Rapa Nui Parliament road block open for tourists

Easter Island roads open for tourists again – is this a revolution?

By Marcus Edensky

See all posts on the 2015 roadblock conflict.

Since Friday, on the 3rd of April, most of the road blocks at Easter Island, put up by Rapa Nui Parliament on the 26th of March, have been removed. There are only a few road blocks left, and those that remain are only stopping foreign and Chilean guides who don’t have any family connection to the island through marriage etc. Guides who have knowledge in a different language than English and Spanish are also in some cases let through, as there is a demand for this on the island. This means that all tourists that rent a vehicle on their own can move around freely on the island. These changes happened after a meeting between Rapa Nui Parliament, the local chamber of tourism and other participants. Things now focus more on what really started this movement – the desire to limit immigration.

Easter Island map of Rapa Nui Parliament roadblocks
There are currently three main road blocks by the Rapa Nui Parliament – by Rano Kau volcano, Vai Tea (center) and Hua Reva (south coast).

Erity Teave, vice president of Rapa Nui Parliament explains:
–  Our goal is to have the areas open as much as possible, to serve the tourists well. Right now, we try to have the road blocks open from 07:00 (1 hour before sunrise) until 18:00. In some cases we have not been able to open until 09:00 in the morning, since we don’t have enough people to help out. If we would have had more people to volunteer, it would have been easier.

President Leviante Araki and vice president Erity Teave of Rapa Nui Parliament.
President Leviante Araki and vice president Erity Teave of Rapa Nui Parliament.

The Rapa Nui Parliament are negotiating daily with the mayor, governor and CODEIPA (“Easter Island council of development”, a group of locally elected politicians) to solve the situation.

Guides can get a permission at the Rapa Nui Parliament office at main street Atamu Tekena which will guarantee access to all areas of the island with tourists while the park is open, from 07:00 until 18:00. If still stopped by any of the road blocks, guides are encouraged to report this to the Rapa Nui Parliament office.

Book for registering names when passing Rapa Nui Parliament roadblocks at Easter Island.
Guides, and tourists (if traveling without a guide) are asked to register names and countries of origin when passing the road blocks.

Leviante Araki, president of Rapa Nui Parliament says:
– This is Rapa Nui. We don’t fight with knives or with guns like in Chile. We fight only with words. This is the way things are dealt with here at Rapa Nui.

Orongo empty
No CONAF park rangers patroll the archaeological sites of Rapa Nui anymore.

 

Door to reception at Orongo site, where national park tickets earlier were checked, is closed.
Door to reception at Orongo site, where national park tickets earlier were checked, is closed.
The CONAF national park ticket office is closed.
The CONAF national park ticket office is closed. No ticket is currently needed to visit the national park.

Rapa Nui historian Cristian Moreno Pakarati analyses the situation:
– Creating special immigration laws to a certain territory within a country is nothing unique. There are many islands that have this. Even if we don’t realize it now, in a few years, this might be seen as a revolution in the future. We will be able to say “I was there when it all happened”. In 1964, Alfonso Rapu was the face of the last revolution, back when the Rapa Nui people had no rights. As a consequence, two years later in 1966, ley pascua (“easter law”) was formed, which gave us civil rights, and we were seen as Chilean citizens with rights to vote etc. I don’t know when we will see the consequences of this. Not tomorrow, not the next month , probably not during this year, but perhaps the next year, or the year after that.

Historian Cristian Moreno Pakarati.
Historian Cristian Moreno Pakarati.

 

By Marcus Edensky

Marcus Edensky

Marcus is owner of local Rapa Nui travel agency Easter Island Travel. He is one of the few foreigners that has learnt to speak Rapa Nui fluently. He is founder of local Easter Island newspaper Tāpura Re'o - the only newspaper written entirely in Rapa Nui language.

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