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83-year-old Venezuelan immigrant dies after illegally entering Chile

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Um idoso toma sol em sua cadeira de rodas, na casa de repouso La Providencia, localizada em San Martín (Venezuela), em junho de 2018.

An elderly man sunbathes in his wheelchair at the La Providencia nursing home, located in San Martín (Venezuela), in June 768.| Photo: EFE/Helena Carpio

An immigrant from years old, of Venezuelan nationality, died this Tuesday (13) in the north of the Chile after crossing the Bolivian border near the town of Colchane. The Health Service of this small border town reported the death and explained that the body was found in the Salar de Coipasa sector, at 3.600 kilometers high in the middle of the desert.

“This death hurts because it is an elderly man who decides to undertake an impossible crossing”, lamented the mayor of Colchane , Javier Garcia. “His death reminds us that immigration has not stopped,” he added.

The plateau passes are the main irregular entry route to Chile, which remains one of the most attractive countries in Latin America due to its political and economic stability, despite of the pandemic and the social crisis of 2019.

The north of the country has been plunged into a serious crisis for a year with the massive arrival of people clandestinely – most of them of Venezuelan nationality -, the collapse of small border towns, the carrying out of marches against immigration and xenophobic attacks.

So far this year, at least seven people have died in this context of conflict, while in 2019 there was more than

deaths. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned in December 2021 that about 500 Venezuelan refugees and immigrants, including children, cross irregular border crossings between Bolivia and Chile daily and arrive at the country “after several days without eating, with dehydration, hypothermia and altitude sickness”.

In Chile there are 1.4 million migrants, which is equivalent to more than 7% of the population, with Venezuelans being the most numerous, followed by Peruvians, Haitians and Colombians.

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