The photo of a baby carriage thrown into the flames was one of the images left by a xenophobic march against Venezuelan migrants, which was attended by some 5,000 people from the Chilean city of Iquique, capital of the Tarapacá region.
The mobilization, which took place last Saturday, was called in repudiation of the migrant community living in the north of Chile, mostly made up of Venezuelans, and took place from Plaza Prat to the headquarters of the Regional Government of Taracapá.
“No more migrants”, “No more illegal” and “Chile is a republic that is respected” were the slogans that were read the most among those attending the demonstration, who not only attended because of hate speech but also perpetrated direct attacks against the population who resides in an irregular administrative situation.
Part of the protesters, who formed a mob, stole belongings of the migrants who were in the vicinity of Avenida Aeropuerto with Las Rosas, such as tents, sleeping bags and clothes, and set them on fire. While the objects were incinerated, the organizers rang pots, threatened the population living on the streets and chanted xenophobic slogans.
One of the worst images left over the weekend: in Iquique, Chile, belongings of Venezuelan migrants were burned. Among them, that car that flies through the air towards the fire. “Inadmissible humiliation” described the facts the UN special rapporteur. pic.twitter.com/cDRL7aslmk
– Juan Manuel Karg (@jmkarg) September 27, 2021
The violent attack prompted the Chilean Prosecutor’s Office to initiate an investigation and to have “protection measures for the victims,” including at least 16 people, including children and the elderly, who lost their few belongings and had to sleep in the street.
The governor of Tarapacá, José Miguel Carvajal, blamed the Chilean government for the “migration crisis” in the region he leads and called on the population not to commit “any xenophobic act.” “We are not what was seen in the images today”, he asserted.
However, the attacks on the population in an irregular administrative situation led to the pronouncement of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Felipe González Morales, who described as “inadmissible humiliation” what happened in the north of Chile.
Inadmissible humiliation against especially vulnerable migrants, affecting them in the most personal way. The xenophobic discourse, assimilating migration to crime, which unfortunately has become more and more frequent in Chile, fuels this kind of barbarism. https://t.co/WwCRGIbFxu
— UN Special Rapporteur Migration Felipe González M (@UNSR_Migration) September 25, 2021
“The xenophobic discourse, assimilating migration to crime, which unfortunately has become increasingly frequent in Chile, feed this kind of barbarism“he commented.
This Monday, in statements to Tele13 Radio, the Minister of the Interior and Public Security, Rodrigo Delgado, described Saturday’s event as “regrettable and repudible”, although he promised that the policy of evictions would be maintained and “the expulsion plan“of people in an irregular situation.
“As a government we are never going to endorse the use of force, of violence, as a conflict resolution,” said Delgado, and announced that those who organized this manifestation of hatred “will respond to justice, as appropriate.”
Meanwhile, the office of the United Nations Organization (UN) in Chile expressed “its concern about violence and xenophobia towards migrants” during a meeting with the authorities of the Chilean Foreign Ministry, who urged “to act within the framework of the respect for human rights and international humanitarian law “.
Prior eviction and crossing between authorities
The demonstration and the acts of violence occurred a day after the Carabineros evicted migrant families from Plaza Brasil in Iquique, where they had been staying for just over a year.
The governor of Tarapacá assured that neither he nor the local authorities were aware of this eviction, which left several families adrift, which caused them to end up wandering around the city and concentrated in other areas, in a kind of makeshift camps.
For his part, Minister Delgado questioned Carvajal’s actions and recalled that weeks ago there was a meeting with the Tarapacá authorities in which it was agreed that the Executive would take charge of security and the Government would be responsible for the “humanitarian situation.” .
“That was an agreement and after a few weeks what we have: only criticism and ignorance of what was a pawned word,” said the official.
Last Sunday, the governor of Tarapacá said that organizations and volunteers had relocated part of the migrant population, especially boys, girls and women in some parts of Iquique, but recognized that the action is still insufficient.
The pronouncement of Venezuela
“Venezuela repudiates xenophobia and attacks against Venezuelan migrants and demands that the national and local authorities of Chile respect the physical and psychological integrity of our nationals,” wrote the Venezuelan vice president, Delcy Rodríguez, on her Twitter account.
Venezuela repudiates xenophobia and attacks against Venezuelan migrants and demands that the national and local authorities of Chile respect the physical and psychological integrity of our nationals. Pdte @NicolasMaduro ordered to activate the Plan Back to the Homeland of our siblings! https://t.co/UshXZgQOls
– Delcy Rodríguez (@delcyrodriguezv) September 26, 2021
He also announced that, by order of President Nicolás Maduro, the Plan Vuelta a la Patria will be activated for the repatriation of Venezuelans from Chile.
On Monday afternoon, the vice president also offered a press conference in which she reiterated the request of respect for her fellow nationals by the Chilean authorities and recalled that Venezuela “has been a receiving country for migrants from Europe, America and particularly From Chile”.
“When Pinochet’s terrible coup against Salvador Allende, Venezuela opened its doors to Chileans. And what is happening is inconceivable, the persecution, xenophobia, hatred against our migrants in Chile,” said Rodríguez, who recalled that President Sebastián Piñera “in an act of demagogy” called on the Venezuelan population to emigrate to the southern country.
In 2018, while friction between the Government of Chile and Venezuela intensified, Piñera announced the creation of a special visa for Venezuelans who wanted to emigrate to their country, and that would allow them to have a temporary residence permit.
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