The Governor of Tierra del Fuego announced on Radio 10 that they are awaiting the results of the meetings taking place in Chile to resolve the conflict in Punta Arenas which is affecting Argentine tourists.
“Right now there are 100 stranded cars, but there were several people that had to wait more than 48 hours to cross the border” she pointed out. The Foreign Ministry expressed its concern to the Chilean government.
After the conflict in the city of Punta Arenas kept the island of Tierra del Fuego cut off from its neighboring country since Thursday, the Argentine Foreign Ministry informed that negotiations between the Embassy in Santiago and the General Consulate in Punta Arenas were open.
As a result, around 250 Argentine citizens were evacuated yesterday by land and another 113 in two Air Force planes provided by the national government.
Headed and coordinated by Marcelo Balbi, Associate Counselor in Punta Arenas, the land evacuation began yesterday morning using 47 vehicles in which the 250 people were transported.
In the afternoon the air evacuation started using an F-28 plane provided by the Air Force that departed from El Palomar airbase to Rio Gallegos and then to Punta Arenas, where it picked up 47 passengers and took them to the Santa Cruz capital.
Another aircraft, a SAAB-340, took off from Comodoro Rivadavia and after a brief stop in Rio Gallegos arrived in Punta Arenas to pick up 34 Argentine citizens and transported the to the cities of Ushuaia and Rio Grande.
The Argentine Consulate in the city of Punta Arenas provided assistance to the affected citizens providing food, lodging, and medical assistance.
In this context, the Argentine Foreign Ministry opened communications with its Chilean counterpart in order to express concern over the situation in the affected area and to ask for access to Tierra del Fuego be reestablished, putting emphasis on the importance of unblocking the only land route between the island and the mainland for the circulation of people, trucks, and merchandize.
The inhabitants of the Magallanes region began an indefinite strike last Wednesday to protest against the government’s 16.8% increase in the price of gas in an area where this product is of the utmost importance due to the year-round low temperatures.