Posts Tagged ‘Chile’

More WTF in Chile: an update

Posted: December 4, 2019 in News, Stupidity
Tags: ,

So, a little perspective on what’s going on in Chile.

Daily protests continue, albeit slightly less violent than before. Probably because downtown there is nothing left to smash and burn, and most commercial locations have literally welded plate steel over their storefronts.

Once in a while you still catch an underlying whiff of tear gas and that subtle background sizzling in your eye sockets.

Things have kinda calmed down. For now.

Overnight, an entire industry has popped up for private traffic directors. Folks don a brightly colored vest and collect coins from passers-by for the service of directing traffic, which is good considering that most of the traffic lights downtown were torn down, smashed, or spraypainted over by vandals.

Some of these people came under attack by the protestors– how dare they do something good, or constructive, or useful! How dare they try to help themselves or their families! Literally dragged from the intersections and beaten by angry crowds of bolsheviks.

It hasn’t stopped the others, though. And not everyone respects the “authority” of the traffic directors. When there is a protest going on, or rush hour happening, all bets are off since drivers want to GTFO ASAP.

So… what happened to get to this point?

There are several factions at play here:

  1. Overtaxed minimum wage employees and pensionistas (retirees) who feel the pressure of increased electrical costs and commute fares.
  2. Any and all workers (from poor to upper class) who see the future hopelessness of the AFP pension/social security system and believe, perhaps rightly, that their retirement savings will be worthless or completely unavailable when it comes time to retire.
  3. People concerned with the state of health care (honestly I think they are ignorant– health care in Chile is excellent compared to literally everywhere else I have been)
  4. Angry students who want “free” education.
  5. Bolsheviks who want “free” everything.
  6. Angry assholes who just want to wreck stuff.
  7. Angry assholes who just want to steal stuff.

The whole thing really started kicking off when the subway fares went up. By 4 cents per trip. There were mass protests and people jumping turnstiles to show their dissatisfaction. BUT– most of the people doing this were students, who already pay a reduced fare (at a roughly 70% discount).

Some say that the subway fare increase is the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of social pressures in Chile. However, I disagree. My take on it: I think it was the subway and Carabineros’ general lack of ability to secure Santiago against the mass protest, which the people saw, and decided to take advantage of for their month-long drunken bonfire party. Hey, there’s nothing the government can do, we have free reign to do anything!

“Hey, I’ve always wanted to trash a hotel. And burn a subway station. And burn a church. And oh hey, look, dumpsters. What else can we burn? OOOOH A BUS! WITH PEOPLE! Wow, fire sure is fun to play with!”

And so they did.

What legitimate gripes people had (1, 2, 3) were quickly taken over and/or swept up in the bolshevik terror wave. And that’s exactly what it is. I’ve even heard that it was a planned attack– rumor has it that the PDI knew something was up– but since Chile has a bad history with intelligence organizations, Bachelet dismantled what remained of it during her tenure, and Piñera did not rebuild it (thinking it unnecessary), the threat was largely ignored or was not able to be dealt with properly. Some 80 subway stations were attacked or damaged simultaneously, 11 completely destroyed. Who knows if it was a conspiracy. Occam’s Razor says it’s just angry bolsheviks (4, 5, 6, 7).

A subway ticket office on fire.

What use is it blocking roads and setting fire to private property and businesses if you want government change? You’re not hurting the government, you’re hurting yourselves. I’ve had this conversation so many times and so many people agree with me. The most typical response from the most moderate Chileans: “Yeah we have problems that need solving but we’re committing suicide to try and fix them”

Chileans, as a culture, have a bad habit of not thinking things through. They are a bit naive/immature in their methodology. That much is clear with their behavior lately. The way to get better pay is not to burn businesses and send all those people into the unemployed worker pool. The way to get them to work faster and more efficiently so they can earn more money is not accomplished by burning the subway, putting up roadblocks, and smashing traffic signals. The way to win the hearts and minds of your fellow man is not through inconveniencing him or destroying his neighborhood. The way to keep the purchasing power of your currency is not to cause so much social unrest that you crash its value.

 

WTF is going on in Chile?

Posted: November 16, 2019 in News, Stupidity, Uncategorized
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According to international news, “Piñera has been having some problems with protests.”

In reality, criminal vandals have destroyed the metro system, looters have smashed and stripped clean countless places of business, and riots of arsonists have been rampaging through cities, setting fire to businesses, churches, and residences.

Police headquarters and personal homes have been attacked, army bases attacked, and roadblocks are set up by “vigilantes” who think it’s fun to force drivers to get out of their cars and dance for the mob. If they please the crowd, they are allowed to pass. If not, the mob smashes or burns their car.

It all started about a month ago because of a 10-cent hike in the public transit fees. People began protesting nonviolently at first by either boycotting the metro or jumping the gates. Then they decided to take it to a new stupid level by wrecking and setting fire to the metro stations.

Supposedly the driving force behind these protests is that the people want constitutional reform. However, of all the people I have asked, “what needs to be changed about the constitution?” not a single one could give me an answer.

Essentially, people are just looting and burning shit because they can. There is no reason to any of it. Every single night, the trash piles are dragged into the street and set on fire by arsonists. The dumpsters are long gone– they burned those the first day. The metro remains closed, and the storefronts that did not get looted or burned remain barricaded and closed. What businesses are open are shuttered up and you have to enter and exit through a tiny opening in the steel plate. Everything closes at 4pm so that people can get home in order to hide from the mobs.

I can’t keep my windows open because tear gas and the smoke from burning trash will waft through.

There is no mainstream media coverage of this at all. And I really don’t know why.

 

2017’s US taxes got borked and the IRS sent me back a notice that I owed them A LOT OF MONEY™ the reason for which THEY WILL NOT TELL YOU™ so you simply have to figure it out yourself and redo everything, paying interest penalties on money you never owed in the first place because it took them 9 months to get back to you because they are slow and they suck.

Anyways, in dealing with the fallout, I found a neat thing called the US/Chile Social Security Totalization Agreement which pretty much absolves you of the need to pay self-employment tax if applicable. 

There is no official tax treaty (yet) between the USA and Chile, but fortunately this agreement, in combination with the FEIE, should help eliminate a good deal of your tax burden if you are a self-employed vagabond in Chile.

Long time since I have posted anything.

So many people have written in or told me how much they enjoyed my writing and how much they miss it. For which I am humbled. Unfortunately, it only came out when I was angry. And I’m just not angry anymore. Nothing in Chile has filled me with the pure, seething, all-consuming anger that seeps from every pore in the same way that Uruguay did.

I deal with anger, awkwardness, and general malaise by trying to bury/hide it in wit and sarcasm; maybe it’s age, maybe it’s environment, maybe it’s the fact that I have stopped watching the news. I’m just not a fission pile of daily rage anymore.

So, what’s been going on with me? Things have coasted along more or less smoothly bouncing back and forth between the USA and Chile over the past few years. I’ve gotten to the point where I am applying for Chilean citizenship. Still waiting on the t’s to be crossed and the i’s to be dotted regarding my Chilean tax situation, which got botched, but it’s nothing that cannot be corrected, and as soon as it’s rectified I can submit all the requisite poop to become an official Chileno.

The tax stuff came down to the SII (Chilean IRS) not having any idea what to do with my situation as a digital vagabond with so many different flags in so many different places. It took them a year to get back to me regarding just how to file, but here’s the cool thing: Unlike the US IRS, who is content to jail you for even a minor breach of rules they do not even understand and cannot (proven time and again) even supply consistent results for, Chile’s IRS will write you an official signed, stamped resolution about exactly how to file, with which you can show them if any issues arise. They just take their good sweet time doing it.

End result is that because of a combination of me paying taxes to the Empire, and because of a neat new loophole I found, my tax burden in Chile is pretty well negligible. I will pay more in accountants’ fees than taxes. Which is fine by me.

What are my plans for the future?

I’ve got a thing in progress with Polish citizenship by ancestry which may or may not bear fruit; I’ve located the missing link, and I merely need to find a record of his birth in Poland. Therein lies the challenge, because Nazis. I have no plans to live in the EU but you can’t ever say no to an extra passport. Well, maybe summertime in Berlin would be nice…

Puerto Rico is the next destination of choice after my Chile chapter is done. For an American digital vagabond, the tax breaks simply can’t be beat, and you get so much more benefit to much less time put in. 6 months of exile per year, right next to home, without technically “having to leave home” in order to absolve you of your US tax burden, plus no more capital gains taxes— where do I sign and how much of my blood would you like? One mortal soul, coming right up.

 

The door narrows in Chile

Posted: April 28, 2015 in News
Tags: ,

A new change to the laws regarding acquisition of a temporary RUT number in Chile (for things like buying property and vehicles for non-residents or non-citizens) has been implemented. Now you must have a co-signer in Chile who is either a citizen or full permanent resident, in order that they may receive correspondence and legal notices to the RUT applicant.

I would guess that most lawyers and notarias will do this service for people, but it just adds an extra complicated step in the process and takes away something that was, before, a walk-in-walk-out process.

Just found out that my permanent residency application in Chile has been approved. It took them 7 months to get it processed.

Chilean food

Posted: April 8, 2015 in Food, Travel
Tags: ,

I like Chile but their food sucks. Lots of people ask me what Chilean food is like, and I have never had an accurate explanation really until it hit me today: It is the expert addition of so much bread into anything so as to obscure its initial flavor by 99% or more. And not even good bread at that. I don’t know if it’s because they use coarser flour or do not knead or leaven the bread enough but it’s a tough, heavy, gritty bread that lacks finesse and dries the mouth. Surprising considering the German influences here; the Germans know their bread. The Chileans, sadly, do not. And yet they still put it in EVERYTHING.