Humanitarian crisis and precarious borders

July 17, 2019
Communications Colunga Foundation

In the face of the humanitarian crisis that thousands of Venezuelan migrants are living in the border crossing Chacalluta, Arica Region, and in the Consulate of Chile in Tacna, we talked with José Tomás Vicuña, National Director of Jesuit Migrant Service (SJM), about this situation.

Photo: Twitter SJM

"More than 400 children have entered since Chile imposed the tourist visa. Families that were already in transit to Chile are arriving, mainly to meet their relatives. There are people who have been able to enter the Chilean territory and others who have not, Democratic Responsibility Visas and Tourism Visas have been issued, but there are others who do not have a passport and with that they can not meet the requirements that Chile requires, "comments José Tomás Vicuña, National Director of the SJM.

It is this situation that has many people sleeping in the open while waiting for an answer. More than 25 organizations, including the Colunga Foundation, generated a joint declaration, articulated by the SJM, where they emphasized that the people who are currently at the borders are in alarming conditions, especially the pregnant women, infants, children Y older adults. In fact, one of the hardest news occurred on Saturday, July 13, where a Venezuelan woman lost her pregnant baby while waiting for a visa to cross into Chile.

The proposals that the organizations submitted to give a solution according to the seriousness of the situation are the following:

-To give an articulated response among the different countries of the region and not to take specific measures, whose consequence is more rejection at the borders of those fleeing the crisis.

-Install the people of Venezuela to always enter under any of the modalities allowed by Chilean regulations (Democratic Responsibility Visa, Consular Visa for Tourism or requesting asylum, among others), avoiding exposing themselves to situations that endanger their lives.

-The States must adopt extraordinary measures together, which adapt to the situation that people who need protection face, instead of imposing requirements that not all have the possibility of complying.

The panorama that the SJM projects is bleak: "More than a migratory crisis, it is a humanitarian crisis. This situation is being lived in different frontiers and it is projected that the flow of Venezuelan people will continue in the next two years. With that, it will become the biggest crisis in the world, surpassing that of Syria. A response is needed around what a humanitarian crisis needs, that is, there is an exceptional situation, we have exceptional measures. That has not yet been done by Chile ", highlights the National Director of the entity.  

No doubt a situation that worries us, especially for those children who are living on the street while waiting for a solution. But they can not wait.

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