Chile demands Argentina withdraw military solar panels from its territory

‘They must remove them at once, or we’ll do it ourselves,’ said President Gabriel Boric

Gabriel Boric president chile

Chilean President Gabriel Boric publicly urged Argentina to remove a set of solar panels, which belong to a military base, installed three meters into Chilean territory. “[Argentina] must remove those panels at once, or we’ll do it ourselves,” Boric said on Monday during a press conference.

“Some time ago we became aware of the fact that when Argentina installed a military base in Patagonia, they set up solar panels in Chilean territory,” Boric explained at the Ukraine Peace Summit. “We received an apology from the Argentine Foreign Ministry, but I would like to tell them very clearly that there cannot be any ambiguity regarding borders, and that it’s a basic principle of respect between countries.”

On Friday, the Argentine embassy in Chile sent the Chilean authorities a note acknowledging the mistake and saying the panels would be removed as soon as the weather conditions allowed it, an Argentine government source told the Herald.

The solar panels in question provide electricity to a navy watch post, inaugurated on April 29. It is a strategic spot, given it’s located at the eastern access to the Strait of Magellan, a navigable sea route in southern Patagonia that separates mainland South America and Tierra del Fuego. It is considered the most important natural passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

Argentina and Chile have a history of tension over border disputes in Patagonia. In 1978, the last military dictatorship decided to invade islands in the Beagle Channel to claim their sovereignty, resulting in a years-long diplomatic conflict.

Boric said he spoke with Argentine President Javier Milei about the issue, and Milei said he would report it to Foreign Minister Diana Mondino.

“I imagine we won’t have any problems about this, but it is an equivocal sign, a sign we don’t like,” Boric said. “Therefore, we demand this be solved as soon as possible, and I insist, we will do it ourselves otherwise.”

Boric added that Chile and Argentina have “an excellent relationship” and that it’s important to keep it that way. “We need to respect borders. I don’t want escalating tension in the relationship because of this, as long as it is fixed at once.”


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