Although 2010 was a bicentenary year for many countries in Latin America, that the year was a memorable one for Chileans is due less to celebrations of independence than to two disasters— one natural and one man-made—and to the country’s response to them. The usual year-end retrospectives tended to emphasize the February 27 earthquake and the accident and rescue at the San José mine much more than the light shows and other forgettable pyrotechnics of the bicentenary. But as with the bicentenary, both the earthquake and the San José disaster enabled the authorities and the average Chilean to indulge in a little bit of chest thumping, an extreme example of which was the suggestion that the country’s tourism and foreign investment slogan should be changed to “The Chilean Way,” as if the Chilean way were a light unto the nations.

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