Published: 2023-05-07 19:41
Last Updated: 2023-09-30 13:47
A plane carrying more than a hundred Venezuelan migrants left Chile on Sunday, in a repatriation flight for people who have been stranded for weeks at the northern border with Peru.
Hundreds of mostly Venezuelan and Haitian migrants have been stuck in the border area for over two weeks after leaving Arica in northern Chile because Peru refused to let them continue into the town of Tacna, alleging they lacked the necessary documentation.
Last week, authorities in Lima declared a state of emergency at the country's borders, deploying troops to reinforce checkpoints and block undocumented workers from crossing over from Chile.
Many of the migrants say they are trying to go home, or seeking to continue northwards in a bid to reach the United States.
"The plane has just taken off... to Caracas," Chilean government delegate Ricardo Sanzana told reporters in the city of Arica, 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) north of Santiago.
He added that 115 Venezuelans who had registered to board and had been waiting for more than two weeks at the Chacalluta border crossing were on board.
The plane -- belonging to a private airline -- had arrived from Caracas on Friday and is financed by the Venezuelan government of President Nicolas Maduro.
Hours before boarding, the migrants were transferred to shelters in Arica.
"There is a firm determination of the government of President Gabriel Boric to take charge of migration in all its senses, in an orderly and safe manner," Sanzana added.
Chile has sent soldiers to its borders to help control the entry of undocumented migrants and Congress has approved a law ordering the detention of migrants not carrying documentation.
According to the UN refugee agency, there are on average 150 to 200 migrants a day left stranded between the South American neighbors.