After weeks, white smoke finally came out for Chileans stranded in Southeast Asia. Today Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera announced that a Latam aircraft will be available to enable the return of the more connationals remaining in Thailand, Indonesia and India, and that they have not been able to return given the suspension of commercial flights resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
The measure that has already begun to be managed, has different steps, management and flights, explained the chancellor. The first thing, the minister detailed, «was to get the authorizations to be able to land in Singapore with a Latam plane that comes with medical supplies and that plane is going to be like the mother ship that is going to receive Chileans coming from other latitudes.»
«In parallel, we have instructed our consuls in both Thailand, Indonesia, and India to plan the return of Chileans to the capitals of these countries (Bangkok, Jakarta and New Delhi respectively), to bring them together, have them under our protection and move them,» he said.
As for the duration, the chancellor notes that «this first stage will last days», as they are very distant countries, with a lot of population and that «many of them are also quarantined and prohibited from circulation» by the health emergency.
At this stage, «ambassadors are responsible for searching for Chileans, providing them with authorizations and safe conduct, hiring vehicles and concentrating them in these capitals to keep them safe.»
The second stage, the chancellor continued, will begin with «a flight on 7 May in which these Chileans will take planes. One goes from Delhi to Bangkok and from Bangkok to Singapore on the 7th, taking the Chileans, while a second flight will be from Jakarta to Singapore on the same day.»
Finally «on May 8, around 4 a.m., the Latam plane – in Singapore – will take these Chileans and move them to Santiago de Chile,» the secretary of state said.
Access and funding
As for funding, the chancellor called on those who have their own means to move: «We wait and call on Chileans to seize this opportunity, but we believe it is fair that those with financial resources will partly help pay for their passages.»
«Therefore, we are asking those Chileans in India to possess resources to contribute $600 to the emergency fund that has been created by the Confederation of Production and Commerce for the purchase of medical supplies and other elements for the crisis,» he said.
On the other hand, «those who do not have money will have to make a public statement, saying they lack resources and in that case the CPC will subsidize or pay for that trip.»
«In this way we are gathering resources to make this for the benefit of The Chileans who are being victims of the pandemic, but we are also helping those who, lacking resources, want to return to Chile,» the minister said.
Ribera took the opportunity to thank «the officials of the Chancellery who have worked undeniably on this, Latam who facilitated an aircraft, and thank the entrepreneurs, grouped in the Confederation of Production and Trade (CPC) and Juan Sutil, because they have helped us with ideas, solidarity and financing».
Stranded in other countries
Ribera also mentioned those who are still unable to return and are outside Southeast Asia: «Chileans who want to travel from elsewhere, I ask you to contact the respective consulates, because we want them to participate as much as possible. We know that it is more difficult for some to move, but we are willing to make the greatest sacrifice so that these people obtain their safe conduct and can be transferred.»
«It’s a great operation, it’s the hardest to implement, because we’re talking about countries with different regulations,» he says.
He also warns: «However, there are many points that are still loose. The one that we want to bring all Chileans as we want to Delhi is a complex issue. But the will exists and we want the cooperation of others to also exist.»