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Chile Country Report

Country Risk Level

Medium

Overview

Executive Summary

President Sebastián Piñera has focused since March on containing the spread of the COVID-19 virus by implementing quarantines and sanitary measures. Chile’s plan to counteract the negative effects of the pandemic amounts to approximately 9% of GDP, focused on employment protection, assistance to the most vulnerable people, soft loans and tax breaks. Piñera had already been weakened by severe social and political discontent, manifested by violent national protests over social grievances that began in October 2019. Piñera suffered a major defeat in late July, when Congress approved a constitutional reform allowing people to withdraw 10% of their pension savings, an initiative he strongly opposed. The fact that several parliamentarians from the ruling Chile Vamos coalition voted in favour of it is evidence of internal frictions. This is likely to strengthen the left-wing and centre-left opposition parties ahead of the 2021 municipal elections (April) and presidential and legislative elections (November). Chile's growth prospects will be further undermined by the COVID-19-virus outbreak and its effects on trade, partly because of diminished demand for copper, Chile's main export, and partly because of a drop in consumption and investment. IHS Markit forecasts GDP contraction of 8.5% in 2020.A referendum on a new constitution is scheduled for 25 October 2020. The process to write a new constitution is likely to increase state involvement in the economy and review the balance of powers between the executive and the legislature.Violent anti-government protests are likely in the second half of 2020, including looting, arson, and vandalism, particularly in Santiago city centre and low-income and industrial areas. Public transport infrastructure, government offices, and police assets will remain the main targets of arson. Retail stores, mainly supermarkets, will remain the main targets of looting. Bank branches and government offices are targets of vandalism.

Operational Outlook

Chile’s operational environment is marked by positive attitudes towards foreign direct investment, highly developed infrastructure, low levels of corruption compared to the rest of the region, and a relatively liberal labour market. Its operational outlook is underpinned by consolidated institutions and solid macroeconomic stability. However, social unrest since October 2019 is likely to lead to some changes in the economic model, including taxation and labour legislation. Increased environmental scrutiny is likely to lead to projects being challenged in courts, causing delays and raising cancellation risks, including in mining and energy.

Terrorism

Chile has faced unprecedented levels of property damage since October 2019, but the commercial and government buildings have been targeted (arson and vandalism) by protesters rather than terrorist groups. Anarchist groups, however, are likely to have participated in many of the violent attacks against property, though the use of IEDs has not been widespread. Mapuche indigenous extremists in the southern Araucanía region often carry out arson attacks on rural estates, cargo trucks, warehouses, and assets of forestry firms, in demand of land ownership and rights.

Crime

Public security remains one of the main concerns of the population despite Chile and its capital Santiago having one of the lowest murder rates in Latin America (3.8 victims per 100,000 inhabitants nationwide and 4.6 in Greater Santiago in 2019). Kidnapping and extortion are almost unheard of. Armed robberies, mugging, and petty crime are more common, and there are regular explosive attacks on automated cash machines (ATMs). Confidence in the police, who had generally enjoyed a good reputation for efficiency and incorruptibility, suffered in 2018 due to embezzlement investigations and allegations of proof manipulation, and since late 2019 over excessive use of force when containing protests.

War Risks

In October 2018, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled that Chile did not have the obligation to negotiate with Bolivia sovereign access to the sea, lost during the War of the Pacific (1879–83), but Bolivia is unlikely to drop this demand. There is another dispute with Bolivia at the ICJ, presented by Chile in 2016 over the use of the Silala waters. However, war between both countries is very unlikely.

Social Stability

The most violent protests in the last 30 years began in October 2019 over high living costs and social grievances, such as low pensions and a poor healthcare system. At least 118 Santiago Metro stations were damaged, hundreds of supermarkets looted, and an estimated USD1.4-billion worth of damage done to infrastructure, affecting all main cities. The number of violent protests has fallen since the implementation of COVID-19-virus-related confinement measures in mid-March, but once these are lifted, protests are likely to re-emerge, particularly because unemployment and people's purchasing power are likely to significantly deteriorate after the pandemic abates.

Health Risk

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Natural Risks

Chile, spread along the Andes mountain range, is particularly vulnerable to natural disasters.

The country is situated along the Nazca fault (north) and experiences a great deal of seismic activity. On February 27, 2010, an extremely violent earthquake with a magnitude of 8.8 - one of the strongest earthquakes recorded in over 100 years - struck the country; the earthquake and subsequent tsunami left more than 700 people dead (including 350 in Constitución) and caused considerable material damage. More recently, in September 2015, an 8.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Chile, resulting in material damages in the Coquimbo region and at least 15 deaths, as well as some 3000 aftershocks; the Chilean government received much praise for its prompt response to the earthquake and ensuing tsunami threat. Generally speaking, due to stringent building standards and earthquake-resistant construction techniques, the vast majority of earthquakes do not result in any major infrastructural damages or casualties.

Chile, located along the Pacific Ring of Fire, is also home to a number active volcanoes, e.g. the Calbuco, Guallatiri, Chaitén, Llaima , Lascar, Copahue, etc. Eruptions can lead to evacuations, flight disruptions, and health hazards due to volcanic ash in the air.

Transportation

Driving restrictions are regularly introduced in the Santiago region during periods of particularly high air pollution (see HEALTH section). This is most common during the fall and winter months (May to September).

Primary and secondary roads are generally in good condition. However, winter storms can result in hazardous driving conditions and/or closed roads, particularly in mountainous areas (e.g. at border crossings with Argentina) and in the south.

Air travel is safe.

Practical Information

Climate

The climate is arid in the north, Mediterranean in the center (Santiago, Valparaiso), and cold in the south.

In the center of the country, summers (December to February) are hot (28°C) and dry while winters are cool (10°) and rainy. Heading south, the climate becomes temperate but rainy throughout the year with the exception of summer. In the extreme south of the country (Patagonia), temperatures are cool (11°C in the summer) with regular rain and strong winds throughout the year.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +56
Ambulance: 131
Police: 133
Fire Dept.: 132

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal