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Thursday, January 26th 2017, 6:01pm

Top Five Most Popular Foreign Countries
Ever since achieving independence, Chile has forged ties with foreign states that run deeper than mere political, military, or economic alignments. These are the nations which Chile holds in high regard.

1. Atlantis
Atlantis was the first nation to recognize Chilean independence, and ever since the Chileans have held high regard for the Atlantean Empire. Over the last century, Atlantis rose to become Chile's largest international investment partner. A full eighty-one percent of adult Chileans identified their view of Atlantis as 'favorable'.

2. Great Britain
The British Empire materially aided the Chilean wars of independence, and a number of the great heroes of Chilean history have British (or Irish) heritage, including Almirante Cochrane and General O'Higgins. British investment in the Chilean economy vies with Atlantean investment for primacy, although this rivalry has faded in recent decades as the United States makes its economic might known. Such has been the influence of Britain and the US that English has become the unofficial second language of Chile, spoken by nearly a third of the country's people. Seventy-nine percent of Chileans viewed Britain in a positive light.

3. United States
US citizens may be surprised that the United States only ranks third in popularity with the Chileans, considering that the Chilean government is strongly modeled on the US. The lower popularity may be due to the traditional US isolationism. It also irks most Chileans that US citizens call themselves 'Americans', as Chileans apply that term to all inhabitants of the Americas. Despite this, seventy-seven percent of Chileans exhibited approval of the US.

4. Germany
There's a strong German minority in Chile, present particularly in the Los Lagos and Los Rios regions. Most of that minority is actually Catholic-German in origin, composed of those who left Europe between the 1860s and 1890s. These immigrants have since become productive and well-regarded citizens of Chile. Seventy-six and a half percent of Chileans viewed Germany with approval.

5. Canada
Foreign observers often think Canada is a strange country for Chileans to think well of, but Chileans tend to regard Canada as a sort of English-speaking cousin; they are both proud regional nations on the border of the Great Powers' spheres of influence. Ultimately, Chileans desire to emulate the successes of their northern neighbors. Sixty-nine percent of Chileans approved of Canada. Noteworthy is the fact that fewer Chileans think poorly of Canada (0.4%) than any other country.

Didn't Make the List
The Philippines, Nordmark, and (perhaps somewhat surprisingly) Japan are fairly well regarded by the Chilean people.

* * * * *

Top Five Least Popular Foreign Countries
Chileans like to think of themselves as a live-and-let-live people, but there are a few countries toward which they express a consistent dislike.

1. Peru
Curiously, Chile and Peru once were allies against Iberian domination, and the Chilean founding fathers strove to free the Peruvian people from tyrrany. Where did this go wrong? During the Pacific War, when Peru concluded a secret alliance with Bolivia against Chile. Over the last twenty years, Peru has been an unstable and sometimes unpredictable factor in the region, building up an army, navy, and air force to intimidate Chile. This was the case in the early 1930s when Chile had to transfer control of Tacna Province to keep them from allying with belligerent Bolivia. Despite political upheavals, Peru continues arming itself at a nearly frantic pace. An astounding eighty-four percent of Chileans dislike Peru.

2. Bolivia
Chilean perception of Bolivia has changed back and forth over the last two decades. During the late 1920s and early 1930s, Bolivia was Public Enemy #1 for Chile, a fact reflected in the popular perception of the country. However, following the Andean War and then during the Peruvian Civil War, Chilean opinion of Bolivia changed. Now, Chileans believe that the Bolivian people have been betrayed and oppressed by their leaders, who promise wealth and freedom but only deliver poverty and oppression. Sixty-one percent of Chileans think poorly of Bolivia.

3. South African Empire
Less than a decade after the end of the South American War, Chileans still aren't certain what to think about the South African Empire. Although heavily vilified during the war as Chile supported their alliance-partners Argentina and Brazil, historians now regard this as "The Orange Scare". Fewer Chilean people think poorly of the SAE today (twenty-nine percent) than in 1936 (sixty-two percent), but this drop in disapproval has not translated into actually liking the SAE: the approval rating has only risen one point in the last eight years, to fifteen percent.

4. United States
It's a strange factor of the relationship between Chile and the United States that the US appears on both the Top Five Best Liked and Top Five Least Liked nations. While seventy-seven percent of Chileans liked the US, nineteen percent of adults expressed dislike for the country, citing concerns ranging from economic imperialism to a holdover of distrust from the Huey Long administration.

5. Iberia
Once Chile's imperial master, Iberia is still a country that Chileans love to hate. Chileans have never quite forgiven the Iberians for the 1866 Bombardment of Valparaiso, when the Iberian Navy bombarded the defenseless port city of Valparaiso. However, most Chileans have little real animosity remaining. Twelve percent of Chileans think poorly of Iberia - about the same percentage of people who feel approvingly of Iberia.

Didn't Make the List
India's role in arming Peru, and China's warmongering in Asia, makes these countries somewhat unpopular in Chile.


Thursday, January 26th 2017, 6:03pm

Top Five Best-Selling Automobiles in Chile
The growth of the Chilean middle class, which has expanded from twenty percent of the population in 1920 to forty percent in 1940, has fueled the desire for automobiles, one of the status symbols of membership in the middle class. Although there are an estimated one million middle-class households in Chile, the country has only a quarter million automobiles, approximately ninety percent of which are imported from Europe and North America. The cost of importation means that cars cost 150% as much as they do in neighboring Argentina, which has its own local auto-manufacturing industry. The estimated average age of a Chilean car is twelve years old.

Figures compiled by the Chilean Automobile Association indicate that twenty thousand automobiles were sold in Chile in 1943. Fully half of these cars belonged to one of five types.

1. Ford Fordor Sedan
The Ford Fordor, and it's coupe variant, the Tudor, sold 2,375 units in Chile in 1943, and sales continue to be strong through early 1944. The CAA estimates there are more Fords on Chilean roads than any other brand of automobile, dating back to the Ford Model "T" and Model "A", which competed with the Austen Seven for control of the roads.

2. Plymouth De Luxe Sedan
Plymouth sold a whopping 2,258 De Luxe sedans in Chile in 1943, in its first year of importing directly to Chile. Plymouth is directly challenging Ford for supremacy in the market, and the De Luxe is a clear rival to the Fordor. Plymouth's quality marketing in Chile has been substantially responsible for their strong first year of importing.

3. Terrestre 675 "Geep"
The lone Chilean-manufactured automobile sold on the civilian market in 1943, the Terrestre 675 is cheap, rugged, and equipped with power take-off to run farm implements. Despite these many advantages, the 675 has only two seats and no permanent roof, making it less desirable as a family vehicle. 1,854 were sold in 1943, with a large percentage purchased for use as postal delivery vehicles or Carabineros patrol cars. An enclosed version with a van-like rear compartment is planned for 1945 introduction.

4. International Harvester K-1 Truck
Introduced in 1941, the International K-1 is the vehicle of the "Chilean working man". 1,788 units were sold in 1943, and it competed directly with the indiginous Terrestre 675. Although more expensive, the K-1 has a significantly higher level of "polish", which makes it more desirable for use.

5. Auto Union / Auto-Union Argentinas S.A. Beetle
1,695 Beetles were sold in Chile during 1943, with about half coming from the Auto-Union plant in Argentina, and the remainder being shipped in from Germany. Its inexpensive cost and fairly rugged construction makes it desirable, although it lacks the size of the Fordor and De Luxe. The Beetle sells best in the cities (with 1,400 units sold in only three cities: Santiago, Valparaiso, and Concepcion).

Didn't Make the List
Ford's 1/2 ton truck (introduced in 1944) has nearly outsold the International K-1 during the first quarter of 1944. The K-1 retains the advantage of name recognition and a loyal customer base, but the Ford has leveraged its more widespread sales network.

The Citroën Traction Avant has been a longtime best seller, but aims primarily at the upper class, as well as the richest members of the middle class.


Thursday, January 26th 2017, 6:04pm

Top Five World-Leading Industries
1. Astronomy
On the Atacama desert at Chajnantor lies one of the foremost observatories in the world, and the largest in the southern hemisphere. The observatory, funded in part by the University of Valparaiso, includes three of the five largest radiotelescopes in the world. Nor is Chajnantor the only world-class observatory in Chile: the observatory at La Silla, also on the Atacama desert, received an award in 1943 for 'Best-Designed Observatory.' Among the notables working at Chajnantor is Irish astronomer Kenneth Edgeworth, who has discovered a disk of icy bodies, the Edgeworth Belt, in the outskirts of our solar system.

2. Electronics
The radiotelescopes at Chajnantor Observatory are one of the many products of the growing Chilean electronics industry. The Chilean parastatal Sisdef (Sistemas Defensas S.A.) has manufactured dradis radio-detection systems since 1937, serving as a plucky underdog in a market dominated by larger manufacturers such as Phillips. Other firms, such as Fabricaciones Militares ("Fabmil"), have recently become involved in electronics manufacture.

3. Natural Gas Powered Vehicles
Although Chile still imports over ninety percent of their automobiles, they lead the world in the manufacture of natural-gas powered vehicles. The availability of relatively cheap natural gas in Chilean Bolivia, and the promise of natural gas to burn cleaner and reduce smog in polluted Santiago, has led Chilean companies such as Austral Obras Mechanias to design and build the world's first natural-gas powered bus, which will soon begin appearing in numbers on Santiago's streets. The company is additionally preparing a kit to replace petroleum-powered engines in standard automobiles. To date, Chile has manufactured more natural-gas powered vehicles than the rest of the world combined. [1]

4. Wine
Chile's wine industry ranks highly on the world market, holding third place behind France and Italy. (Chile and Atlantis have spent the last ten years vying for third place on the international market.) The vast majority of vineyards occur in Chile's Central Valley, where a Mediterranean-like climate exists throughout most of the year. Chile's presence in the southern hemisphere allows for the country to export summer wine (as well as summer fruits and vegetables) while northern-hemisphere wine producers are facing their winter months, thus substantially improving Chile's ability to sell and market their products abroad. Chile's wine industry has existed longer than the country itself: in fact, the oldest business operating in the Western Hemisphere is a Chilean winery in the Central Valley.

5. Shipbuilding
Every year, the Chilean shipbuilding industry launches over one hundred forty thousand tons of civilian and military shipping, for customers both local and international. A majority of this business takes place at ASMAR, originally founded in the 1800s as the shipyard of the Chilean Navy. The company's technically-advanced yards at Talcahuano, Valparaiso, and elsewhere have turned out a variety of innovative ships, including a tanker designed to carry liquified natural gas from Bolivia, a novel car and passenger ferry for the Magellanes region, and the two largest passenger ships on the west coast of South America, the SS Presidente and SS Independencia. Military offerings are no less versatile: ASMAR has sold submarines and minesweepers to Brazil, military tugs to China, and in the 1930s assisted materially in the renovation of a Philippine shipyard. Local manufacturer Austral Maritimas also manufactures Burmeister & Wain maritime diesel engines under license, serving as B&W's South American distributor.

* * * * *

Note [1]: Which doesn't say much...


Thursday, January 26th 2017, 6:04pm

Top Five Largest Cities
1. Santiago Conurbation
Over ten percent of Chileans live in the capital city Santiago, with an estimated population of 1,519 million people. Located in Chile's central valley, Santiago serves as the country's largest industrial region, boasting almost forty-five percent of the nation's manufacturing jobs. The Santiago Airport serves as one of the major entrepots for air travellers from North America. The city possesses a respectable downtown core of late 18th Century and 19th Century buildings, including the La Moneda Palace, the residence of the Chilean president; but a new modern architectural district is growing as well. City leaders anticipate Santiago and its adjoining communities will double in size over the next twenty years. This growth and industrialization has had an effect, though, as coal-burning electric plants and copper smelters have caused a rise of a "London Fog", which is a growing concern to city residents.
Includes: Puente Alto, Maipú, La Florida, Las Condes, San Bernardo, Peñalolén, Santiago, Pudahuel, La Pintana, El Bosque, Ñuñoa

2. Valparaíso Conurbation
Chile's second city, once called "the jewel of the Pacific", has suffered in the decades since the opening of the Panama Canal, which robbed the port of its prime importance as a stopover from the Atlantic to Pacific coasts of North America. Despite this fall in fortunes, 856 thousand people still call Valparaíso and its suburbs home, and the town is slowly starting to reposition itself as both a cultural capital and an industrial center. Valparaíso remains the principle sea-port both of Chile and the western coast of South America, although plans to construct a new high-capacity port in the neighboring city of San Antonio threaten this status.
Includes: Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, Concón, Quintero, Quilpué, Villa Alemana

3. Concepcion Conurbation
The city of Concepcion and its suburbs have steadily grown over the last half-century, becoming Chile's second-largest industrial region, centered on everything from shipbuilding to manufacturing. Concepcion's port, encompassed by the suburb of Talcahuano, offers one of the largest sheltered anchorages and the best-equipped shipyard south of San Francisco. With a population of 721 thousand and a high growth rate, Concepcion is poised to soon overtake Valparaíso as the second-largest city of Chile, which experts believe will occur before 1955.
Includes: Concepción, Talcahuano, Chiguayante, San Pedro de la Paz, Hualpén, Penco, Tomé, Coronel, Lota, Hualqui

4. La Serena-Coquimbo
The cities of La Serena and Coquimbo, situated closely together on the north-central Chilean coast, boast a combined population of 157 thousand people. Tourism and agricultural exports provide most of the economic strength of this region, although the city has suffered from several damaging earthquakes over the last decade, as well as a slow population growth rate.

5. Antofagasta
The city of Antofagasta, with a population of 152 thousand, serves as one of the economic strongholds of the Chilean national economy, on the basis of the copper, gold, and phosphates mining activities that take place in the region. The newest resource extraction industry, however, involves natural gas coming by pipeline from southern Bolivia, where it is converted to more widely-used fuels at the new Fischer-Tropsch plant, built with German technical assistance. The growth of the resource industry resulted in high immigration from Europe and North America during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, resulting in an unusually diverse population. Although Antofagasta was invaded and damaged by the Bolivian Army during the course of the Andean War, the city has quickly rebuilt its damaged industry and infrastructure.


Thursday, January 26th 2017, 6:05pm

Top Five Most Influential Chileans
Amongst notable Chilean personalities, some stand out as influencers of public opinion. As of 1946, these five people are among the most noteworthy in this field.

1. Tomás Farías (radio presenter)
As the lead presenter of the Radio ADN Chile's Evening News, Tomás Farías has the ear of an estimated four million Chileans on a daily basis. Born in Santiago in 1896, he served in the Chilean Army for five years as a telegraphist prior to entering civilian life. He worked a variety of jobs between 1922 and 1932, when he began working as a propagandist for Radio Antofagasta during the Andean War years. The experience caused him to write a series of pamphlets on the topic of integrity in presenting news. After Radio Antofagasta ended broadcasting in 1937, Farias was hired by its descendent, Radio ADN Chile, where he started working as a newsreader. In 1939, he was appointed as the lead presenter for the hour-long ADN Evening News, and gained popularity due to his soothing baritone voice, his calm presentation, and his subtle wry humour. Outside of the radio station he maintains a low profile and rarely voices his political views, but often notes on air that 'the way a story is presented can challenge or reinforce bias, and alter the way the listener thinks about the world.'

2. Edmond Vizcarra (former president)
The president of Chile between 1938 and 1944. Edmond Vizcarra was born in 1901 in Punta Arenas to mixed Basque and Atlantean parents, and attended the Chilean Naval Academy in Talcahuano to become one of the first Chilean naval aviators. During the Andean War, he was one of four Chilean ace pilots (with five kills), and lost his right eye to shrapnel in fighting near Antofagasta, sparking his use of his trademark eyepatch. After retiring from the Navy with the rank of Teniente Capitan, Vizcarra spent two years working as a huaso (Chilean cowboy) on a friend's horse ranch in southern Chile, but returned home to Punta Arenas, where he ran for the National Congress. He first came to public attention in 1937 when, in a fiery speech before Congress, he sparked a mass walkout of Conservative and Liberal congressmen in order to form the Partido Federalista de Chile (Chilean Federalist Party). Elected to the Presidency at the age of 37, Vizcarra was acknowledged as a political visionary, and was well-liked even after the end of his term in office. He was notably the first South American political leader to present a televised address. A writer in his free time, he published three books: Air War Over the Andes (1935), Carlos Condell, a Biography (1936), and Guardias Noches (1937), a science-fiction novel. His fourth book, another science fiction novel titled La Fuerza Expedicionaria, will enter publication in 1947. A well-known animal lover, during his tenure at La Moneda Vizcarra owned a cat named Esmeralda, a hunting gyrfalcon named Barnabas, several Caballo Chileo horses, and three white German Shepherds named Edna, Max, and Prussia.

3. José María Caro Rodríguez (Chilean cardinal)
Born in Los Valles in 1866, Rodríguez entered seminary in Santiago before travelling to Rome in 1887 to attend the Pontifical Collegio Pio-Latinoamericano and the Pontifical Gregorian University. After returning to Chile he served as the pastor of Mamiña and then as a professor of theology. In 1911, Rodríguez became a bishop, and in 1939, the Archbishop of La Serena and the Archbishop of Santiago. On February 18, 1946, Pope Pius XII created him as Cardinal Priest of S. Maria della Scala, making him the first Chilean member of the College of Cardinals. Due to Rodríguez's stature in the Catholic Church, Chileans hold him in great respect.

4. Gabriela Mistral (Chilean poet and Nobel prize winner)
Gabriela Mistral (the pseudonym of Lucila Godoy y Alcayaga) was born in 1889. She began working as an educator, first as a teacher's assistant before eventually rising to become director of several liceos (high schools) including Liceo #6, the most prestigious girls' school in Chile, which was located in Santiago. In 1925, she was named to represent Latin America at the Institute for Intellectual Cooperation of the League of Nations. Outside of her educational field, she is perhaps better-known as a poet, with numerous works and prizes to her name. Named as a Chilean consul in 1932, she currently lives in Naples. In 1945, she became the fifth woman (and the first Latin American) to win the Nobel Prize in Literature.

5. Jorge Castro (sitting president)
Born in 1901 in Osorno as the second son of the town's mayor (alcalde), Jorge Castro was well-educated, eventually attending the University of Valparaiso, where he received a double degree in business and history. Immediately after his graduation, he travelled to Europe as a junior assistant for the first Chilean delegation to the League of Nations, where he was employed as a fact-finder and saw much of the devastation of the Great War. Returning to Osorno in 1922, he married Estefania Rita Torres and began working as a sales manager for his brother's business. Striking out on his own in 1924, Castro's first venture, a mail-order tool supplier, failed in 1925. He learned from his mistakes and started a more successful mail-order company, selling home appliances, furniture, and household hardware. In 1932 he stood for election to Congress but was defeated; nevertheless, he was appointed to represent Chile as one of three ambassadors to the League of Nations in 1933, during the critical Andean War years. During the aftermath of the Andean War, his company hit financial struggles and he sold it off in 1936, buying shares in a brewery in Chaitén. In 1936, he stood again for election to Congress, this time winning the Osorno seat for the Conservative Party. In 1937, frustrated by party leadership, he joined Edmond Vizcarra's walkout and creation of the Federalist Party. In 1939, Castro was appointed Chile's ambassador to the League of Nations, where he served until 1944. The retiring President Vizcarra asked Castro to run for his replacement as president, and Castro won the election. Although he is far less charismatic than his immediate predecessor, the mild-mannered Castro is highly regarded by Chileans.

Didn't Make the List
Communist poet and politician Pablo Neruda is one of the leading figures on the Chilean Left; a member of the opposition, he is currently the only member of the Chilean Communist Party to hold any elected office.

Francisco D'Alarch, former general and military governor (Intendent of Potosi) of the occupied Bolivian territory, remains one of the leading voices on the Chilean Far Right.


Wednesday, March 1st 2017, 5:24pm

Top Five Most Popular Radio Programs
Radio ownership is widespread in Chile, with over seventy percent of citizens either owning or having regular access to a radio and one station. Since 1941, Chileans have benefited from the "Radio War" - a fierce competition between two radio station networks, Radio Minería (operated by the Sociedad Nacional de Minería or National Mining Society) and Radio ADN Chile (owned by British expatriate and investor Nigel Tramontin). The resulting competition for listeners has focused both of the broadcasters on providing quality programming. This is a list of the five programs that draw the most listeners in Chile.

1. ADN Evening News
This hour-long program runs at 6:00 every weeknight on Radio ADN Chile. The lead host, Tomás Farías, covers the national news for the first thirty minutes of the program, covering breaking news, politics, economy, and culture. After completing the national news, Farías covers ten minutes of important international news. In the remaining twenty minutes, the two assistant presenters, Alejandro Bustamante and Diego Luis Poblete, each present one in-depth story with a human interest angle. Farías is known for his soothing baritone voice and unembellished presentation of the facts. Bustamante argues a more liberal political line, while Poblete advocates religious and social conservative issues. An estimated four million listeners - one third of the Chilean population - tune in to the ADN Evening News on a daily basis.

2. Radio Minería Evening News
Radio Minería's equivalent to the ADN Evening news, on air between 6:30 and 7:00, features presenters Rubén Sepúlveda and Patricio González. Sepúlveda and González take turns presenting national news stories. The Radio Minería Evening News is shorter than its Radio ADN equivalent, gaining after-dinner listeners or those with less time to listen to the radio. Presenter Rubén Sepúlveda is also known for being a sporting announcer, primarily futbol.

3. Patria Vieja
This radio drama, starring Matias Sepúlveda, Agustin Salazar, and Estefania Leiva, follows a Chilean patriot family during the days of the Chilean War for Independence. Matias Sepúlveda plays Jorge Navarrete, a firebrand patriot living in Valparaiso, while Agustin Salazar plays his younger brother Jaime, a moderate. Estefania Leiva plays the part of Emilia Victoria Navarrete, Jaime's wife. The drama is primarily written by Carlos Maldonaldo with assistance from noted Chilean playwright Ignacio Cassab. The drama started broadcasting in June of 1946, but within three months of its debut it was regularly attracting three and a half million listeners. New episodes are aired on Friday and Saturday evenings, while the previous week's programming is re-run on Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Listeners may also subscribe to receive a written transcript of the program via mail.

4. Evening music program ("El Sonido" / "The Sound")
Flavio Cortés hosts this two hour long evening music program on Radio Minería, playing new music both by Chilean artists and foreign performers. The program does not have an official name, but is widely known by listeners as "El Sonido", or "The Sound." El Sonido is influential enough that inclusion in the evening's programming is considered an essential stepping-stone for upcoming Chilean musicians and singers. A list of the previous evening's programming is also placed in the newspaper El Mercurio, so that anyone who misses the name of a song can look it up the next day.

5. Father Patricio
This fifteen-minute segment on Radio Minería, played from 9:00 PM to 9:15 PM, features a Catholic speaker known as Father Patricio, who offers spiritual teaching and encouragement to his radio audience. The program's time slot is important; the program ends right around the time most families turn off the radio for the evening. The program attracts an estimated two million listeners.

Didn't Make the List
The Radio ADN Morning News, broadcast every half hour in six fifteen-minute segments, covers national and international news.

The comedic radio drama Hontaneda follows the misadventures of Miguel and Alina Torres and their four children, who live on the titular Valparaiso street.