Chile Eathquake Update

2010/2/27 11:07 Pacific/– Reports to this consulate thus far:

Our sources report complete collapse of numerous buildings in the Cauquenes area near Maule.  Cellular service in the area is still unavailable, but indications are that it is only overloaded, as we have received cellular messages which did get out after the quake, but earlier than the heavy traffic of calls.  For this reason we believe cellular service to the area will be restored as call traffic lessens.

Most of Santiago was built to withstand earthquakes.  There is heavy damage, but not widespread collapse.

One resident of Santiago described the feeling as being in a small boat in a big storm, but his house withstood the jolt.  Messages from Santiago also arrived after the quake by internet.  We expect full internet access as web traffic subsides.

Chile Earthquake Information

A massive 8.8 earthquake struck Maule, Chile, about 200 miles south of the Capitol Santiago,  in the early morning hours of Saturday, February 28, 2010.   As of this writing, the death toll is 122 and rising rapidly. 

This consulate is exhausting all possible means to gather information from our friends, family, diplomatic connections and news sources regarding this catastrophe.  We have not been able to establish telephone contact, either land line or cellular, since the quake.

We will publish here any news we are able to ascertain beyond that of the national news services in the US. 

If you have heard from relatives in Chile, please comment here with any news, in English or Spanish. 

Maule information:

Consul Biggs Sparkuhl Elected to Board of Directors of World Federation of Consuls

Chilean Consul is first U.S. resident and the only woman to serve on board of directors of 28-year-old global organization of thousands.

18 Nov. 2009, Izmir, Turkey–/ Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl, Honorary Consul of Chile in Las Vegas has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Brussels-based Federation Internationale des Corps et Associations Consulaires (FICAC),  known in English as the World Federation of Consuls.

FICAC is a United Nations-recognized NGO, formed in Copenhagen in 1982.  The Organization  is a global network of Consular Associations created to support and improve the status, legitimacy and effectiveness of all consular officers in all receiving States.  FICAC has over 3000 consul members on every continent, and is often credited with interpreting and promoting global adherence to the Vienna Conventions on Consular Relations.

Receiving the FICAC Medal of Honor, Bangkok, November 2007

Consul Biggs Sparkuhl is native of Chile and 25-year resident of Las Vegas.  She was appointed Honorary Consul of Chile by President Lagos in 2002, and is founder and Chairperson of the Consular Chamber of Commerce.  Involved with FICAC since 2005,  she has participated in FICAC board meetings, conferences, and the organization’s signature event, the World Congress of Consuls, in Mexico, Jamaica, Belgium, Thailand, Ghana, Monaco and Cyprus.  The organization just completed its latest World Congress of Consuls in Izmir, Turkey.

Awards Ceremony, FICAC Conference in Monte Carlo, February, 2009.

Consul Biggs Sparkuhl has served as the North American Membership Chairperson of FICAC since 2008, and has expanded membership to include Seattle, Washington; Denver, Colorado and her home of Las Vegas, Nevada.  In 2007 she was awarded the FICAC Medal of Honor by President Arnold Foote at the World Congress of Consuls in Bangkok Thailand.

“It has been an absolute pleasure participating with FICAC, and later

With President Foote and the Kings of Elmina, Ghana, October, 2008

serving FICAC in North America as Membership Chair.  I am overwhelmed with excitement at the opportunities presented by being a member of the Board of Directors.  It is such an honor to be the first Board member residing in the United States, and the only one who wears a skirt!  Hosting the US Seat in Las Vegas also opens many doors. 

“I find myself in extraordinary company of great and distinguished friends, from all over the world, whom I have come to hold so dear.  I thank President Foote and all of the members of the Board of Directors, and the membership of FICAC, for having the faith in my abilities to elevate me to this position and peerage.  I am humbled, and ready to engage!”

– Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl, Honorary Consul of Chile

Chilean Consul Attends Friendship Dinner

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2 NOV 2009 –/ Consul Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl and members of the Consular Chamber of Commerce were invited guests of The Pacifica Institute for its second annual Dialogue and Friendship Dinner at Green Valley Ranch Resort in Henderson, Nevada. 

The very diverse gathering of about 200 attendees featured a dinner and outreach by the primarily Turkish American group, to all faiths and cultures.  Members of the Chilean consulate joined Consular Chamber of Commerce members and officials from local government in the Pacifica Institute’s celebration of diversity and intercultural relations.

Chilean Consulate Meets Taca Airlines Official

Consul Biggs Sparkuhl suggests extending routes to Arica and Santiago.

25 Sept. 2009/–Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl met with Reyna Flores, representative of Taca Airlines.  Consul Biggs Sparkuhl

Renya Flores of Taca Airlines and Consul Biggs Sparkuhl

Reyna Flores of Taca Airlines and Consul Biggs Sparkuhl

suggested Taca extend its routes to include the Arica, Chile’s underserved northern airport.  The Consul explained that Arica is set to expand dramatically, and Santiago is presently underserved by competing airlines. 

Ms. Flores immediately offered her assistance, and requested market details from Consul Sparkuhl to present to her colleagues at Taca.  The consulate has forwarded its report on the region of Arica to Ms. Flores for consideration, and is providing market data regarding Santiago. 

Consul Biggs Sparkuhl has led investment and trade missions from Las Vegas to Chile in the past, and is optimistic about working more closely with Ms. Flores and Taca.

Las Vegas Consulate Receives Guatemalan Under-Secretary and Consul General

2009 09 26 00 07 5025 Sept 2009/– Consul Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl joined Consular Chamber of Commerce Executive Dr. Aldo Aguire, Honorary Vice Consul of Guatemala, in welcoming Pablo Garcia Saenz, Consul General of Guatemala in Los Angeles, and Ambassador Miguel Angel Ibarra G, the Vice-minister of Foreign Relations of Guatemala,  to Las Vegas.

The Consul General and the Vice-minister were introduced to Las Vegas and made aware of the business diplomacy by the Guatemalan Vice-consulate in Las Vegas. 

Consul Biggs Sparkuhl serves as Chairperson of the Consular Chamber of Commerce.  Vice-consul Aguirre serves as President of the Executive Committee of the Consular Chamber of Commerce.

Consul Biggs Sparkuhl Meets With Award-Winning Mayan Artist Balam Soto

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Artist Balam Soto and Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl

Renowned artist introduced to Las Vegas by Dr. Aldo Aguirre, Honorary Vice-Consul of Guatemala

24 Sept. 2009/– Consul Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl was introduced to Guatemalan artist Balam Soto at his exhibition in Las Vegas.

In April 2008, Balam was honored with a Diploma of Recognition as a “Maestro,” a Master of Visual Arts, by the National Constitutional Assembly of Guatemala for “being a valuable and outstanding Guatemalan with international success.”  

A resident of Connecticut, Mr. Soto was hosted and introduced by Consul Biggs Sparkuhl’s colleague in the Consular Corps and in the Consular Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Aldo Aguirre, Honorary Vice-Consul of Guatemala. 

Vice-Consul Dr. Aldo Aguirre and Balam Soto enjoy the show at Wynn Las Vegas

Vice-Consul Dr. Aldo Aguirre and Balam Soto enjoy the show at Wynn Las Vegas

In light of Balam’s affinity for multi-media art, Consul Biggs Sparkuhl insisted that Balam see the performance art at Parisol Down, a famous lounge at the Wynn Resort with an ongoing technological art show over a lake.  Consul Biggs Sparkuhl hosted President Bachalet of Chile at the same location last year.  

Dr. Aguirre remarked, “Spectacular.  Only Paulina would know this secret vantage point for such a fantastic show.”

Mr. Soto stayed through three shows, explaining, “Incredible!  What an introduction to public art in Las Vegas.  It gives me great inspiration.” 

City of Las Vegas Recognizes Viviana Mehner

Consul Biggs Sparkuhl introduces Viviana Mehner to Councilman Ricki Barlow

Consul Biggs Sparkuhl introduces Viviana Mehner to Councilman Ricki Barlow

Chilean Consulate Introduces City Hall to Chilean Culture

15 September, 2009 // Viviana Mehner, President of the Chilean Association of Nevada, was honored today by the City of Las Vegas for her outstanding leadership.  The award was presented in front of the entire Las Vegas City Council, including Mayor Oscar Goodman.

Prior to receiving the award in City Hall chambers, Ms. Mehner was personally introduced by Consul Biggs Sparkuhl to Las Vegas Ward 5 City Councilman Ricki Barlow, in whose ward substantial Chilean investments have been made in recent years.   

Viviana was also introduce to the Consul’s old friend, Ward 4 City Councilman Stavros Anthony.  councilman Anthony’s ward includes the Chilean consulate itself.

Consul Biggs Sparkuhl, Viviana Mehner, Councilman Stavros Anthony

Consul Biggs Sparkuhl, Viviana Mehner, Councilman Stavros Anthony

The councilmen joined the Consul and Ms. Mehner and enjoyed live chilean music from Voces de Chile.  The performance stopped dozens of people who took a moment to hear the fantastic music in the morning sun.

 Speech of the Consul:  “Thank you for having me.  My name is Paulina Biggs Sparkuhl.  I was appointed by the President of Chile to represent my Country as Honorary Consul in Las Vegas, in 2002.
Viviana Mehner represents the kind of Chilean who makes us all proud.
An Entrepreneur, she also takes on the extraordinary civic responsibility of being a leader in our society.  Viviana has tirelessly worked to carry the torch lit by my mother, Paulina Bosch, years ago when she started the Chilean Association.
As President of the Association today, Viviana has fought hard to grow the organization , its services and events, during these trying times. 
Under Viviana’s leadership, the Chilean association has grown – much like the trade treaties of Chile herself – to include others in the culture and prosperity of the Chilean experience.
Chileans came to Las Vegas not only to partake in the opportunities of the US, but also to contribute.  Whether it is running the local car dealership, conducting the orchestra, singing to us this morning, or starting a women’s shelter, attaining fame and fortune as a surgeon, or simply a happy life in the employment of industry, we are here to stay.
These are trying times in the Unites States, and many are tempted to return to Chile’s relative prosperity.  We don’t forget where we come from, but we also do not forget our friends and community in time of need.  We are here to stay.
Viviana represents the best in Chilean American society.  I congratulate her on this substantial recognition from the City we love.”

Consul participates in World Market Center Event

2009 09 15 18 37 33Chilean manufacturer awarded at “One Good Chair” Competition

Susan Drescher of furniture designer Tischlager designed the first runner-up winning chair, manufactured by Jason Gustafson of Coyhaique, Chile, who represents Patagonia Legacy, at the One Good Chair Design Competition at the World Market Center in Las Vegas today.

Susan Drescher and Jason Gustafson with Award-Winning Chair

Susan Drescher and Jason Gustafson with Award-Winning Chair

Tischlager and Gustafson utilized wood native to Chile and a combination of wool and cotton to create the green award-winning furnishing.

Consul Biggs Sparkuhl was joined by Lena Walther, Honorary Consul of Sweden at the Las Vegas Market, the annual furniture show attracting tens of thousands of exhibitors and buyers to downtown Las Vegas.  Both consuls are well known in Las Vegas design.

Consul of Chile Dines with Consul General of Thailand and Chef McDang

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Le Corodon Bleu hosts famous Thai chef and international dignitaries for spectacular luncheon

 Thai Tapas Reception continues tradition of culinary international good will in Las Vegas

August 21, 2009, Las Vegas:  Consul Paulina Biggs Chef McDang Le Cordon Bleu EventSparkuhl joined Las Vegas consuls Andreas Adrean (Germany) and Lena Walther (Sweden) in welcoming Jukr Boon-Long, Consul General of Thailand in Los


Angeles and Nipa Nirannoot, Consul of Thailand to the Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts.

Chef McDang

Chef McDang

The event repeated the success of previous years, with participants enjoying a tremendous lunch prepared by the students at Le Cordon Bleu under the leadership of the visiting famous Chef McDang.

Chef McDang presented a sneak preview to his much-anticipated Thai gourmet cooking guide, coming to bookstores soon. 

Chef McDang was kind enough to offer his hospitality for Consul Biggs Sparkuhl when she returns to Bangkok to warm up contacts made during her November, 2007 trip to Thailand.