Decades ago along the sands of time, Latin America gave birth to two children, Chile and Peru. Both were born with rich Spanish blood and long mountains running down their back. Skin that sparkled brilliantly from the varied numerous minerals hidden beneath its surface, mostly copper and soil rich for food production. Two beautiful children whose fingers and toes were dipped in the blue Pacific Ocean. When Chile became of age, his independence took him to boarding school. He learnt to play by rules no matter how difficult they seemed. He met other boys there and he was instructed on how to treat everyone independent of another. A bank that is fully owned by the state should operate fully independent of state influences. It should do no business with other state agencies to keep it free from financial risk. Chile also learnt to engage in fair competition, no companies are subsidized by the state and regulation allows for participation in free trade for all. Chile learnt to wake up early, dress in uniform, make his bed, walk down the hall in silence and show up for his classes. Children are assigned a social number at birth at the state bank and start carrying a debit card that allows for basic transactions at the age of 14 years. The citizens of Chile do not compromise with the police and it can be seen in the order on the road and obeying of traffic laws. Buildings meet strict regulation building codes which ensures they withstand even a major earthquake. Earth tremors that are the norm in that part of the world do not easily frazzle Chileans-unless the tremor is big enough that one cannot get up to a standing position, they smile and continue to have lunch.
On the other hand, at Independence, Peru decided to explore the world. He wanted to live young and free with no rules. He made fast and easy friends who fell in love with the copper color of his skin, the mountains down his back and rich soil. They offered to show him the way to live and lead him and he gladly accepted. Peru has embraced leaders with such diverse origins including Irish and Japanese, something not many countries can attest to. These leaders invited Peru to parties where they filled his cup with wine and laid a table of sumptuous food. Peruvian food is acclaimed to be one of the best cuisines in the world due to the influences from all over the world that has led to a wonderful fusion of tastes. Peru’s friend’s played music and his intoxicated body stood and danced to their tunes. His mineral rich skin sparkled and everyone wanted to run their hands over it. Peru’s land is mined not just for copper, but gold and is the world’s highest producer of silver. Peru spent his days sleeping off his hangover and getting up just in time to get dressed for the next party. The party had to keep going and Peru played his part to ensure it. It is the highest producer of illegal cocaine and counterfeit American dollars. His friends that clapped and cheered were actually laughing and mocking as he stumbled in intoxication. Peru has had an unfortunate selection of leaders who have rummaged through it, amassing riches from its copper and mineral rich economy, engaging in boundless corruption that has steeped Peru’s economy in a hole where only a few benefit at the expense of the masses. 10 companies own 70% of the current economy while the population struggles with sub- standard education and a failing healthcare system. The lack of rules has filtered down to the street where even crossing the road is a hazardous fete as road rules are more of an option than an obligation.
Eventually after a couple of decades, Chile left the closed walls of the boarding school and ventured out into the big wide world. He saw people wearing interesting clothes, driving cars and living life as they wanted to and not as instructed to. Wide eyed, Chile began to embrace difference and question the rules cautiously. He learnt to drink wine and dance some nights away. But he finds that most days, he still prefers to stay within the rules he had learnt to follow those many years ago. Chile is concertedly opening up its doors to the world and signing free trade agreements to encourage the world to come and explore Chile as they too learn from the world.
Peru, after may hungover days woke up and his sober mind realized he needed to break away from his friends. He started to set rules in place to guide him. He started staying in some days instead of going out and with a clear mind he began to strategize. He cut off some of his past friends and some friendships are still being assessed. The current president is under motion to vacate the presidency while the former president and his wife are in jail for corrupt practices they engaged in while in office. Other corrupt presidents before these, unfortunately have managed to get away after a sizeable payoff. Peru continues to grapple with the need of necessary rules for a thriving economy but are determined to make meaningful change. Meanwhile, tourists continue to flock to it to enjoy its sumptuous delicacies and dance to its hip swaying tunes that it perfected in its youth. Chile still comes alive several nights of the week where the streets fill with men and women looking for some delicious wine and fun.
Chile and Peru, siblings and neighbours, similar yet still different. Still growing and learning. Adapting to embrace the good and shift the bad. Still beautifully Spanish, still captivating suitors with their beautiful mineral sparkling skin and rich soil, encompassing captivating mountains and fingers and toes dipped in the Pacific Ocean.
Elizabeth Kiathe, Full Time MBA 2017-2018