Roto Chileno...

chile01Roto Chileno is a guy from the country, poorly educated and badly dressed. He looks like an idiot, but he is smart - street smart, with a wicked sense of humour and a fearless disposition.

The roto has come to represent the humble Chilean who fought first against the Spanish, and later against the Peruvian-Bolivian Confederation. He is the unsung hero of Chilean independence.

"We call our best friends güeón (idiot, pron: wey-on) but this is a good thing. We are very loyal to each other." Juan, research student from Santiago.

Si vas para Chile…
Y verás como quieren en Chile
al amigo cuando es forastero.

if you go to Chile…
… you will see that in Chile
they love a stranger like a friend.
[Chilean folk-song]

"Chile is the Switzerland of Latin America - orderly, punctual, trustworthy - and boring. We are Latin America's anti-Latins." Chilean journalist Paula Escobar, Washington Post (2006)