The government of Venezuela has called on Chilean authorities to ensure the safety of Venezuelan nationals after a wave of xenophobic violence over the weekend in the city of Iquique.
“Venezuela repudiates xenophobia and the attacks against Venezuelan migrants, we demand that Chilean national and local authorities respect the physical and psychological integrity of our nationals. President Nicolas Maduro ordered the activation of the Return to the Homeland plan for our brothers!” tweeted Vice President Delcy Rodriguez on Sunday.
The condemnation and immediate order to activate the Bolivarian government’s repatriation plan, comes after an anti-migrant march in the Northern Chilean city of Iquique ended in a mob attack on a Venezuelan migrant camp and a forced eviction by carabineros. The violent Chilean group assaulted Venezuelans, including men, women and children, burned their belongings, and chased them across the city.
Chilean President Sebastian Piñera has been a vocal supporter of U.S. efforts to destabilize Venezuela, with his government backing devastating economic sanctions and declaring its recognition of the authority of oppositionist Juan Guaido in 2019.
Since 2016, Chile has also been a destination for Haitian migrants, but a hostile, racist, environment and Piñera’s 2018 decree that effectively banned Haitians from working, has pushed most to leave Chile for the Mexico-U.S. border.
“Due to the 2019 protests and the pandemic, as well as the difficulties Haitians face trying to insert themselves into the labor market and generate remittances, this has made them decide to leave Chile and seek new opportunities in North America,” said Álvaro Bellolio, Director of Chile’s National Migrant Service.
In response to the violent xenophobia by some, the Communist Party of Chile mobilized to provide humanitarian aid to the Venezuelan nationals who had suffered attacks in Iquique
“In the face of barbarism, there’s popular organization. Yesterday, in the Jota de Iquique, we continued the deployment of our members to help the dozens of migrant families affected by evictions, racism, discrimination, and the xenophobia of a few. No human being is illegal!!” said the JJCC, the youth wing of Chile’s Communist Party.