Message from the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile: Demonstrations in Southern Chile
The U.S. Embassy in Santiago, Chile recommends that U.S. citizens traveling in or planning travel to southern Chile read the following guidance closely. Travelers may encounter travel and transportation difficulties related to ongoing public demonstrations and strikes in the Magallanes (XII) Region. This area includes the popular summer tourist destinations of Punta Arenas, Puerto Natales, and Torres del Paine National Park. The protests are disrupting air and road travel to/from the area, and may negatively affect travel plans. The U.S. Embassy in Santiago recommends that if you have planned travel to the area that you check with your tour operator, hotel, airline, and/or the U.S. Embassy and that you inform yourself of possible risk and inconvenience. Those deciding to travel to the area should avoid large gatherings or increased police presence.
Since Tuesday, January 11, several thousand people have been protesting the national government?s decision to eliminate natural gas subsidies. These protests have resulted in road closures, the closure of many businesses, delays at airports, suspended transportation services, and difficulty traveling into and out of cities to visit major tourist destinations, including Torres del Paine National Park. CONAF, Chile?s national park service, recommended on January 13 that tourists delay traveling into Torres del Paine. Roads from Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas to Argentina have also been blocked. An unknown number of tourists, including Americans, are unable to make planned flights or travel freely due to strikes and roadblocks. At a minimum, delays to travel plans should be anticipated. Two Chileans died in an apparent accident at a roadblock, and police have arrested over 40 protestors. It is unclear when the situation will return to normal; protest leaders are currently negotiating with local and central authorities.
Even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable. Avoid them if possible. Be alert and aware of your surroundings, pay attention to what the local news media has to say, and follow all official instructions. Contact airports, tourist agencies, and hotels in advance of your travel. Secure your travel documents at all times in a safe location. You should also contact friends and family in the United States with updates on your whereabouts and, when necessary, changes in your itinerary.
You can stay in touch and get Embassy updates by checking the U.S. Embassy, Santiago website, found here http://chile.usembassy.gov . You can also get global updates at the U.S. Department of State’s travel website www.travel.state.gov where you can find the current Worldwide Caution, Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts, and Country Specific Information. The U.S. Embassy encourages U.S. citizens to review valuable security information in “A Safe Trip Abroad,” found at http://travel.state.gov/travel/tips/safety/safety_1747.html. In addition to information on the Internet, travelers may obtain up-to-date information on security conditions by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the U.S. and Canada, or outside the U.S. and Canada on a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444.
To assist you in an emergency, we advise U.S. citizens to register their presence through the U.S. Department of State’s automated online registration system, https://travelregistration.state.gov. U.S. citizens may also contact the Consular Section at the U.S. Embassy via e-mail at SantiagoAmcit@state.gov or by calling (56)(2) 330-3000 (including for after hours emergencies). The U.S. Embassy is located at Av. Andres Bello 2800, Santiago, Chile.