2011 was a big news year for Chile - occupying the headlines there was a destructive volcanic eruption, an air crash which killed one of its best known TV hosts, an exhumation and autopsy of former socialist leader Salvador Allende, and a few thousand more people added to the list of dictatorship-era victims.
But I thought I’d close out the previous year properly by reviewing a few of the more unusual Chile related stories which made the media:
- Okay, so I may have engineered this whole post in order to make another Miss Chile reference - but it’s a good one! Who wouldn’t want to see Vanessa Ceruti dressed as a sexy miner in the national costumes segment of the 2011 Miss Universe Pageant. A touching tribute to Los 33.
- The unrest of the Arab Spring was followed by what came to be called a Chilean Winter, as a previously apathetic youth population took a confrontational stance toward the government and business elite. Two of the more unusual events were a kissing protest and an elaborately stage Thriller flash mob.
- In May, a Chilean base-jumper soared off a massive cliff in the Andes mountains on his motorbike, free-falling some 3000 feet before opening his parachute. ‘The idea is that Chile is known, because behind this sport there are great natural scenes. I want to show Chile is a good place for base jumping,’ he said.
- Not a great year for president Sebastian Pinera - the popularity boost from the 2010 mining rescue wore off and those pesky protesters stole the media attention. However, a bizzare moment occured in April when Czech president Václav Klaus was on an official visit to Chile and… well you can just watch the whole incident as it was caught on tape and went viral with over 2 million views.
Still on Pinera - in December he further trolled his detractors by making a sexist joke about what women mean when they say ‘No’.
- While not quite on the same media scale as the miner resue, in October a bull was rescued from a two day ordeal after falling through an open manhole on the outskirts of Santiago. Somewhat inexplicably he was given the nickname ‘Frutilla’ (Strawberry).
- Following the tragic death of Amy Winehouse in July a private fashion museum in Santiago, Museo de la Moda, purchased the famous ‘Back to Black’ dress for £43,200. Proceeds of the sale went a new charity set up in the singer’s memory to help vulnerable young people.