For almost three years, Michelle Bachelet’s government authorities, including the head of State herself, avoided publicly acknowledging the existence of reports from the Chilean Foreign Ministry that warned of the explosive entry of Haitians into the country and that they even asked to act in this regard. 35 months that are now over, when an office is known for the first time that conclusively proves that the warning was on the desk of the authorities at the time.
“It is appreciated that the extraordinary increase in the flow of Haitian citizens has generated a complex social reality that affects a significant proportion of them.”
The foregoing is an extract from an official letter -dated on September 20, 2017- in which the director general of Consular and Immigration Affairs, Carlos Appelgren, alerted the Government of Michelle Bachelet regarding the explosive increase in migrants from the island.
In good accounts, in the document -cited by El Mercurio and that today BioBioChile reveals in its entirety- the head of the agency dependent on the Ministry of Foreign Relations, explains to the Interior Minister of the time how the lack of regulation allowed the uncontrolled arrival of immigrants to Chile.
“As is known to the US, in recent times, particularly since 2016, the arrival of Haitian citizens to our country has increased strongly, who travel as tourists and then remain in Chile, taking advantage of the circumstance that The visa requirement is not currently required for Haitian tourists, ”the letter states.
All this, it is added, allowed them to “remain in national territory for up to a period of 90 days in such capacity”, which -as indicated- conspired to originate “Serious situations of violation of rights that are affecting Haitian nationals themselves”.
The office -whose objective is precisely the “establishment (of) requirement (of) tourism visas for Haitian nationals”, according to its heading- also accounts for the income figures.
In 2016, for example, it is noted that 48,780 citizens of that country entered the national territory as tourists and only 4,307 left Chile. That is, 44,473 people remained.
The numbers the following year only went up. Between January and August 2017, 61,132 entered and 2,852 left. In other words, 58,280 stayed.
So, Between the two periods, revenues – discounting departures – reached 102,753.
The lack of local regulation is also compared with other countries in Latin America, where the vast majority do require a tourist visa for Haitians. Such is the case of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The only ones who don’t? Chile, Ecuador and Argentina.
Despite the fact that the document reveals that the Bachelet government was aware of the need to apply a tourist visa, the former head of state -in an interview she offered to THE T.V, already in her capacity as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – she distanced herself from the issue.
On the occasion, he explained that the situation of Haitian nationals was not regulated in a more strict manner, since “Chile has an open immigration policy”, therefore -those who met the requirements of the time- I did not see why they should not enter our country.
Likewise, he said he did not know how the companies that offered flights from Central America to our country were organized: “I think they passed the data from one place to another,” he said.
“There were people who put together charters according to what they said. And they charged. So much so, that the opposition people said that I received money, that has nothing to do with it, it is all a lie, of course. It seems that they (Haitians) were charged to come on these flights, ”he added.
Bachelet’s statements, however, contrast with what was mentioned by his chancellor, Heraldo Muñoz, who at the Central Table stated that Yes, there was knowledge of the trafficking of migrants of that nationality.
“The information we had is that there were companies in Port-au-Prince that were dedicated to telling Haitians to sell your house, sell everything you have, pay us three thousand dollars and we give you a work contract in Chile and you pay for the plane ”, He commented.
He also added that the government contacted the island authorities: “We denounced this on several occasions to the Haitian government, nothing was done. And the abuse that was being done to those people was very enormous, ”Muñoz assured Channel 13.
Check out the full letter below