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Earthquake Strikes off Coast of Chile

April 2, 2014

by AQ Online

An 8.2-magnitude earthquake hit 62 miles northwest of Iquique, the capital of the Tarapacá region of Chile, on Tuesday night. The earthquake trigged a tsunami and small landslides, killing five people, evacuating tens of thousands and cutting power to some areas of Iquique and Arica.

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday night that the government was unsure of the extent damage, but that “the country has faced these first emergency hours very well.” The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center issues several warnings for other pacific coastal cities in Chile, Peru and Ecuador on Tuesday night, but cancelled all of them by Wednesday morning.

In the hours after the earthquake, 300 female prisoners escaped during an evacuation of an Iquique prison, but more than a dozen of the inmates were recaptured shortly thereafter.

Chile occupies one of the most earthquake-prone zones in the world known as the “Ring of Fire." The country has experienced about 300 of varying magnitudes in recent weeks. And in 2010, a 9.5-magnitude quake—the sixth-largest ever recorded—killed 525 people and trigged a massive tsunami that devastated several coastal towns in central and south Chile.

Tags: Chile Earthquake, Tsunami

Chile Sees Accomplishments One Year After Earthquake

February 28, 2011

by AQ Online

In the early hours of yesterday morning, Chileans marked the one-year anniversary of the 8.8-magnitude earthquake that killed over 500 people, left thousands homeless and caused upwards of $30 billion in damage. President Sebastián Piñera attended the official vigil in the coastal town of Cobquecura, which was the epicenter of last year’s disaster.

Former president Michelle Bachelet, who was Chilean head of state during the 2010 tragedy and is currently the Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, replied to criticism of a perceived slow response on the part of her administration. In an interview yesterday with Radio Cooperativa, President Bachelet said that her government did everything “humanly possible,” adding that “we made the maximum effort to be with the people, the victims, and to come to the community.” Bachelet said that the only time the government paused during the recovery was to hand over power to Piñera, who assumed the presidency 13 days after the earthquake hit.

Looking forward, President Piñera remains optimistic about Chile’s future. In all, 220,000 homes, thousands of schools and hundreds of hospitals were destroyed by the earthquake. He noted that over half of the necessary reconstruction efforts to damaged infrastructure have already been achieved in one year’s time. Piñera proclaimed that “this is a gigantic accomplishment for all Chileans.”

Coincidentally, around 10:30pm local time yesterday evening, a smaller earthquake—registering a 5.9 magnitude on the Richter scale—hit southern Chile, specifically the Maule, Biobío, Los Ríos and Araucanía regions. No casualties have yet been reported, according to Chile’s Oficina Nacional de Emergencias (ONEMI). Another smaller earthquake followed this morning, around 7:30am local time, in Biobío.

Tags: Chile, Michelle Bachelet, Sebastian Piñera, Chile Earthquake

Ripe for Creative Engagement: U.S. Policy in the Americas

March 22, 2010

by Arturo Valenzuela

The first months of 2010 have shown, in multiple and unexpected ways, the courage, resilience, and solidarity of the citizens of the Americas.  Faced first with a devastating earthquake in Haiti on January 12, the countries and people of the region rallied around a neighbor that had suffered a terrible tragedy.  The outpouring of support and feeling was as broad and spontaneous as if any other of our nations had been directly hit by the earthquake.  Then, on February 27, Chile was struck with an earthquake of historic proportions just two weeks before Chilean citizens inaugurated a new President.  When the Secretary met with then-President Bachelet, and then-President-elect Piñera on March 2, she spoke for our entire country when she expressed profound sorrow at the tragedy and the tremendous respect and admiration for the way the Chilean nation responded.

In my blog on March 13, I wrote about Secretary Clinton’s six country trip to the region.  It was a great honor to accompany the Secretary.  With each leader and citizen we met, our deep and personal engagement with our neighbors in the region was apparent.  Given how much is at stake in the western hemisphere right now, I was pleased to have the opportunity to  testify before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere on March 10—and share  with Members  of Congress my perspectives on our relationships with countries of the region and what we want to accomplish together.

I talked about efforts by the United States and the international community to build back Haiti, including the Haiti donors’ conference coming up on at the end of this month at the United Nations.  This includes the ministerial-level International Donors’ Conference that the United States, in cooperation with the Haitian government, will co-host on March 31, 2010 in New York at UN headquarters.  The conference “Towards a New Future for Haiti” has been in the works essentially since the hours after the earthquake hit.  We all knew that building back Haiti better would require enormous and sustained support from partners around the world.  Over the last eight weeks since the quake struck Port-au-Prince, international relief efforts on the ground have been incredible.  In spite of this, it’s clear that we still have a long way to go to provide the Haitian people with the living conditions, economic, and educational opportunities they deserve.  The March 31 conference is just one step in mobilizing the broad international support that the government and people of Haiti must have in order to realize their vision of a stronger, vibrant Haiti emerging from this tragedy.

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Tags: Michelle Bachelet, Organization of American States, Merida Initiative, Sebastian Piñera, Arturo Valenzuela, Ciudad Juárez, Haiti Earthquake, Chile Earthquake, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, Pathways to Prosperity Initiative

The Age of Discontent in the Americas? Not Really

March 5, 2010

by Christopher Sabatini

This piece was co-authored with Mitchell Seligson of Vanderbilt University.

According to the UN Commission on Trade and Development over 60 percent of the population south of the Rio Grande is under 35 years old.  Latin America’s young people will have an impact on political stability and the economy not just in their home countries but also in the U.S., where Latin America accounts for 20 percent of U.S. exports and is the major source of narcotics consumed in the U.S.  There’s also the issue of immigration, where a backlash against Hispanic immigration has fueled a growing desire to close borders and sometimes spilling over into an ugly racist anger against immigrants already within our borders.  With the huge demographic bubble south of U.S. border, the lack of economic opportunity faced by many of the young means that in the years ahead larger numbers of them will be knocking on U.S. doors for entry.

Below are the results from surveys conducted by the AmericasBarometer at Vanderbilt University in 2008 that examine youth attitudes and activities compared to their older counterparts.

The good news is that, despite lack of economic opportunity and the drug-fueled violence in Mexico and Central America and the Andes, two decades after the democratic transitions swept out military governments in every country throughout the region (except Cuba) Latin America’s “democratic generation” remains satisfied with democracy. But it’s not all good news.  There is a support for violent protest—along the lines of factory seizures and sealing of highways we have seen in countries like Chile and Argentina—and a limited interest in local politics.   But as we show below, the former does not mean support for such extra-legal activities enjoy broad support.  In fact it remains marginal, though it is larger in the under 35 generation in Chile.

One thing is clearly revealed in the graphs below: whether you’re a marketer or a politician, if your target is the younger generation: use the Internet.

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Tags: Chile Earthquake, Democracy in Latin America, Youth in Latin America

Chile’s Neighbors Step Up Relief Efforts

March 3, 2010

by AQ Online

Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, and Ecuador are showing a display of solidarity with Chile in the aftermath of the February 27 earthquake.  On Tuesday, Bolivian President Evo Morales said he would donate half of his salary to aid Chile, and called for a five-day campaign in Bolivia to raise funds for earthquake relief in Haiti as well as in Chile. Peruvian President Alan García arrived in Chile with Peruvian Health Minister Óscar Ugarte Ubilluz and 21 doctors, who will establish a field hospital in Concepción.  In addition, the government of Argentina announced plans to increase the amount of gas it exports to Chile by a multiple of six, and Ecuador, which is not known for being a political ally to Chile, has already sent nine tons of supplies.

The region is not always so harmonious.  There are historical conflicts, including Bolivia’s demand for access to the Pacific coast, and more recent disputes, like the one between Peru and Chile over their sea border and Chile’s clash with Argentina over gas exports

While many issues remain unresolved, the support provided is a clear sign of putting aside political differences in times of crisis.

Tags: Chile, Peru, Evo Morales, aid, Ecuador, Argentina, Chile Earthquake


 
 

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