Chile says it can't host APEC, COP25 after protests
Updated 11:25, 31-Oct-2019

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Wednesday Chile would cancel the hosting of the APEC trade summit in November and the COP25 climate summit in December due to the social crisis facing the South American country.

The country was scheduled to host APEC summit in November under the theme "Connecting People, Building the Future" to provide inspiration for APEC 2019.

"Our government, deeply pained ... has decided not to hold the APEC summit planned for November, nor the COP25 summit planned for December," Pinera said in an address from the presidential palace in Santiago. 

"This has been a very difficult decision, a decision that causes us a lot of pain, because we fully understand the importance of APEC and COP25 for Chile and for the world," Pinera said.

Massive protests

Chile's government has been struggling to craft an effective response to the massive protests that were sparked by a rise in subway fares but fueled by a growing list of economic and political demands that include Pinera's resignation.

Read more:

Chile army declares curfew, president reverses fare hikes after unrest

Demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest in downtown Santiago, Chile, October 12, 2019. /VCG Photo

Demonstrators clash with riot police during a protest in downtown Santiago, Chile, October 12, 2019. /VCG Photo

As recently as last Thursday, Chilean Foreign Minister Teodoro Ribera had confirmed that the government was determined to host the international events and confident in bringing the protests under control. 

The unrest started as a fare-dodging protest against the hike in metro ticket prices, which increased from 800 to 830 peso (1.17 U.S dollars) for peak hour travel, following a 20 peso rise in January.

Last weekend, more than one million people, representing a range of political backgrounds and from all social classes, took to the streets of Santiago and other cities in some of the largest protests ever seen in this country of 18 million.

The protesters' demands now include not only better social benefits but also the scrapping and replacing of the nation's Constitution, which dates from the Pinochet dictatorship.

Pinera declared a state of emergency on October 18 and announced major governments reshuffle on Monday.

At least 20 people died and 473 others were injured in Chile's protests from October 19 to 27 during state of emergency, according to the interior ministry's Tuesday statement.

During the curfew, 7,166 people were detained and 2,037 were imprisoned.

However, Pinera's efforts, including cancelling the fare hike, lowering the cost of electricity and transportation, sacking his interior minister and reshuffling the cabinet, have so far failed to appease protesters. 

The APEC summit was scheduled to bring together 20 world leaders on November 16-17, and the major United Nations COP25 climate summit had been due to take place in Chile between December 2-13.