Protests in Chile, which have left 11 people dead as demonstrators clashed with police in Santiago last week, have prompted the country’s President to cancel hosting the COP25 UN climate summit.
Santiago’s subway lines were closed during the chaos and the US State Department has updated a travel advisory for Chile with warnings of curfews in place in multiple cities. Many flights have been delayed or cancelled with a febrile political environment and protests triggered by public transport price rises.
Although Chile has been hailed as a regional economic miracle in recent decades, economic inequalities in the country have grown alongside the booming sectors.
Now Spain has stepped in to host the COP25 UN climate conference in December, as well as the coming APEC trade summit.
Spain’s Acting Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, offered to help Chile, “in any way that might be needed – including hosting the summit in Madrid”.
The Spanish government’s offer to host COP25 was made on 31 October and will now be studied by the UN climate change panel at a meeting in Bonn next week.
Chile’s President Piñera had blamed the “difficult circumstances” Chile was facing for the decision to withdraw from hosting COP25, and said his government’s primary concern had to be “fully restoring public order, security and social peace”.
“This has been a very difficult decision – which has caused us great pain – because we understand perfectly the importance [of the events] for Chile and for the world,” Piñera said as he announced the decision.
Piñera declared a state of emergency on 18 October after violence broke out on the streets of the capital, claiming his country was “at war” with “evil” delinquents.
Meanwhile, street protests in Hong Kong over the past three months have caused the SAR to lapse into recession. GDP shrank in Hong Kong by 3.2% in the three months to September, a month which also saw visitor numbers plunge by a third.
Carrie Lam, the territory’s Chief Executive, said: “The increasingly violent reality… is hurting Hong Kong’s economy.”
Pictured: climate protests outside the COP 2017 summit in Bonn, Germany