A group of 27 people, including two children, had to be rescued this Thursday after being trapped for hours in the middle of a snow blizzard in the rugged Antofagasta mountain range, in northern Chile, in a regular irregular migration path with Bolivia.
At almost 5,000 meters above sea level, in the dark and with temperatures of -20 degrees, a rescue unit of the Carabineros (militarized Police) of Chile deployed an operation that lasted until dawn and from which all rescued They were unharmed, according to official sources.
“The work was not easy, the land was isolated and blocked by heavy snowfalls. The situation was sensitive,” Captain Felipe Rozas, a local police authority, told local media.
Images disseminated through social networks reveal the feat and show the extreme weather conditions, with snowfall, winds and low visibility, in which the rescued migrants walked for hours.
Despite the climatic conditions in this area, the border with Bolivia has been crossed this year by more than a thousand foreigners, mainly Venezuelans, and at least seven people have lost their lives trying to enter Chile.
The Government authorized the deployment of the Armed Forces at the beginning of the year and, in parallel, hastened the approval of a new immigration law that facilitates expulsions and that has received a barrage of criticism from human rights organizations.
Under this new rule, the Executive initiated a deportation process with which it intends to expel more than 1,500 foreigners in 2021 and this same Thursday it already chartered the third plane, with 72 migrants, who were returned to their countries of origin.
From the UN, on several occasions they urged the Government to stop “immediately” these procedures and warned that the basic guarantees in migration matters and international treaties are not being complied with.
Neither the pandemic nor the social crisis that lasted for more than a year in 2019, have alienated the desire to migrate to Chile, one of the most attractive countries in Latin America due to its political and economic stability.
According to the Department of Immigration and Migration, there are 1.4 million migrants in the country, which is equivalent to more than 7% of the population and Venezuelans are the most numerous, followed by Peruvians, Haitians and Colombians.