LA PAZ – A score of representatives of the international heavy transport sector in Bolivia protested Tuesday in front of the Chilean Consulate in La Paz about the “humiliating treatment” they are subjected to in the port of Arica in that country.
The head of the Heavy Transport Chamber in the city of El Alto, Gustavo Rivadeneira, told EFE that Arica’s mayor locked down the garages where they used to park their vehicles, which causes “insecurity” because the drivers have to leave their trucks in the street and run the risk of robbery.
Rivadeneira also said that Chile doesn’t allow vehicles to be parked in the street, and whoever does can get fined by the carabineros, Chile’s militarized police.
“The human condition of our drivers in Chile is also being violated because they have no hygienic or sanitary services available for their needs,” the leader said.
After around an hour of protesting, a delegation of Bolivian transport directors met with Chilean Consul General Milenko Skoknic, who said he would communicate their complaints to the authorities of his country.
“He was very diplomatic...but he listened to us without making any commitment, which we were pretty sure we weren’t going to get anyway,” Rivadeneira said after the meeting with the Chilean official.
Bolivian lawmaker Lucio Gomez of the ruling MAS party, who was also at the meeting, told the demonstrators that they have the backing of the legislature and that President Evo Morales is being kept up to date about the problems in Arica.
“We’re going to travel with all of you (to Arica) and make them respect Bolivians’ rights,” Gomez said.