Saturday, November 10, 2012

Visting Chile: A Law Dean's Visit Anyway

Outside the Palacio de La Moneda (Mint Palace), Presidential Palace, Santiago, Chile

I had the opportunity to travel this week to Chile this week on law school business.  From an immigration perspective, Chile was fairly easy to enter and exit, with the basics spelled out in the Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs page on travel to Chile. Indeed, I found the Chilean port of entry officers (Policia de Investigaciones) to be speedier than the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who processed me in upon my return to the United States.

Chile does not require a visa for Americans to enter the country, but does charge Americans a “reciprocity fee,” currently $160 U.S. dollars, for a "Tourist Card" to stay in the country for 90 days.  The card must be kept by the visitor and returned upon exiting the country.  A significant concern of the Chilean government appeared to be with visitors bringing agricultural products into the country.

On the day that I arrived in Chile, Santiago, Chile's capital, and my hometown (Davis, California) had almost identical weather, with highs in the mid-80s F and lows in the 50s -- although Chile is approaching its summer while we in the states are headed toward winter. 

Santiago is a thoroughly modern city, much like one would find in Spain.  It has a vibrant market economy that, at this time, has a very low unemployment rate.  Copper and salmon are among its big exports.  The food, especially the seafood, beef, and desserts, was delicious.Chilean wine also is knoiwn around the world.  

Special treats of the trip were tours to Nobel Laurete Pablo Neruda’s unque house in Santiago, where he once entertained Diego Rivera (several of Rivera’s works still adorn the walls of the house), and the Presidential Palace (Palicio de La Moneta), which was bombed by the Chilean Air Force in the coup that brought down Salvador Allende in 1973.

The purpose of my trip was to meet with Chilean leaders to facilitate faculty and student exchange programs for UC Davis law students and faculty.  It was the week of the election and Chileans were very interested in the outcome and the issue came up in conversations with the U.S. Ambassador to Chile, Alexander Wolff (who by chance will give a talk at UC Davis School of Law next week), Minister of the Economy (and past Presidential candidate) Pablo Longueria, and Minister of Justice Teodoro Ribera, and several distinguished law school deans, including Deans Roberto Guerrero (Pontifica Universidad Catolica de Chile), Juan Vargas (Universidad Diego Portales), and Roberto Nahum (Universidad de Chile). Dean Nahum, who had invited me to visit when he had previously visited Davis, hosted my visit to Chile and was a gracious host indeed.  

During the week, I also attended the Association of Pacific Rims University Law Deans Meeting 2012 at the Universidad de Chile. Representatives in attendance came from law schools from Australia, China, Germany, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Russia, Indonesia, Spain, the Philippines, India, and Costa Rica.



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