A group of Haitian asylum seekers have been stranded for weeks at the Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport in Santiago de Chile, waiting for Chilean authorities to allow them into the country, according to the Spanish-language news outlet Ambito.
The group of 23 Haitians intend to request refugee status. However, Chilean authorities consider them to be tourists and have asked for their visas. Haiti’s consulate in Santiago does not appear to be handling this type of request, according to Rodolfo Noriega, president of the Committee of Peruvian Refugees in Chile.
It is unclear if the Haitian group was coming from Haiti directly or other countries nor for how many weeks the asylum seekers have been at the airport.
Through a video posted on Twitter Jan. 23, one of the Haitian asylum seekers at the airport asks the Chilean government to allow them. Holding a handwritten sign that says “Seeking Refuge,” the man made his plea in Spanish to the authorities.
“Our country is going through difficult times,” said the speaker, who is not identified in the video. “That’s why we come here, to ask for refuge.”
Similarly in December 2021, a Haitian woman and her child were stranded at El Dorado airport in Bogotá, Colombia for eight days, according to Semana, an online news Colombian publication. The pair were flying to Chile from Mexico, but during their layover in Bogotá, Chilean authorities refused entry to them. The Haitian ambassador in Colombia intervened and the Chilean government then authorized their entry.