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An Error in the Thinking of Twentieth-Century Chilean Baptists about the State

Consider the following affirmation—what I would argue is an incredible error—written in the Chilean Baptist monthly publication La Voz Bautista (The Baptist Voice) during World War II (September 1943, exact author unknown, page 13). (Note that all italics in the following quotations were added by the blog software and were not contained in the original Spanish, translated into English.)

Civil government affects all members of the community, and is established for the good of human society as a whole.

The author also added, based on Romans 13:1-7:

The civil government has been divinely approved to promote the interests of, and good order in, society.

Does this interpretation of the sacred text include states run by the likes of Hitler and Hirohito, as well as Mussolini and Stalin? Or does it apply only to republics or democratic countries over the last 250 years, not being valid for the autocracies, monarchies and dictatorships that have existed during thousands of years of history? Does it include states led by Nero, Domitian, Diocletian, who persecuted the early church? Or the famous Roman Republic that oppressed the Jews before Christ?

For those Chilean Baptists, and others that would follow, the answer was apparently, “yes!” For instance, H. Cecil McConnell stated fourteen months later in La Voz Bautista (November 1944, page 20), for Sunday School material regarding Romans 13:1-6:

[The Apostle Paul] wrote precisely during the reign of the infamous Nero. However, he asked Christians to faithfully comply with the laws of the empire. He knew that some laws were bad and should not be obeyed, Nevertheless, taking everything into account, Roman laws served its subjects for good. The government may not recognize God, but, in some sense, it is always God’s servant in maintaining order over a territory. Any government is better than no government.

It is simply mind-boggling to read such a ridiculous view that people preferred living with state-led mass-murder of millions, along with extensive destruction of property and churches, and imprisonment of pastors, rather than political anarchy. Yet this is the sort of incredible sense that comes from misinterpretation of the Holy Writ.

Nevertheless, not all Chilean Baptists were beleaguered by this errant view. In the same publication twenty months earlier (La Voz Bautista, March 1943, page 3) another unspecified author had a clearer idea of the bad effects of nefarious public policies—especially for the early church and the society that existed when the Apostle Paul wrote Romans 13:1-7:

Every thinking man must pay attention to the drive, courage and dynamism of the Apostles and Christians who formed the early church. Moreover, those elements also make us think of the rapid and victorious progress of the work of the Gospel during an era fraught with impossibilities: insurmountable prejudices, absurd but deeply rooted beliefs, despotism, and domination of the conscience by political and religious powers.[emphasis added]

So what happened? Having seen the similar horrors of Hitler’s Germany and the Japanese empire under Hirohito, Chilean Baptists wrote these first two citations above (from September 1943 and November 1944) in defiance of the historically Baptist libertarian and political understanding (i.e., Christian Worldview) of Pastor John Leland, an activist Christian who was the major proponent of adding the Bill of Rights to the U.S. Constitution. Both Leland’s contribution and that of earlier particular Baptists in England had been noted the previous year by C. Almonacid B in La Voz Bautista (June 1942, pages 7-8):

The motto of democracy is: Freedom, Equality and Fraternity. What a wonderful slogan this is! Totalitarianism’s [e.g., Draconian rule by Hitler, Hirohito and Stalin; and, by extension, Nero, Domitian and Diocletian] is: persecution, dictatorship, tyranny, supression and terror. In the United States, the Baptists made the First Amendment to the Constitution, which says: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.” This amendment was adopted in 1789. The one who introduced it to President Washington on behalf of the Baptists was John Leland, a distinguished Baptist preacher. It was accepted, because the request was fair. He was not taken to a concentration camp or prison, as is the case in all totalitarian countries today, where preachers are persecuted even for their fundamental Christian principles. The Confession of Faith adopted by the English Baptists in 1644, says Dr. Vedder, contains the first publication of the doctrine of liberty of conscience in an official document representing a body of associated churches.

Indeed, earlier writers for La Voz Bautista were hardly oblivious to history and its political realities. But what ignorance and doctrinal shame was demonstrated just months later! I am a Baptist, but I hope that neither my brethren today nor I will repeat the error of the Chilean Baptists of September 1943 and November 1944. Accordingly, I write this article with the intention of providing the correct, biblical interpretation of Romans 13:1-7] and how we should comprehend our relationship with the state and politics. Furthermore, I hope that thinking people from other religions will consider it, too.

The idea of the state embodied in the first two citations is a resurrection or re-formulation of the ancient divine right of kings doctrine (image credit), which definitely corresponds to Roman Catholic, Anglican, Methodist, Lutheran, Presbyterian and perhaps Pentecostal teaching. It belongs to any religion that wants to link state and church or that wants the state to impose godly morality on society, bring social justice, or to play a role in bringing the kingdom of God to earth (as theonomists do, or men like “Pastor” Soto in Chile do at present).

But in no way should a Baptist adhere to that doctrine. Baptists have always advocated the separation of the two things, since we have often been persecuted by the state. Indeed, many Baptist thinkers over the years have considered that the state is linked to Satan himself. For my part, as the Bible says, I believe that the state has been “appointed” by God (such as Cyrus, Hitler, Nero, et al.) and according to Revelation 13:1-9Psalm 2:2/Acts 4:26Revelation 19:19-21and others, is in fact linked to Satan.

Yet divine appointment does not in and of itself necessarily mean that the appointed thing is morally good. According to Isaiah 45:7, God brings adversity and controls evil. The words “good” and “evil” in Romans 13:3-4 may be defined according to the philosophy of the state, not according to the commandments or criteria of God. According to Romans 13:4, the state is the “servant” (in Greek: diakonos) of God in the same sense that Satan is. The state, in my view, is evil by nature whether it be run by the Left or the Right, although its worst manifestation is seen in revolutionary atheistic communism (from the extreme left). Consequently, the Left is worse than the Right in absolute terms. But the only biblical perspective is libertarian, something which has been historically Baptist.

I do not trust the state at all. It is an entity that generates corruption, wickedness and harm. The best thing one can hope to do by involving himself in politics is to reduce the damage that the state can cause his brethren or family, so that social conditions are set where “we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Timothy 2:2). The state will never have anything to do with God’s redemptive plan, except in its use of sanctifying His chosen ones “for good” (Romans 8:2813:4). Therefore, I must insist that the natures of state and church are different.

The acts of Jesus reveal that He was a libertarian or neoliberal; He never asked the state for help in His task or to impose morality or spread the kingdom of God. In fact, Satan offered him the kingdoms of this world that had been given to the devil (Luke 4:5-6). The state since then murdered John the Baptist, Jesus, eleven of the apostles and innumerable martyrs of history. This is the reality of things, and that expectation is taught in Revelation 12:13-17 and other parts of the final book of the Bible. Jesus and the apostles Paul and John taught us, too, that in this world we will have tribulation, suffer persecution and often be imprisoned (John 16:332 Timothy 3:12Revelation 2:10), mostly by Satan-led states.

I never put my trust in the state to improve the quality of life. Public policies provoke or implement satanic ideas in our society. Accordingly, in no way should we accept the errant doctrine of the Chilean Baptists of September 1943 and November 1944 about the role and nature of the state, an absolutely beastly and Satanic institution that was responsible for the death of approximately 350 million non-combatants in the Twentieth Century alone. Something so obvious should be clear to Baptists of any age, but especially during the Second World War in 1943 and 1944!

Note: For further reading on the matter, please see my books Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006) and Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003).

See this article on Steemit (with link to the Spanish version).

P.S. John Leland was not alone. La Voz Bautista (August 1946), page 12 mentions another prominent libertarian Baptist from New Jersey, John Hart, who was a delegate to the Continental Congress and a signer of the Declaration of Independence. “According to some historians, [John] Hart was not fond of politics, but he was an ardent patriot and was always willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of the sacred ideal of freedom. Indeed, from the time that libertarian propaganda took hold, he took an active part in it and, in October 1770, at approximately 55 years of age, he was included as a member of the Continental Congress as one of its most ardent defenders of American independence. In that organization, this honorable patrician, this consecrated Baptist, had the privilege of being united with Washington and the rest of that great body of men, as one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence of the United States.” Like John Leland, John Hart was not afraid to put 1 Corinthians 7:21-26 into practice.

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

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

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

A Grateful Immigrant

Some people are surprised to learn that not only did I immigrate to Chile, but I also renounced my American citizenship after I became a Chilean. Indeed, I prefer freedom, and with all its faults Chile is an even freer place than the United States of America. I do not mean to say that the Chilean state is good or without its faults; not at all. I am a libertarian and according to my experience, the theoretical framework of my Worldview, and the empirical results that I have seen many scholars come up with: all States are vile.

In Chile there is no justice, there is crime; it is a lying, dishonest, deceitful and distrustful society with an odious bureaucracy that is coupled with annoying hassles and hurdles to get anything done. People tend to be overtly selfish, especially when driving or shopping. A large percentage of professionals and tradesmen seem to be incompetent. The Marxist minority is disgusting and irksome. These things are annoying. However, there are dozens of excellent reasons to be in Chile: beautiful landscapes, good medical care, low taxes, privatization of pensions and former state-run enterprises, affordable housing (in Chilean First World places), the best anti-seismic construction in the world, good food, a large number of libertarians, little political correctness, scant radical ecology or radical feminist policies, a strong family focus, strong opposition to abortion, etc.

I left the U.S.A. and I eliminated my citizenship because I did not want to be linked with that state and I adopted the considerably less malignant Chilean one. I am certainly more optimistic about the future of Chile than that of North America. Chile is my homeland now and I am working to make it even more libertarian.

What do I think about the old country? Not much; I do not feel any moral obligation to liberate the U.S.A. from its evil, nor raise funds from here to free its serfs from their regulatory, tax and politcally-correct slavery. Am I a degenerate or indolent for not caring about fixing the big mess up yonder? I do not think so. Instead, I recommend that North Americans (and Europeans) come to Chile.

For me, life is clearly a struggle between good and evil, in general trying to help others be a little freer, even though my main desire is for Chile to move towards greater liberty. Such freedom is a strong magnet that will automatically attract oppressed immigrants—similar to Hong Kong in the Twentieth Century. My idea is not original, since during the Nineteenth Century and the first decades of the Twentieth, Valparaíso, Chile fulfilled that magnetic function. I want Valparaíso to regain that virtue during the Twenty-First Century so that, once again, the world’s oppressed, poor, ignorant and persecuted will reach its shores alon with the rest of the country.

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I am a grateful immigrant because Chile welcomed me on March of 1996 when I was thrity-three years old—without a job, with less than USD$10,000 in savings, with five children under eight years old (and another one to be born that July), and without being able to speak much Spanish. We all had a temporary visas when we arrived, obtained before boarding the plane, but nothing else of significant earthly value besides courage, resourcefulness, dedication and diligence.

In addition, I have been rather serious about promoting Chile to others. Since 2006, I have publicized and “sold” the country to many Americans (and several Europeans), with many of them having come down to stay (a few in conditions similar mine in 1996). Now, most of these folks speak, more or less, in Spanish. Many of them work here and are applying for Chilean nationality. I am happy for them and I hope they serve as great blessings for Chile.

With the help of some fabulous individuals (i.e., Chicago boys or, in one case, a UCLA boy) who trusted me and hired me even though I spoke Spanish poorly, boosted my career growth and later facilitated the development of some projects in Chile. I would be remiss not to mention and thank, in a special way, Álvaro Vial, who even signed up to be my personal guarantor, allowing to lease my first home in 1997, as well as Harald Beyer, Cristian Laurroulet, and later (in 2008) Francisco Labbé, among others.

In mentioning these fine men, I am not implying that I got work on account of favoritism. For instance, to get my first full time job in Chile I had to pass a “test” before being hired by the Finis Terra University. It consisted in me teaching a semester-long course (in English) about free market and public policy topics, for authorities and professors of the university. Thus, I earned the job based on my merits. I am infinitely grateful for the opportunity they gave me. Also, nobody claimed that I was going to take away the work of a Chilean that might have otherwise gotten my university post. Its authorities, with the exception of Adelio Pipino, were pro-immigrant.

Now, I want to help other immigrants as others have helped me—especially considering the great influx of immigrants that has arrived since 2015. Accordingly, I am especially happy to see Baptists (of which I am one) working with Haitian immigrants to learn Spanish and the Bible. I am libertarian in word and deed, and there is no man more naturally libertarian than a Baptist.

Unlike other Chileans who disdain immigrants, how could I be anti-immigrant after having such a good reception in Chile? I have been settled in the country for the better part of twenty-two years, working, paying taxes, participating in politics and active in church, writing 1,505 letters to the editor, hundreds of blog entries pertaining to Chile, and have been the subject of many press interviews. My language skills still leave something tp be desired. Yet, I was relatively comfortable writing this article in Spanish (having had people who helped me correct mistakes), before putting it into English. Another issue: note that my second daughter (Rachel) was born here, in Quilpué, on July 7, 1996 and is a Chilean citizen, too. I have another son who opted for nationality as well. For so many reasons, I have always felt welcome to Chile.

Álvaro Vial and Héctor Hevia (among others) told me that when they went to study at the universities of Chicago and Western Michigan, respectively, they were surprised by how well the gringos received them, willing to help and show kindness to an unknown foreigner. I must agree that the generosity and volunteerism of Americans is unparalleled in the world. (It is, after all, a country made up of once persecuted, oppressed and poor ignorant immigrants or their descendants, right?)

Upon seeing me in 1996, they told me that they were goig to take the opportunity to return the favor of what they had received in America by being generous and helpful to me, without expecting anything in return. At other times, different men helped me, too, especially in 2008 and 2015-2016. It is worth mentioning that Pablo Baraona, Hermógenes Pérez de Arce and super-libertario Álvaro Bardón nearly became my fans by helping me become yet another emblematic (or enigmatic?) Chilean libertarian who believed in the economic policies they envoked under Pinochet, and who showed his preference to live in these furthest confines of the world instead of the “fabulous” United States. I’m grateful for them too.

Blurb in <i>La Estrella</i> (The Star) of Valparaíso in January 1996 alerting people to the fact that the "<i>gringo loco</i>" was going to arrive.jpg

They put this notice for me at La Estrella in Valparaíso (January 1996). Mrs. Marta Ramírez (another fabulous person) answered and leased us a country house in Lo Hidalgo, between Limache and Villa Alemana. I am grateful again because he was interested in my case. From there, I launched my life in Chile. It has not been easy, but I have shown that you can achieve success as an immigrant in Chile.

Having considered the main provisions of the bill championed by President Piñera (April 2018) to modify Chilean immigration legislation, I think it will cause more distortions than solutions. Would it not be better to privatize the border? In what sense am I different from the Haitian immigrant so frequently despised today? My skin is white, my eyes are greenish, and my university and postgraduate education (coupled with my professional career) is far better than theirs. Are those the reasons why I was preferred? The differences I have with immigrants from Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela are relatively minor compared to the massive ones I have with Haitians—except that those folks already speak Spanish as their first language, unlike my unpolished drivel—wherein they beat me hands-down. All of that evidence leads me to believe that there is an immigrant prototype that the Chilean government under Piñera likes.

At any rate, I have empathy for the immigrants who have been coming to Chile since 2015. I hope that Chile is beneficial to them, and that they will consider becoming part of our pro-life libertarian political party (and perhaps ponder becoming Baptists, too!). Normally those who have fled oppression and social malice, having been persecuted by the Left, come to their new homeland willing to oppose the slavish, often violent and bloodthristy Left that beleaguered it. Just how beneficial would attracting so many new adherents that detest the Left be for the libertarian Right?

This article was published (in Spanish) by the popular, left-wing Chilean magazine The Clinic, on April 13, 2018.

Haz click aquí para ver la versión en español de este artículo.

John Cobin, Ph.D. Twitter

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

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

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

Early Twentieth Century Baptists in Chile

Baptists have “plagued” Chile for many decades—in the same sense that the Apostle Paul was said to have done so in Acts 24:5. Unfortunately, few Chilean Baptists know much about this history of what I would call both a calvinistic and largely libertarian heritage. I have previously written something about the Baptists that arrived in Chile from Germany, Scotland and the United States from 1884 to 1917. They were the first real movement of Baptists to Chile, although President (General Director) Bernardo O’Higgins had invited Scottish Baptist Pastor James Thompson in 1821 to work to improve Chilean primary education using the Lancaster method. He stayed a year but managed to bring the first “Bible that came legally” into the country and began to spread the simple Gospel as well as he could.

There were also a few Baptists included in the more general immigrations of Germans during the 1850s and 1860s to Valdivia, La Unión and Osorno, along with the later settlements around Lago Llanquihue. (Note: a few Mennonites—pacifist, Arminian Baptists—also arrived, but they are not the focus of this article.) Some of the earliest German Baptists settled from Contulmo to Los Ángeles, down to Victoria, and also El Salto, Quillén Viejo and Temuco, including the Lichtenberg, Reinicke, Rolof, Meir, and Berg families, evangelizing German-speaking Roman Catholics.

Pastor McDonald Chile 1908.jpg

In 1908, twenty years after his initial arrival in the country and extensive labors, missionary William MacDonald (photo above) and three hundred Baptist brethren founded the first evangelical Baptist convention in Chile. There were a number of Chilean pastors by then, too, and many of them ran along family lines with these surnames:

Sáez (José)
Valdivia (Wenceslao Valdivia and his son Isaías Valdivia, being the most renown)
Chávez (Abraham)
Mella (Gualberto)
Gatica (Juan Antonio)
Álvarez (Juan Domingo)

along with other key men in leadership, according to Victor Aguilar, History of Baptists in Chile (pages 5, 7):

Zapata (Nieves)
Bar (Pedro)
Rodriguez (Erasmo)
Espinosa (José Tenorio)
Mancilla (David)
Mora (Joaquín)
Ramirez (José)

Modern Chilean Baptists would do well to find out more about these men. The initial Spanish-speaking churches were established—apparently illegally (before 1925)—in towns spread across a wide radius around Temuco: Gorbea, Lastarria, Mune, Molco (on Villarrica lake), Cajon and Huilío. American southern Baptist missionary Dr. WIlliam Buck Bagby, who was originally sent to Brazil, came to Chile around the same time at the request of MacDonald. Along with the American Baptists, Brazilian, Argentine, Mexican and Cuban Baptist organizations sent financial support for the early Chilean churches. By 1923, the number of Baptist churches had grown from five to twenty-nine and the number of members to 1,154. Pereira, page 7

It is interesting to note that Chilean Baptists were renown for being penniless at that time and were thus poor givers; a characteristic that has transcended generations and over 110 years of history, down to the present day. It is a shame that Chileans are famous for not being generous givers. They neither support their own pastors adequately nor fully undertake the cost of building their own church structures, instead relying on foreigners (especially Americans) for such blessings. As Oscar Garcia Pereira noted in 2012:

But the pain of missiological poverty was cured by the largesse of missionary wealth of the Southern Baptists of the US. From this body missionaries began to arrive [1917-1926], very well trained in theology, and well equipped in family resources and dollars. They came to plant, harvest, and store, the rich fruits of evangelization. Pereira, pages 4, 6, 8; note that Virginian Baptists were still paying 79.7% of Chilean pastoral support fifty years later in 1972!

Who exactly were these ardent missionaries?

—1917 William Earl and Mary Davidson to Santiago (see page 27 of the missionary list).
—1919 Frank and Effie Marrs, missionaries to Mexico who went to help Earl Davidson in Santiago (see page 66 of the missionary list).
—1919 Robert Cecil and Mary Moore, first to help in Santiago for a year and then on to Concepción (see page 73 of the missionary list).
—1920 Agnes Nora Graham (see page 41 of the missionary list)head of the Baptist school in Temuco starting in 1922, construction and operations financed by the Southern Baptist Convention to combat the illiteracy rate of 50% and provide basic instruction.
—1921 Joe Lancaster (and wife Tennessee) Hart to Temuco to start a Bible institute, then to Concepción briefly and finally to Antofagasta (see page 46 of the missionary list).
—1922 James W. and Catherine McGavock to Talca (see page 70 of the missionary list).
—1926 Wynne Quilon and Berta Lou (Tooms) Maer to Temuco for youth ministry commencing in 1929 (see page 66 of the missionary list).

They settled in Temuco, Concepción, Talca, Santiago and Antofagasta. MacDonald also became a recognized Southern Baptist missionary, and proceeded to establish churches in Freire, and the southeastern Ninth Region: Laureles, Villarrica, Pucón, Liucura, and Picahres (near Caburgua lake in the Andes foothills). Thus, the first organized Chilean Baptist churches, apart from the previous union with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, under the efforts of MacDonald and the Southern Baptist missionaries (later becoming the Baptist union or association UBACH) were, according to Aguilar (page 8): Temuco (1914), Valdivia (1917), Santiago 1st (1919, reorganized 1920), Concepción (1919), Santiago 2nd (1921, with the Davidsons), Talca (1926), Valparaíso (1936), and Antofagasta (1937).

They were all active in evangelization and political activism, as Pereira noted (page 4): “The Chilean evangelicals and Baptists settled in a country with martial war. They had to fight against closed social institutions to obtain room for social tolerance and religious freedom…[and] had to face a constitutional giant—the union of Church and State.” Like Pastor John Leland before them, they boldly fought for religious liberty, and their progeny following suit through participation in the Radical Party starting in the 1930s (see Pereira, pages 11-12).

While one cannot say with certainty if or how the Chilean pastors and foreign missionaries of the 1908-1937 era fell in with Leland, it is manifestly clear that Twenty-First Century ones are reluctant, theologically ignorant and perhaps even lazy cowards by comparison—lacking both his calvinistic/transformational doctrine and his diligent Christian principles put into practice. As the historical record shows, the original Chilean Baptist church (UBACH) and its Santiago seminary’s degeneration to unbiblical modernism or light “Christianity” seems to have begun during the 1950s and metastasized ever since. Consequently, unless there is a revival among it, historically Baptist convictions must be sought in other independent, particular and Reformed Baptist churches that have risen up during the last four decades.

Ver la versión en español.

John Cobin, Ph.D. Twitter

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

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

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

The Free Market: Our Future Friend at the Chilean Border

The discussion on the new Chilean immigration law has been accompanied by images of long lines outside consulates abroad, as well as long wait times for immigration services in Chile. These irksome troubles have been exacerbated by the startling discovery of immigrant trafficking networks, along with worrisome potential private pension (AFP) problems that will almost certainly be generated by the ingress of hundreds of thousands of people. Those workers—if for no other reason than their age or lack of steady employment at first—will have gaps in their AFP contributions as they find it necessary to undertake precarious or informal jobs.

Many of these failures could be remedied by privatizing border services.

Border services basically consist of (1) ensuring national and health security—for human beings, animals and crops, (2) helping to ensure a growing population currently threatened by a low birth rate—1.8 children per couple in Chile, (3) providing local labor markets with resources where shortages exists, and (4) managing the issuance of visas, passports and travel documents.

All these services could be provided by a well-designed system of concessions linked with economic incentives. The concessionaires would lose part of their annual income or bonuses for failing to fulfill their mandates and not taking care of their reputation. Through a competitive bidding process, each concessionaire could be assigned a certain number of kilometers of border or coastline, others would watch over airports and ports, and still others take charge of offices that issue passports, a much wider variety of visas, and travel documents.

The market-regulatory framework of private border services must comprise at least the following elements: (1) promotion of competition among concessionaires, (2) adequate power to catch, punish and expel those who fail to comply with Chilean immigration regulations, and (3) issuance and approval of visas and passports, encompassing all aspects of their duration, type, status, prices and discounts.

The lion’s share of the price of visas and passports would form part of the concessionaire’s income and, with competition, the prices would vary between different points of entry, issuing offices, and would depend on the required options and delivery times (speed) specified by a client. The other part of the concessionaire’s income would come from the government, which pays each one a base plus bonus for good behavior and results.

There is no doubt that the current situation beleaguers both prospective immigrants—who wait hours or even days to obtain their visas—and Chileans who are exposed to state-driven, artificial Civil Registry strikes, high passport prices and, above all, the ineffectiveness state institutions that for years now have let in hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, often assisted by quasi-mafias that specialize in human trafficking.

By privatizing of border services Chile would once again take the lead as a world pioneer in market solutions to government failure, improving border services and better regulating immigration, improving the country’s security, reducing its fiscal spending requirements, and generate better, greater and newer technologies and industrial capacity. If successful, other countries would do well to follow suit, just like they followed Chile in privatizing pension services.

Versión en español

John Cobin, Ph.D. (George Mason University) Twitter
Alejandro Rogers, MBA (MIT Sloan)
Co-Founders Independence Party (Chile)
www.libertarios.cl
Escape America Now

Visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country. Non-wealthy immigrants to Chile should also create a portable income by signing up to be a 51Talk online English teacher. Read more details about the job in my previous post on the subject.

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

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

Chilean Ethnicity and Ancestry: A Somewhat Surprising Mixture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presidential Election 2017: Chile Turns Right

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Note on the 2017 Chilean Primary Elections

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chilean Census – 2017

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

Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notary and Recorder Monopolies in Chile

Notaries (notarías) and notarial services are vastly different in Chile than they are in places like the United States.

A notary designation is not easy to get in Chile, and a notary does far more than just verify the veracity of the signer. In many cases, notaries offer legal advice, too, the liability associated with doing so being a topic of academic discussion. The relative pay scales are a bit different in Chile compared to places like the United States as well.

According to El Mercurio, a Chilean notary business can rake in well over 10 million pesos (USD $155,500) per month, although a great number must languish with only USD $100,000 per month. Even in small towns like Puerto Varas, the local notary can knock down USD $15,000 per month.

That income level is due to the fact that notary positions are lifetime monopoly grants from the government (the Ministry of Justice, related to the Appellate Court, in particular). There appears to be political favoritism and even nepotism involved in the designation of notaries, which are almost impossible to remove once installed. Indeed, prior to 1995, they could not be removed at all.

One can find siblings heading different notaries, and their children. For instance, notary Tavolari has his shop in Viña del Mar while his sister runs another notary in Valparaíso, both going under the same last name: Notaría Tavolari. One would think they are related branch office, but they are not. In some cases, the designations have been effectively hereditary, passing down to children. Furthermore, the “industry” basically is unregulated. Thus, it is an ideal business to be in!

Not surprisingly, notary designation recipients _notarios_ make a big business out of their privilege. For instance, the Fischer Notary in Viña del Mar has sixty employees and rents the entire third floor (complete with private client parking area outside) of one of the most modern office buildings in the city. It is one of the largest notaries in the country. A number of Santiago notaries are even larger.

The number of notaries in any given area is limited by decree, and this fact can cause significant problems. In Concón and Lo Barnechea, for instance, both growing, largely affluent urban areas, there is only one notary, respectively. Both are congested with slow service, just as one would expect under monopolization.

Since people can use any notary in Chile, the folks from those areas often use other notaries instead (perhaps in Viña del Mar or Las Condes) in order to get better service. People might have to do that anyway since not all notaries are competent on legal matters or able to handle all document requests. Notaries willing to sign documents in English are even scarcer.

Chilean notaries are, in large measure, a product of living in a society of great distrust and mistrust. Contracts are basically unenforceable if they are not notarized. The same is true with all incorporations, transfers of vehicles or real estate, wills, affidavits, powers of attorney, insurance payouts, as well as documents needed to work with subcontractors. With the exception of some employment contracts, a non-notarized document is essentially worthless. Photocopies of legal documents, certificates, diplomas, records, etc. are likewise unacceptable, generally, unless they are photocopied by the notary himself and stamped as being a legitimate copy.

Lately, some politicians and public figures have called the notarial system “anachronistic, bureaucratic and hardly transparent.” Rates should be standardized throughout Chile for certain services. Yet prices can vary greatly: three or four times as much in one (usually affluent) place compared to another.

A parallel monopoly institution that is beleaguered by similar problems is the county recorder equivalent in Chile (called the conservador de bienes raíces that handles the recording of real estate transactions, as well as other legal rights and company formation documents. This institution, too, is very lucrative and is spawned by political privilege or favoritism. In fact, they make much more than notaries do. Getting this position is to hit a true goldmine.

Like notaries, they have an obligation to the “public trust” to ensure the safekeeping of public records for display when necessary. Consequently, they are both custodians of public documents, making them quasi-state institutions. They both subscribe to at least one powerful lobby to protect their benefits, too.

As an expatriate in Chile, it will be impossible to avoid having to use notary services, and unlikely to miss utilizing a recorder for legal transactions. Therefore, be prepared for inefficiencies, high costs and stressful hassles when you do. Nevertheless, being mentally prepared will help you cope better.

The system actually works, despite its monopolization and inefficiency. One must simply pay the price to get the desired result.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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