Chile on the brink: ‘War zone’ says CEO as violence surges with two drivers kidnapped in two weeks

Editorial Staff

“This is the kind of situation you would expect in a war zone or a failed state, but it seems we might be heading in that direction in Chile,” says Camanchaca CEO.

Two trucks loaded with salmon from Chilean producer Salmones Camanchaca have been attacked and stolen on Route 5 Sur in the La Araucanía Region.

More than 30 tons of salmon were taken in these two separate but closely timed incidents, which took place just 15 days apart on 19 February and March 6, with the stolen cargo still missing to date.

In both cases the truck drivers were confronted by organized, armed criminals and were held captive for several hours.

Ricardo García Holtz, the general manager of Camanchaca, lamented the rise of organized crime in Chile.

Wild west

“Organized crime plagues Chile and its main land route, and moves freely to perpetrate its crimes. It seems incredible that the country’s main route has become the Chilean ‘wild west’ and that transporters must travel with bulletproof vests or ballistic helmets, and in caravans, as was done three hundred years ago in other countries,” said García Holtz.

“You would expect this kind of situation in war zones or failed states, but it seems we might be heading in that direction in Chile. If our own state can’t shield us from criminal threats, then what kind of state is it really? Why grant it the power of force if it fails to protect us? A state without the ability to protect is merely powerful, not authoritative. You can’t conduct business under such conditions.”

From 2018 to 2023, there have been 160 reported incidents of salmon trucks being robbed. Worryingly, the first few months of 2024 have already witnessed four such cases, according to data from SalmonChile.


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