U.S. Department of State
Background Notes:  Chile, January 1997
Bureau of Public Affairs

OFFICIAL NAME:  Republic of Chile

PROFILE

GEOGRAPHY

Area:  756,945 sq. km. (302,778 sq. mi.); nearly twice the size of 
California.
Cities:  Capital--Santiago (metropolitan area est. 5.2 million). 
Other cities--Concepcion-Talcahuano (840,000); Vina del Mar-Valparaiso 
(800,000); Antofagasta (245,000); Temuco (230,000). Terrain:  Desert in 
north; fertile central valley; volcanoes and lakes toward the south, 
giving way to rugged and complex coastline; Andes Mountains on the 
eastern border.
Climate:  Arid in north, like the Mediterranean in center, cool and damp 
in south.

PEOPLE

Nationality:  Noun and adjective--Chilean(s).
Population (1996):  14.0 million.
Annual population growth rate: 1.5%.
Ethnic groups:  Spanish-Indian (mestizo), European, Indian.
Religions:  Roman Catholic 89%; Protestant 11%.
Language:  Spanish.
Education:  Years compulsory--8.  Attendance--3 million.  Adult literacy 
rate--94%.
Health:  Infant mortality rate--17/1,000.  Life expectancy of newborns--
72 years.
Work force (5.2 million):  Services and government--36%.  Industry and 
commerce--34%.  Agriculture, forestry, and fishing--14%.  Construction--
7%.  Mining--2%.

GOVERNMENT

Type:  Republic.
Independence:  September 18, 1810.
Constitution:  Promulgated September 11, 1980; effective March 11, 1981; 
amended in 1989 and 1993.
Branches:  Executive--president.  Legislative--bicameral legislature.  
Judicial--Supreme Court, court of appeals, military courts.
Administrative subdivisions:  12 numbered regions, plus Santiago 
metropolitan region, administered by "intendentes"; regions are divided 
into provinces, administered by governors; provinces are divided into 
municipalities administered by mayors.

Political parties:  Major parties include the Christian Democrat Party, 
the National Renewal Party, the Party for Democracy, the Radical Social 
Democratic Party, the Socialist Party and the Independent Democratic 
Union Party.  In 1993, the Communist Party did not win a seat in 
Congress.
Suffrage:  Universal at 18, including foreigners legally resident for 
more than five years.

ECONOMY (1995)

GDP:  $67.3 billion.
Annual real growth rate:  8.5%.
Per capita GDP:  $4,700.
Natural resources:  Copper, timber, fish, iron ore, nitrates, precious 
metals, and molybdenum.
Agriculture and fisheries (8% of GDP):  Products--wheat, potatoes, corn, 
sugar beets, onions, beans, fruits, livestock, fish.
Industry (17% of GDP):  Types--mineral refining, metal manufacturing, 
food processing, fish processing, paper and wood products, finished 
textiles.
Trade:  Exports--$16.4 billion: copper, fishmeal, fruits, wood products, 
paper products.   Major markets--EU 26%, Japan 18%, U.S. 14%, U.K. 7%, 
Brazil 6%, South Korea 5%, Germany 5%.
Imports--$15.3 billion:  petroleum, chemical products, capital goods, 
vehicles, electronic equipment, consumer durables, machinery.  Major 
suppliers--U.S. 25%, EU 18%, Argentina 9%, Brazil 8%, Japan 7%, Germany 
5%.

U.S.-CHILEAN RELATIONS

Relations between the United States and Chile are better now than at any 
other time in history.  The United States Government applauded the 
rebirth of democratic practices in Chile in the late 1980's and early 
1990's, and sees the maintenance of a vibrant democracy and healthy 
economy as among the most important U.S. interests in Chile.  President 
Eduardo Frei's working visit to the United States in June 1994 was his 
first trip outside of South America as head of state.  By agreeing to a 
consultative framework, President Clinton and President Frei took 
concrete steps to increase the frequency of consultations on issues of 
mutual concern.  In the recent past, these consultations have included 
high-level discussions on common approaches to UN issues, visa issues 
between the two countries, and consultations on agricultural trade.

Following the November 1995 visit of First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, 
a number of senior U.S. Government officials have visited Chile.  
Secretary of State Warren Christopher traveled to Chile in February 
1996, and met with President Frei and other Chilean leaders to discuss a 
number of important issues including trade, defense and multilateral 
relations.  Secretary of Defense William Perry followed with a visit to 
Santiago in March 1996.

The warm relationship enjoyed by United States and Chile today contrasts 
with the difficult period of relations during the rule of Augusto 
Pinochet's military regime from 1973-89.  The 1976 car bomb attack in 
Washington, DC, which killed Orlando Letelier, former Chilean ambassador 
to the United States and a member of President Salvador Allende's 
cabinet, and U.S. citizen Ronni Moffitt, caused a sharp deterioration in 
relations.  This event led the U.S. Congress to ban security assistance 
and arms sales to Chile in 1978.

Following the transfer of power in 1990 from the Pinochet military 
regime to the newly elected government of Patricio Aylwin, the frigid 
relations between Chile and the United States began to thaw.  President 
Aylwin's state visit to the United States in May 1992 was the first by a 
Chilean leader in more than 40 years and symbolized increased 
cooperation between the two countries.  In response to a commitment by 
President Aylwin's government to pursue the Letelier-Moffitt case within 
the Chilean judicial system, President Bush lifted the 1978 U.S. 
sanctions.  As the United States continued to press for justice in this 
case, a Chilean court found that the chief of intelligence operations 
and the commander of army intelligence had ordered the assassination.  
Both officers were subsequently sentenced to prison terms in Chile for 
their roles in the assassination and began serving their sentences in 
1995.   In addition, the Chilean Government made an ex gratia payment to 
the families of the victims.

The goal of U.S. foreign policy in Chile is to pursue expanded economic 
relations and to cooperate in good faith on a range of other bilateral 
and multilateral issues of interest.  Above all, the United States 
believes that an economically strong and a democratically healthy Chile 
will benefit the entire hemisphere.

U.S. Embassy Functions

Besides working closely with Chilean Government officials to improve our 
bilateral relationship, the U.S. Embassy in Santiago provides a wide 
range of services to U.S. citizens and businesses in Chile.  The Embassy 
is also the locus for a number of American community activities in the 
Santiago area.

Attaches at the embassy from the Foreign Commercial Service and Foreign 
Agriculture Service work closely with the hundreds of U.S. companies 
which maintain offices in Chile.  These officers provide information on 
Chilean trade and industry regulations and administer several programs 
intended to aid U.S. companies starting or maintaining business ventures 
in Chile.

The Consular section of the Embassy provides vital services to the more 
than 5,500 U.S. citizens residing in Chile.  Among other services, the 
Consular section assists Americans who wish to participate in U.S. 
elections while abroad and provides U.S. tax information.  Besides the 
U.S. residents living in Chile, over 80,000 U.S. citizens visit 
annually.  The Consular section offers passport and emergency services 
to U.S. tourists as needed during their stay in Chile.

PRINCIPAL U.S. EMBASSY OFFICIALS

Ambassador--Gabriel Guerra-Mondragon
Deputy Chief of Mission--Charles S. Shapiro
Economic and Political Counselor--Russell L. Frisbie, Acting
Consul General--Thomas J. Rice
Administrative Counselor--Lois E. Turner, Acting
Commercial Counselor--Carlos F. Poza
Defense Attache--Capt. Thomas L. Breitinger, USN
Public Affairs Officer--Barbara C. Moore

The U.S. Embassy and Consulate in Santiago are located at 2800 Andres 
Bello Avenue, Las Condes, (tel. 562-232-2600; fax: 562-330-3710).  The 
mailing address is Casilla 27-D, Santiago, Chile.  Internet: 
http://www.rdc.cl/usemb


ECONOMY

Chile's economy, spurred by free market-oriented policies, has averaged 
a real growth rate of over 6% per year during the last 13 years.  A 
limited government role in the economy, openness to international trade 
and investment, high domestic savings and investment rates, and budget 
surpluses have made this performance possible.  The economy's rapid 
growth has led to steady increases in wages and living standards.

In 1995, the economy grew by 8.5% in real terms as the inflation rate 
fell by almost a percentage point to 8.2%.  For 1996, real growth and 
inflation are both expected to be around 7%.  Chile's trade balance, 
which was in surplus by $1.4 billion in 1995, is expected to move into 
negative territory by the end of 1996 (although the trade surplus the 
U.S. enjoys with Chile will continue).  With investment continuing at a 
record pace, the economy is expected to continue growing vigorously over 
the next several years.

Chile has achieved central government budget surpluses every year since 
1988.  The 1973-90 military government sold many state-owned companies, 
and the two democratic governments since 1990 have continued 
privatization at a slower pace.  Import tariffs are a flat 11% on nearly 
all products.  Policy measures such as the privatization of the national 
pension system have encouraged domestic investment and the savings rate 
of the society as a whole approaches the rates of the dynamic economies 
of the Far East.  The foreign investment law offers investors basically 
the same treatment as domestic firms, along with extra guarantees.

Wages have risen faster than inflation each year since 1990; nearly all 
of this growth reflects greater productivity.  The higher wages have 
increased living standards and have brought more people into the labor 
force.  The share of Chileans with incomes below the poverty line 
($4,000/year for a family of four) fell from 45% of the population in 
1987 to 28% in 1994; it is expected to be around 24% by the end of 1996.

Unemployment has varied with the business cycle in recent years, with 
annual rates of between 4.5% and 6.0%.

Inflation has gradually declined every year since 1990, when it hit 27%.  
In 1995, average annual inflation stood at 8.2%, and the Central Bank 
has predicted that it will fall to 6.5% in 1996.  Because most wage 
settlements and spending decisions are indexed, either formally or 
informally, it has been difficult to reduce inflation rapidly while 
maintaining high growth rates.  Still, the independent Central Bank has 
been willing to raise interest rates when necessary to bring down 
inflation.

The establishment of a compulsory private sector pension system in 1981 
was an important step toward increasing domestic savings and the pool of 
investment capital.  Under this system, all workers must pay 10% of 
their salaries into privately managed funds.  This large capital pool 
has been supplemented by substantial foreign investment.

Total public and private investment in Chile's economy has been over 26% 
of GDP in every year since 1992, and a similar level is expected in 
1996.  The government recognizes the necessity of steadily increasing 
private investment to boost worker productivity.  The government is also 
encouraging diversification to non-traditional exports such as fruit, 
wine and fish to gradually reduce the relative importance of basic 
product exports such as copper and other natural resources.

Chile's welcoming attitude toward foreign direct investment is codified 
in the country's Foreign Investment Law, which gives foreign investors 
the same treatment as Chileans.  Registration is simple and transparent, 
and foreign investors are guaranteed access to the official foreign 
exchange market to repatriate their profits and capital.  However, 
capital must be kept in Chile for one year.

Despite international investors' concern elsewhere in Latin America, 
foreign direct investment in Chile continued at a record pace and 
reached $1.8 billion in 1995.  In contrast, portfolio investment fell as 
international investors realized gains accumulated over several years.  
Total gross foreign investment fell by 6% from 1994's record high, 
leveling off at $4.3 billion in 1995.

Foreign Trade

Chile's economy is highly dependent on international trade.  In 1995, 
exports reached $16 billion and imports $14.7 billion.  Exports 
accounted for almost 25% of GDP.  Chile has traditionally been dependent 
upon copper exports.  The state-owned firm CODELCO is the world's 
largest copper producing company.  Foreign private investment has 
developed many new mines in recent years.  The private sector now 
produces more copper than CODELCO.  Copper output is expected to 
increase rapidly in the next few years as private sector projects come 
on stream.

Non-copper exports have grown even faster than those of copper.  In 
1986, non-copper exports of $1.7 billion made up 42% of total exports; 
by 1995, these products reached $9.6 billion and 59% of total exports.  
The most important non-copper exports are forestry and wood products, 
fresh fruit and processed food, fishmeal and seafood, and other 
manufactured products.

Chile's export markets are geographically diverse.  Asia and the 
European Union are the largest regional markets.  The U.S., the largest 
single market, takes in about 15% of Chile's exports.  Latin America has 
been the fastest-growing export market in recent years.  The government 
actively seeks to promote Chile's exports globally.  Since 1991, Chile 
has signed free trade agreements with Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, 
Colombia, and Ecuador.  An association agreement with Mercosur 
(Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) was signed in July 1996.  
Chile has joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 
organization in an effort to boost commercial ties to Asian markets.  
Also, Chile and the European Union plan to negotiate a trade agreement 
in the coming years, although it is unclear how much trade 
liberalization will result.  Chile is keenly interested in joining 
NAFTA, in large part because the United States is its most important 
single trading partner and source of foreign investment.  Chile's 1996 
free trade agreement with Canada was designed to be compatible with 
Chilean NAFTA accession.

Imports have grown along with the economy in the past few years.  The 
country's high investment rate is reflected in the fact that capital 
goods make up almost 30% of total imports.  The United States is Chile's 
largest single supplier, providing 25% of the country's imports in 1995.  
Import tariffs are a flat 11% on nearly all products.  Higher tariffs 
are charged on imports of wheat, wheat flour, vegetable oils, and sugar.  
Domestic production of these commodities is protected by import price 
bands, which are variable tariff rates that bring import prices up to 
the average international price of the last five years.  Imports of used 
goods are charged a tariff of 16.5%.

Finance

Chile's financial sector has grown faster than other areas economy over 
the last few years.  Chileans have enjoyed the recent introduction of 
new financial tools such as home equity loans, currency futures and 
options, factoring, leasing, and debit cards.  The introduction of these 
new tools has been accompanied by increased use of traditional 
instruments such as loans and credit cards.  Chile's private pension 
system, with assets worth over $24 billion, has provided an important 
source of investment capital for the stock market.  The number of firms 
with shares traded on the stock market continues to grow.

Chile's credit rating is one of the best in Latin America.  In recent 
years, many Chilean companies have sought to raise capital abroad due to 
the relatively lower interest rates outside of Chile.  There are three 
main ways Chilean firms raise funds abroad:  bank loans, issuance of 
bonds, and the selling of stock on U.S. markets through American 
Depositary Receipts (ADRs).  Nearly all of the funds raised go to 
finance investment.

The government is rapidly paying down its foreign debt.  The combined 
public and private foreign debt is about 30% of GDP which is low by 
Latin American standards.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

Following a coup in 1973, Chile was ruled by a military regime headed by 
General Augusto Pinochet until 1990.  The first years of the regime were 
marked by serious human rights violations.  In its later years, however, 
the regime gradually permitted greater freedom of assembly, speech, and 
association, to include trade union activity.

In contrast to its authoritarian political rule, the military government 
pursued decidedly liberal economic policies.  During its 16 years in 
power, Chile moved away from economic statism toward a largely free 
market economy, fostering an increase in domestic and foreign private 
investment.

General Pinochet was denied a second eight-year term as President in a 
national plebiscite in 1988.  In December 1989, Christian Democrat 
Patricio Aylwin, running as the candidate of a 17-party center-left 
coalition, was elected president.  In the 1993 election, Eduardo Frei 
Ruiz-Tagle of the Christian Democratic Party was elected President for a 
six-year term and took office in March 1994.

Chile's constitution was approved in a September 1980 national 
plebiscite.  It entered into force in March 1981.  After Pinochet's 
defeat in the 1988 plebiscite, the constitution was amended to:  ease 
provisions for future amendments to the constitution; create nine 
appointed or "institutional" senators; and diminish the role of the 
National Security Council by equalizing the number of civilian and 
military members (four members each).

Chile's bicameral Congress has a 47-seat Senate (38 elected, 9 
appointed) and a 120-member Chamber of Deputies.  Deputies are elected 
every four years.  Senators serve for eight years with staggered terms.  
The current Senate contains 21 members from the governing coalition, 17 
from the rightist opposition, and the eight still-living appointed 
senators designated in 1989 by Pinochet for eight-year terms.  Since 
taking office, the Frei administration has proposed the abolition of the 
nine appointed Senate seats.  The last congressional elections were held 
in December 1993.  The congress is located in the port city of 
Valparaiso, about 140 kilometers (84 mi.) west of the capital, Santiago.

Chile's congressional elections are governed by a unique binomial system 
that rewards large coalition slates and penalizes small independent 
parties.  Each coalition can run two candidates for the two Senate and 
Chamber seats apportioned to each type of electoral district.

Typically, the two largest coalitions split the seats in a district.  
Only if the leading slate outpolls the second place finisher by a margin 
of more than 2-to-1 does the winner gain both seats.

The political parties with the largest representation in the current 
Chilean Congress are the centrist Christian Democrat Party and the 
center-right National Renewal Party.  The Communist Party and two green 
(ecological) parties failed to gain any seats in the 1993 elections.

Chile's judiciary is independent and includes a Supreme Court, a court 
of appeal, and a system of military courts.

National Security

Chile's armed forces are subject to civilian control exercised by the 
president through the Minister of Defense.  However, under the 1980 
constitution, the services enjoy considerable autonomy, and the 
president cannot remove service commanders on his own authority.

Army: 55,000 troops under General Augusto Pinochet.  The army is 
organized into six divisions, one separate brigade, and an air wing.  

Navy: Admiral Jorge Martinez Busch directs the 29,000 person navy, 
including 5,200 marines.  The fleet of 11 surface vessels and four 
submarines is based in Valparaiso.  The navy operates its own aircraft.

Air Force: General Fernando Rojas Vender heads a force of 12,000.  Air 
assets are distributed among four air brigades headquartered in Iquique, 
Santiago, Puerto Montt, and Punta Arenas.  The air force also operates 
an airbase on King George Island, Antarctica.

The Chilean police are comprised of a national, uniformed police force 
(carabineros) and a smaller, plainclothes investigations police force.  
After the military coup in September 1973, the Chilean national police 
were incorporated into the Defense Ministry.  With the return of 
democratic government, the police were placed under the operational 
control of the Interior Ministry, but remained under the nominal control 
of the Defense Ministry.  General Fernando Cordero, who directs the 
national police force of 27,000, is responsible for law enforcement, 
traffic management, narcotics suppression, border control, and counter-
terrorism throughout Chile.

PEOPLE

About 85% of Chile's population live in urban centers with 40% living in 
greater Santiago.  Most have Spanish ancestry, but a small, yet 
influential, number of Irish and English immigrants came to Chile during 
the colonial period.  German immigration began in 1848 and lasted for 90 
years; the southern provinces of Valdivia, Llanquihue, and Osorno show a 
strong German influence.  Other significant immigrant groups are 
Italian, Yugoslav, French, and Arab.  About 400,000 persons of 
predominantly aboriginal descent, mostly of the Mapuche tribe, reside in 
the south-central area.

The northern Chilean desert contains great mineral wealth, primarily 
copper and nitrates.  The relatively small central area dominates the 
country in terms of population and agricultural resources.  This area is 
also the historical center from which Chile expanded until the late 
19the century, when it incorporated its northern and southern regions.  
Southern Chile is rich in forests and grazing lands and features a 
string of volcanoes and lakes.  The southern coast is a labyrinth of 
fjords, inlets, canals, twisting peninsulas, and islands.  It also has 
small, rapidly declining petroleum reserves, which supplied about 10% of 
Chile's domestic requirements during 1993.


HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS

About 10,000 years ago, migrating Indians followed the line of the Andes 
and settled in fertile valleys and along the coast of what is now Chile.  
The Incas briefly extended their empire into the north, but the area's 
remoteness prevented extensive settlement.

In 1541, the Spanish, under Pedro de Valdivia, encountered hundreds of 
thousands of Indians from various cultures in the area that modern Chile 
now occupies.  These cultures supported themselves principally through 
slash-and-burn agriculture and hunting.  Although the Spanish did not 
find the gold and silver they sought there, they recognized the 
agricultural potential of Chile's central valley, and Chile became part 
of the Viceroyalty of Peru.

The drive for independence from Spain was precipitated by usurpation of 
the Spanish throne by Napoleon's brother Joseph.  A national junta in 
the name of Ferdinand -- heir to the deposed king -- was formed on 
September 18, 1810.  Spanish attempts to reimpose arbitrary rule during 
what was called the Reconquista led to a prolonged struggle under 
Bernardo O'Higgins, Chile's most renowned patriot.  Chilean independence 
was formally proclaimed on February 12, 1818.

The political revolt brought little social change, however, and 19th 
century Chilean society preserved the essence of the stratified colonial 
social structure, family politics, and the influence of the Roman 
Catholic Church.  The system of presidential absolutism eventually 
predominated, but wealthy landowners continued to control Chile.

Toward the end of the 19th century, government in Santiago consolidated 
its position in the south by ruthlessly suppressing the Mapuche Indians.  
In 1881, it signed a treaty with Argentina confirming Chilean 
sovereignty over the Strait of Magellan.  As a result of the War of the 
Pacific with Peru and Bolivia (1879-83), Chile expanded its territory 
northward by almost one-third and acquired valuable nitrate deposits, 
the exploitation of which led to an era of national affluence.

Although Chile established a parliamentary style democracy in the late 
19th century, it degenerated into a system protecting the interests of 
the ruling oligarchy.  By the 1920s, the emerging middle and working 
classes were powerful enough to elect a reformist president, whose 
program was frustrated by a conservative congress.  Continuing political 
and economic stability resulted in the quasi-dictatorial rule of General 
Carlos Ibanez (1924-32).

When constitutional rule was restored in 1932, a strong middle-class 
party, the Radicals, emerged.  It became the key force in coalition 
governments for the next 20 years.  In the 1920s, Marxist groups with 
strong popular support developed.  During the period of Radical Party 
dominance (1932-52), the state increased its role in the economy.

The 1964 presidential election of Christian Democrat Eduardo Frei-
Montalva (father of the current president) by an absolute majority 
initiated a period of major reform.  Under the slogan "Revolution in 
Liberty," the Frei Administration embarked on far-reaching social and 
economic programs, particularly in education, housing, and agrarian 
reform, including rural unionization of agricultural workers.  By 1967, 
however, Frei encountered increasing opposition from leftists, who 
charged that his reforms were inadequate, and from conservatives, who 
found them excessive.  At the end of his term, Frei had many noteworthy 
accomplishments, but did not achieve the party's ambitious goals.

In 1970, Dr. Salvador Allende, a Marxist and member of Chile's Socialist 
Party, who headed the "Popular Unity" (UP) coalition of Socialists, 
Communists, Radicals, and dissident Christian Democrats, was elected by 
a narrow margin.  His program included the nationalization of most 
remaining private industries and banks, massive land expropriation and 
collectivization.  Allende's proposal also included the nationalization 
of U.S. interests in Chile's major copper mines.

Elected with only 36% of the vote and by a plurality of only 36,000 
votes, Allende never enjoyed majority support in the Chilean Congress or 
broad popular support.  Domestic production declined, severe shortages 
of consumer goods, food, and manufactured products were widespread and 
inflation reached 1,000% per annum.  Mass demonstrations, recurring 
strikes, violence by both government supporters and opponents, and 
widespread rural unrest ensued in response to the general deterioration 
of the economy.  By 1973, Chilean society had split into two hostile 
camps.  A military coup overthrew Allende on September 11, 1973.  As the 
armed forces bombarded the presidential palace, Allende committed 
suicide.

FOREIGN POLICY

With its return to democracy, Chile has become an active participant in 
the international political arena.  It is an active member of the Rio 
Group, and it rejoined the Non-Aligned Movement.  Chile was a driving 
force in the world summit for social development held in Copenhagen in 
March 1995.  The Chilean Government has reestablished diplomatic 
relations with most countries, including Cuba in 1995.  Chile maintains 
only consular relations with Bolivia.

Often driven by economic interests, cooperation between Chile and most 
of its Latin American neighbors has significantly improved.  However, 
Chile's acquisition of territory during the War of the Pacific (1879-83) 
continues to influence adversely its relations with Peru and Bolivia.  
Although Bolivia does not maintain an embassy in Santiago, recent high 
level talks with Bolivian leaders seeking to improve commercial access 
through Chile to the Pacific Ocean suggest improved relations.  Bolivia 
had severed relations in 1978 following failed negotiations with Chile 
concerning access to the Pacific.  By treaty, any Bolivian-Chilean 
agreement involving former Peruvian territory also would require Peru's 
agreement.

Chile's recent agreement with the Mercosur countries and its continuing 
interest in NAFTA and APEC auger well for even closer ties abroad in the 
future.  Politically, Chile has become one of the most active countries 
in supporting the implementation of the Miami Summit of the America in 
1994, and will host the second Summit in Santiago at the end of March 
1998.  Currently a member of the UN Security Council, Chile participates 
in UN peacekeeping activities and has a large array of multilateral 
obligations befitting its growing international prestige. 

PRINCIPAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS

President--Eduardo FREI Ruiz-Tagle
Minister of Foreign Affairs--Jose Miguel INSULZA
Ambassador to the United States--John BIEHL Del Rio
Ambassador to the Organization of American States (OAS)
--Edmundo VARGAS Carreno
Ambassador to the United Nations--Juan SOMAVIA Altamirano

Chile maintains an embassy in the United States at 1732 Massachusetts 
Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20036  (tel. 202-785-1746).

CONTACT LIST:

American Chamber of Commerce in Chile
Vespucio 80, Piso 9
Santiago
Tel:/Fax:  562-208-4140
Fax:  562-206-0911

U.S. Department of Commerce
Office of Latin America and the Caribbean
International Trade Administration
14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20230
Tel:  202-482-2436
Fax:  202-482-4726

TRAVEL AND BUSINESS INFORMATION

The U.S. Department of State's Consular Information Program provides 
Travel Warnings and Consular Information Sheets. Travel Warnings are 
issued when the State Department recommends that Americans avoid travel 
to a certain country. Consular Information Sheets exist for all 
countries and include information on immigration practices, currency 
regulations, health conditions, areas of instability, crime and 
security, political disturbances, and the addresses of the U.S. posts in 
the subject country. They can be obtained by telephone at (202) 647-5225 
or by fax at (202) 647-3000. To access the Consular Affairs Bulletin 
Board by computer, dial (202) 647-9225, via a modem with standard 
settings. Bureau of Consular Affairs' publications on obtaining 
passports and planning a safe trip abroad are available from the 
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, 
Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800. 

Emergency information concerning Americans traveling abroad may be 
obtained from the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at (202) 647-
5225.

Travelers can check the latest health information with the U.S. Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia. A hotline at 
(404) 332-4559 gives the most recent health advisories, immunization 
recommendations or requirements, and advice on food and drinking water 
safety for regions and countries. A booklet entitled Health Information 
for International Travel (HHS publication number CDC-95-8280, price 
$14.00) is available from the U.S. Government Printing Office, 
Washington, DC 20402, tel. (202) 512-1800. 

Information on travel conditions, visa requirements, currency and 
customs regulations, legal holidays, and other items of interest to 
travelers also may be obtained before your departure from a country's 
embassy and/or consulates in the U.S. (for this country, see "Principal 
Government Officials" listing in this publication). 

Upon their arrival in a country, U.S. citizens are encouraged to 
register at the U.S. embassy (see "Principal U.S. Embassy Officials" 
listing in this publication). This may help family members contact you 
in case of an emergency. 

FURTHER ELECTRONIC INFORMATION:

Consular Affairs Bulletin Board (CABB). Available by modem, the CABB 
provides Consular Information Sheets, Travel Warnings, and helpful 
information for travelers. Access at (202) 647-9225 is free of charge to 
anyone with a personal computer, modem, telecommunications software, and 
a telephone line.
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DOSFAN's World Wide Web site is at http://www.state.gov; this site has a 
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U.S. Foreign Affairs on CD-ROM (USFAC). Published on a quarterly basis 
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$80 ($100 foreign), one-year subscriptions include four discs (MSDOS and 
Macintosh compatible) and are available from the Superintendent of 
Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, P.O. Box 37194, Pittsburgh, 
PA 15250-7954. To order, call (202) 512-1800 or fax (202) 512-2250.

Federal Bulletin Board (BBS). A broad range of foreign policy 
information also is carried on the BBS, operated by the U.S. Government 
Printing Office (GPO). By modem, dial (202) 512-1387. For general BBS 
information, call (202) 512-1530.

National Trade Data Bank (NTDB). Operated by the U.S. Department of 
Commerce, the NTDB contains a wealth of trade-related information, 
including Country Commercial Guides. It is available on the Internet 
(www.stat-usa.gov) and on CD-ROM. Call the NTDB Help-Line at (202) 482-
1986 for more information. 

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