Surge in Border Crossings in Chile

There has been an increase in the number of Venezuelan migrants crossing the border between Chile and Bolivia on foot. Chile has seen around 200 migrants a day cross its borders, braving the harsh altiplano terrain almost 4,000 feet above sea level where temperatures can drop to below 0C. Border towns, themselves without sufficient electricity, grocery stores, and pharmacies are ill-equipped to accommodate the influx. Last month, two migrants died from harsh conditions and lack of medical care.

Chile has received almost 500,000 Venezuelan migrants and refugees, the third-largest group after Colombia and Peru; however, Chile has only given refugee status to 17 Venezuelans since 2010. The Chilean government also recently deployed the military to the border town of Colchane to stop the immigration and send migrants home by bus and plane. Venezuelan migrants have since stopped crossing into Colchane and are now finding alternate, albeit more dangerous, routes to get into Chile.

Conditions in Venezuela are bleak as millions flee economic instability and political turmoil. Yet many South American countries are hard-pressed to meet their own needs, as well as that of Venezuela’s mass migration. Please pray for this situation. Pray that the Lord would bring about change in Venezuela. But also pray that Christians in Chile, Colombia, Peru and South America would be willing to reach the Venezuelans living in their borders with the gospel.

About the author

Tracy Paver is a missionary to Chile working alongside veteran church-planting missionaries Jason and Lori Holt.

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