Category Archives: Politics

Santiago de Chile Part II: Of Dogs and Men…

There’s no denying it. One of the things that never seems to attract the attention of foreigners to Chile is the omnipresence of its street dogs (quiltros galore!). Guest poster Kathleen Skoczen is no exception. In Part 1 (Santiago by Bike) of this 2-part post, she described what she saw and thought as she rode her rented bike through the heart of Santiago and visited the Museo de la Memoria. She dedicates Part 2 to the life of dogs and, like the good anthropologist that she is, reflects on the human element that weaves the place of dogs into Chile’s cultural fabric.

The life of dogs…

Another Guest Post by Kathleen Skozcen*

Dog and shop in San Pedro de Atacama

A dog waits patiently outside a corner store in San Pedro de Atacama

My very good friend in the Dominican Republic, Kim, and I had a discussion one day, as we often do when we are visiting together after months and sometimes even years of absence. She is the patron saint of animals in the Dominican province where she lives. Although not a certified vet, she does more for animal welfare in the province than all the other vets—okay, than the other vet. As an anthropologist interested in human health and well-being, I watch her tenderly and lovingly care and mend animals (homeless, flea ridden, mangy beyond imagination) and think, “there are lots of children who could benefit from this kind spirit.” When I finally gave voice to this observation, my friend assured me that taking care of animals is taking care of people.

“How is that?” I asked. Continue reading


Santiago de Chile Part I: Memories by Bike

US anthropologist Kathleen Skozcen recently visited Chile for the first time and left with much to remember—and much to think about. She begins sorting through what she saw, heard, learned, experienced, and felt, forming her own memories while reflecting upon the city from the bike lane… Continue reading

Reguleque and Twitter-whining: How to Commit “Twittercide” in just 35 Characters

A lot can be said in the standard 140 Twitter characters, but Chile saw a political career crash and burn this week in just 35 characters. One now-famous word—reguleque—was all it took to finally put Ximena Ossandon on the bench for good.

Ximena Ossandon, Reguleque, JUNI, JUNI-Gate,

Chilensis vocabulary lesson for the day:

Reguleque (reh-goo-LEH-kay): (adj/adv) From “regular,” which in Spanish does not mean “average” as it does in English, but rather “poor” (See Beware the Fake False Cognates). Adding the “eque” suffix adds further emphasis, so something that is reguleque is REALLY not very good. Example: Es un profe reguleque. (He’s a pretty so-so teacher)…

Here’s an example that’s ringing a bell in Chile this week:

“Mi pega la he hecho bastante bien, ahora la paga es bastante reguleque!! Sniff”
(I’ve done my job quite well, although the pay is not very good!! Sniff.
(Tweet sent by @ximenaossandon on Tuesday, December 28, 2010).

If you’ve seen the Chilean news in the last day or two, you know where this is going. If not, settle in… you’re going to love this one. If you’re a Spanish-speaking Twitterer, go ahead and do a search on reguleque—you’ll find plenty going on. Continue reading

Language Play & Politics a la Chilensis: The Answers

Yesterday’s post featured the October 14, 2010 cover of Chile irreverent weekly news The Clinic,  which appeared shortly after the successful rescue of “Los 33,” the miners trapped in the San José Mine. There were 10 faces on that cover, and I left you with a challenge–a test of your knowledge of Chile’s current events. How many of those people could you identify?
If you haven’t read the original piece yet, go take a look now: Language Play & Politics a la Chilensis.

The Clinic, mina, language, politicians, journlists, TV personalities

And now, as promised, here are the answers: Continue reading

Language Play & Politics a la Chilensis

The Clinic, mina, puns, language**This post was “Freshly Pressed” on November 18, 2010.

Chile’s alternative  news weekly, The Clinic (firme al pueblo, por supuesto) is a master at attention-grabbing and deliciously irreverent headlines that require a very good understanding not only of Chilean Spanish, but of Chile’s current events. If you’re a foreigner here in Chile, make a point of regularly checking out the covers at your local newsstand—and give yourself a big pat on the back if you get the headlines—it’s a sure sign you’re making progress on your cultural and linguistic Chilensis.

English humor seems to be more language-based than Spanish is. A lot is based on puns, which aren’t very frequent in Spanish, but they do come up from time to time, and The Clinic is one of the best sources for finding them. I spotted this cover a couple of weeks ago and couldn’t resist a giggle. Continue reading

Chilean Arpilleras: A chapter of history written on cloth

Arpillera de adorno by Violeta Morales 1992

Decorative arpilleras reflect the idyllic tranquility of country life, Chile 1992

Arpilleras—colorfully enchanting patchwork images depicting daily life—you’ve probably seen them in crafts fairs in Chile and even in Peru. Maybe you’ve even bought some. They’re bright and cheerful, perfect little gifts and ideal for children’s rooms—but they didn’t start out that way. These colorful appliques–arpilleras de adorno (decorative arpilleras)–were born of a much darker past.

Continue reading

Lemme Rant! Student Protests in Chile

Tuesday, June 1, 2010: 4,000 high school and university students march on Santiago. Similar protests in Valparaíso….

AGAIN? Are you serious? Didn’t we just finish up a round of protests? Can anyone remember the last time we got through an entire semester without schools shutting down and students taking to the streets?

Rant topic: Student Protests

Please excuse me while I blow off a bit of steam… Please feel free to rant  back, add fuel to the fire, or try to explain this whole thing. I think a serious conversation is long overdue.

I’ve given a lot of thought to these issues over the years. Read on some reflections on the subject, my proposal for a BILL OF RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES FOR STUDENT PROTESTS, and a final conclusion for each of three groups: students, university administrations, and governmental authorities… read on… Continue reading

Piñerisms 1: Marepoto & Tusunami

PiñipediaChile’s new president, Sebastian Piñera, not only leans to the right like George Bush, but it seems he went to the same school of public speaking. Much to the glee of news buffs, language hawks, and yes, even T-shirt makers, Piñera delighted us all with a bit of unintended levity, not once, but twice, in the aftermath of the recent earthquake. Continue reading