Cristian Ochoa

2014 - Ongoing

Antofagasta, Chile

The Antofagasta city located at the north of Chile, is called “New Dubai” for their fluent mining industry.

The project submerge us in a harrowing human story of immigration, in a global context that predicts more harassment, control and surveillance, while in our southern region, walls of discrimination prevail.

According to official figures the Colombian population in Antofagasta has doubled over the last two years, averaging on 5% of the population of this northern city, principally of the black raze how are from the south of Colombia, an area with serious problems of violence and poverty like cause of the drugs traffic.

The reasons for migrating are diverse: violence, the economy, the Chilean dream with its false expectations on the “jaguar” (pacific tiger) economy, which seems more a campaign to safeguard a fierce neoliberal system than a real chance for projection.

When they immigrate, found a city with a Hight cost in life, low paid jobs and discrimination problems. The population of Antofagasta, ask for the expulsion of the “Colombian Invasion”, because of some criminal events showed in a bad way for the yellow press. The immigrants point the existence of a quiet environment, been this the principal reason to staying in the city. The main part of the population lives in squatter settlements, been these a great way to save money and send back to their countries.

The beach and the sun are reasons too, but nobody comments that there are barren hills and a fallow landscape in between the Facebook paradise and the country image; a territory mutating on a daily basis with the richness of colors, music, physical plasticity, food, language and culture of those uplifting our lives. That makes us evidence how Latin American we are, something that we tried to omit for decades. Those seeking new horizons allow us to again speak of belonging and homeland.

We are at a relevant moment of our Latin development, in which we have to think of the historical, symbolic and political construction of our independences, the staging of miscegenation, both from the violence with which we edify ourselves and the beliefs that were imposed on us, in order to be able to look through our own world views.

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  • Nicolás contemplates the city from his house under construction in the “Vista Hermosa" squatter settlement. Families living at the top of this place do not have drinking water.

  • Alejandra begins legal procedures to obtain the temporary visa.

  • Julisa plays around her house. She was born in Chile but the government won’t provide her with an immediate Chilean nationality. After a legal trial, she won the case and could obtain her Chilean nationality.

  • José, 12 years old, selling juice at the main beach of the city.

  • Yeison raises a kite in the soil soccer field beside the “Chilenos de Villa el Sol” squatter settlement.

  • Sofía and Alberto’s portrait on the street. They wait for their first baby to born. Before arriving to Antofagasta, they went to try luck to Puerto Williams city, the southernmost city in Chile and the world. That city counts with a high economic activity due to oil industry.

  • Friends playing dominoes during their day off.

  • Karol y Yasuri posing for a portrait outside their home in the “Unión del Norte" squatter settlement.

  • The crowd records a young colombian man dancing “salsa choque” during the celebration day of the Colombia Independence Anniversary.

  • Portrait of Willy’s, minutes after visiting his son in the city’s prison, which is located in plain desert, outside the urban area of the city. Lots of Colombian immigrants have been involved in criminal activities.

  • Yoani works in a condominium called “Costa Laguna”. This place has the second biggest artificial lagoon in Chile, which is located a few meters from the sea. The departments cost over the $200.000 dollars. Workers have to remove sand from all around the base of the pool through extractor boats and by hand every single day.

  • John works in the cemetery of Antofagasta. He has been in Chile for two years. Previously, he lived ten years in Spain, from where he was deported since his documentation was not renewed due to a traffic infringement.

  • Ivan is entertained with a toy found in an abandoned site near his house. During six years, his family has had to work in the city dump and sell illegally fast food to survive due to an expulsion order for entering to the country illegally. They were not allowed to enter to the country legally because of their skin color.

  • Cristofer prays next to a homeless man who came to hear his preaching on the street.

  • Jordan walking over pipes which supply water to the city. These were initially buried but due to the use of sand that covered them in order to build the houses, there are some areas where they are visible and in danger of collapse.

  • The Charlotte’s portrait in a night club in the city of Antofagasta, Chile.
    Due to the great quantity of mine industry workers that walk around the city, there are a variety of offers related to these sexual services.

  • Party night at Colombian salsa place “Malibu”, at the downtown in Antofagasta.

  • The Laura’s portrait in “Union del Norte” squatter settlement after attending to a neighbor’s birthday.

  • Homero looks at the train line. He has a fast food place. This line marks the division between the wealthiest and the poorest area of the city.

  • Jonny builds his home in “El Bosque" squatter settlement. After three years of arriving to the city, he owned illegally a piece of land and built his house. Once it was finished, his family moved to Antofagasta. His dream fulfilled.