Chile

Protesting Patagonians tired of feeling cut off from the world

 
On paper, it is one of the wealthiest regions in Chile. Its economy grew a staggering 19.8% during 2011, almost three times the country’s growth rate. It has the second lowest unemployment rate in Chile. And government investment per capita is almost triple that of the national capital, Santiago. Yet during the past two weeks the inhabitants of Aysén, a region in southern Chile with only 105,000 people but the size of Bulgaria, have been blocking highways, bridges and airfields in protest against the national government. Why would a region seemingly so prosperous go up in arms? Read more...
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‘It's like we're back to the Pinochet era’

 
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera called for a dialogue with demonstrators on Sunday after three months of protests culminated in violence during last week’s two-day national strike. Yet, as protest leaders prepare to meet with Pinera over the unrest, videos and stories of unprovoked police brutality have surfaced on the Internet, putting the country’s policing tactics into question. Read more...

Easter Islanders' battle for their ancestral land ends in bloodshed

 
Violence flared on the tiny South Pacific Easter Island on December 3 after police forcefully evicted indigenous Rapa Nui protesters occupying properties they say were built on their ancestral land. Our Observer tells us about this usually tranquil island’s little known darker side. Read more and see the photos… 
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Indigenous Chileans go on hunger strike against "antiterrorist law"

Fourteen indigenous Chilean detainees, from a people known as the Mapuche, have been on a hunger strike in the south of the country since July 12 to protest an "Antiterrorist law" which dates back to the era when former President Augusto Pinochet ran the country. Read more...

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Welcome to Chile’s UFO trail

Chile's first ever "UFO trail" was established in San Clemente in 2008. Like in the rest of the Americas, UFO spotting is a serious hobby in Chile. But unlike other extraterrestrial-devoted tourism, this scheme is funded by the country's national tourism board. Read more...

"The longest four minutes of my life"

Early Saturday morning, before dawn broke, a massive earthquake of magnitude 8.8  struck off the Chilean coast. Carlos, one of our Observers from Chile, was at his girlfriend's family home in Talca, Maule, one of the regions hardest hit by the quake. He brings us this account. Read more...

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The man who’s buying up South America

In 1991, an American billionaire, Douglas Tompkins, bought 170 square kilometres of land in Chilean Patagonia. Over the next decade, he bought another 3,000 square kilometres. Counting five other areas in Chile and three more in Argentina, Tompkins owns an estimated 8,000 square kilometres in both countries, making him one of the most important private land owners in the world. His goal? To preserve the land. Read more...

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A navy for a landlocked country

With approximately 6,000 men and 70 vessels, the Bolivian navy keeps control of the Andean country's waterways. The only catch? Bolivia is landlocked. Read more...

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