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Minister Ampuero and formalization of former consuls: "In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs there is zero tolerance for irregularities"

Friday, January 11, 2019

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Roberto Ampuero, visited the offices of the Investigation Police Brigade that operates in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to evaluate the System of Consular Attention and Police Analysis (SACAP), whose objective is to improve security standards in the delivery of visas for foreign citizens.

The Chancellor was accompanied by the Prefect Inspector of the PDI, Richard Bórquez and Deputy Commissioner Erik Cáceres, who explained the operation of this system, which began to be implemented progressively in 2018.

The SACAP system allows PDI officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to access their own and Interpol's databases to check the background of those applying for visas to come to Chile.

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With this, it is possible to give concrete antecedents to the respective Chilean consulate to approve or reject visa applications.

In addition, provision was made for PDI officials to be sent to Chilean consulates abroad where visa applications have increased, as in the case of Venezuela and Haiti. These officials can carry out a second review of the background, in situ, of the legitimacy of documents and that the applications have been made in form.

In this context, Chancellor Ampuero assessed the impact of the SACAP system in the management of consular visas. Thus, he pointed out that, for example, in the case of Venezuela, in 2018 more than 91,000 applications for Democratic Responsibility visas were received. And that, of these, the SACAP system recommended rejecting more than 22,000, in a first step that did not require the respective consulate to summon the applicant to an interview.

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Furthermore, in the case of Haiti, the Minister added, 546 tourist visa applications were received in 2018. And the SACAP system detected problems in 361 of those applications. That is to say, 66%, recommending rejecting them.

"This allows for a more precise system, which helps the consuls in their work and, above all, is safer," the minister added.

In this context, the Chancellor was consulted on the formalization of two former consuls, who were separated from their posts and are being investigated for irregularities in the delivery of visas. "In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs we have zero tolerance for all irregularities. The consulates offer a service to Chileans who are abroad, these tasks must be fully complied with," said the Minister.

In this sense, he added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed over to the justice system "all available information so that this can be investigated". And that, at the same time, an internal investigation "continues to advance".

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and this minister are interested in respecting the principles of probity. We are convinced and sure that the vast majority of the officials who work here comply with this. And when irregular situations arise, they should be investigated by the ministry's own investigations and also, if it so warrants it, by the justice system," said the foreign minister.