to another. Thus, when I repeated that Chilean Spanish was bad, I meant so in a relative sense and in terms of sloppiness when one should know better – i.e., if he were not so lazy to study his own language!

Unlike English, which has mercifully few divergent dialects, Cockney and Ebonics being the isolated yet standout examples to the contrary, Spanish has many dialects often with extreme differences, even within the confines of small areas. For instance, in a small country like Spain there are 18 recognized dialects, two of which are recognized as separate languages now (Basque and Catalan).

Chile itself has at least five dialects, even though the language is largely uniform from north to south. The island of Chiloé has a chilote dialect, with its unique accent and slang words. In the north, mainly in Arica and in the altiplano, there is an influence of local Indian language and slang words from Peru. The rest of Chile speaks castellano proper, except in the countryside (among cowboys, farmers), or among day laborers like construction workers, all known as roteques where they speak campo or roto dialect featuring poor pronunciation.

The main reason a Chilean speaks roto instead of castellano is because he does not read much and did not read growing up, but instead learned the language by repeating what he heard. Thus, lower class people tend to speak roto and upper class people, called pitucos and cuicos by the lower classes, tend to speak castellano. These roteques replace the letter l with the letter r in words (e.g., parta instead of palta, bordo instead of boldo, etc.), pronounce the ch as if it were an English sh in words, and have poor enunciation in general, resulting in fast, slurred speech.

There is also a low-class Chilean Spanish equivalent of Cockney or Ebonics called flaite that can be heard at times throughout Chile (some examples here, here, here, here and here), and a related aberrant language called coa, common among Chilean inmates (reos). See documentary here. If you are not a native speaker of Chilean Spanish, you have almost no chance of understanding these people. There is no textbook to study, nor is there a grammar with rules that can be learned and followed. Listen to the links and see how far you get! Even native speakers would have to go to jail for some time and be around the reos or live on the streets with the flaites for many months before learning the “dialect.”

Flaites tend to be the tough guys and their girls (called minas after the Italian-Argentine influence), and “moneyed” big shots or capos in the neighborhood, or at least wannabes that talk the “cool” lingo. Reos and other criminals speak coa specifically because it cannot be understood by others and they thus have a secret language that permits them to plot and scheme among themselves. Without a written grammar, it is not likely that these dialects can be studied or learned, nor is it generally desirable to sound like these characters.

Rotos are a different story, however. If you have ever read Kenneth Robert’s wonderful book, Rabble in Arms, a story about the dirty, often toothless and illiterate yet colorful American commoners that lived during the late 1700s in New England, you have an idea about what Chilean rotos are like. They are uneducated, yet generally friendly people that know their “place” in society and fill their role. They do not work too hard, nor are they necessarily efficient or punctual but they know their duties and will fulfill them generally. Some of them are quite capable of doing quality work in mining, agriculture and construction. They have learned their trade and many are now maestros. Just like people in the southern United States are amused by the speech and actions of Blacks, so upper class Chileans are often amused by roto talk, even if annoyed by their actions. It is little wonder why they are not highly paid as their counterparts in other countries. Like the “rabble” of Kenneth Robert’s masterpiece, the original rotos (“brokens”) in Chile were so-named because of the shoddy appearance and behavior of soldiers under the command of the Spanish Conquistadores as they marched through Chile. Nevertheless, no educated person would then or now judge the entire Chilean Spanish dialect based on way uneducated rotos speak, any more than they would have judged American English based on the way the “rabble” spoke in the 1700s.

English speakers can comprehend a French or Italian movie dubbed with English regardless of whether the interpreter’s accent is from England, Australia, Canada, the United States or New Zealand. They still understand nearly everything. True, they might have some trouble with Bush Australian or certain Scottish Highlander pronunciations, not to mention English accents from India, Pakistan or Africa, where people are essentially speaking English in a non-native context. However, the differences from major English-speaking countries are not so different to prevent us from understanding each other. Yet the same thing is not true in Spanish. Movies have to include at least have two dubbing versions: one for Spain and another for the Americas. And in big-budget movies there will be two or three dubbed versions for the Americas alone.

I found in studying nouns to learn Spanish in 1995, in reviewing 1,000 basic words that children learn first, that 40% of words used in Mexico were different than in Chile. On a 2015 trip to Colombia with two Chileans, we encountered dozens of words that were used in Bogotá that were not used in Chile, even for common words like strawberry (fresa versus frutilla), avocado (aguacate versus palta), cabbage (col versus repollo), and watermelon (patilla verses sandía). One native speaker literally had no idea what the other native speaker was talking about! Suffice it to say that the differences between Spanish dialects are often dramatic.

Having established that fact, what should one think about Chilean Spanish? It is true that Chileans use around three thousand slang words, idioms and phrases that are not used in any other Spanish-speaking country. After being around the language for nearly two decades, I am still only familiar with one-fifth of these terms. Even foreigners from other Spanish-speaking countries have considerable difficulty with Chilean slang words, idioms and unique phrases.

But these things make the Chilean dialect richer, not poorer. Many of these colorful expressions are eloquent, quaint and humorous, although others are distasteful and vulgar. Nonetheless, their existence does admittedly make the Chilean dialect harder to learn. Look up all the different ways that Chileans say “homosexual” for instance. Off the top of her head, my wife recited 15 different words or phrases, many of which were cute or funny even if politically incorrect!

Written Chilean Spanish is actually quite accurate and true to traditional, pre-1950s Castillian Spanish, with the major exception of not using the vosotros (plural “you”) form. In spoken Spanish, Chileans never pronounce the c or z as th, like they would in central Spain. But is that fact a problem?

Scholars have concluded that the Chilean spoken dialect is actually quite similar to what is spoken in Seville, southwestern Spain, the main port town of the country located in the region of Andalusia. That region is famous for culling the s, z and c out of words, losing the d sound in the middle of a word, changing the final n in a word to an ng sound, and country speakers exchanging the consonant l in words for an r.

Chile does the same things. Apparently, there is also considerable influence in Chilean Spanish directly from the castúo dialect of the Extremadura region, nestled along the Portuguese border, directly north of Seville. The fact that spoken Chilean Spanish is derived from Seville or Extremadura instead of Madrid does not make it worse Spanish. Remember that the famous Spanish armada and many voyages to the New World were all based in Seville. To say that Spanish from Seville is bad because it is not like Spanish from Madrid is tantamount to saying that English in Liverpool, Manchester, New York, Sydney or San Francisco is bad because it is not like English from Cambridge or Oxford.

Chilean Spanish is also mercifully free of many language perversions of its neighbors, especially eastern Argentina. Chileans often use the voseo (vos instead of ) form common in Buenos Aires, mainly men in informal settings. Sure, Chileans (mainly men) will in causal speech use verb conjugations from this medieval form (e.g., podís instead of puedestenís instead of tienes), but it is very rare to hear them use vos itself, which is widely considered as low class and coming from uncultured people from Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay (and some parts of Central America).

Thus, we might actually conclude that Chilean Spanish is a much purer Spanish than other dialects, at least from a historical perspective – much more conservative to its European roots. The same is true of the cuyo region of Argentina, directly adjacent to central Chile, that includes the city of Mendoza. They have an accent more similar to that of Chilean Spanish than to that of the porteños of Buenos Aires. While Chilean written Spanish closely follows Castillian Spanish, its spoken version piles colorful slang on top of a base of historically-recognized southern peninsular Spanish common in the Extremadura, Andalusia and Murcia regions.

It is also noteworthy to remember that those regions were ruled by the Arabic-speaking Muslims (Moors) for 500 years (711 to 1212), which embedded many Arabic-based words into the dialect. Some examples of common words include: Ojalá (let’s hope so), albañil (plaster worker), albóndiga (meatball), alcachofa (artichoke), alcalde (mayor), alcántara (drain), alcatraz (sea eagle), alfajor (sweet almond shortbread), alfil (bishop in chess), almacén (storehouse), asesino (assassin), algorítmo (algorithm), álgebra (algebra), algodón (cotton), azúcar (sugar), azul (blue), alicate (pliers), algarrobo (carob, a fruit similar to chocolate from a Mediterranean tree), almohada (pillow), tarea (task), taza (teacup), zorzal (thrush) and zanahoria (carrot). There are hundreds of other Arabic-rooted words in Spanish.

In the final analysis, it is hard to say what “standard Spanish” really is, given that there are so many dialects with widespread differences and many external influences. Nevertheless, if one judges Chilean Spanish in terms of its origins, both its written form (Castillian) and spoken form (Sevillian/Castúo) are more conservative, legitimate and pure than what is found in most other parts of Latin America. The only other places that come close seem to be parts of Paraguay; and perhaps parts of Bolivia or urban sections of México, Lima, Quito and Bogotá could make some claim to purity – but that is just an educated guess on my part.

Moreover, Chilean Spanish is really quite a beautiful dialect. It comes across as almost sung instead of simply spoken. Many people that are native speakers have so remarked over the years. Its slang is colorful and quaint, despite its vulgarity at times. So, why is the Chilean dialect considered so bad?

In retrospect, I think that my earlier judgment of Chilean Spanish based on what I heard from Chileans was unfounded and even unfair. I now think that he who learns Chilean Spanish is actually learning a very good dialect, in both written and spoken forms. Obviously, the quality will be better among academics and educated people rather than country people, reos or flaites. But that fact is universal in any language. All the same, it is still good to know these things while one is putting in the extraordinary effort to learn the language!

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)

Growing Blueberries in Chile

One of the most attractive features about Chile is agribusiness, and one of the leading up-and-coming export crops is blueberries. In fact, Chilean farmers have already been catching on to the opportunity. Chile produced 81% of all Southern Hemisphere blueberries in 2014, far ahead of Australia, New Zealand, Argentina and Uruguay. However, this production (near 100 million tons) is still relatively small compared to production in the Northern Hemisphere, which will soon exceed one-half a billion tons per year. Folks up there really like blueberries, and that means good business for people in Chile, where bountiful farmland and excellent growing climates abound.

According to this article, most (61%) Chilean production is in the 7th (Talca) and 8th (Los Ángeles, Chillán) regions, but there is significant production in other regions, too. The 5th, 6th, 9th and combined 10th and 14th regions all produce about 8% to 9% apiece. Production is by far greatest from December through early March, but there are some early varieties that produce from mid October to mid December and late varieties that produce from late March through April or even early May. Those varieties garner top export price in world markets, which has recently been around US$9.40 per kilo to the USA and US$16 per kilo to China. Europe is only around US$7 to US$8 per kilo. About 66% of Chilean blueberries are exported to the United States and Canada, 23% to Europe and 11% to Asia. Chile is the only country with direct export rights to China, according to this article.

Near Copiapó, blueberries are grown in sawdust-filled bags so that production can be attained during months when there is no blueberry production anywhere else in the world, with per kilo prices reaching US$50. Therefore, any farmer should have his eye on blueberries in Chile. While the fruit is not heartily demanded in Chile, it most certainly is in other parts of the world. And having the opposite growing season from the Northern Hemisphere means potentially high profits. Organic blueberries also command a premium, which is easier to fulfill in Chile since there are fewer pests to control.

Blueberries are a fruit that originated in North America and spread to other continents. The plants can be quite ornamental as well, with varying colors throughout the year. They have only been improved for commercial growing over the last half century, so advances in production are still being made. In North America, blueberries are mainly grown in Maine, New Jersey, Michigan, Georgia, British Columbia, Winnipeg and Manitoba. Holland, the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe provide the bulk of European production. There are also blueberries grown in Perú, Turkey, Iran, Japan and Korea. Blueberry bushes come in various species: rabbiteye (very tall, up to 20 feet high, and heat resistant), highbush (up to 4 meters and the most common plant used in Northern Hemisphere production), lowbush (around 1.5 to 2.5 meters tall) and half high (under 1 meter), the latter two species being the preferred choices for Chile, since spacing need only be 75 centimeters between bushes.

Blueberry plants live for 30 to 50 years, well cared for plants will literally produce fruit for half a lifetime. Before planting, put a bit (two large spoonfuls) of organic fertilizer in the hole, and after planting dump a liter of dry organic fertilizer on top (around the base of the plant) and then cover it with 3.5 inches (9 centimeters) of pine sawdust with an 18 inch (46 centimeter) radius around each plant. After that, install the drip irrigation system and cover the row with plastic. Put transparent netting up to keep birds out. The plants can survive with soils as acidic as pH 3.8, according to this article. The plants require about 4 to 7 centimeters of water per week.

There are literally dozens of varieties of blueberries to choose from, and what one chooses will depend on the hardiness zone (general, worldwide table here) in which he plants. Like the USA and Canada, Chile has many hardiness zones. Chilean climate information can be found at this link In Chile, the coastal 5th Region is in Zone 10, or possibly Zone 11, for instance, but the interior 5th Region, along with Santiago’s metropolitan area and the upper 6th Region are in Zones 8 or 9. Further south in Chile, the zone could be 6 or 7. One chooses a blueberry variety not only according to what time of year the crop comes in and how big the fruit is, but also on how many “chilling hours” the plant will experience each year in the respective zone. Some plants do well in warmer climates while others do well in colder climates.

Make sure to get the correct variety! You will have to do some careful research before planting, and it always pays to throw in a few plants of other varieties in your overall plantation to ensure cross-pollination. There are plenty of planting guides available online. Spend some time reading them. Spend considerable time reading the International Blueberry Organization’s webpage then read this one about Chilean production, and this one published in Perú. In Chile, birds are the blueberry farmer’s main enemy, so be prepared to use some transparent netting over the plants. Concrete, calcium, grass and lime are also blueberry production’s enemy, since the bushes love acidic soil with a pH between 4 and 5. The aforementioned items work against acidity.

Blueberry bushes also like the soil to be continually damp. Pine sawdust is a good, acidic cover material that helps keep the plants moist. The bottom line is if you are looking for some sort of agribusiness or even a household hobby when in Chile, blueberries should be something to consider. There are a number of brokers that will buy produce and export it for you. But that information is only available through our consulting services.

     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.

Can You Trust a Chilean’s Information or Judgment?

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

I tend to think that the rest are just chronically ignorant or just lie and/or exaggerate to save face. Perhaps I am right. However, my wife Pamela assures me that the larger problem is mediocrity. That is why a Chilean will hands-down trust the advice, information or judgment of an American, Australian or European over that of his fellow countrymen.

Everyone here knows that most Chileans blame-shift, lie and cheat to get ahead and that the great majority of educational institutions, from public schools to Evangelical seminaries to science programs in private universities, have low academic standards and produce ignorant and mediocre graduates. Very few bother trying to excel at anything. Most students strive to get average grades and barely pass. That fact strikes us as weird because it is a paradigm we neither respect nor understand, and yet that is exactly what one finds in Chile. The few Chileans that do excel are special and when found should be prized by newcomers.

Of course, the sad fact of Chilean mediocrity and ignorance is good news for newcomers since they should be able to beat Chileans hands-down the great majority of the time. As I have mentioned before, it works against the newcomer in job hunting since no boss wants to hire someone that will one day threaten his position. But immigrants that start businesses will have no such impediment. I hope many come and begin the romp!

Perhaps the hardest part for Northern Hemisphere newcomers to Chile is getting accustomed not to be able to rely on information from Chileans. Such newcomers are used to making decisions and plan efficiently based on good data and information. Unfortunately, they will end up calculating wrong many times by relying on the ignorant, wrong or misguided claims of many, if not most, Chileans.

  • Will I be taxed if I undertake such and such an activity or action?
  • How much will the life insurance in my mortgage cost?
  • Does the property come with water rights?
  • What size pipe must be used for my sump pump system?
  • Does the Chilean Left believe, like Marx’s disciples believed, in forced redistribution?
  • Can the disease under inquiry be transmitted in ways other than sexual contact?
  • Is the inadvertent alarm that goes off in my pickup truck really just due to a bad battery in the key or is there a latent electrical problem instead?
  • Do the minutes in my paid cell phone plan include minutes to cell phones as well as landlines?
  • Can the hitch be removed from the receiver?
  • Will the internet work on this cell phone if I buy it from you?
  • Is this new or used?
  • What model year is this vehicle?
  • What’s wrong with my car?
  • How many miles per gallon (km/liter really) does this car get?
  • Will my card be charged automatically each month to pay this bill?
  • Do I need to be fasting prior to taking this lab exam or blood test?

Some errors are a little more forgivable, like a Chilean scolding you because you told them that they have been misspelling “Jhon” or “Jonh.” Yet, even though it is your language they still know better than you do. After all, they learned English in a Chilean public school!

Chileans love to give an opinion about anything and everything–even when they do not know. And they hate to say “I do no know.” It is a sign of weakness. They would rather mislead someone else than look stupid or ignorant themselves when consulted. They want to be seen as experts. Call centers for major firms are some of the worst offenders. (And I should add that in call centers the Colombians outdo the Chileans in ignorance and mediocrity.) Evangelicals, pastors included, are close behind in their ignorance and mediocrity when it comes to answering theological or Bible questions. Over 80% of university professors in Chile do not have a graduate degree (either M.A. or Ph.D.), and have never written a term paper or done research. It is no wonder that Chileans doubt everyone’s claims or statements on issues, facts or procedures.

One does have a better chance of getting a good answer from an older person that might have had a good education. In addition, people that studied in the Universidad de Chile, Universidad Católica or the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María, and maybe Universidad Austral and Universidad de Concepción, probably really are bright and got good grades to reflect real learning along the way. That is why a newcomer should always ask where a professional studied before hiring him. For what it is worth, after teaching for 10 years (full time) in Chilean private universities, I would not hire 98% of my students. And my “tough” classes supposedly attracted the best of the bunch!

Mediocrity is rarely corrected here. People get used to living with it. Even errors go uncorrected. Tottus is still selling cheese for 20% to 25% over the sticker price, as I wrote about last month. It makes no difference that consumers have informed the store of the pricing error. No one will fix it or take responsibility for it. Movistar calls me at least twice a week to sell me internet service, even though they are unable to provide service where I live. I tell them nicely each time that I wish I could buy their service since it is cheaper, but since they cannot offer it to me I would appreciate them removing my name from the cold call list. Do you think they ever take me off the list? Of course not. It is a sales system based on mediocrity. Do you think that doctors that make wrong diagnoses ever admit they are wrong and correct the problem? How about mechanics or construction workers? The answer is “no” or at least “seldom.”

At least Chileans on the coast do know to run uphill after a big earthquake! They are also experts in cheating, getting away with things, damaging others, and they know, too, how to board a bus without paying and are good at many other kinds of theft. It is an art form for many of them (note that not necessarily the majority of Chileans can be held under this one however). Moreover, they are good at figuring out how to survive under catastrophic conditions or adversity. They are often good at the arts and juggling, playing instruments and kicking a ball. They are good at imitating or making copies or replicas of things, from the Metro system to forging checks.

Telecommunications and internet generally work fantastically here–much better than in Europe and especially the USA. Private tollways are excellent, as is interurban luxury bus service. Mining, fishing, forestry, winemaking and agriculture are quite efficient, too, even if learned primarily from foreigners. They design and build excellent earthquake-resistant structures that are the envy of the modern world. So they do know a few things. Don’t ask them to spell correctly or perform simple mathematics however (I know, most common Americans are no better, but so what?).

Over the years I have come to rely more on the three-of-five rule. When you need to get some important information, ask five people, not just two or three, and go with the majority answer. The inquiry hassle is far less costly than the cost of fixing the results of a wrong decision based on bad information. The rule seems to yield the right answer at least 80% of the time. It does not matter if you ask a lawyer that disagrees with the assessment of others and can boast about his accomplishments (successful lawyers are some of the most ignorant Chileans I have seen). None of this hassle should deter you from coming to Chile. The country is still a far better place than where you are presently enslaved. However, you must be prepared for added costs of acquiring accurate information, which will be far higher than what you are used to.

Do not believe professionals any more than maids or gardeners. If you think I am exaggerating and thus will simply blow off what I am telling you, be prepared for many months of frustration and agony as you learn the “hard way.” Therefore, take my advice and start your paradigm shift before you step off the plane in Santiago’s airport.

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.

Caveat Emptor in Chile!

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

First, Tottus, a “hypermarket” (hipermercado, a really big supermarket), has had trouble pricing cheese in Viña del Mar. For seven or eight weeks straight, the price scanned at the checkout is 20% to 30% higher than the price printed on the label. The supervisor always fixes the problem–while the line gets longer as people have to wait. But one has to wonder how many people just pay the higher price for cheese without noticing that they have been overcharged? Is this some sort of way to milk consumers a little more?

One thing for certain is that in spite of being informed of the problem seven or eight weeks in a row, the store has done nothing to correct it. On many occasions over the years, I have seen products put on sale in the hypermarket’s aisle that do not ring up as the sales price when going through the checkout lane. Thus, when shopping in Chile, get in the habit of checking your receipt and watching to see if the prices charged at the register agree with sale prices.

Second, be sure that your new car or truck is really the current model year. Even if the factura (sales invoice) states that it is a 2015 model, for instance, saying so does not mean that it is not in reality a 2014 leftover.

When the registro civil finds out during the registration process, they will refuse to register your car or truck citing the fraud indicated via some digits in the VIN number. Thus you will have a hassle and have to sue the dealership, since they will not want to take responsibility. The salespeople will swear that it is a 2015 and act stunned, when in reality they knew that the reason the vehicle was selling at an end of year discount is precisely because it was “new” but from the previous model years.

The last thing that any salesperson or manager in Chile wants to do is take responsibility for his actions. The first thing that most of them will want to do is to lie and get away with it.

Other favorite lines/lies of car salesman include telling you that the vehicle gets 13km/liter when in reality it only gets 9km/liter. People in Chile lie, frequently. That is one reason that the last people that the registro civil will believe is a car or truck dealership.

Third, just because the owner of agricultural property says that he has secure, legal or grandfathered water rights, does not mean it is so. This fact is true even if the owner has been using an illegal well for 30 years and never had any trouble. He might even believe that he really has water rights.

Listen: do not believe a Chilean’s claims about water rights, sewer easements, zoning restrictions, or any other legal benefit in real property without first hiring a lawyer and specialist to check things out for you. In Chile, paying good lawyers and consultants is always money well spent. (That is one reason I have a consultancy job!) You do not want to find out after a purchase that the owner or Realtor were incompetent or lying and thus you get left holding the bag for any problems that arise.

I know that these sorts of things can happen anywhere and often do. But if people living years or even decades in Chile still get taken by such things, imagine how hard it will be for newcomers.

In Chile, the adage of caveat emptor, let the buyer beware, is especially true. Learn the lesson well, especially when you are coming to a society where lying, cheating, stealing and mistrust are common, well-respected practices. One means of helping you avoid pitfalls is to get informed by reading my books, attending members-only monthly webinars and hiring a knowledgeable consultant.

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.
Page 4 of 7:« First« 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 »