A Venezuelan national died trying to enter illegally from Bolivia near the border town of Colchane in Tarapacá, a remote and cold region of the highlands where migration has resumed through secret passages, local authorities reported on Monday.
The 56-year-old Venezuelan Edgar Molina died of unconsciousness when he and his wife crossed the inhospitable plateau at an altitude of more than 3,600 meters from Bolivia to Chile via a secret pass, about three kilometers from the city of Colchane. Information from the mayor of this city to the AFP agency.
Molina is the eleventh migrant to die this year trying to enter Chile irregularly via Colchane, a small Aymara population of around 2,000, located at 3,650 meters above sea level, which became relevant last February when it was due to the Arrival of thousands of migrants collapsed after a strenuous hike through the highlands to get to Chile.
“I again regret the eleventh death of a Venezuelan immigrant under these circumstances in Colchane,” said Javier García, the city’s mayor, in a taped video accessed by AFP.
Molina’s death occurs amid an increase in migrants at this crossing point to Chile, where they are secretly entering because the country has closed its borders to anyone who is not Chilean or resident. Chile also requires a visa for Venezuelans.
In August alone, 331 foreigners, 260 of them Venezuelans, came to Colchane. The rest of the population are Bolivian, Peruvian and Colombian citizens, the authorities said.
Authorities claim that as the migrants travel through the highlands, they fall victim to human trafficking gangs who charge at least $ 200 to bring them illegally into the country and then travel the nearly 2,000 km to Santiago, the ultimate destination from Santiago, to bring the majority.
Tarapacá Governor José Miguel Carvajal noted that this area in the north of the country is facing “a migration crisis” due to “the negligence of the central government in its plan to curb irregular migration”.
As part of this plan, the Chilean government carried out several expulsions of dozens of Venezuelan and Colombian migrants who arrived in Chile on secret steps, which has been criticized by human rights organizations and the UN.
Most of these migrants are Venezuelans fleeing their country’s crisis exacerbated by the pandemic. In less than seven years, Venezuelans are the largest foreign colony in Chile, with more than 455,000 registered residents.