Safety and Security
Demonstrations occur frequently. Although most are peaceful and have pre-approved routes, they sometimes become violent or change course with little warning. Demonstrations are common on March 29, the Day of the Young Combatant, and September 11, the anniversary of the 1973 coup against the government of President Salvador Allende. Even demonstrations that are meant to be peaceful can become violent and unpredictable. Avoid them if possible. Be alert and aware of your surroundings and pay attention to the local news media.
Protest and anarchist groups are known to place small explosive devices at ATMs and other Chilean government/business locations, which have thus far resulted in few injuries. Several incidents occurred this year involving the fabrication of homemade explosive devices set in the lobbies of national and international banks, and at cash dispensing machines, normally between the hours of 2400 and 0400. Most of these incidents were planned to cause damage to buildings and make a political statement while minimizing the possibility of injury or death, but some have occurred in high-traffic pedestrian areas. The devices are usually comprised of black powder placed inside a fire extinguisher. Be aware of your surroundings and report anything unusual to local police. U.S. citizens have not been targeted in these attacks.
Araucanía Conflict: The Mapuches, an indigenous group, make up a small percentage of the Chilean population and are concentrated in Araucanía and Santiago. Elements within some Mapuche communities are engaged in a conflict over land and indigenous rights in Chile. Violent individuals and activist groups seeking redress for grievances sometimes utilize protest tactics, including burning of structures and pastures, attacks on trucks and other equipment, and death threats. There have been several attacks, allegedly perpetrated by Mapuche members, in the region of Araucanía (Region IX, in south-central Chile) since 2012 which have resulted in deaths. Other attacks on property have taken place in the same area. These attacks have targeted multinational forestry corporations and private Chilean landowners, rather than U.S. citizens or other foreigners. Nevertheless, U.S. citizens are advised to exercise caution when traveling in the Araucanía region.
Visitors to Easter Island may occasionally encounter non-violent demonstrations. Such demonstrations have caused minor disruption at the airport and closure of some government facilities. Demonstrations may result in minor inconveniences and occasional delays.