Chile From Within

Lonely Planet Chile ( Moon ), Heraldo Munoz (Bush diplomatic pressure), James Bond (Daniel Craig) (Chile is the new Chile)

Posted in Andes Mountains, chile, Chile culture, Chile film, Viva Chile by tomasdinges on March 23, 2008

Lots of news this weekend.

Most newsworthy is the article in The Washington Post by Colum Lynch reviewing Heraldo Munoz’s forthcoming book. He was the senior Chilean diplomat, now Chilean U.N. representative, who carried out Ricardo Lagos’ anti-Iraq War missive, and in the process got pressured to hell by President Bush and his minions.

An insider’s take on the spearhead of the U.N. opposition to the Bush war titled, “A Solitary War: A Diplomat’s Chronicle of the Iraq War and Its Lessons.”

“‘In the aftermath of the invasion, allies loyal to the United States were rejected, mocked and even punished’ for their refusal to back a U.N. resolution authorizing military action against Saddam Hussein’s government, Munoz writes.

But the tough talk dissipated as the war situation worsened, and President Bush came to reach out to many of the same allies that he had spurned. Munoz’s account suggests that the U.S. strategy backfired in Latin America, damaging the administration’s standing in a region that has long been dubious of U.S. military intervention.”

Secondly, Wayne Bernhardson, formerly the Lonely Planet travel guidebook writer for the Southern Cone who now has his own guidebook, Moon, now has a blog about South America. He knows a lot, and it will be interesting to see what he really thinks about Chile on his travels. He has just crossed the border, inexplicably (hehe) missing Parque Andino Juncal, and went Los Andes, where he compared the landscape to California.

Lastly, according to the Guardian Observer James Bond will use Chile to look like Bolivia in flick Quantum of Solace, which is set to open in October. Secrets out and the Chileans must be indignant.

Imagine that, good production environment, professional production staff…blissful for production, but wait, there is a catch. These extras, and the locations, are meant to be Bolivia, not Chile.

Maybe they will have to acknowledge that, well, dark, side of their heritage. That Aymaran indian side.

According to the story only short and dark people are being cast for a multiple day, and multiple million dollar shoot. It’s also another instance of why its ok to laugh at the Chilean film and television production scene and Chile in general. They get punk’d because its so easy to punk Chileans. Their identity is a sham and it will take snafus like this one to get people to rethink their indigenous and Chilean roots that have for so long been squashed and scrubbed in their mind’s eye. That’s my cheap shot for the week.

Spitzer heart Pinochet heart US Treasury department

Posted in Corruption, Pinochet, US by tomasdinges on March 12, 2008

NewYorkers are crazy and incredulous after news broke yesterday that their maverick, do-gooder, ivy-leaguer, father of three, former Attorney General, likes prostitutes.

Funnily, Eliot Spitzer, governor of New York state (will he resign wednesday?), was tripped up by the same laws that snagged our dear friend and money-launderer, dictator-in- —, Augusto Pinochet. Politically-exposed-persons is their official designation. Read the Wall Street Journal in Wednesday’s coverage. I thought of it before them, for the record.

A well-known example of a PEP was the late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who allegedly used accounts at Riggs Bank to siphon illicit funds from Chile. The failure of Riggs to monitor Mr. Pinochet and a former Saudi ambassador led to a Justice Department settlement, a $25 million fine and ultimately the sale of the bank.

Unlike Pinochet, I think, Spitzer loved to pay thousands of dollars for sex, up to 80,000 dollars according to federal investigators cited in the Associated Press. In order to do that, and not have his wife, his three daughters, the Democratic party battling for control over the NY State legislature, or the good citizens of New York State, find out…he had to transfer money in sketchy ways to sketchy places.

Reporting from the Treasury Department and IRS beat in D.C., NY Times reporters (David Johnston and Stephen Labaton) explain, here. On March 13th, the NY Times did another back-story story on How this all happened.

Last summer, employees at a large New York bank detected something suspicious: Gov. Eliot Spitzer was moving around thousands of dollars in what they thought was an effort to conceal the fact that the money was his own, federal officials said on Tuesday.

One of the New York banks which filed the SAR was Capital One’s North Fork, according to the article. The other bank was HSBC. This time the SAR filing triggered the FINCEN (Treasury Department) to alert the IRS to look into the accounts of the shell company receiving Spitzer’s money.

They said the apparent sleight of hand kept the transactions small and removed his name from deposits. The governor’s actions prompted the bank to file alerts known as Suspicious Activity Reports with the Treasury Department, which were reviewed by I.R.S. agents on Long Island, the federal officials said.

This is what bank officials in the Banco de Chile in New York, Citibank in Miami and Riggs Bank in Washington DC (and a host of others) did not do in 2004 when Senate investigators found Pinochet’s name on bank accounts as he moved big chunks of cash around in funny ways. This was what stimulated the Senate Investigative Committee to look into Pinochet. That was the beginning of the end for Pinocho.

A few months later, another New York bank sent its own reports of suspicious activity to the Treasury. They showed that Mr. Spitzer and others, including people overseas, collectively deposited hundreds of thousands of dollars into an account of a company called QAT International Inc., whose business involved foreign accounts and shell companies and appeared to be vaguely related to pornography Web sites.

A law generated in reaction to 9/11 and possible terrorist usage of US banking system to launder money, the Bank Secrecy Act says that banks should clamp down on suspicious activity and generate Suspicious Activity Reports or SAR’s to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, part of the Treasury Department. See Troutman Sanders AML for a VERY detailed breakdown of the Act.

Last July, suspecting that Mr. Spitzer might be involved in some kind of public corruption, the Treasury Department referred the banks’ reports to a section of the Manhattan federal prosecutor’s office that usually handles cases involving official wrongdoing. The case was not turned over to the criminal unit, which would usually investigate major prostitution rings.

Stay tuned by reading the NY Times, Ny Observer and the blog by Liz Benjamin and the Albany Times-Union for more info and breaking news. I guess the Wall Street Journal would have intense coverage, but their print edition is going to be stronger than their web edition. Not sure if will offer archive material.

Not your white man’s bike polo

Posted in chile by tomasdinges on March 4, 2008

Ciclo Palin

Contact Sewin, for more info.

go mapuche, and for that matter, Colo-Colo


Go indigenous revival. Whose the Chilean now?

It’s like picking out Waldo!

From Wiki (sorry, so lame, but check the epic poetry references, celebrated in annals of Hispano-american poetry)

Colo Colo, (del mapudungun colo-colo, “gato montés“; ca. – ca. fue un lonko mapuche (1515?- c. 1565) caudillo araucano. Hizo frente a los españoles y junto a Caupolicán y Lautaro los venció en la batalla de Tucapel (1553).

El primero que lo menciona es Don Alonso de Ercilla y Zúñiga, en su monumental obra poética, “la Araucana”, que fue seguida por los historiadores coloniales, como la mayor fuente de información.”