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Unborn baby dies while Venezuelan mother awaits entry to Chile

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By Dave Sherwood

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chilean officials said on Saturday that the unborn baby of a Venezuelan migrant had died while the woman waited for the appropriate visa to cross the border from Peru into Chile.

Peru last month clamped down on immigration, requiring migrants have passports and visas in order to stay in the country. The new rules have pushed some migrants south to Chile.

Chile´s foreign ministry said in a statement it regretted the death of the unborn baby, but said “it was not possible to lend medical assistance to foreign citizens in a neighbouring country.”

Venezuela’s economic collapse has unleashed the biggest migratory crisis in recent South American history. Chile, one of Latin America´s strongest and most stable economies, has become a magnet for Venezuelans seeking a new home.

Immigration into Chile has increased sixfold in less than 30 years, from 114,500 in the 1992 census, to 746,465 last year. The majority of migrants recently have come from Haiti and Venezuela.

Chile´s foreign ministry said it had beefed up staff at its consulate in Tacna, Peru, to handle the influx. The consulate has issued more than a thousand visas for Venezuelans seeking entry into the country in the past three weeks, the ministry said.

(Reporting by Dave Sherwood; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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