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Venezuelan Man Dies in Chile’s Border After Illegally Crossing 5 Countries

Venezolano que cruzó 5 países escapando del socialismo en su país, muere en frontera norte de Chile

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[Leer en español]

A Venezuelan migrant who traveled through more than five countries in the region in search of a better quality of life died Monday afternoon on Chile’s northern border, becoming the second fatality in this inhospitable area, authorities reported Tuesday.

47-year-old Edgard Zapata, who was found in the Pisiga Carpa sector, in the Colchane commune, an Andean area at an altitude of more than 3,600 meters above sea level with extreme temperatures, the Carabineros police force explained.

After a peak in arrivals in February last year, the crisis worsened in October, with hundreds of foreigners wandering around different towns in the north of the country, forcing the Chilean government to announce the construction of several shelters to deal with the crisis.

The Mayor of Colchane, Javier García, denounced on Monday that the shelters are collapsed and that the migrants are not prepared to face the very low night temperatures that affect this area at this time of the year.

“The Chilean government has made a mockery of Chileans in terms of migration,” added the mayor.

The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) warned last December that about 500 Venezuelan refugees and migrants, including children, cross daily through illegal border crossings between Bolivia and Chile and arrive in the country “after several days without food, suffering from dehydration, hypothermia and altitude sickness.”

The victim reported this Tuesday is the second so far this year, after the death last January 14 of a Peruvian citizen, and at least the 23rd since the massive flow began in February 2021.

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

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