Chile–United States relations
Chile–United States relations are the bilateral relations between the Republic of Chile and the United States of America. Relations, which can be traced to the nineteenth century, have improved in the period 1988 to the present to be better than any other time in history. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the United States government applauded the rebirth of democratic practices in Chile, despite having facilitated the 1973 Chilean coup d'état and aided the subsequent military regime, the build-up to which included destabilizing the country's economy and politics.
Regarded as one of the least corrupt and most vibrant democracies in South America, with a healthy economy, Chile is noted as being one of the closest strategic allies of the United States in the Southern Hemisphere, along with Colombia, and remains part of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance. A prime example of cooperation includes the landmark 2003 Chile–United States Free Trade Agreement. Chile is also the only South American nation that shares membership in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development with the United States.
According to several global opinion polls, Chileans have a considerably positive opinion of the U.S., with 55% of Chileans viewing the U.S. favorably in 2007, and 62% of Chileans viewing American influence positively in 2013, the highest rating for any surveyed country in Latin America. According to the 2012 U.S. Global Leadership Report, 42% of Chileans approve of U.S. leadership, with 25% disapproving and 32% uncertain.
In addition to working closely with Chilean government officials to strengthen their bilateral relationship, the U.S. Embassy in Santiago provides a range of services to U.S. citizens and businesses in Chile. (Please see the embassy's home page for details of these services.) The embassy also is the locus for a number of American community activities in the Santiago area.
The public affairs section cooperates with universities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on programs, including U.S. Speaker, International Visitor, and Fulbright programs. Themes of include trade, international security, democratic governance in the region, judicial reform, law enforcement, environmental issues, and the teaching of English. The public affairs section works daily with Chilean media. It also assists visiting foreign media, including U.S. journalists, and is regularly involved in press events for high-level visitors.[clarification needed]
Attachés at the embassy from the Foreign Commercial Service, Foreign Agricultural Service, and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) work closely with the hundreds of U.S. companies who export to or maintain offices in Chile. These officers provide information on Chilean trade and industry regulations and administer several programs intended to support U.S. companies in Chile.
The Consular Section of the Embassy provides services to U.S. citizens residing in Chile, currently of 12,000 people. It assists Americans voting in U.S. elections while abroad, provides U.S. tax information, and facilitates government benefit and social security payments. About 170,000 U.S. citizens visit Chile each year. The Consular Section offers passport and emergency services to U.S. tourists during their stay in Chile. It also issues about 40,000 visitor visas a year to Chilean citizens who travel to the United States.
Visa Waiver Program
In February 2014, the U.S. government officially announced that it had added Chile to the Visa Waiver Program, enabling all Chilean citizens to travel the United States without payment of a fee beginning in May and making Chile the only nation in Latin America to currently possess such a privilege, one usually afforded to only the closest allies and partners of the U.S., such as Europe, Japan and Australia.
Principal U.S. Embassy officials
- Ambassador--Michael A. Hammer
- Deputy Chief of Mission— Stephen Liston
- Public Affairs Counselor—Laurie B. Weitzenkorn
- Management Counselor—Eric Khant
- Commercial Counselor—Mitchell G. Larsen
- Economic and Political Counselor— Brian Doherty
- Consul General— Jeffrey C. Vick
- Defense Attaché—Captain Richard W. Goodwyn, USN
- Agricultural Counselor—Joseph López
- APHIS Attaché—Karen S. Sliter
- Legal Attaché—Stanley Stoy
- Drug Enforcement Administration—Dave Horan
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