Santiago de Chile: “The Cinderella of Latin America”

A feature in one of America’s most highly regarded news magazines lauded the Chilean capital, describing it as the highest climber on the South American continent.

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The author of well-known novel The Dancer and the Thief, Antonio Skármeta, has written a feature in Newsweek which lauds Santiago’s recent prosperity and the booming cultural life that have made the Chilean capital one of Latin America’s rising stars.

The article goes through the recent successes that Chile has amassed as a nation, and takes a closer look at some of the highlights that Santiago, the capital, has to offer as a result,
while simultaneously lamenting that the city is no longer the “modest capital at the end of the world. It has become tempting prey for tourists and investors.”

Chile’s astounding buoyancy against the global economic crisis was a surprise to many economists. Reports from the central bank over the last 7 months have shown consistent economic growth in the face of adversity even as many other economies in the region have been dropping by at least a couple of points.

The economic success and rising prosperity in the capital have given way to expanses of shining, middle-class neighborhoods such as Providencia, Las Condes and El Golf.

But importantly, Santiago has managed to control its fast-paced growth, keeping its decency and sense of self. While other cities which explode in this way might develop with a lack of order, Santiago has been clinical and decorous.

“Unlike other cities devastated by poverty or overrun by modernity,” Skármeta says, “Santiago has been spared. Old sectors such as the Plaza Bellavista and Brazil have been conquered by young people. They have renovated the buildings’ interiors but, at the same time, have maintained the façades from the past. It lends both truth and authenticity to the capital.”

Combine all the cultural elements, which manifest themselves in a wealth of events across the city, with Santiago’s geographical positioning half-way between snow-topped mountains and sunny beaches, and the result for Skármeta is poetic: “The Cinderella of Latin America has become its princess.”

This post is also available in Spanish