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Colchane, Chile.jpg
Colchane, Fiestas Patrias, 2020.jpg
Mapa de Colchane, Chile.jpg
Country Chile
Region Tarapacá Region
Settled June 19, 1981 (with the current name)[1]
Population 1,728
Area (sq mi) 4,015.6 km2 (1,550.4 sq mi)
Population density (/sq mi) 0.32/km2 (0.83/sq mi)
Current mayor Javier García Choque
Demonym Colchanino (-a)
Co-ordinates 19°17′S 68°38′W

Colchane is an highland commune and town in the north of Chile with an average altitude of 3650 meters above sea level, reaching 3720 in the specific locality. It is located a few meters from the border with Bolivia, where on the other side is the town of Pisiga Bolivar. It is known for always voting for conservative right-wing options politically, even in referendums in which the left won nationally, being the most conservative commune of Chile porcentually. The majority of the population is ethnically Aymara.


For a large part of the country, the fact that Colchane was one of the five communes where the "Rejection" option won in 2020 was a surprise. A solid 74.06% achieved the option, being the opposite result to the rest of the country.[2] In 2020 after the result of the plebiscite, many leftist insulted with racist remarks the residents of the commune for voting against progressivism, the mayor, Javier García Choque, defended the citizens of the commune by saying that they wanted "respect for the expression of popular will that our people expressed".[3][4]

However, if we analyze the beliefs of the residents and the recent electoral results we will realize that we should not be surprised, especially knowing its recent history.

Mass immigration problem

Protests in Colchane against Mass Immigration into Chile.

Since 2013 Chile has been increasingly plunged into a mass immigration open borders crisis,[5] this problem has been specially worrying for the commune since the point of access of most of the illegal immigrants is the Colchane border cross with Bolivia,[6] a country that lets them into Chile since the bad relations Bolivia has promoted against Chile. In 2019 the crisis began strongly in Colchane, immigrants even tried to take the houses of the local population.

Most of the immigrants are Venezuelan, the crisis increased in 2020 and 2021. In 2021 Chileans made a march against mass immigration in the capital of the Tarapacá Region, Iquique, and at the end of the march some burnt illegal immigrant's tents due to social fatigue. In that year, during the presidential election, then candidate José Antonio Kast proposed the building of a trench on the border, something was softly built during the Michelle Bachelet's Second Government and without a registry of how much money was spent on that[7] (which was totally Globalist and Open Borders, making immigration the issue that is today in Chile), however, wasn't because of immigration, but to prevent the trespassing of stolen Chilean cars to Bolivia. Then candidate Gabriel Boric made fun of the proposal and rejected it, during his government, the communist minister Vallejo promoted it in 2024, since the National immigration crisis is increasing. The Boric Government set up ridiculous loudspeakers to warn the immigrants not to pass and the border guards partied once while the illegals were passing through. In addition, when the military has been sent to the area, they do not have sufficient firepower.

The construction of a border wall has been proposed recently. The Chilean indigenous population is increasingly complaining about Venezuelan immigrants due to the rise in crime nationally, the introduction of the "Tren de Aragua" crime organization into the country, and the brutality of the new crimes perpetrated by foreigners that wasn't seen in the pre-Mass immigration Chile.

Colchane residents denounce that the passage of illegal aliens damages the natural and historical heritage of this ancestral territory.[8]


Quinoa plantations in Colchane, Chile.

Much of Colchane's economic activity consists of the production and export of organic foods such as organic quinoa, which is even exported to Italy. The State hardly owns any land in the area, so the means of production are privately owned by the Aymara who make use of their land.


A Bernardo O'Higgins statue at the entrance of the municipality, to the left there a plaque that states that the municipality was founded under President Augusto Pinochet Military Government.[1]
Plaque of the foundation of the commune of Colchane by the Government of President Pinochet in 1981.

The first traces of human presence in the altiplano (Andean highland) date back to 5000 B.C., but the factor that determined the definitive settlement in the sector was that human groups were able to domesticate plants such as potatoes and animals such as the llama. With the passage of time, the primitive villages of the early farmers began to grow stronger until they became important human agglomerations. Some of the cultures that predominated in this sector were the Tiwanaku, Aymara (with the presence of communities to this day) and the Inka empire, among others.[9]

The territory of Tarapacá which the town belongs to was Peruvian prior to the War of the Pacific from 1879 between Perú, Bolivia and Chile. Tarapacá was ceded to Chile in the 1884 Treaty of Ancón.

This is an important point, because during the Allende's Marxist Popular Unity period there were problems with the government, which had ideas of a centralized and collectivist economy, and as the locals say, there were clashes over land ownership and the government of the time "expropriated their goods, crops and livestock" and had to hide the production so that it would not be collectivized.

A Colchane resident stated about this in 2020: "I would also like to mention that my parents and grandparents always remind us of what they lived through when Allende governed. There were deaths and robberies to the community (they never talk about them today on television), but it will be in the memory of a large part of the community of Colchane of how Allende expropriated their goods, crops and livestock. In order to survive they had to hide everything underground. For this and much more, the left has never won, nor will they win the elections in my commune. They use the Aymara flag thinking that we support them, but Sunday proved the opposite".[10]

Also at that time a professor with the initials J. O., a follower of the socialist regime, managed to enter in 1972 from the Bolivian town of Llica, a handgun and a Winchester carbine in order to support the revolution "with a taste of empanada and red wine" (which means the Chilean way).

Pinochet's government put them on the map, communicated with local leaders, their lands were respected, houses, schools and the customs house were built, and for such reason the military government gained broad support in the area. The commune was founded in 1970 with the name "Los Cóndores", however, in 1979 it obtained its current name.

The Municipality of Colchane was founded in 1981 during Augusto Pinochet's Government as stated on a plaque at the entrance of the municipality. This was done with the purpose of giving the wandering Aymara population a neuralgic, administrative and touristic point. At the beginning the community was reluctant to migrate but with time they settled down and now there are lodgings.

Micro-entrepreneur José García, who currently resides in Alto Hospicio and was born in Colchane in the 1940s, mentions that "the indigenous people were grateful to my General because he gave them dignity, pressure of grace, title deeds and many other things".

Religiosity and Aymara tradition

Villablanca Lagoon, Colchane, Chile.jpg

The vast majority of the residents are Aymara who maintain their millenary traditions and the Christianity adopted at the time of the Spanish Empire creating the contemporary syncretism of their traditions.

More than half of the Aymara belong to the Evangelical Pentecostal Church and it is precisely the traditional values that motivate this electorate, which is also mostly older.

The Evangelical Church made a national call to vote for the "Reject" option in favor of the "traditional family, the right to life, against gender ideology", something that contrasts with the "Approve" option which was characterized by social progressivism, favorable to abortion and feminism.[11]

Electoral results history

Colchane made history by having the highest percentage of the Rechazo option votes in 2020, against the national trend, the commune also had the highest Rechazo percentage in 2022 and A Favor in 2023.[3][4][12][13][6]

National Plebiscite 1988 about President Pinochet's permanency for 8 more years

  • (Yes) 81.5%
  • No 18.41%

Presidential Election 1989

1993 Presidential Election

  • Arturo Alessandri Besa 48.78%
  • Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle 25.80%
  • José Piñera 7.53%
  • Eugenio Pizarro Poblete 6.78%
  • Manfred Max Neef 6.40%
  • Cristián Reitze Campos 4.71%

1999 Presidential Election (2V)

  • Joaquín Lavín 84.67%
  • Ricardo Lagos 15.33%

Presidential Election 2005 (2V)

Presidential Election 2005 (2V)

  • Sebastián Piñera 81.66%
  • Michelle Bachelet 18.34%

Presidential Election 2009 (1V)

  • Sebastián Piñera 77.76%
  • Marco Enríquez-Ominami 11.93%
  • Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle 6.63%
  • Jorge Arrate Mac-Niven 3.68%

Presidential Election 2009 (2V)

  • Sebastián Piñera 86.81%
  • Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle 13.19%

Presidential Election 2013 (2V)

Presidential Election 2017 (1V)

  • Sebastián Piñera 65.7%
  • José Antonio Kast 9.7%
  • Alejandro Guiller 9.7%
  • Beatríz Sánchez 5.6%
  • Marco Enríquez-Ominami 5.6%
  • Carolina Goic 2.4%
  • Alejandro Navarro 1.3%
  • Eduardo Artés 0.2%

Presidential Election 2017 (2V)

  • Sebastián Piñera 91.46%
  • Alejandro Guiller 8.54%

Plebiscite 2020

  • Rechazo 74.06%
  • Apruebo 25.94%

Constitutional convention election 2021

  • Independents for Tarapacá 35.34%
  • Vamos por Chile (Chile Vamos+Republicans) 25.56%
  • Independents 12.78%

Presidential Election 2021 (1V)

  • Franco Parisi 47.8%
  • José Antonio Kast 46.2%
  • Yasna Provoste 2.0%
  • Gabriel Boric 1.9%
  • Sebastián Sichel 1.10%
  • Marco Enríquez-Ominami 0.55%
  • Eduardo Artés 0.44%

Presidential Election 2021 (2V)

  • José Antonio Kast 94.69%
  • Gabriel Boric 5.31%

Plebiscite 2022

  • Rechazo 94.70%
  • Apruebo 5.30%

Constitutional council election 2023

  • Provided votes for a total Republican victory on Tarapacá Region, of the two seats originally one was for the Republican Party and other one for a leftist, but after a correction on data from Colchane, the leftist seat was granted to Sebastián Parraguez, another Republican, giving both seats of the Region to the Republican Party.
  • Republican Party 74.47%
  • Chile Seguro (Chile Vamos) 10.33%
  • People's Party 10.33%
  • Todo por Chile 3.54%
  • Unidad para Chile 1.34%

Plebiscite 2023

  • En Contra 53.31%
  • A Favor 46.69%

See also

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 Foundation plaque
  2. La incógnita de Colchane: Alcalde explica por qué ganó el Rechazo en una de las comunas más aisladas de Chile (es). ADN Radio (October 26, 2020).
  3. 3.0 3.1 Alcalde de Colchane responde a las críticas por el triunfo del "Rechazo" en la comuna (es). T13 (October 28, 2020).
  4. 4.0 4.1 Alcalde de Colchane denuncia “insultos” y “racismo” por ser una de las cinco comunas donde ganó el Rechazo (es). El Mostrador (October 27, 2020).
  5. Chile es el país americano con mayor aumento de inmigrantes (es). (9 November 2018).
  6. 6.0 6.1 ¿Efecto crisis migratoria? El fenómeno de Colchane, la comuna donde mejor le fue al “A favor” (y antes al Rechazo) (es). La Tercera (December 18, 2023).
  7. Colchane: Intendencia de Tarapacá no tiene registros de dinero gastado en zanjas creadas durante gobierno de Bachelet (es). Resumen (April 6, 2021).
  8. Poblador de Colchane denuncia que paso de migrantes daña patrimonio natural e histórico de ese territorio ancestral (es). Edición Cero (October 18, 2021).
  9. Descubre la magia de Colchane y las bellezas del altiplano chileno (es). Chile es Tuyo.
  10. #ColchanePatriota siempre votará contra los marxistas y sus aliados y cómplices porque vivimos en carne propia sus horrores. #NoAlMarxismo #AntiComunismo #Colchane #Tarapacá #NoLoVimosVenir (es) (October 28, 2020). “Me gustaría mencionar además que mis padres y abuelos; siempre nos recuerdan de lo que ellos vivieron cuando gobernó Allende. Hubo muertes y robos hacia la comunidad (nunca se habla de ellos hoy en día en la televisión), pero estará en el receurdo de gran parte de la comunidad de Colchane del cómo Allende, les expropiaba sus bienes, cosechas y ganado. Para poder subsistir tenían que esconder todo bajo tierra. Por eso y mucho más, la izquierda nunca ha ganado, ni va a ganar las elecciones en mi comuna. Ellos usan la bandera Aymara pensando que nosotros les apoyamos, pero el domingo se demostró todo lo contrario.”
  11. Colchane, ¿un bastión del conservadurismo? Analizando el triunfo del «Rechazo» en la aislada comuna y su historia (es). Diario El Tarapacá (October 30, 2020). Archived from the original on October 3, 2022.
  12. Frontera norte: con el 95% de las preferencias, Colchane es la comuna que lideró en el Rechazo (es). La Tercera (September 4, 2022).
  13. Colchane marcó el "peak" del Rechazo y más de 350 mil votaron en Puente Alto: Las cifras del Plebiscito de salida (es). Emol (September 5, 2022).