Chile Tourism Board Issues New Protest Update

People clean the Gen. Manuel Baquedano monument in Plaza Italia, after it was vandalized amid days of demonstrations. // Photo by AP Photo/Esteban Felix via Newscred

SERNATUR, the national tourism board of Chile, has released a new update for travelers as protests continue in Santiago. 

According to SERNATUR’s latest statement, Santiago’s international airport is fully operational, most restaurants and stores are open and public transportation is partially running, although travelers should stay up to date by visiting the social networks and websites of each airline. Transfers and taxis to the airport are also operational, although those using the taxis should allow for longer travel times. Bus terminals throughout the country are still operating. 

Additionally, the state of emergency was lifted Sunday, October 27, SERNATUR said, meaning that all curfews have also been listed. 

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Regarding tourist attractions, the Metropolitan Park, Park Network and National Zoo are all closed. The National Library is also closed and will remain so until Saturday, November 2. The Cajón del Maipo destination is operating normally. 

Protests continued in Santiago this week after Chilean President Sebastian Pinera replaced his Cabinet, CNN reports. Pinera said that the change was to allow for open dialogue and justice to attempt to solve the country’s political crisis; however, further protests in the capital calling for the president’s resignation led to violent clashes with security forces. Thus far, at least 20 people have died due to the protests over the past week. 

Flight change waivers remain in place from a number of airlines:

American Airlines is allowing customers scheduled to travel through October 30 to rebook through November 3 between the same city pair in the original cabin (or pay the difference). 

Delta is allowing customers scheduled to travel through October 30 to rebook through November 3, with the new ticket to be reissued on or before that date. 

Last week the unrest had prompted the State Department to update its travel advisory for Chile. While the country’s overall advisory rating remains at Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution on the State Department’s four-tier travel advisory scale, travelers are advised to observe curfews, to monitor local media for updates and to avoid protests and demonstrations.

The protests began over a proposed transit fare hike that would have reportedly forced a family making minimum wage to use one-sixth of their income on transportation, and they have since grown into a larger clash over economic inequalities in the country that have grown since the end of the repressive Pinochet military dictatorship in 1990. 

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