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Chile - Culture Smart!: the essential guide to customs & culture Paperback – June 5, 2007
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About the Author
CATERINA PERRONE works in the media and information sectors across Europe and Latin America. She holds an MA in Translation Studies and Economics from the University of Mainz (Germany) and an MSc in Globalization and Latin American Development from the Institute of the Studies of the Americas (University of London and London School of Economics). She lived in Chile for two years, where she worked both in the business and the nonprofit sectors, and spent months traveling to the most remote corners of the country.
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I believe I gained understandings and insights that I would have missed as a new visitor. I was traveling with a Chilean family which was great; we got comfortable and trusting together so I could ask them about some of the things I read in the book and based on their responses, the book is on track and they elaborated on interesting things.
It contains a number of errors, however, which reflect poor research practices, wishful thinking, and probably some political correctness. In other words, it's unreliable and not to be quoted seriously.
For example, there is a statement on page 32 that after the election of Allende in 1970, that "President Nixon halted all US investment and aid to Chile." This statement is patently false. Even Kissinger's famous memos in 1970 called for "reduction" rather than elimination of US assistance and investments. US investment did decline sharply but was not halted by presidential order, and selective US aid types continued and were even expanded. US AID assistance continued, at a reduced level, every year that Allende was in office. Ironically, even US military aid continued during the Allende administration. Similarly, other statements concerning the post-1973 military administration are nothing more than attempts at (leftist) political correctness, with no historical validity, such as the page 49 allegation that "nightlife came to a halt" during this period (the eventual toque de queda for Santiago was only between the hours of 2 and 5 am before it was abandoned altogether). I had no trouble getting around at night there during the late 1970s.
Many of the other historical observations are carelessly ambiguous, such as the page 57 note that Chile and Argentina were on the "brink of war" in 1978 due to a border dispute in the Patagonia region. Actually, Argentina was preparing to invade Chile and take possession of Chilean islands in the Beagle Channel, which is south of Tierra del Fuego.
Some statements are careless and silly, such as the statement that "Chileans are trustworthy" (absolute rubbish) or the page 14 observation that southern Patagonia is only accessible by air and overland via Argentina, forgetting -- oops --- the large number of tourists who reach the region by ship every year. On the subject of trustworthiness, it would be well for the author to acknowledge that Chile has the second-highest rate of theft-robbery in all of the Western Hemisphere, second only to Argentina.
With a publication date of 2007, many of the practices noted in this book are now fading into the past, or no longer observed by more modern organisations. So the book is both outdated and unreliable.
Despite the errors and ambiguities, this little book does a generally good (and occasionally quite accurate) job of introducing some aspects of Chile on a very superficial level.