Signs of a changing Chile

Sunrise in Santiago

Some recent news:

1)      Last month an army internal document was leaked to Chile’s Canal 13. The memo suggested the army exclude potential recruits with “physical, mental, socioeconomic problems” as well as “drug users, homosexuals, conscientious objectors and Jehovah’s Witnesses.”  Chilean civil rights campaigners were outraged, with some urging that the document’s author be removed from the armed forces.

But it’s not Pinochet’s army anymore. On October 23 the president of Movimiento de Liberacion Homosexual (MOVILH) met with Chilean army commander General Juan Miguel Fuente-Alba and other senior officers to discuss ways to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. MOVILH’s president, Rolando Jimenez, called the meeting as “historic,” and that it showed the Chilean army’s interest in eradicating homophobia. “This reflects a profound and positive cultural transformation,” he said.

2)      A new report by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, “Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises,” lists Chile as the best place in Latin America for doing business.  The report examines legal procedures such as obtaining credit, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency as well as the cost and efficiency of such matters as starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property and paying taxes. Chile ranks 37th worldwide, ahead of Puerto Rico (41st place), Peru (43rd place), Colombia (45th place), Mexico (48th place) and Panama (61st place)

The full World Bank report is here: