8.2 magnitude earthquake hits Chile Tonight

After over 300 series of small quakes for some time now in the North of Chile, the big earthquake it In the North tonight April 1st, 2014.

The epicenter seems to be Iquique. A Tsunami came soon after, yet the news so far are that  all is well and calm. Casualties a very few and damage to the cities is small.




No visa is necessary when you travel to Chile, only a valid passport. When entering Chile (By cruise, vehicle or plane), at customs, you’ll need to fill out a Tourist Card that allows visitors to stay for up to 90 days and will allow multiple entries. You’ll need to show this Tourist Card to Customs when leaving the country as well, so be sure you don’t lose it. For more information on other type of Visa, go to this CONSULAR SECTION for more information.

There is a reciprocity fee of US$160 dollars to be paid in cash (U.S. dollars) or credit card. The one-time charge is good for the life of your passport. Go to thisImage CONSULAR SECTION for more information.





Durante el discurso en el  Colegio Grenoble de Quinta Normal, la Mandataria detalló la creación del Servicio Nacional de Educación para “devolver” las escuelas públicas al Estado. La Presidenta señaló que “vamos a derogar progresivamente el financiamiento compartido” y que “vamos a poner fin a la selección”. El ministro Eyzaguirre aseguró que estos cambios se harán los primeros 100 días. A su vez, reconoció acercamientos con los dirigentes estudiantiles universitarios.  Eyzaguirre adelanta los primeros proyectos de ley en educación que se enviarán al Congreso. El ministro expresó que, en materia de desmunicipalización, “el detalle fino va a requerir de un proceso de diálogo con los municipios, alcaldes y profesores”.

Chile will pay $40,000,000 to 1000 entrepreneurial foreigners to start businesses in Chile

Start-Up Chile is a program of the Chilean Government, created by the Ministry of Economy, executed by CORFO via InnovaChile, that seeks to attract foreign, high-potential entrepreneurs to come to Chile to bootstrap their businesses with the end goal of converting Chile into the innovation and entrepreneurial hub of Latin America.

In 2010, the program brought 25 teams from all corners of the world and provided them a $40,000 subsidy (no equity) to participate for six months, and a temporary 1-year visa to develop their projects along with access to the most potent social and capital networks in the country.

These selected entrepreneurs approved an admission process conducted by Silicon Valley experts and a Chilean Innovation board that focuses ardently on global mindsets and worldwide potential. Their projects mostly fit into the tech genre, but the variety is wide with teams specializing in energy, e-commerce, social endeavors, and design. Of all required criteria, it is essential that the chosen entrepreneurs work in a global mindset, believing that the route to success is via expansion not isolation.

The 2011 application process will allow for further arrivals of high-potential entrepreneurs– the goal being 300 participants in the upcoming year, with the end hope of having 1000 bootstrappers participate by the culmination of 2014. All of the Start-Up Chile entrepreneurs will be measured, during their time in the program, by various indicators including participation in local events, presenting workshops on their particular expertise, raising local or international capital, and contracting talent.

Start-Up Chile is gaining impressive international recognition ranging from Forbes to Bloomberg to TechCrunch and it is certain that as each entrepreneur progresses and as more and more are added to the group of participants, it will become the international standard for state-spurred entrepreneurship and innovation.

Santiago, the Capital

Start-Up Chile is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Justice.

Photo: The careful balance of Modern and Traditional architecture is reflected in the spirit of the people of Chile.

A personal invitation to the Palace of Monaco

Early arrival for the Famous National Mass At the Cathedral

By invitation of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco, Co-Founders of the Consular Chamber of Commerce Jonathan Warren (Honorary Consul of the Principality of Monaco in Las Vegas) and Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl (Honorary Consul of the Republic of Chile in Las Vegas) were whisked away on a three-day of  festivities in Monaco

At the Opera.

The events began with a cocktail at the Palace HSH Prince Albert II, HRH The Princess of Hanover and HRH Princess Stephanie of Monaco.  The couple also had the pleasure to meet Miss Charlene Wittstock, Fiancé of the Prince.  The event included approximately 150 consuls, ambassadors and members of Monaco’s Parliament.   Ms Biggs had the opportunity to meet and talk with Hon. Daniele Biancheri Quintana, Consul General of Monaco to Chile.

The following two days included a night at the Opera, the famous Mass at the Cathedral, National Day parade and plenty of nightlife.

Following the celebrations of the Monaco’s National Day, the Principality took the opportunity to intoduce its latest initiatives to the Consular and Diplomatic Corps.


The All American effort!

Regarding the recent mine rescue in Chile, did you know:

More people watched the rescue of the miners that the arrival of the first American astronaut to the moon.

The guy that designed the rescue module was a NASA Engineer. NASA also provided medical and psychological counseling, along with special diets and also special suits used to keep blood pressure stable for the miners during their ascent to the surface.

The Drill was made by Schramm Inc. from Pennsylvania.

The Drill Bits were made by Center Rock, Inc. located in Berlin, Pennsylvania.

Moreover, the UPS Company took from Pennsylvania to Chile 13 tons of the drilling equipment in less than 48 hours without charging the Chilean government a single penny.

Sturge Taggart from the Atlas Copco Construction Mining Company of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, coordinated the use of equipments that operated with different specifications. Rescue workers in Chile had to make drilling equipment from different sources work together. Pressure specifications required for each piece of equipment were not the same. Taggart did some of the calculations to help solve that issue. His math played a role in making all the drilling equipment work together

Another American company donated to the 33 miners the special glasses (at a cost of $400 each) to avoid damage to the retina after coming to the light of day.

The Company Central California Video Engineering and Manufacturing Co. (CCV), a Fresno subsidiary of Wisconsin-based Aries Industries, designed a special camera that was lowered more than 2,200 feet underground to where the miners were sending back images of a miner staring wide-eyed into the lens, proving that they were still alive.

A company from Houston also had a central role in supplying specialized precision devices for three-axes orientation measurement employing optical gyros.

Drillers Supply International company whose owner had intimate ties with Chile where he had worked for 25 years; his company was the contract general for plan B perforation, the one that reached the miners.

Zephyr Technologies of Annapolis Maryland, sent monitors that transmitted reports on the vital signs of the miners to be used during their ascent to the surface.

The lead driller Jeff Hart and his team Fisher and Stefanic are from Denver, Colorado. They were on loan from the US Military in Afghanistan where they are drilling water wells for our Forward Operating Bases.

He spent the next 33 days on his feet, operating the drill that finally provided a way out the final day for 33 trapped miners.

“You have to feel through your feet what the drill is doing; it’s a vibration you get so that you know what’s happening,” explained Hart.

Hart was called in from Afghanistan, “simply because he’s the best” at drilling larger holes with the T130’s wide-diameter drill bits, Stefanic said.

Standing before the levers, pressure meters and gauges on the T130’s control panel, Hart and the rest of the team faced many challenges in drilling the shaft.

At one point, the drill struck a metal support beam in the poorly mapped mine, shattering its hammers. Fresh equipment had to be flown in from the United States and progress was delayed for days as powerful magnets were lowered to pull out the pieces.

The mine’s veins of gold and copper ran through quartzite with a high level of abrasive silica, rock so tough that it took all their expertise to keep the drill’s hammers from curving off in unwanted directions. “It was horrible,” said Center Rock President Brandon Fisher, exhausted after hardly sleeping during the effort.

Fisher, Stefanic and Hart called it the most difficult hole they had ever drilled, because of the lives at stake.

“If you’re drilling for oil and you lose the hole, it’s different. This time there’s people down below,” Stefanic said. “We ruined some bits, worked through the problems as a team, and broke through,” Hart said. “I’m very happy now.”

And as an example to the world, after working hard in the rescue for more than 30 days and crown it successfully, just like they arrived,  the Americans quietly left so not to steal the cameras for themselves and for Chileans to fully enjoy the glory of the historic rescue.



Kind Regards to Chile from a Dear Friend and Collegue in India

Honorable Kartar BhallaMy dear friend Kartar Bhalla, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Nauru in India and invaluable member of the World Federation of Consuls (FICAC), always has a way with words.  Chile thanks you, Honorable Consul Bhalla, and all of our friends around the world.

Honourable friend Paulina,

Words fail me to express my joy and extend my congratulations to you and the people of Chile on the most unprecedented rescue of 33 Chilean miners after 69 days.

Church  bells must have tolled, sirens must have  blared and millions in the world must have had  smiles on their faces as miner Florencio Avalos resurfaced after 69 days of living underground, winched up in a rescue capsule, and like clockwork, all the  remaining miners – 32 –  followed. TV and Internet audiences across the globe must have  remained glued, witnessing a human drama that surpassed anything the world had known in the recent past. What had the potential to turn into a tragic story became a moment of pride for Chile.

A cave-in on August 5 had left the miners trapped in a small copper-and-gold mine. The tremendous effort of the Chilean government, led by President Sebastian Pinera and Mining Minister Laurence Golborne, has been fruitful, first in locating the miners and then in coordinating an international rescue effort, which led to recovering them from the jaws of death. Contact with the outside world, established 17 days after the cave-in, too had a vital role to play in boosting their morale as well as providing them with material and emotional support.

This would be remembered as an unforgettebale  triumph of human spirit seen in the dramatic Chilean rescue effort.
Heartiest congratulations, Chile.

Kartar Bhalla



Monaco Prince’s Palace Invites Consul Biggs Sparkuhl to National Day Celebrations

National Day celebrations in MonacoThe Principality of Monaco has invited Consul Biggs Sparkuhl to its National Day Celebration in November of 2010.

The legendary 3-day event begins with a cocktail reception at the Palace, followed the next day by a traditional Mass at the Cathedral, and later the white-tie gala at the Grimaldi Forum.

Established by a Consul of Genoa centuries ago, the tiny Principality is one of the oldest and most successful examples of the power of diplomacy.   As North American Director of FICAC, Consul Biggs Sparkuhl has developed valued alliances with consuls in Monaco, and is looking forward to seeing all these friends on this auspicious occasion.