Chile From Within

A Dogs Life, Aperrando, Beat, Hero Dog

Posted in chile, Chile culture, mierda, Santiago, Uncategorized by tomasdinges on December 10, 2008

Heroic dog tries to save his buddy who has been hit by a fast-moving car in the fast-lane of an six-lane highway. The incident occurred March 23rd 2008, but the video was recently released, according to highway officials. A wave of attention around the world has been attracted by this most “human” of reactions.

Welcome to a dogs life in Chile, the Beat life.

There are thousands of them in Santiago and throughout the country.

Roaming in packs through the city, they have a history of attacking young children and old ladies. They are also sweet and loyal, but it still is not suggested you touch them. They can be mangy, scabied, scarred and limping, not to mention funny-looking. Survival of the fittest indeed. With no leash to speak of, no caretakers, they adopt the characteristics of a pack of orphaned kids, or a bored gang afterschool.

Remember the movie Kids?

They guard their territory, and have rampant sex with large and small, and get stuck, they scavenge what they can, strike up useful friendships sympathetic people, and will sometimes follow you home.

You can identify the leaders, the bitches, the new arrivals and the lame and weak one’s who despite their physical attributes have garnered the loyalty of the bigger dogs, and thus protection.

One identifies bizarre combinations, dachsunds and terriers, big head, small legs, and occassionally purebreds.

They are to some extent adored and given nicknames and protection, as they permeate Chilean society.

One blogger, Carmen Figueroa Cox, writing for the conservative, and “pure-bred” El Mercurio website, has even suggested that “quiltros” be Chile’s country image to reflect Chile’s actual mestizo state, and debunk the absurd pursuit of purity, and thus exclusivity and exceptionalism in Chilean blood lines.

To Aperrar is a verb meaning “to dog it.” It is the closest thing to Beat, as used in On the Road, exhausted to the point of exaltation.

But how did the quiltros get here.

Well, I’d just say it is partially the irresponsibility of  a country with fucked up views of virility and sex, even dog sex. Or at least this is what one person told me.  Male dogs are not castrated because it is inhumane, said one dog owner in a conversation. These male dogs are also allowed to roam the streets at night, only to come home to scraps.

Pet “owners” take minimal care of them and seem to adopt them willfully, but take little care.

Often times it is a question of money. Spaying and neutering cost much money that is often better spent elsewhere.

The Humane Society would still be something that Chileans would associate with victims of torture under the Pinochet regime, not dogs.

In lieu of social norms and any sort of policy to deal with the issue, there are occasional roundups and mass slaughter of street dogs, or quiltros.

In one case the dogs who had staked a claim to the Plaza de la Constitucion, or the Plaza in front of the Presidential Palace, survived a roundup of three years ago. Why? They had the protection of the Presidential guard, literally.

The dogs often have the sympathy of the people, who give them nicknames, like Jonas and Mero, in this fictional account of the above video.

But for those who don’t have this protection, there is mass slaughter (euthenasia), which most recently occurred at the Sociedad Protectora de Animales where the bodies of 30 cat and dogs were found on site. It is alleged that weekly 50 dog carcasses are removed from the site.

See The Clinic for more:

resulting in this:

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People on the Bus

Posted in Chile military, Corruption, Uncategorized, Writing by tomasdinges on October 30, 2006

Today was the day of the sad prostitute, or maybe she had been raped at work. I really don’t know what was going on, another suffering day. I wanted to sit next to her on the bus, because she was small and I was big, and I had a big bag. She had that broad beautiful face of an indigenous woman in the city. She had fine features and brown skin, the kind of face which no one recognizes as indigenous in Chile, or accepts. I wonder if there is a race to racial extermination here in Chile. It probably comes from within. The largest Mapuche population in Chile lives in Santiago. Self-denial is progress and modernity, right?

Just a thought..for the record.. And her legs were open, and it was strange. And her leg fit just within my leg, and I rested up against hers, reaching a relaxing position at times. I was sitting almost off the seat, so as not to invade her space. At times it was mutually comfortable and as the bus swayed and bounced raucously our legs stayed together or got closer, and then I punched my fist into the palm of my hand, expressing a frustrating thought that had passed through my head in my own recounting of a shitty day and her leg jumped away, a seemingly instinctual reaction … Why were her legs so open and then the morbid thought that she had been raped by an employer came to my mind. Her leg was so close, and her body and her mind, because she was so small, were so far. I can feel her, sense her, am concerned about her. I realized that she had been sniffling the entire time. I wanted to turn and look at her, and see what was happening. I couldn’t.

A clown comes aboard and I hate clowns. They pick on people. This clown reads the papers and cares about its contents. Pinochet apparently has 170 million dollars in gold ingots in Shanghai, he informs passengers beneath the fluorescent lights. He talks words of happiness, brotherhood, looking people directly in the eye and my skepticism was reduced. He then asked me if I wanted to smoke.

–Once, I fell in love with the woman seated near the window on the bus running parallel to me on Americo Vespucio, near Grecia. The two buses, mine and hers, raced around the circle, keeping pace with each other, separated by two feet. I looked over, throught the two scratched and smudged window panes, and smiled. She smiled back.–

I said no, and later on, the woman, almost diminutive, broad faced, with smooth dark skin and delicate features looks at me, as I look at her. Her eyes sparkle, they were glistening with tears, and we smile at each other. What happened? She has been sniffling the entire time and has her legs open still, leading me again to think that she has been raped by her boss. Patron, jefe, jefecito, viejo verde, jote, violador.

There was something, when I sat down, she was pretty, I think, and small, unassuming. no tension.

Ive never ever seen eyes communicate such sadness, sadness and optimism at the same time. Broad brown eyes, really, Mapuche. Fucking really, sparkling…and the clown brought us together. She had been crying, she was not young, not old, but not 30..Ive no fucking idea, Im White, what do I know?

They were tears, and I thought that she should come to dinner with me, where I was going, and be taken care of. Then I realized that she had fallen asleep, like workers do or people who have been crying a lot, on the bus, or anyone does, uncomfortably, on a bus. Then maybe she was sad because she had broken up with a boyfriend, or her mother had died. But why were her legs splayed open, like of a horrible scene in a movie? I consulted, friends, an older woman, 74, and a younger woman, 20, who has many friends who have gotten abortions, all illegal in this country, and they both concurred that the possibility existed. I saw the answer in their eyes as I told the story.

And she was asleep, and a grateful woman, small, but not too large, perfect, took my seat alongside her as I vacated it, instead of a man. She had cried herself to sleep…tucked into that personal space between the window, (glass, rubber, metal headrest), the backrest, your chin and your chest. It was 850pm. Santiasco.

Las Últimas Noticias

Posted in Uncategorized by tomasdinges on October 3, 2006

The news recently has been laden with tragedy and pathos, and the morning clouds which normally greet residents on the Pacific coast felt especially claustrophobic and heavy. The air was clean and fresh.

One instance came to my attention today. The full-page cover photo of the popular newspaper Las Últimas Noticias showed a seated nun at a glass table looking into the vacio, with her hands clasped. Suni Seaton, a 26 year-old nun who had tryed to turn in her habit multiple times, killed herself by hanging this past friday in Chillan.

She grew up in Chillan viejo, so-called because of the 1962 earthquake which demolished half of the town. Its a southern city about five hours driving from Santiago, and is known for its bustling market, sausages and proud rural and livestock culture. Along with Rancagua, a bit more to the north, its known for its huasos, or cowboys. The region is dusty and can be oppressively hot.

When she was young she and her brothers would all sleep together in the same bed, as is common in poor homes, and she would recite prayers.

She was scheduled to take a walk with an intimate friend the day after her death, in a place outside of the city, because “homes get filled with bad vibes.” It turns out that she was a few months pregnant.

Recently the socialist president Michelle Bachelet pushed through a decree making it legal to sell the so-called day after pill, here in Chile Postinor 2, to 14 year olds and above, without parental consent. It met ferocious dissent from the right-wing politicians and the Catholic Church. Recently the court turned back a court case aiming to prevent its distribution. Some mayors in different municipalities in Santiago have been refusing to distribute it.

I have gone out with one girl here in Chile who left home at fourteen because her father pursued her sexually, her sister stepped in the way and took him in her place. Stockholm syndrome thus developed. The mother stood by, feigning ignorance. I know of a case of an older woman who was raped by her stepfather a week after his arrival to the home, and then was raped later in life by military officers who were torturing dissenters to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. 

Its good to have a female president.