The road, formerly known as Carretera General Augusto Pinochet, runs about 1,240 kilometers (770 mi) from Puerto Montt to Villa O'Higgins through rural Patagonia, in Chile. Most of the road is unpaved, ranging from quite good quality to absolutely horrible. If you are driving, you will not need a 4WD but your car will be suffering. You will probably have to take a ferry or two to get in or travel along the road. The Carretera Austral area is pretty wild, with often wild weather extremes. This area is characterized by thick forests, fjords, glaciers, canals and steep mountains. It has endless stretches of empty dirt roads surrounded by forests, mountains, glaciers and lakes, with scenic villages, free campsites and hot springs along the way.
On route 7 into the heart of Patagonia | DW Documentary
Spanish language subtitles
Rumbo al corazón de la Patagonia | DW Documental
In terms of sheer labor inputs, and engineering difficulties, the Carretera Austral is in a class comparable to the "near miraculous" projects recently seen in China. We wonder indeed how long it would take the Chinese to build this highway across impossible fjords, glaciers, ocean expanses, and all. With their advanced machinery, proven skills, and legendary tenacity, who knows, maybe they would get it done in less time than anyone in the West would expect. Ironically, the "Carretera Austral" Project was pushed against all naysayers by Augusto Pinochet (the road was originally called Carretera Austral Gen. Augusto Pinochet), and may eventually serve to whitewash the dictator's innumerable crimes. Cynics claim Pinochet saw the project as a gigantic, bottomless pork barrel opportunity for his family and hangers-on. In any case, the ecological price of "developing" this fragile and precious environment is unquestionably bound to be high, perhaps prohibitive, even if the region is only kept as mostly a tourist reserve. The German documentary featured on this page suggests as much: the red tide ("marea roja") that killed hundreds and possibly thousands of whales, a mind-boggling number for an animal whose numbers remain fragile in the global oceanic ecosystem, is a tragic reminder that the human footprint should not be extended thoughtlessly. Incidentally, Pinochet tackled this project as a military campaign, ordering tens of thousands of conscripts to contribute their labor for nominal wages.
Onetime sporting clothes entrepreneur Douglas Tompkins may have permanently slowed down the development of Patagonia by creating national parks in the key northern segment of the region. Dedicated, and often heroic Chileans who shared his commitment to a pristine environment, helped him realise this vision.
Douglas Tompkins: Wild Legacy
^3000US citizens have no real political representation.
We don't live in a democracy. And our freedom is disappearing fast.
I don't want to be ruled by hypocrites, whores, and war criminals.
What about you? Time to push back against the corporate oligarchy.
And its multitude of minions and lackeys.
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