Two people – one of them a Venezuelan – died after irregularly crossing the border between Chile and Bolivia in the middle of the Andean highlands in the northern town of Colchane, Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado confirmed Wednesday.
The immigrants, who were part of a larger group of about 30 people, were of Venezuelan and Colombian nationality and one of them was 70 years old, according to authorities who did not report on the causes of the death of the two foreigners.
“What happened last night confirms something that we have been saying for a long time, because the conditions in which these people arrive are a risk to their health,” Delgado said.
Wild and extreme area
The border crossing between the small town of Colchane (Chile) and the town of Pisiga (Bolivia), in an Andean area at more than 3,600 meters above sea level, became in recent months en route for foreigners – mostly Venezuelans – arrive in Chile irregularly despite the harshness and extreme temperatures they must endure in that area and in defiance of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to its great extension, this border is difficult to control.
In recent days, the mayor of Colchane, Javier García, has publicly denounced the need to control the irregular income of migrants and asked the authorities of Bolivia and Chile to “mitigate the migration of Venezuelan citizens that affects the Aymara (ethnic group living in the area) of Bolivia and Chile, who have seen their lives affected by this migratory process ”.
Since 2014, close to 500 thousand Venezuelans have settled in Chile, escaping the political and economic crisis in their country, and have become the largest foreign colony in the country.
Chile has experienced an explosive growth in migration in recent years, which today reaches nearly 1.5 million people, who arrived mainly attracted by political and economic stability, according to official information.
© Agence France-Presse