The mayor of Colchane, Javier Garciaspoke about the State of Exception that governs in the north of the country due to the migratory crisis that affects the area and also about the visit of the Minister of the Interior, Izkia Siches.
“The migratory crisis continues, we have the refuge constantly collapsed and due to the constitutional state of exception the form of entry (of migrants) has been modified, that is, they are entering through other more distant sectors, which has given rise to these groups organized as coyotes that move from Bolivia and also now directly to cities like Santiago”, detailed the mayor.
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In this context, García pointed out that “the security of the neighbors continues to be a problem, all the policies have been focused on humanitarian work, for example the state of exception, which is basically focused on rescuing migrants who are constantly abandoned in sectors away and the Army takes them to the shelter to be sent to the health residence center in Iquique”.
“However, there is no major change in this regard, nor has the state of emergency contributed to the safety of the neighbors, and less to tranquility, since the lives of the Colchaninos have been altered, especially the elderly. , due to the presence of the Army that does not have an adequate treatment regarding the quiet life that the Aymaras have in Colchane”, the mayor specified in radio dna.
Work with the new government
Referring to the joint work with the central government, the communal authority pointed out that “as is known, the previous government did little with respect to border control and in that sense, it rather aimed at a communication strategy aimed at hiding what was happening on the border. However, with the new government, what we have seen is an approach to the authorities, in terms of dialogue, however we are waiting for concrete actions”.
“We believe that much more effective actions should be taken, more adjusted to the reality of Colchane, since in theory the state of exception rules in the province of Tamarugal, but in practice only Colchane has it, because the Army is focused on this community,” he added.
Along these lines, when speaking of the President’s Government, Gabriel Boricthe mayor indicated that “he has taken a first step, referring to dialogue, which is important for us. However, the minister (Siches) announced a visit to Colchane, which I understand will not materialize for different reasons, being that and I want make it clear that the Aymara of Colchane are very peaceful and respectful of the authorities, therefore their visit will always be guaranteed”.
Javier García was emphatic about the measure imposed by the Executive for his commune, stating that “we have never requested a state of emergency, this need was demanded by authorities from Antofagasta and other communes in northern Chile.”
“And we did not request it, because since February, we have seen different situations, especially related to mistreatment that the Army was constantly exercising against the residents of Colchane,” he added.
“We were sure that with the arrival of more military personnel, the situation was going to get worse., therefore, we understand that the situation is much more complex, there are many complaints from neighbors of ill-treatment and we have discussed this with authorities of these units and we hope that this improves, it requires training,” he continued.
Criticism of military action in the area
The mayor expressed his annoyance at the actions that the military have had with the people who live in the commune. “We have evidenced serious cases, therefore the assertions that I have made, in some cases we have prosecuted them, precisely because the claims have abounded,” he said.
“We understand that the Army does not have specialized units in matters of culture, therefore there is no preparation, they are unaware of the Aymara worldview and that is why this difficulty is generated in relations with the community,” he said.
“Here there are many older adults who are bilingual or monolingual and do not deserve the mistreatment that many Army personnel deliver and we expect better measures that are accompanied by security,” the authority declared annoyed.
Faced with this scenario, he expressed that “we have made the respective complaints and we hope that this will improve, but to date we have not had any improvement in that regard, therefore we believe that if the state of exception is maintained and this type of event continues to happen, what we are going to do as a municipality is to continue prosecuting and we are going to bring to light all those acts that go against the law and that are related to mistreatment”.
“What we see in the practice of the Army is that there is humanitarian work for migrants only and there is no policy or actions to guarantee the safety of the neighbors and that is the consequence of the state of emergency and the restriction on development of economic activities,” he added.
Finally, he indicated that “actions are required that are effective, but that are not necessarily a state of emergency, which is an exceptional measure, therefore we believe that Decree 265 can perfectly be worked on in terms of logistical support to the Carabineros de Chile”.