+   *    +     +     
About Us 
The Issues 
Our Research Products 
Order Publications 
Press Room 
Resources for Monitor Researchers 
Table of Contents
Country Reports
CHILE, Landmine Monitor Report 2001
Table of Contents
<Previous | Next>


Key developments since May 2000: In May 2001 the Chilean Senate passed ratification legislation. As of July 2001, the President had not signed the legislation into law. The Army has approximately 25,000 antipersonnel mines stockpiled. The Navy destroyed 2,000 M16 mines on 6 November 2000. There are no reports of significant mine clearance operations. Landmine Monitor fieldwork has produced new information on mined areas.

Mine Ban Policy

Chile signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997. On 3 May 2001, during the forty-first extraordinary session, the Chilean Senate passed legislation, Bulletin 2209-10, approving ratification of the Mine Ban Treaty.[190] As of July 2001, President Ricardo Lagos had not yet signed the legislation into law, after which the instrument of ratification can be deposited with the United Nations.

Concerns over implementation costs related to mine clearance are believed to be one reason for the long delay in ratification. During the May 2001 session the Senate also agreed to request a report from its National Defense Commission on future implementation of the treaty, including technical and financial aspects.[191]

In December 2000, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, María Soledad Alvear Valenzuela, noted the government’s positive steps such as limited stockpile destruction and small mine clearance operations, but added, “Despite these clear demonstrations of will, it is vital and urgent that we conclude the ratification process, not only because three years have passed since we signed, or more than a year and a half since it entered into effect, but because of our country’s commitment to the principles and values sustained in the treaty.”[192] Alvear said it was unnecessary to assess the total cost of mine clearance prior to ratification, but rather the country should begin the process in accordance with its own resources and priorities.

Chile attended the Second Meeting of States Parties in September 2000, as an observer. Chile did not participate in intersessional Standing Committee meetings in December 2000, but a representative from its Permanent Mission in Geneva attended the May 2001 meetings.

Chile attended the Fourth Defense Ministerial Conference of the Americas in Manaus, Brazil from 16 to 21 October 2000. The “Declaration of Manaus” issued at the Conference included under point 11, a call for “greater participation in effective implementation of the Ottawa Convention on the prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production, and transfer of antipersonnel landmines and on their destruction.”[193]

Chile participated in a Regional Seminar on Stockpile Destruction in the Americas in Buenos Aires in November 2000. The Chilean representative, Navy Captain Cristian Rudloff Álvarez, announced destruction of a Navy stockpile of 2,000 M16 mines on 6 November 2000.[194] It is not known whether Chile will meet the “Managua Challenge” issued at the meeting in Buenos Aires, which includes challenges to complete ratification and stockpile destruction by the time of the Third Meeting of States Parties in Managua in September 2001.[195]

Also in November 2000, Chile voted in favor of UN General Assembly Resolution 55/33V, supporting the Mine Ban Treaty.

Chile is not a State Party to the Convention on Conventional Weapons (CCW), but in December 2000 it attended the Second Annual Conference of States Parties to CCW Amended Protocol II (Landmines) as an observer.

Production, Transfer and Use

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Chile has not produced or exported antipersonnel mines since 1985.[196] Chile has produced at least six different types of antipersonnel mines in the past.[197] Both the Army’s Fabricaciones Militares (FAMAE) and Industrias Cardoen, a private company, manufactured the mines.[198] In 1975 Chile imported 300,000 M14 antipersonnel mines from the United States.[199]

On 26 April 1999, Chile declared an official moratorium on the production, export and use of new antipersonnel mines.[200] The Undersecretary of War at the Ministry of Defense, Gabriel Gaspar, who chairs the National Commission that oversees and authorizes arms exports, told Landmine Monitor that Chile has two types of export prohibitions relevant to mines: a complete prohibition on the export of inhumane weapons such as landmines, cluster bombs and chemical weapons, and a prohibition on arms exports to certain countries.[201]

Stockpiling and Destruction

In December 2000, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told Landmine Monitor that the Chilean Army has 25,000 antipersonnel mines stockpiled and the estimated cost to destroy these mines is $750,000.[202] This is similar to figures provided in February 2000 to ICBL by Chile’s Ambassador to the United States of 22,000 antipersonnel mines stockpiled with an estimated cost of destruction of $850,000.[203] The stockpile numbers are surprisingly low given that Chile produced and imported numerous antipersonnel mines, while the destruction costs are extremely high. The War Undersecretary of the Ministry of Defense, Gabriel Gaspar, told Landmine Monitor that information on the quantity, location and types of antipersonnel stockpiled is not available to the public because it is related to national security.[204]

No destruction plan has been announced and the government body responsible for coordinating stockpile destruction it is not known. General Ricardo Gutiérrez, who replaced Admiral Couyoumdjian as Chief of Staff of National Defense (the coordinating body for the Army, Navy and Air Force) in December 2000, declined to provide Landmine Monitor with an update on the stockpile destruction plan.[205]

On 6 November 2000, the Navy destroyed 2,000 M16 antipersonnel mines in Puerto Aldea in Region IV, at a cost of $50,000.[206] A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told Landmine Monitor that the destruction was intended to demonstrate Chile’s full commitment to the eradication of this weapon.[207] It is not known if the Chilean Navy has more antipersonnel mines stockpiled. One source informed Landmine Monitor that the Navy’s mine stockpile had been completely eliminated.[208]

Landmine Problem

The reported number of landmines laid in Chile varies considerably from one million to 250,000 depending on the source.[209] The Chilean Army reportedly has 293 minefields, located in Regions I and II in the north of the country, and in Region XII in the south, potentially affecting 17 municipalities.[210] Of the 17 mine-affected municipalities, three are major urban centers (Arica, Calama and Antofagasta). According to one media report, the majority of mines laid along Chile’s borders are M14 antipersonnel mines and M15 antivehicle mines, both manufactured by the United States.[211]

The Andean mountain range straddles the mine-affected border regions between Chile and Bolivia, between Chile and Argentina and approximately half of the border between Chile and Perú. Mines were planted at altitudes of 3,000 to 4,000 meters above sea level and even higher in some cases. During the summer months (December to March) an intense precipitation in the Andean mountain region in the north, known as the Invierno Boliviano (Bolivian winter), produces either rainfall or snow that moves the mines from their original locations to lower altitudes.

In May 2001 the Bolivian Ministry of Defense provided detailed information to Landmine Monitor on the border minefields, which are all in Chilean territory.[212] (See Bolivia country report for locations and descriptions of the minefields in Chile). According to Bolivia, there are fifteen known minefields along the border with Chile in Regions I and II, thirteen of which cover an area of 3,158,100 square meters while the two other are suspected minefields. In seven of the fifteen minefields, Bolivian reports there are 196,767 antipersonnel and antivehicle mines.[213]

In February 2001 the Landmine Monitor researcher for Chile visited mine-affected areas in Regions I and II of northern Chile.

Region I

Mamiña: 100 kilometers east of Iquique and 60 kilometers west of the Bolivian border. The area is known for its thermal baths and attracts hundreds of tourists annually. Most of the local residents are indigenous peasants who graze cattle. In 1996, a 10-year-old Mamiña resident lost part of his right hand when he picked up a “shiny object in the middle of a public road” outside Mamiña.[214] The mine had apparently been carried from a minefield by a small river running alongside the road. The survivor’s father’s cousin had died a few years earlier after stepping on a landmine in the same area.

Putre: 140 kilometers east of Arica, 80 kilometers from the Peruvian border and 50 kilometers from the Bolivian border. Putre is a small town at a high altitude in the Chilean altiplano (Andean plateau) and has a mostly indigenous population. The police in Putre acknowledge landmines are a problem for the community. The last incident occurred in 1999, when a military conscript was fixing fencing around a minefield and stepped on a landmine, losing his foot.[215]

Lago Chungará: 50 kilometers east of Putre. There are marked and fenced-off minefields along the Bolivian border in Chungará Lake, within the Lauca National Park. The Army has partially demined the area recently and while it was not possible to determine how many mines were removed, evidence remained that the mines were detonated in the ground, leaving depressions. The fencing of at least one of the Chungará Lake minefields was in poor condition, making it easy for animals or humans to enter and the Landmine Monitor researcher saw the carcass of a donkey in the minefield, beyond the fence.[216]

Region II

San Pedro de Atacama: 80 kilometers east of Calama, the third largest city in Region II, and one of Chile’s biggest tourist destinations. A number of minefields are unmarked and unexploded ordnance (UXO) also poses a threat. There is one minefield eleven kilometers east of San Pedro de Atacama, marked with a “danger explosives, do not travel” sign. The San Pedro police said the dry riverbed is full of mines that have been displaced by the rains and also told Landmine Monitor that a truck belonging to a company installing a gas pipeline hit a UXO in this area, but no one was injured.[217]

The general manager of a high-end hotel in San Pedro de Atacama told Landmine Monitor that when the hotel project was being designed he met with military personnel who told him all landmines are located in border areas where they are all contained in marked minefields.[218] When Landmine Monitor visited the area, however, local police pointed out several areas that were mined or had UXO, some very close to the San Pedro tourist circuit.[219] Dr. Enrique Larenas, whose son was injured by UXO, told Landmine Monitor that tourists visiting San Pedro de Atacama, “walk around, ride bikes [and] sometimes they go off the main roads and into open fields, where there is a danger coming across abandoned explosives, usually buried, that could explode if stepped on.”[220]

In January 2001 tourists in the vicinity of San Pedro de Atacama came across an antipersonnel mine on the way to El Tatio and notified local authorities.[221] The police and mine clearance personnel from the “Calama” regiment were mobilized and while they did not locate any mines, they requested local people and tourists to report any sightings of “these bombs, which are buried in the Andean areas of the region.”

Landmine Monitor visited an unmarked military training field a few kilometers outside Calama, which was littered with rocket launchers, missile casings and other pieces of used artillery that could still contain explosive powder.[222] A road leading through the training field begins at the Loa river, a popular picnic and swimming site for Calama families on weekends.

Valle de la Luna (Valley of the Moon), the most popular tourist attraction in the San Pedro de Atacama area with an average of 100 visitors each day. There are no markings to indicate the presence of explosives.[223] A Chilean tourist was injured by a UXO right outside the Valle de la Luna in 1994.

Also in 1994 José Miguel Larenas, the son of Dr. Larenas, drove his truck over a UXO that exploded three to four meters from the road at the entrance to the Valle de la Luna and 50 meters from a “Nature Sanctuary” sign. A private explosives company investigated the area where the incident occurred and found a number of UXO. Details of the investigation have formed part of a court case currently in process (Dr. Larenas is suing the state for damages) and therefore cannot be made public at the present time.[224]

In 1999, Gustavo Soto was working for an Australian-owned copper mine, Escondida, in Region II when he picked up an unidentified object that exploded and lost both hands, his right eye and suffered hearing loss and severe burns.[225] The incident occurred near Socompa, an outpost close to the Argentine border and less than 50 kilometers north of Llullaillaco National Park, on a road used by trucks and personnel from the copper mine who live at the base camps.[226]

Region XII

Landmine Monitor did not visit Region XII but it is believed that the Navy planted an unspecified number of landmines in a number of islands in southern Chile, near Cape Horn and Tierra del Fuego.[227] A Navy spokesman said that mine clearance in southern Chile would facilitate development of the tourist industry, suggesting that minefields are located in national parkland or other areas with potential for tourism development.[228]

The population in mine-affected rural municipalities in Regions I and II in the north of the country are for the most part indigenous peoples who subsist from farming, animal ranching, folk art sales, and trading. The inhabitants of mine-affected municipalities in the south conduct similar activities. In both the northern and southern mine-affected areas, some of the mine-affected lands could be used for farming, animal grazing or tourism.[229]

People from Bolivia and Perú trafficking in drugs and contraband goods often enter Chile illegally through the mine-affected borders, and landmine incidents may not always be reported. The War Undersecretary told Landmine Monitor, “we have detected that in some northern zones, in the minefields, drug traffickers have cleared small paths for themselves.”[230]

Various government officials and private groups that promote tourism in the country have commented on the mine problem and unsafe travel conditions in tourist and potential tourist areas. The acting mayor of Calama, José Albarricín, told Landmine Monitor:

We have beautiful areas, part of the heritage of Atacama indigenous cultures that could be used for tourism. However, tourism development in these areas is severely limited since we ourselves are afraid to visit because of the minefields. ... The presence of minefields means that tourism companies are not going to want to bring people to these areas. The farmers are even afraid of going [there], and good grazing land is lost, Andean communities cannot collect firewood from border areas. There may even be mining projects that cannot be carried out because of the mines. So it is clear that minefields negatively affect the region’s economy.[231]

The mayor also said that wildlife typical of the region around Calama has been found dead from landmine blasts, including wild donkeys, vicuñas, llamas and vizcachas.[232]

Chile’s National Forestry Corporation (CONAF) has confirmed that there are minefields in six state-protected wilderness areas, including Lauca National Park, Las Vicunas Nature Reserve, National Monument Salar de Surire, Llullaillaco National Park, Los Flamencos Nature Reserve, and Cabo de Hornos. CONAF told Landmine Monitor that the mines are in remote areas not accessible to the public, and are marked in a discreet way. No visitor or park ranger has been hurt by a landmine.[233] In 1999, over 60,000 tourists visited these parks.

According to a retired Army officer who participated in mine laying in Region II, the Chilean Army maintains a “registry of every single mine it has laid.”[234] A journalist specializing in military affairs told Landmine Monitor that the Army Engineering Corps had told him they have records of where mines were laid, but only a rough idea of where the mines are because “the maps are notoriously imprecise.”[235] In March 2001 Senator Sergio Bitar (Region I) provided Landmine Monitor with several maps, including one dated 1976, which had a note stating that the minefield was 450 meters wide and contained 807 M14 AP mines and 1,035 M15 AV mines.[236] Dr. Larenas told Landmine Monitor, “the military’s maps are so old that some of them have even been lost” and “since the mines were laid 22 to 24 years ago, it is very unlikely that they are still in the same places indicated in the military’s maps.”[237]

Admiral Patricio Arancibia stated on national television that minefields belonging to the Navy are marked and guarded by service personnel to prevent civilian entry and that there is no chance of mines being washed away by floods.[238] According to a retired Army officer, the Chilean Army has made a concerted effort to improve markings and fencing around minefields, including cementing metal posts so that the fencing would not blow away.[239] The officer added that the real risk is that “99 percent of the mines laid in this region have shifted due to rains and erosion, especially the lighter plastic mines. Some of them could have been carried as far as ten kilometers from the original site where they were laid.”[240] The municipality of San Pedro decided not to allow the retired Army officer to talk with tourism companies about the mine risk because it could generate too much alarm. The officer said,

If the real situation regarding mines and abandoned UXO were made public, it would produce so much alarm that nobody would go to San Pedro. The municipality has done almost nothing to protect the town’s inhabitants and its visitors. The townspeople are generally able to recognize a mine, but those that can’t are at risk of hurting themselves.

For now, the tourism companies know about the situation and are instructed to keep to the main roads.[241]

The countries with borders on the mine-affected areas, Argentina, Bolivia and Perú, have all called on Chile to address its mine problem.

Mine Action Funding and Coordination

In December 2000 a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told Landmine Monitor that the estimated cost to clear mines laid by the Army is $135 million and $50 million for mines laid by the Navy. The official said the combined cost of stockpile destruction and mine clearance was estimated at between $250 and $300 million.[242] In November 1999 the Army unveiled plans for an eleven-year mine clearance program along the borders at an estimated cost of $250 million.[243]

The Chilean government has not budgeted any funds in 2001 for mine clearance and according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official if the national demining agency and national mine clearance plan were ready in 2001, they could only be considered for the 2003 budget, since the Chilean budget is determined one year in advance.[244]

In November 2000, a group of senators from the governing center-left party, Concertación, called on the government to guarantee the funds necessary to initiate mine clearance. During hearings on the 2001 budget, Senator Sergio Bitar, who represents mine-affected Region I in northern Chile, tried unsuccessfully to persuade the government to allocate a symbolic sum of money to initiate demining.[245]

On 27 January 2001, members of the Commissions of International Relations of the House of Deputies of Bolivia and Chile issued a joint declaration on mine clearance and other bilateral issues at a meeting in Cochambamba, Bolivia.[246] The declaration reportedly stated that “it is resolved that the respective governments be informed of our willingness to find and count on the necessary resources in order to clear, as soon as possible, the landmines laid on the border.”[247] The delegates decided to hold regular meetings to discuss the demining issue and a follow-up meeting was planned in Valparaíso.

A Navy source told Landmine Monitor that in March 2001 the Chilean Navy planned to announce a comprehensive mine clearance plan, that would take four to five years to complete.[248] In April 2001, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs official said that a national demining agency was being planned and information was sought on the experiences of other countries and international organizations in this respect.[249]

Mine Clearance

In April 2001 a small area of land near the Perú border was demined by Chilean Army engineers.[250] This came in the wake of tensions between the two countries, after Chilean Navy Marines established an observation tower close to the border at Aconcordia, on the coast north of Arica. Perú accused Chile of placing the tower on Peruvian territory.[251] The Chilean Navy withdrew the Marines from the tower after a few days. The Chilean Minister of Defense, Mario Fernández, later stated at a press conference that the observation tower had been set up to monitor an area where there had been displacement of landmines planted in the 1970s due to the Invierno Altiplánico (highland winter).[252]

Other than this activity, Landmine Monitor did not obtain official information or any reports on any Chilean mine clearance operations in 2000 or 2001.

Previously, a mine clearance operation took place in December 1999 in Region I where it was reported that deminers from the “Azapa” 6th Engineers Regiment had cleared an area of 13,500 square meters in Portezuelo de Tambo Quemado near the Bolivian border, destroying 250 M-14 antipersonnel mines and 27 M-15 antivehicle mines found 15 to 150 meters from the international highway linking Arica with La Paz.[253] At the time, the Chilean Army estimated it would take approximately three months to demine the area but no further clearance was reported or observed in 2000.[254]

In May 2001 the Chilean Army reportedly purchased two vehicles specially designed for mine removal from a Dutch company, Rotterdamsche Droogdok Maatschappij B.V. (RDM), made from refurbished Leopard 1 tanks used by the Dutch Royal Army.[255] The Chilean Army reportedly states that this was the first in a series of purchases that will be made in order to fulfill the Mine Ban Treaty obligations.

Chile assists mine clearance programs in other countries. On 4 December 2000 Chile and Ecuador signed an agreement for the Chilean Army to assist with its mine clearance program along the border with Perú.[256] In July 2001, the Engineering Command of the Army said, “Three members of the Engineering Arm of the Chilean Army will travel to Ecuador for a period of four months to assist in the Humanitarian Demining Project on the border between Ecuador and Perú.”[257]

Mine Awareness

There are no official government or NGO mine awareness programs in Chile. The War Undersecretary of the Defense Ministry told Landmine Monitor there was no need for a public awareness campaign because the minefields are properly marked with warning signs. He said, “The thing is, if someone is looking for high risk, he is going to find it. We can’t prevent that.”[258]

Legislators from mine-affected areas have tried to raise awareness about the landmine problem on several occasions but there is no sustained, concerted campaign to raise awareness. On 8 November 2001, a Deputy in the National Legislature, Guido Girardi, called for a publicity campaign to warn tourists and others in the mine-affected areas.[259] One unregistered organization, Andes Sur Action Team, seeks to bring attention to the landmine problem in Chile and to the need for victim assistance; it reports it has obtained support from UNICEF.[260] CODEPU, a human rights NGO, has assigned a lawyer to represent landmine survivor Gustavo Soto in his suit against the government.

Landmine Casualties

The most recent known victim to Chilean minefields occurred on 7 April 2001. A 23-year-old Peruvian youth was trying to enter Chile illegally to look for work with two friends when he stepped on a landmine.[261] The incident reportedly occurred in the Escritos ravine, six kilometres east of border marker No.5, and four kilometres from the observation tower briefly set up by Chilean Navy Marines close to the border earlier in the month. Chilean police took the victim to the Juan Noé Hospital in Arica where his right leg was amputated. His two companions who were knocked unconscious during the incident were turned over to police to be sent back to Perú.

No other mine casualties were reported in 2000 or 2001. Landmine Monitor Report 2000 reported one mine death in September 1999, one mine injury in November 1999 and another mine injury in May 2000.[262] Between 1976 and 1999 twenty-six civilians were reportedly injured and seven killed by landmines, and in the same period fifty Chilean military personnel were reported injured and five killed.[263]

Survivor Assistance

Military personnel injured by mines and UXO receive care in military hospitals. There are no specific services available from the national health service, private health institutions or NGOs for civilian landmine victims in Chile.[264] The Fondo Nacional de Discapacitados [National Fund for the Disabled] provides social assistance for the disabled.

In February 2001, Landmine Monitor interviewed three UXO survivors in Calama who each said they have been using the same prostheses for the past 17 years. They did not know of any institutions that could help them.[265] The municipality had previously offered to pay half of the cost of new prostheses, but the survivors said there was no way they could afford the other half given the that the total cost for one prosthesis was approximately $4,000. One survivor told Landmine Monitor, “I’m going through bad moments right now. My prosthesis is broken. My upper leg got thinner and the prosthesis is now too big for me. I had to fill it in with PVC. I can hardly even walk anymore because if I take a step it comes off and I fall, so I have to move around in a wheelchair.”[266] These three UXO survivors said they have requested the help of local politicians but to no avail. They survive on monthly unemployment pensions of $64 each.

<Previous | Next>

[190] “Senado ratificó acuerdo para destruir minas antipersonales,” EFE (Santiago), 3 May 2001; “Chile ratifies treaty to ban landmines,” Reuters (Santiago), 4 May 2001.
[191] “Session 41 extraordinaria, en Jueves 3 de mayo de 2001...Convencion Sobre Prohibicion de Empleo y Produccion de Minas Antipersonales,” Senate Information Office, Valparaiso, 4 May 2001. See also, www.senado.cl/sesiones/pags/diar/.
[192] Foreign Minister Soledad Alvear, “A tres años de la convención de Ottawa,” El Mercurio (Santiago), 4 December 2000.
[193] Declaration of Manaus, IV Defense Ministerial Conference of the Americas, Manaus, Brazil, 16-21 October 2000. See www.defesa.gov.br.
[194] Notes taken by Landmine Monitor researcher at the Regional Seminar on Stockpile Destruction in the Americas, Buenos Aires, 6 November 2000.
[195] See OAS, “Informe del Secretario General sobre la implementación de las Resoluciones 1745 (apoyo a la acción contra las minas en Ecuador y Perú) y 1751 (apoyo a la acción contra las minas en Centroamérica),” CP/doc.3422/01 rev.1, 7 May 2001.
[196] Response by the Chilean Foreign Ministry to Landmine Monitor 1999 provided by the Chilean Ambassador to Uruguay, Augusto Bermúdez Arancibia, 2 February 1999.
[197] See Landmine Monitor Report 1999, p. 290 for details and types.
[198] Jane’s Mines and Mine Clearance, on-line update, 19 November 1999.
[199] US Army Armament, Munitions, and Chemical Command (USAMCCOM), letter to Human Rights Watch, 25 August 1993, and attached statistical tables.
[200] Letter from María Soledad Alvear Valenzuela, Minister of Foreign Affairs to Jean-Benoît Burrion, Director General, Handicap International (Belgium), dated 31 August 2000; Gobierno de Chile, Declaración Oficial, “Moratoria Unilateral en la Producción, Exportación, Importación, e Instalación de Nuevas Minas Terrestres Antipersonal,” Santiago, 26 April 1999.
[201] Interview with Gabriel Gaspar, War Undersecretary, Ministry of Defense, Santiago, 15 January 2001.
[202] Interview with Verónica Chain, Director, Special Policy Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Santiago, 1 December 2000.
[203] ICBL (Jody Williams and Liz Bernstein) meeting with Ambassador Mario Artaza, Embassy of Chile to the US, Washington, DC, 7 February 2000. See also follow-up letter from Williams to Artaza, dated 8 February 2000.
[204] Interview with Gabriel Gaspar, Ministry of Defense, 15 January 2001.
[205] A spokesperson for Gutiérrez told Landmine Monitor that the General was not available to make any public comments on landmines.
[206] Interview with Captain Cristián Rudloff Alvarez, Chilean Navy, Buenos Aires, 7 November 2000; Interview with Verónica Chain, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 December 2000.
[207] Interview with Gabriel Gaspar, Ministry of Defense, 15 January 2001.
[208] The Navy official wished to remain anonymous.
[209] For example, in September 1997 a Ministry of Defense official said Chile had planted nearly one million mines on its borders with Argentina, Bolivia, and Perú. Interview published by La Tercera, Santiago, 8 September 1997, and reproduced in Clarín (Buenos Aires), 8 December 1997. Estimates in 1998 ranged between 500,000 and one million landmines. Agence France Presse (Arica), 18 July 1998; Agence France Presse (Antofagasta), 21 June 1998. In November 1999, a military official said there were 300,000 mines in border regions. “Chile retirará a la brevedad minas antipersonales de frontera con Argentina, Bolivia y Perú,” Associated Press (La Paz), 18 November 1999. In December 1999 a policy analyst at the Ministry of Defense stated there were at least 500,000 landmines along the border with Argentina. José Higuera, “Desminado fronterizo: La atrevida promesa de Izurieta,” El Metropolitano (Santiago), 20 December 1999. In November 2000 a Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs official told Landmine Monitor that there were 500,000 mines along the border between Chile and Bolivia. Interview with Barbara Cañedo, Director of Multilateral Affairs, Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Buenos Aires, 6 November 2000. In December 2000 a Foreign Affairs Ministry official said the Chilean Army had a total of 250,000 mines planted in border areas with the three neighboring countries but it is not clear whether the figure of 250,000 mines includes both Army and Navy mines or only those belonging to the Army. Interview with Veronica Chain, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 December 2000.
[210] “Financiamiento detiene desminado,” La Estrella de Arica (Arica), 10 April 2001; Telephone interview with Elir Rojas, Andes Sur Action Team, 3 May 2001.
[211] “Senado ratificó acuerdo para destruir minas antipersonales,” EFE (Santiago), 3 May 2001.
[212] Bolivian Ministry of Defense Response to Landmine Monitor, faxed by Ambassador Jorge Soruco Villanueva, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, 22 March 2001.
[213] This includes 16,716 antipersonnel mines, 153,396 blast mines (“explosives”), 15,267 bounding mines (“saltadoras”) and 11,388 antivehicle mines. Bolivian Ministry of Defense Response to Landmine Monitor, faxed by Ambassador Jorge Soruco Villanueva, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, 22 March 2001.
[214] Interview with Elias Moscoso Challapa, landmine survivor now aged 15 years, Mamiña, 6 February 2001.
[215] Interview with Francisco Castro, Acting Captain of the Second Precinct of Putre, Putre, 8 February 2001.
[216] Landmine Monitor field visit to Lago Chungará accompanied by the National Police, 8 February 2001.
[217] Interview with Capitán Fredy Muñoz Olivares, Captain of the sub-precinct of San Pedro de Atacama, San Pedro de Atacama, 10 February 2001.
[218] Telephone interview with Felipe Cruz, General Manager, Hotel Explora in San Pedro de Atacama, 27 February 2001.
[219] Field visit to by Landmine Monitor researcher Dana Holahan, 4-11 February 2001.
[220] Interview with Dr. Enrique Larenas, Calama, 9 February 2001.
[221] “Alarma por supuesta bomba en El Tatio,” La Estrella de Loa (Loa), 12 January 2001.
[222] Field visit to unmarked military training field with Dr. Enrique Larenas, Calama, 10 February 2001.
[223] Field visit to Valle de la Luna accompanied by the National Police, 10 February 2001.
[224] Interview with José Miguel Larenas, Santiago, 16 January 2001.
[225] On the way to one of the copper mine base camps, high in the Andean mountains, Soto stopped by the roadside and picked up a green plastic object “the size of the face of a large watch” which he thought could be a lid for one of the water bottles commonly used in the region, where water is scarce. He placed the object on the dashboard of the pickup truck in which he was the front seat passenger. As the truck started to move, it slid and he put his hands down on it to prevent it from falling, when it exploded. Interview with Gustavo Soto, Santiago, 1 March 2001.
[226] Interview with Gustavo Soto, Santiago, 1 March 2001.
[227] Interview with Navy official, November 2000.
[228] Interview with Captain Cristián Álvarez, Chilean Navy, 6 November 2000.
[229] Observations made during field visit to northern Chile and previous trips to southern Chile.
[230] Interview with Gabriel Gaspar, Defense Ministry, 15 January 2001.
[231] Interview with José Albarracín, acting mayor of Calama, Calama, 9 February 2001.
[232] Ibid.
[233] Fax to Landmine Monitor researcher from Carlos Weber, Executive Director of CONAF, 27 July 2001. See also, “Urgencia Humanitaria,” El Diario Austral de Osorno, Osorno, 14 November 2000.
[234] Telephone interview with retired Army officer, 18 May 2001.
[235] Email to Landmine Monitor from journalist specializing in military affairs, 14 December 2000.
[236] Landmine Monitor has a copy of one of the several maps given to Senator Bitar.
[237] Interview with Dr. Enrique Larenas, Calama, 9 February 2001.
[238] “24 Horas,” Televisión Nacional (state television broadcast), 6 November 2000.
[239] Telephone interview with retired Army officer, 18 May 2001.
[240] Ibid.
[241] Ibid.
[242] Interview with Verónica Chain, Foreign Affairs Ministry, 1 December 2000.
[243] “11 Años tomará el retiro de minas,” El Mercurio (Santiago), 26 November 1999; “Financiamiento detiene desminado,” La Estrella de Arica (Arica), 10 April 2001.
[244] The fiscal year in Chile is the same as the calendar year (January to December). Email to Landmine Monitor from Ramón Hormazábal, Director, Department of Disarmament and International Security, Special Policy Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 17 May 2001.
[245] Interview with Sergio Bitar, Senator for Region I, Santiago, 22 March 2001. See also “Urgen a Entregar Recursos para Desminado,” El Mercurio (Santiago), 21 November 2000.
[246] “Chile y Bolivia levantarán de su frontera minas antipersonales,” El Tribuno (Salta) 28 January 2001.
[247] Ibid.
[248] Interview with Navy official, November 2000.
[249] Interview with Ramón Hormazábal, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 16 April 2001; Emails to Landmine Monitor from a consultant to the Department of Disarmament and International Security, Special Policy Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, April 2001.
[250] Telephone interview with Elir Rojas, Andes Sur Action Team, 24 July 2001.
[251] When the observation tower was established, then-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Peru, Javier Pérez de Cuellar, expressed “his preoccupation and disagreement to the Chilean government,” and there were demonstrations by Peruvian reservists and civilians at the site. “Cancillería comunica a Chile su extrañeza y preocupación,” El Comercio (Lima), 5 April 2001; “Armada retiró vigilancia,” La Estrella de Arica (Arica, Chile), 6 April 2001; Editorial, “Frontera con Chile,” La Industria de Trujillo (Trujillo, Perú), 11 April 2001;
[252] “Cancillería comunica a Chile su extrañeza y preocupación,” El Comercio (Lima), 5 April 2001; “Armada retiró vigilancia,” La Estrella de Arica (Arica, Chile), 6 April 2001; “Chilenos invaden territorio peruano,” La República (Lima), 3 April 2001; “Chile usurpa más de 24 mil metros cuadrados de territorio peruano. Gobierno chileno, en tanto, ordena retiro de tropa militar,” El Expreso (Lima), 6 April 2001.
[253] “Concluyó Primera Operación de Desminado,” El Mercurio (Santiago) 4 December 1999; “277 Landmines Destroyed,” MISNA (Tambo Quemado), Chile, 9 December 1999; Letter from María Soledad Alvear Valenzuela, Minister of Foreign Affairs to Jean-Benoît Burrion, Director General, Handicap International (Belgium), dated 31 August 2000.
[254] On the basis of army reconnaissance patrols, Bolivia reported that up until March 2001 no further demining activities were carried out on the Chilean side of the border. Bolivian Ambassador Jorge Soruco Villanueva, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, in response to Landmine Monitor questionnaire, received 22 March 2001.
[255] “Nuevo plan de acción para eliminar minas,” La Estrella de Arica (Arica), 21 May 2001.
[256] Interview with Verónica Chain, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 1 December 2000. During a Landmine Monitor visit to CENDESMI, Ecuador’s national demining agency in April 2001, the director of CENDESMI said a Chilean military delegation was visiting CENDESMI to learn from the Ecuadorian mine clearance experience and discuss bilateral cooperation. Landmine Monitor briefly met with the Chilean military officials. See also “Chile ayuda a retirar minas en frontera Perú-Ecuador” La Hora (Santiago), 13 December 2000; “Chile will help Ecuador remove landmines on border with Peru,” EFE (Quito), 4 December 2000.
[257] Public Relations Office of the Army Engineering Command, “Commission of the Chilean Army is sent to Ecuador to participate as consultants in the humanitarian demining project,” Santiago, 26 July 2001.
[258] Interview with Gabriel Gaspar, Ministry of Defense, 15 January 2001.
[259] “24 Horas,” Televisión Nacional (state television broadcast), 8 November 2000.
[260] Telephone interview with Elir Rojas, Andes Sur Action Team, 3 May 2001.
[261] “Cuando intentaba entrar ilegalmente a Chile. Peruano resultó herido por mina antipersonal,” La Tercera (Santiago), Chile, 9 April 2001; “Pierde pie derecho por ingresar en forma ilegal a Chile,” El Comercio (Lima), 10 April 2001; Editorial, “Frontera con Chile,” La Industria de Trujillo (Trujillo), 11 April 2001.
[262] See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 312.
[263] “Ejército confirma intención de retirar minas antipersonales,” La Hora (Santiago), 25 November 1999.
[264] See Landmine Monitor Report 2000, p. 312.
[265] Interviews with Luis Vergara, Francisco Vergara and Silverio Morales, Calama, 9 February 2001.
[266] Interview with Silverio Morales, Calama, 9 February 2001.