Wait times at the Argentine-Chile border grow by day, with delays taking as long as ten hours to cross into the neighboring country, leaving many a disgruntled tourist. Yesterday afternoon however, things took a tragic turn, as an Argentine woman died in her wait to cross the border.
According to Trans-Andean news outlets, the woman originally from San Juan, had waited several hours to reach border control, and at around 6pm yesterday late afternoon suffered a heart attack. The victim received medical attention, but specialists were unable to revive her.
At this time of year in particular, crossing the Andes is somewhat of a pilgrimage for tourists, who always complain about the lack of available services and information desks on the border.
The last few weekends have seen the situation degenerate into chaos with long queues of cars making tourists wait an excessively long time. On the Argentine side in particular, people have waited as long as ten hours to see border officials. While on the Chilean side, the wait is half as long.
Both governments have responded by announcing they will increase assistance on these sites, though neither have actually made any changes as of yet. Following the death of the woman, many demands from citizens of Mendoza who travelled during the first fortnight of this year and witnessed the sub-par medical attention first-hand, have come to light.
“There is a lack of respect towards travellers, as if the border was between countries in conflict. Families with children have to put all their energy into entertaining them; we have seen people suffering with no ambulance to transport them” said Andrea Monti, a young Argentine forced to wait eight hours at customs, where they didn’t even check her baggage.
The Chilean forensic authorities will shortly determine the cause of death of the Argentine citizen.
The news comes days after the death of a Peruvian woman in the same area.