- BBC News World
The migrant crisis in northern Chile has sparked a conflict between the governments of Santiago and Bolivia.
President of Chile Gabriel BoricThe governments of Bolivia and Venezuela have asked Chile to receive migrants deported by Chilean authorities amid new measures to reduce irregular entry of migrants, mostly Venezuelans, through the northern border.
Two weeks after ordering the militarization of key areas along the border Chile shares with Bolivia and Peru, Poric this week visited the highlands of Colzane, located two kilometers from Bolivian territory. .
“Protecting the border is our priority To ensure regular, safe and orderly immigration,” Borick said, adding that one of the barriers to deporting criminals is The governments of Bolivia and Venezuela do not receive deportees.
This has created a dispute above all with Bolivia, with which Chile maintains a tense historical relationship.
At BBC Mundo we explain 4 keys to understanding the friction between Santiago and La Paz due to the flow of Venezuelan migrants.
1. What is the situation in the north of Chile?
Chilean officials estimate that 21,553 people entered Chile last year through Colsen, a border region in the northern Tarapacá region with a population of 1,680.
In addition to Venezuela, Kolsen officials confirm that there has been an increase in the number of people arriving from countries such as Colombia, Haiti and El Salvador.
For this reason, than from the end of February 600 soldiers have been deployed in the area to assist in immigration control.
Among the attributes of uniformed officers are identity controls, baggage searches – if a crime is suspected- and in some situations warning displays, with the aim of preventing people from crossing the border through unauthorized steps.
Boric pointed out that the aim of the strategy is to “replace the government’s long-standing absence in this area with more resources and better tools.”
The Chilean ruler announced improvements to the Colsen border complex with more facilities for his officers, new thermal cameras and a satellite communications system, “to double the ability to remotely detect and monitor currently unregulated areas.”
The improvements will be extended to six other observation points in the Antofagasta regions, as well as to Arica in the north of the country, which also borders Peru.
Javier García, the mayor of Coclchane, estimates that the country receives at least 400 undocumented people a day through the border area where the town is located, one of the most used crossings by foreigners to enter Chile.
2. What does the Boric government ask for?
The Chilean president promised that his government would be a priority Accelerate conversations with Bolivian and Venezuelan authorities so they can receive deportees.
“Our neighboring countries, especially Bolivia, have not carried out the diversion of Venezuelan and Colombian citizens entering through the Colsen border, and they have not been received by the point of entry. We have to solve it“, he said.
Boric insisted that his government would launch “intensive” diplomatic efforts with La Paz and Caracas so that they could receive their deported citizens.
The head of the local Chilean immigration service recently explained that deporting a foreign national costs more than US$3,000.
However, the President cautioned that it is not just a matter of resources.
“An open airspace in Venezuela is a problem“, he pointed out. “The administrative procedures that can carry out evacuation procedures are very complex.”
Nevertheless, he qualified that “it is not a matter of escalating problems, but of seeking solutions, the spirit of the Chilean government, there are efforts to negotiate.”
Boric said he will soon meet with various friendly presidents of Latin America. Andrés Manuel López Obrador (Mexico), Alberto Fernández (Argentina), Xiomara Castro (Honduras), Gustavo Petro (Colombia) and Luis Arce (Bolivia).
“That’s precisely one of the issues we’re going to tackle,” he said.
Venezuela’s Foreign Minister Juan Gil tweeted from his Twitter account that President Nicolás Maduro’s government has “received a request for a joint mission with the government of Chile, which allegedly exiled Venezuela.”
The United Nations Refugee Agency estimates 7.1 million Venezuelans have fled their country In recent years “to escape violence, insecurity, threats and lack of food, medicine and essential services.”
3. What is the status of Bolivia?
The Bolivian government rejected Boric’s claims and said there was no bilateral agreement for “the diversion of migrants”.
“Considering the fact that Bolivia does not deport citizens from other countries, it is understood that the expulsion from the territory of Chile, There is no contract, agreement or bilateral instrument creating said obligation“, replied the Bolivian vice chancellor, Freddy Momani.
“The renewal procedure referred to by President Boric is a Chilean regulation that does not create any kind of international obligations,” he added.
Mamani asserted that the RK government’s standThese issues should be resolved with the authorities of displaced descentAvoiding any negative stigma and violation of human rights of migrants”.
Former Bolivian President Evo Morales joined Arce’s rejection of the government and warned on his Twitter account that he regretted Boric’s “unilateral stance” on migrants affected by the US economic blockade against Venezuela.
“The so-called ‘displacement’ with militarization and without bilateral coordination forces evacuation with stigma,” he assured.
4. Tense relations between Chile and Bolivia
During his statement on the situation of Venezuelan migrants, the Chilean president recalled that Chile and Bolivia have not had diplomatic relations since 1978When the last ties between the two countries broke down due to Bolivian demands for access to the sea.
The main difference of opinion is over Bolivia’s demand for the recovery of 400 kilometers of coastline and 128,000 square kilometers of territory lost to its neighbors during the War of the Pacific.
The current territorial demarcation was established in a treaty signed in 1904, in which Chile’s sovereignty extended to the border with Peru and Bolivia’s border did not reach the sea.
However, the document permanently grants Bolivia a broad and free right of commercial transit through Chilean territory and Pacific ports.
Thanks to that agreement, Chile insists that Bolivia has duty-free access to Chile’s port of Arica., in the north of the country. He also recalled that he paid for the construction of the railroad connecting Arica with La Paz.
For this reason, Chilean officials reject the idea that their position is affecting the economic development of their neighbors.
Bolivia, however, considers the 1904 agreement highly unfair and disjointed, and demands at least a corridor extending from its border with Chile to the Pacific, where industrial and commercial activities can be carried out under its flag.
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