Chile, Another Volcano Erupts

By Alexey Braguine
Dec. 28, 2012

SANTIAGO--Last Saturday a small tremor triggered the eruption of the Copahue volcano, which started spewing smoke and ash over the Bio Bio Highlands.

The government declared a yellow alerts and the army mobilized in case the nearly two thousand residents in the vicinity had to be evacuated. Of course seismic activity is every day stuff in Chile, which has 2,000 volcanoes within its territory. This is enough to guarantee that several volcanoes to be active at any one time.

Whether caused by the movement of tectonic plates or volcanic activity, Chile is rocked everyday by light tremors. The Copahue event hardly merits more than a couple of newspaper paragraphs. What drew my attention to this event was the announcement of the government that 60% of the reconstruction after the February 27 2010 earthquake has been completed and that 90% will be completed by the end of 2013. WOW! All this in less than four years.

To bring this effort into perspective, let's review. Chile is over two thousand miles long and only a bit over hundred miles wide at its widest point, thus its area is a bit smaller than that of France. It has seventeen million inhabitants with seven million living in Santiago.

When the Richter 8.8 earthquake hit, it was the equivalent of a nuclear attack by one thousand atomic bombs the size of the Hiroshima bomb. Cities, towns, villages were demolished. Over 200,000 people lost their homes. Highways, railways, bridges, hospitals, administration buildings, prison, factories, supermarkets, were heavily damaged or destroyed.. To add to the catastrophe, a tsunami hit the coast..

Chile was a basket case and on its knees.

Three years later. The economy is booming, the peso is too strong vs the US dollar. Poverty, which has been endemic is almost wiped out. A steady stream of people are leaving the refugee camps and going into new homes

When comparing of what is going on in Europe and the USA, Chile is a shining light worth following.

I wish my readers a happy New Year and prosperous 2013.


About the author: Alexey Braguine spent four years in Vietnam and Laos during the American involvement there. He has also worked in the Middle East and has visited Pakistan-Afghan border areas. He is the author of Kingmaker, a geopolitical thriller.

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