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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:

Recent Trends in Chilean Immigration

Chile is a great country to live in; just ask its nearly 500,000 immigrants (3% of its population). That figure is likely to double by 2025 as even more immigrants pour into the new El Dorado on account of its economic prosperity. According to La Migración en Chile: Breve Reporte y Caracterización, or report on the characteristics of Chilean migration, since 2001, Chile has become the leading migrant destination in Latin America. This trend has also held true for First World immigrants this century, with significant increases in South Koreans, French, Germans, Dutch, Austrians, Czechs and Americans, with honorable mention going to British, Italian and Japanese immigrants.

Although the percentage of First World (OECD) immigrants from places like the U.S.A. and Spain sharply declined during the now outgoing Bachelet administration, it should reverse itself now that the leftist threat has subsided and President Piñera will be back in office, and Latin American and Caribbean immigration has not stopped soaring—and that trend continues. No country in Latin America has experienced a higher boom in immigration recently than Chile. Although the lion’s share of immigrants are workers in their 20s, 30s and 40s, they are not entirely uneducated. In fact, the Chilean government states that the average education level of an immigrant is higher than that of a Chilean citizen—a fact which bodes well for Chile’s economic future.

Furthermore, many immigrants will take any job. I personally have met Venezuelans fleeing the horrors of life under Maduro in once-prosperous Venezuela. Many of them are now working as maids, auto mechanics and electricians in Chile, having earned university degrees from their homeland in education, construction engineering, and industrial engineering, respectively. They are also earning wages that are perhaps 10% lower than Chileans earn.

Such is the cost of being a refugee and one reason I have always advocated getting a second passport (besides the Chilean one). One never knows when things can turn bad and it becomes necessary to leave. How much better is it to arrive in a new place as a citizen rather than a refugee?

According to Población Migrante en Chile, roughly translated as “immigration yearbook,” published by the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peruvians still comprise the largest immigration group, making up 27.5%/21.2% of total initial visa applications approved/applied for in 2016. They are followed by Colombians (17.8%/17.7%). The Colombian case is interesting since I would say, along with many others, that Colombia may be the second most desirable place to go to in Latin America, neck-and-neck with Panama. Yet the “market” indicates that large numbers of Colombians would rather live in Chile, a figure which has continued to increase dramatically in recent years—even surpassing Bolivian immigrants—implying that Chile is a far more attractive place.

Bolivia comes next (17.1%/13.3%), which, along with Peru, has easy connectivity with the far north of Chile. Indeed, while the Santiago area attracts 61.6% of new, legal immigrants, the far north (Antofagasta, Calama, Iquique and Arica) attracts an impressive 23.3%, especially remarkable when compared to only 4.0% for Valparaíso/Viña del Mar (Chile’s second largest metropolitan area). They are followed by Haitians (5.8%/16.0%), Venezuelans (5.7%/14.7%), Argentines (4.8%/3.7%), many from the latter two countries being professionals, then Ecuador (3.1%/3.0%), Spain (2.6%/1.4%), the U.S.A. (2.5%/1.4%) and Brazil (1.7%/1.2%). Some of the Spaniards and Americans are freedom-seekers, but most are either retirees or working professionals coming down to work for a few years and then return to their home countries.

Note the figures (percentages) represent requests for initial, temporary visas. The country rankings are somewhat similar when considering applications for permanent residency, with Bolivians leapfrogging Colombians, and Haitians falling below everyone (2.0%, just ahead of Brazil), followed by strong rises in applications made by Argentines, Spaniards and Ecuadorans. The U.S.A. dropping out of the top ten at that stage (reflecting that most Americans in Chile come for short-term assignments with their firms then go back), being eclipsed by other nations, even the Chinese (2.3%) which are on the rise at this stage—along with people from the Dominican Republic. About 10% to 12% of new immigrants settle in wealthier sections like Las Condes or Providencia; most of the rest live in poorer or lower-middle-class sections of Santiago and cities in northern Chile, indicating that the great majority of immigrants are not wealthy, nor qualify as upper-middle class.

I remember how unusual it was to see a black person in Chile during the 1990s. Nearly everyone stared at Negro visitors on the Metro out of curiosity. In 2008, I mentioned in an Escape America Now blog entry that Chile has very few black people. That has totally changed since 2015—especially in the last year. Blacks from Haiti and Colombia are now seen everywhere. There is no institutionalized welfare state in Chile, so these people come to work, even though Colombian women often end up being prostitutes. They are seen doing menial cleanup jobs, heavy lifting and loading, house cleaning, and selling candy at intersections with longer-wait stoplights. The Haitians hardly speak Spanish.

From 2015 to 2016, the number of Colombians applying for visas increased by 40.7% (28,361), Haitians by a whopping 419.0% (35,277), and Venezuelans by a remarkable 323.7% (30,751). Working as much as we do with immigration services for our clients, we have every reason to believe that these large increases skyrocketed even further during 2017. At immigration offices in downtown Santiago, the line to enter (since 2017) now stretches around the block, largely full of immigrants from these three countries. Note that the figures cited do not include illegal or undocumented immigrants, whose number is surely significant, especially from Peru and Bolivia.

In the same way that Chile discriminates against 51% of the world’s countries by making it much harder for them to come to Chile, the ease of getting a visa once in country also varies according to Chile’s revealed preference for First World or professional immigrants. For instance, the average wait time for the initial temporary visa for Venezuelans is 63.2 days, with Americans slightly behind at 65.2 days, followed by Argentines (66.9), Spaniards (70.3), and Brazilians (74.2). However, the wait times are much longer for people from countries that send poorer people: Peruvians (152.7), Colombians (133.9), Ecuadorians (119.3), and Haitians (99.4).

Chile needs immigrants. Nowadays, Chilean women produce only 1.9 children on average, which is not enough to replace the country’s population. And immigrants, especially educated ones, tend to be a boon to the economy (Julian Simon, The Ultimate Resource 2, 1996). Moreover, Chile’s demographic makeup is changing racially and politically. Skin color is not quite a white as it was a few years ago. And people from Venezuela and Argentina, and possibly Argentina and Brazil, are likely to support anti-left, anti-communist candidates, given the fact that they fled countries that have been beleaguered and damaged by them. That fact bodes well for libertarians and constitutional conservatives in Chile, since we may expect a rightward or freedom-minded political shift over the coming decade. (Remember that one may vote in Chile after achieving five years of permanent residency.)

Overall, therefore, we should welcome the recent demographic changes caused by immigration to Chile. Even the government, employers and even huge labor unions agree. Chile has passed the “market test,” as growing thousands pour into the territory seeking a better life. Is not that a good indicator for you? While you ponder the grave situation you face in the Northern Hemisphere, now is as good a time as any to consider setting down roots (or at least a “Plan B” residence with visa) in Chile. Visit Escape America Now to find out more about or residency and consultancy services. You will be welcomed and well-liked in this country situated at the end of the world.

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

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

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

Keep Your Hemispheres Straight!

It’s not just whether the North Star or the Southern Cross governs the night sky. There are hemispherical differences that go beyond climate or weather concerns, and how clocks are set in relative countries; people in Chile should especially be aware of them.

I just chuckle every time I have to deal with ignorant people, especially school teachers, that say things like “Christmas is in winter” or that June 20th (or is it the 21st?) is the “longest day of the year.” Someone needs to explain to them the difference between the northern and southern hemispheres. Yet so many teachers do not even “get” such basic stuff. So, how can we expect that their students will? I just ran into this issue again today with a “white Christmas” slide show presented by an online academy.

With so much misinformation how can we possibly expect students to know other more crucial and insightful things that require interpretation of facts and some analysis when we teach them incorrect “facts”? How can they possibly evaluate whether the U.S. government’s story about 9/11 is true, for instance?

Christmas is in the summer for many millions of people, at least twelve percent of the world’s population, living in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Brazil, Australia, New Zealand, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania and many other countries. It is certainly not “white” (except maybe on beaches in Tahiti, Samoa or Fiji) or “cold.” And for them it is in summertime–when Christmas Day is very long, too!

It is also worth mentioning that around forty percent of the world’s population live in the tropics, with no significant seasons or snow whatsoever, except perhaps a very high altitudes such as in the altiplano of Chile, Peru and Bolivia, or a couple of peaks in Hawaii. The vast majority of them may have never seen a snowfall, let alone a white Christmas.

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 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 Couple of New Scams by “Friendly” Chileans

Chile is well-known for its scams.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s older (2014), not updated, abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.

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

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

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

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

Immigrants that Are not Welcome in Chile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.

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

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

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

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

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

Marine Layer on the Chilean Coast

Having grown up on the Southern California coast (Santa Monica, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach), I got used to the frequent “marine layer” of clouds and sometimes fog that crept onshore most days.

The marine layer hardly ever extended past 5 miles inland, and served to keep the coastal communities far cooler than inland counterparts. For instance, Woodland Hills, Pasadena or Riverside might be 100°F while coastal cities remained at 80°F. The marine layer is produced when the cold Pacific Ocean water hit the desert mainland, rolling in late at night and not “burning off” until around 11am to 2pm the next day. It was especially prominent in certain months and for this reason was often termed “the June gloom.”

Central Chile is in many ways a mirror image of Southern California. While Santiago may have sunny 85°F to 90°F days throughout the summer and fall, coastal communities in the 5th Region, such as Viña del Mar, will have highs in the 60°Fs and be covered by the marine layer, whose name in Spanish is vaguada costera.

The main difference in Chile is that it does not burn off so quickly. In fact, sometimes it stays all day, making places like Viña del mar somewhat dreary. Nonetheless, the quality of life in Viña is marvelous and anyone coming to Chile should consider living there as an option in spite of the pesky marine layer. At least it keeps you cool!

     Chile is a freer place than most countries and looks better and better all the time. You might consider investing in the country and even moving to Chile. Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Buy your “Plan B” lot in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.
Also, be sure to tune in to Dr. Cobin’s radio program: “Red Hot Chile” at noon (ET) on Fridays on theOverseas Radio Network (ORN). You can also join the thousands of other people who download the shows each month via the archive link on our Red Hot Chile page (recorded show updated every Monday morning).
Be sure, too, to visit AllAboutChile.com for discussion and forums about the country and what’s going on with Freedom Orchard.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost every topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service – Chile Consulting – where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago.
For a brief introduction consider Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), offering highlights found in the two larger books.
Buy Dr. Cobin’s Public Policy books at Amazon.com:
Christian Theology of Public Policy: Highlighting the American Experience (2006)
Bible and Government: Public Policy from a Christian Perspective (2003)
A Primer on Modern Themes in Free Market Economics and Policy (2009)These and other resources can be found on the Escape America Now resource page.

A Sober Discussion About Immigrating to Chile

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

Eighth Wonder of the World

According to a survey by USA Today, the majority of five million voters elected Torres del Paine national park in Chile’s 12th Region as the 8th wonder of the world. Those of us who have been there are hardly surprised. In fact, I have been saying for years that southern Chile is the most beautiful part of the planet, especially that national park and the western side of Lago General Carrera in the 11th Region running a close second, with honorable mention going to Lago Todos los Santos in the 10th Region.

The scenery on a sunny day is absolutely breathtaking. There are so many beautiful things there that make it special.

One can say that many places have one or two things with are outstanding, like Mount Blanc, Yosemite, Mount Cook or Banff. But I know of no other place in the world that offers so many different spectacular sites: glacier, five lakes each of a different color, waterfall, jagged and multi-colored glacier-encrusted peaks (with two very different main ranges), and interesting wildlife.

Torres del Paine is one of those interesting and wonderful benefits about life in Chile. It earns a 10 on the Cobin scale of natural beauty, with the other places mentioned earlier earning 9.9 and 9.7 respectively.

Chile has dozens of places over 9 and many over 9.5 on my scale, but Torres del Paine stands at the top. The voters in the USA Today poll certainly got it right. I try to get down there every few years and each time is just as worthwhile as the time before. Don’t miss it!

Chile has a new sustainable community starting called Freedom Orchard. Check it out. Invest in it, and diversify out of the decaying assets in “First World” nations.

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

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

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

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

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