Monthly Archives: September 2008

Chilean Group Post: What they think of Americans?

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Wow! I have an even bigger problem with this topic then I did with what I think of Chilean Men or Chilean Women. So, my problem in the past was that the topic sets us up to spread stereotypes that most likely are not true of ALL Chileans.  I mean, I know Chileans who do not like avocado and that is practically the national fruit– if that can’t be true of all, what is?

This topic, in my estimation, is even worse as it opens space for us to make judgments on what Chileans think of Americans.  With the notable exception of Florencia, who is Chilean, and anyone in the group who chooses to have their significant other write the piece– none of us can really know and we pick out the things that we see as “weird”.  Therefore, I feel that it is still casting judgment.

Can we PLEASE do a different type of topic next week? I still say things like:

  • Favorite Chilean moment
  • Favorite Chilean recipe
  • Favorite/ least favorite place to eat/ go out/ vacation

would be so much better! Alas, I keep getting out voted, so here I go…

I tried to trick S. into contributing to this by asking him what Chileans think of Americans. The conversation went something like this:

C: So… what to Chileans think of Americans?

S: That would be stereotypes… I don’t think you can generalize a people.

C: Okay. But if you were to, what would you say?

S: I don’t. People are all different.

C: Okay, well, what would other Chileans without your moral aversion to stereotypes say?

S: I don’t know. What is this about?

C: Nothing.

S: I know. You don’t know what to write for the group blog.  We are changing the subject.

And. We did.

So, I have only something which can only worsen my search results.  I have had problems recently with searches and sleazy people linking to my site, so the topic is on my mind. I also have a history of funny, off, and scary search engine results that bring people here.  I commented on these in Who are you people? and Google: a tool or just a randomizer? Needless to say, I can only imagine what the following topic will do to search results.

So, here is my very generalized and not 100% true generalization: Chileans think that Americans are dirtier and more open with their bodily functions than Chileans.  And here are the facts, in my own humble opinion: we are.

Chileans are very, very, very careful to never fart, burp, or otherwise make inappropriate sounds in front of other people.  In the states, I would say, that people are careful in public but never to the point of being in pain. Also, I think it is acceptable to burp or pass gas in the comfort of ones own home– heck, this is part of the reason it is comfortable.  Also, Chileans think it is extremely rude to not cover your mouth when you yawn.  I think in America this is not the best of manners, but no one has ever given me “looks” in the states at 7am when I forget.  Also, in the states, covering mouth when coughing is considered much more important than which yawning.  In Chile, they seem to be about even.

In terms of cleanliness and orderliness, Chileans, even children, are much better about keeping their rooms orderly and cleaning their house routinely.  In some of my host families or friends of families, they vacuum daily, despite not having pets.  Most friends and family in the states it is a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly chore.  That said, I really don’t see this as being bad or dirty. Really, I can’t give a verdict on which is better or which is wrong.  They are just different.

Here are the other participants (this list will be updated as I notice that people post. Also, People, please link to me and others to help increase traffic for all):

Sara

Abby

Flo

Kyle

Katina

Emily

Carlos

Amanda

Renee

Kathleen

Lydia

What women want

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As this US election season continues, more and more is said about what women want.  Do we want a vice-president to break the glass ceiling even if we fundamentally agree with her politics? Do we want to protect Roe vs. Wade? Do we want continued protection for minorities? Do we want polar bears on the endangered species list? Do we want rape victims to have to pay for their own rape kit? Do we believe that “putting lipstick on a pig” is a colloquial phrase? Or would be prefer to think that in some contexts it is a slur against women?

And yet, we seem to be missing the important stuff all too often.

Do you know that there is a proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that would govern family planning?  Do you know that this rule would make it illegal to force any employee of any health care entity (hospital, doctors office, free clinic, etc.) to assist in any way with medical services they find objectionable?  This means that a receptionist can refuse to book an abortion.  This means a doctor can legally fail to tell a woman that abortion is an option no matter what– even if the woman will die without one; even if the woman was brutally raped.

But, this is not just about Roe vs. Wade and abortion. Objectionable is not defined– it can be defined in any way by any employee. Therefore, it is possible that an ER nurse could refuse to treat an HIV+ patient or a receptionist could refuse to schedule the appointment. It means that doctors could refuse to treat patients whose sexual orientation or gender orientation they find questionable. It could mean pharmasists refuse to give out the morning after pill.

This is the official press release about the regulation.

This measure is scary. It is not going through congress. There is a comment period that runs until September 25.  If you think this sounds wrong… write! This is the link where you can leave your comment: http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main?main=DocumentDetail&d=HHS-OS-2008-0011-0001 or email this email address with your comments:  consciencecomment@hhs.gov

Here is more information from a New York Times Op-ed piece.

Published: September 18, 2008

LAST month, the Bush administration launched the latest salvo in its eight-year campaign to undermine women’s rights and women’s health by placing ideology ahead of science: a proposed rule from the Department of Health and Human Services that would govern family planning. It would require that any health care entity that receives federal financing — whether it’s a physician in private practice, a hospital or a state government — certify in writing that none of its employees are required to assist in any way with medical services they find objectionable.

Laws that have been on the books for some 30 years already allow doctors to refuse to perform abortions. The new rule would go further, ensuring that all employees and volunteers for health care entities can refuse to aid in providing any treatment they object to, which could include not only abortion and sterilization but also contraception.

Health and Human Services estimates that the rule, which would affect nearly 600,000 hospitals, clinics and other health care providers, would cost $44.5 million a year to administer. Astonishingly, the department does not even address the real cost to patients who might be refused access to these critical services. Women patients, who look to their health care providers as an unbiased source of medical information, might not even know they were being deprived of advice about their options or denied access to care.

The definition of abortion in the proposed rule is left open to interpretation. An earlier draft included a medically inaccurate definition that included commonly prescribed forms of contraception like birth control pills, IUD’s and emergency contraception. That language has been removed, but because the current version includes no definition at all, individual health care providers could decide on their own that birth control is the same as abortion.

The rule would also allow providers to refuse to participate in unspecified “other medical procedures” that contradict their religious beliefs or moral convictions. This, too, could be interpreted as a free pass to deny access to contraception.

Many circumstances unrelated to reproductive health could also fall under the umbrella of “other medical procedures.” Could physicians object to helping patients whose sexual orientation they find objectionable? Could a receptionist refuse to book an appointment for an H.I.V. test? What about an emergency room doctor who wishes to deny emergency contraception to a rape victim? Or a pharmacist who prefers not to refill a birth control prescription?

The Bush administration argues that the rule is designed to protect a provider’s conscience. But where are the protections for patients?

The 30-day comment period on the proposed rule runs until Sept. 25. Everyone who believes that women should have full access to medical care should make their voices heard. Basic, quality care for millions of women is at stake.

Sleazy people

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A lot of sleazy people find my site. I have come to accept that this is the reality of the way search engines–and the internet in general–work. I am fairly sure I do not give them the information they want.  I have commented about the random, and sometimes gross or sleazy, ways that people find my site via search engines in Who are you people? and Google: a tool or just a randomizer?

Another way that blogs pick up readers is when another blog “links” to them.  For example, when I tell you to send luck to Looky Daddy, or congratulate Mamacita Chilena for selling her photography to the embassy, or practice your spanish with Julieta, I am linking to them. Usually I am trilled when people link to me.  It is a great way to increase traffic, make new blog-friends, and get a different perspective.

That said, today I was not so happy!  I have had over 203 hits in just a few hours on my Is Chile having a sexual revolution? blog.  When I looked at my stats, I realized that the majority of them were all coming from one reference site. In fact, the site has jumped to #7 in all time referrals (with 143 referrals) to my site behind bloggersinchile.blogspot.com (498 referrals), wordpress.com/tag/sex-tourism (474 referrals), coming2cambodia.wordpress.com (279 referrals), ohquepasa.blogspot.com (246 referrals), wordpress.com/tag/human-trafficking (189 referrals), and lovetotravelchile.com (165 referrals).

I decided to check it out as it was not a blog I was familiar with.  Turns out that it is an online chatboard for where to find prostitutes in South America and reviews thereof.  Needless to say– eww!  Now, I already get a lot of these people on their own.  And, yes, I do talk about prostitution in Chile.  But still.  And, my blog is right their on the board.

So, since I can’t do anything about it besides gripe (or give up blogging), I decided to put an update on the article.  In case you are too lazy to scroll down the page (and because I think it is important enough to post twice), here it is:

***Update***

For the hundreds of you who are finding this link of the conversation board on where to find the best hookers and hook-ups in South America, I want to point out that the below article is about clubs for teens. If you are a US citizen and go abroad and have sex with a minor you can be prosecuted back in the United States under the PROTECT act. In fact, one of the earliest cases tried and won was against a US man who went to Chile and had sex with minors.

***End of Update***

Independence, democracy and 9/11

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The cueca is the national dance of Chile.  Since today we celebrate Chilean Independence–actually, in Chile they will celebrate all weekend–I thought I would share this video so you can not only see cueca, but also learn something about its history.

Sting also has a song known as “Cueca Solo”.  If you were wondering- yes, the video is about Chile and no, cueca is not the central part in either music or dance.  But, it is an interesting cometary on the 17 year dictatorship and all the people that went (and still are) disappeared.

Emily has already talked about why September 11th is a big day in Chilean history. Basically, 9/11/1973 is the day that Pinochet and the army overthrew Allende’s government. Like 9/11 in the US, this is a day that brings up strong emotions for Chileans on both side of the conflict: those who see Pinochet as their savior and those who see him as an evil dictator.

For me, I have always been moved by the final speech given by Allende as the Moneda (main government building he was holed up in) was being bombed.  These were the his final words to his supporters over the only radio that the army had not managed to dismantle or take over.  Like a captain going down with his ship, Allende gave his life defending Chilean democracy. Click on his photo below to hear the speech.

And, in case you don’t speak Spanish.  Here is the transcription:

My friends,

Surely this will be the last opportunity for me to address you. The Air Force has bombed the antennas of Radio Magallanes.

My words do not have bitterness but disappointment. May they be a moral punishment for those who have betrayed their oath: soldiers of Chile, titular commanders in chief, Admiral Merino, who has designated himself Commander of the Navy, and Mr. Mendoza, the despicable general who only yesterday pledged his fidelity and loyalty to the Government, and who also has appointed himself Chief of the Carabineros [paramilitary police].

Given these facts, the only thing left for me is to say to workers: I am not going to resign! Placed in a historic transition, I will pay for loyalty to the people with my life. And I say to them that I am certain that the seeds which we have planted in the good conscience of thousands and thousands of Chileans will not be shriveled forever.

They have force and will be able to dominate us, but social processes can be arrested by neither crime nor force. History is ours, and people make history.

Workers of my country: I want to thank you for the loyalty that you always had, the confidence that you deposited in a man who was only an interpreter of great yearnings for justice, who gave his word that he would respect the Constitution and the law and did just that. At this definitive moment, the last moment when I can address you, I wish you to take advantage of the lesson: foreign capital, imperialism, together with the reaction, created the climate in which the Armed Forces broke their tradition, the tradition taught by General Schneider and reaffirmed by Commander Araya, victims of the same social sector who today are hoping, with foreign assistance, to re-conquer the power to continue defending their profits and their privileges.

I address you, above all, the modest woman of our land, the campesina who believed in us, the mother who knew our concern for children. I address professionals of Chile, patriotic professionals who continued working against the sedition that was supported by professional associations, classist associations that also defended the advantages of capitalist society. I address the youth, those who sang and gave us their joy and their spirit of struggle. I address the man of Chile, the worker, the farmer, the intellectual, those who will be persecuted, because in our country fascism has been already present for many hours — in terrorist attacks, blowing up the bridges, cutting the railroad tracks, destroying the oil and gas pipelines, in the face of the silence of those who had the obligation to act. They were committed. History will judge them.

Surely Radio Magallanes will be silenced, and the calm metal instrument of my voice will no longer reach you. It does not matter. You will continue hearing it. I will always be next to you. At least my memory will be that of a man of dignity who was loyal to his country.

The people must defend themselves, but they must not sacrifice themselves. The people must not let themselves be destroyed or riddled with bullets, but they cannot be humiliated either.

Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Go forward knowing that, sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again and free men will walk through them to construct a better society.

Long live Chile! Long live the people! Long live the workers!

These are my last words, and I am certain that my sacrifice will not be in vain, I am certain that, at the very least, it will be a moral lesson that will punish felony, cowardice, and treason.

Santiago de Chile, 11 September 1973

In a post 9/11 world (both Chilean and US), as we celebrate independence, I have just one last thought to share: if you really support the idea of democracy, as the US government claims to do, it means supporting democracy even when your candidate isn’t choosen or you don’t approve of a government style.  Also, this can only help to underline the importance of everyone who can to vote in the upcoming US election– and hopefully get the republications out and give us the change we need.