Chilean cumbia, how a tropical rhythm took root in the Southern Cone

From exotic import to dancefloor staple, via years in the wilderness due to dictatorship-era censorship: The story of cumbia in Chile.

Cumbia has gone from an exotic import to a mainstay of Chilean music. Photo via Banda Conmoción

Cumbia has gone from an exotic import to a mainstay of Chilean music. Photo via Banda Conmoción

Since its inception 70-plus years ago in the tropical north of the continent, cumbia has shuffled, shaked and, in many cases, staggered drunkenly across Latin America, injecting Caribbean rhythms as far as the chilly Southern Cone.

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Market wrap: Construction rises as mergers move ahead

Aug. 25 – 29: Foreign companies extend tender offers in ongoing buyouts as building companies move up and controversial holding chain reshuffles.

CFR Pharmaceuticals S.A. (CFR), the country’s largest pharmaceuticals manufacturer, rose 2.8 percent. This week the American pharmaceutical company Abbott Laboratories’ wholly-owned subsidiary, Abbott Laboratories (Chile) Holdco (Dos) SpA, began a tender offer for outstanding shares of CFR at US$0.3465 per share, or US$34.65 per ADS (American Depositary Share — the security under which it is traded in the US). Though the tender offer is open to all shareholders, the results of the offer will not affect the upcoming merger between CFR and Abbott. A chain of holding companies that have majority control of the Chilean Pharmaceutical has already entered into an agreement to sell the company holding the majority stake to ALHS.

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In the wake of another murder, activists launch anti-femicide campaign

Calling femicide a ‘crime of passion’ dilutes what is simply murder, official says as she launches consciousness-raising social media campaign.

A social media campaign urges women to post pictures of themselves holding up signs displaying “#No+Femicidio” in order to raise awareness of femicide in Chile. Photo via Mujeres Socialistas / Twitter

A social media campaign urges women to post pictures of themselves holding up signs displaying “#No+Femicidio” in order to raise awareness of femicide in Chile. Photo via Mujeres Socialistas / Twitter

Following reports of a 27th femicide this year in Chile, representatives of the Socialist Party have taken to the Internet to raise awareness of the significant numbers of women murdered each year at the hands of their partners.

“Our mission is to generate greater awareness,” Violeta Reyes, vice president of Women of the Socialist Party, told The Santiago Times. “We need to lead this debate so that no more women are killed.”

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Chile’s ambassador returns to Israel as ceasefire takes hold

In coordination with other South American countries, ambassador resumes post in Israel; Bachelet promises additional humanitarian aid to Gaza civilians.

Chile's ambassador to Israel will return to Tel Aviv next week. Photo by bildungsr0man / Flickr

Chile’s ambassador to Israel will return to Tel Aviv next week. Photo by bildungsr0man / Flickr

Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz announced Thursday that Ambassador Jorge Montero will return to his position in Israel next week in the wake of what appears to be a permanent ceasefire to Israel-Palestine hostilities in the Gaza strip.

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Guards confirmed innocent in San Miguel prison fire case

Court ratifies decision absolving guards for the deaths of 81 prisoners in a notorious 2010 fire, officials point fingers at prison system and overcrowding.

81 inmates died in the San Miguel prison fire of 2010. Photo by Eye Spy Cat

81 inmates died in the San Miguel prison fire of 2010. Photo by Eye Spy Cat

In a 2-1 vote, a Santiago court of appeals confirmed the innocence of the eight prison guards implicated in the Dec. 8, 2010 San Miguel Prison fire that took the lives of 81 prisoners.

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Children lobby government for ‘five-star’ glacier regulation

Coalition of young and old request government protection of nation’s glaciers, which, to date, have no legislation safeguarding them.

A September debate will put glacier legislation on the table. Photo by Luis Alejandro Bernal / Flickr

A September debate will put glacier legislation on the table. Photo by Luis Alejandro Bernal / Flickr

Ahead of a congressional debate on glacier legislation in September, a group of young children accompanied by deputies and environmentalists gathered Tuesday at presidential palace La Moneda to call for “a five-star” law to protect the nation’s glaciers, which, to date, have no legal protection.

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This Week in Business: Wind power push, state fund capitalization

Major stories from the world of trade finance and economics: Owners of major holding company accused of tax evasion, Latam integrated market may see new member.

Chile opens a new wind park in an effort to source more power from renewable sources. Photo via wikimedia

Chile opens a new wind park in an effort to source more power from renewable sources. Photo via wikimedia

El Arrayán wind farm opens

On Tuesday, President Michelle Bachelet inaugurated the El Arrayán wind farm, located about 250 miles north of Santiago. The installation — which is 70 percent owned by the San Francisco-based Pattern Energy Group (PEGI) — has an installed capacity of 115 megawatts, enough to cover the average usage of 200,000 households. Bachelet said the wind farm was a step toward the government’s goal of having 45 percent of energy production coming from “non-polluting” sources and highlighted the progress made toward that goal.

“We have reason to be optimistic, because this year there has been a significant development of non-conventional renewable energy projects in the country,” she said. “In the period from January to July 2014, 600 megawatts worth of production capacity have come into operation, while we entered 2013 with just 291 megawatts.”

Penta group owners charged with tax fraud

The Internal Revenue Service (SII) has filed charges against two business leaders alleging they illegally exploited the controversial Taxable Profits Fund (FUT), which allows companies to postpone taxes indefinitely. The case against Carlos Alberto Délano and Carlos Eugenio Lavín, the founders and owners of Penta Group, centers around an accusation by the SII that they misused receipts for their spouses in order to illegally lower the tax burden of their company, Inversiones Penta III Limitada. These new allegations follow those filed against the director of Banco Penta, Hugo Bravo López, on July 29. Initial estimates place the tax evaded through this alleged fraud at more than US$400 million. Penta Group has assets of US$20 billion and is involved in insurance, finance, healthcare, real estate and education.

State Companies Recapitalized

Bachelet has signed an initiative that will provide up to US$4 billion to Codelco with the aim of helping it finance its investment plan, which is estimated to cost $23 billion over the next five years. The funding will be awarded annually and is subject to the state mining company meeting certain targets concerning its development. Of the $4 billion, $3 billion will be provided by the treasury while $1 billion will come from the annual profits of the company.

“This bill seeks to end the uncertainty over the future of Codelco and is the largest capitalization proposal that the company has received to date. The magnitude of this contribution is fully consistent with the role it has played and we want it to continue to have [a role] in the future development of Chile,” Bachelet said, at the signing ceremony.

Along with funding for Codelco, the president has approved a bill that will provide US$450 million to Banco Estado and US$50 million for the Guarantee Fund for Small Entrepreneurs (Fogape). This capitalization is expected to permit Banco Estado to significantly expand its operations, allowing the state-owned company to potentially increase its loan portfolio by US$5 billion, of which $1.5 billion will go to finance small- and medium-sized businesses and $2 billion to finance mortgages.

Shareholders approve recapitalization of Vapores

In their extraordinary shareholders meeting, the shareholders of Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores (CSAV) approved the US$400 million recapitalization of CSAV as part of its merger with Hapag-Lloyd. The funds will mainly be used to underwrite its obligations in the deal signed with Hapag-Lloyed. Under the agreement, Vapores committed to a capital increase after the merger through which it will increase its participation in the German shipping giant from 30 percent to 34 percent. The remainder will go to covering the closing costs of the deal.

Government rejects aquaculture in national parks

The office of the Undersecretary of Fish and Agriculture (Subpesca) has announced the rejection of 232 applications requesting permission to farm in the Magallanes region’s national parks. Following a lengthy appeal procedure between the National Forestry Service (Conaf) and industry representatives, authorities finally sided with the former and banned the development of aquaculture in the region. Covacich Drago, the president of the Association of Producers of Trout and Salmon of Magallanes, described the decision as “regrettable.”

Mexico to join MILA?

Mexico has signed a cooperation agreement that would give it a path to join the Latin American Integrated Market (MILA). The agreement adds the National Banking and Securities Commission of Mexico (CNBV) to the Executive Committee and Oversight Committee of MILA, with the goal of allowing for greater cooperation and information exchange and to promote mutual regulatory recognition and new agreements between member countries — currently Chile, Peru and Colombia. The agreement may open a path for Mexico to eventually join MILA.

— On the Horizon —

Massive Food services convention in Santiago

The Espacio Food & Service 2014 will be held at Espacio Riesco from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday Sept. 3 through Friday Sept 5. The convention is intended to create new business relationships within the food industry and to highlight the latest trends in food service such as new raw materials, equipment, tools and supplies. More information can be found at the event’s website.

By Edwin Sweeney
Copyright 2014 – The Santiago Times

Gay Chilean marine comes out with armed forces’ full support

As campaigners tackle discrimination in the military, marine makes history as first gay officer in the world to publicly come out with superiors’ approval.

At a press conference on Wed. Aug. 27, marine Mauricio Ruiz publicly came out, with permission from the Chilean Navy. Photo by Meaghan Beatley / The Santiago Times.

At a press conference on Wed. Aug. 27, marine Mauricio Ruiz publicly came out, with permission from the Chilean Navy. Photo by Meaghan Beatley / The Santiago Times.

Mauricio Ruiz, 24, publicly discussed his homosexuality in a press conference attended by minority rights leaders and government officials, becoming not only the first Chilean military officer to officially come out of the closet, but the first in the world to do so with his military branch’s express authorization.

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Transfer watch: Is Vidal on his way to Old Trafford?

United’s confidence-sapping loss to MK Dons has spurred ‘The Iron Tulip’ to act fast on the Chilean midfielder, with only six days left of the transfer window.

Vidal wearing the red of Chile, but will the Juventus midfielder be sporting the red of United anytime soon? Photo via Arturo Vidal / Facebook

Vidal wearing the red of Chile, but will the Juventus midfielder be sporting the red of United anytime soon? Photo via Arturo Vidal / Facebook

Christened Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal, it’s no wonder Manchester United’s manager opts for “The Iron Tulip.” However, despite his formidable reputation, van Gaal’s Old Trafford experiment to date — save for a misleading pre-season — is comparable to a wilting flower. As it stands, England’s most celebrated soccer outfit is stranded in deep waters, wallowing haplessly in Sir Alex Ferguson’s wake and lost amid an alien 3-5-2-1 formation. The arrival of highly rated Argentine winger Ángel Di María from Real Madrid will do little to allay fans’ fears, despite costing in the region of $100 million. Midfield steel is what United craves and Chilean dynamo Arturo Vidal may be just the remedy.

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