A Venezuelan woman enters the town of Colchane with her daughter, on the border between Chile and Bolivia, located about 1,900 kilometers north of Santiago (Chile). EFE / Lucas Aguayo Araos
Santiago de Chile, Dec 3 (EFE) .- The lack of will to control the situation or the implementation of ineffective measures are some of the causes that make the migration crisis in northern Chile last, as Javier García told Efe , mayor of the town of Colchane, located on the border with Bolivia.
Hundreds of migrants enter this area irregularly every day, a situation that has lasted for decades in the place but has become overcrowded in the last year due to the pandemic and more restrictive Chilean legislation for the entry of foreigners, and which has in check to the locality.
“For us it continues to be a very worrying issue due to the massive and uncontrolled income. In recent days, one more victim has been added to the list of deceased and unfortunately all the actions announced by the Government have simply not been effective in controlling the income. “, said the mayor.
And it is that last Wednesday a migrant woman was found dead in the vicinity of an unauthorized border crossing in Colchane, raising the death toll in this inhospitable area to 19 so far this year.
Regarding the measures announced by the Government of Sebastián Piñera, which included the construction of shelters to receive people who entered irregularly through the highland border, García affirmed that they are of “doubtful effectiveness.”
“Unfortunately, it seems that there is no state or government will in terms of controlling the indiscriminate entry of migrants. We see a significant increase in military personnel and carabineros (police) but unfortunately the actions are more directed to the humanitarian issue rather than to provide security to the neighbors, “Garcia explained.
The mayor also criticized that the Government keeps the legal border crossing of the town closed due to the pandemic, because in his opinion that would allow controlling at least a percentage of arriving migrants.
MIGRANTS IN SEARCH OF A BETTER LIFE
Of the hundreds of people who enter daily, the majority are of Venezuelan nationality and seek to improve their living conditions after suffering a deep political, social and economic crisis in Venezuela.
One of these people, 21 years old and who preferred not to reveal his identity, told Efe that his goal is to get to Santiago, the Chilean capital, to be able to raise money that will allow him to buy a house in his native country and be with him again. his family.
“I was waiting for the money until today, that I was able to come and the Bolivian police already took the money from me to travel to Iquique,” said the woman.
“What I want is to get to my destination and go to work. I have a goal. To last two years and make an effort to buy my house in Venezuela for my daughter and myself. I do nothing working in a country that is not mine and planting in a field that It is not mine. He who sows in other people’s land until the harvest loses, “he added.
For his part, a Venezuelan man who did not reveal his identity and who also arrived in Chile a few days ago with his family told Efe that his motive is to “seek improvement” because there is no work in his country.
Asked about the proposal of one of the candidates for the Chilean ballot, the far-right José Antonio Kast, to build a ditch to prevent the entry of undocumented immigrants, he pointed out that “he is not thinking that we are human beings. We are looking for help in this country.”
Since February, the Colchane area has been the epicenter of a migration crisis that has worsened over the months and that currently has hundreds of undocumented people settled in public spaces in the cities of northern Chile.
The crisis had its worst moment at the end of September when an anti-immigration march ended with the burning of tents and belongings of Venezuelan families who were spending the night on the streets of the city of Iquique, in an attack that was classified as xenophobic.
With the aim of curbing irregular entry, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera enacted a new, stricter migration law last April that requires foreigners to obtain visas in their countries of origin and allows deportations.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) noted that the Chilean Executive announced the expulsion of 1,500 people throughout 2021 on 15 charter flights and that, according to the Jesuit Migrant Service (SJM), by April of this year it had deported 294 people, in most of the cases “without judicial control” and mainly affecting Venezuelan migrants.
Through a document published in July this year, HRW pointed out a series of serious violations of the fundamental rights of expelled Venezuelan migrants, such as impediments to access phone calls and lawyers, summary deportations on weekends (when the courts of appeal are closed) and family separation, among others.
According to the Department of Immigration and Migration, in Chile there are 1.4 million migrants, which is equivalent to more than 7% of the population, and Venezuelans are the most numerous, followed by Peruvians, Haitians and Colombians.