WHAT WOULD YOU DO with a couple of tons of ice?
No, really. Ice. As in frozen water. That you pried off a glacier in the south of Chile.
You could put it into whiskey-filled glasses for tourists on Kodiak trips around a glacial melt-filled lagoon in the south. Or fashion an ice cave during the southern summer.
Or you could load it into refrigerated trucks and hope your luck doesn’t run out before you get caught by the authorities.
Some 5000 kilos (eleven thousand pounds) of ice has recently been stolen out of Chile’s National Park Bernardo O’Higgins, near the community of Caleta Tortel on the Carretera Austral (Southern Highway) in the south of Chile. It was removed from the Jorge Montt area of the Southern Patagonian Icefield, which is one of the world’s largest repositories of ice, after the Greenland and Antarctic ice caps. The ice field spans parts of Chilean and Argentine Patagonia, including Argentina’s Parque de Los Glaciares, home to Argentina‘s well-visited Perito Moreno Glacier (pictured above), and parts of Chile’s Torres del Paine national park.
National Chilean newspaper El Mercurio reports that a cargo truck was seized yesterday evening near the community of Cochrane, and that investigations into the theft indicate that the plot’s leader lives in Santiago. For a simple robbery, based on the market value of the ice, penalties could reach up to 3 million Chilean pesos, or about 6 thousand US dollars. Penalties for destruction of natural resources are weak in Chile, so it is not clear what (if any) other penalties may apply.
It is also still not clear what the ice was destined for, though commenters in Chile suggest that it was to be used to freshen the drinks of upper class Santiaguinos against the summer heat.
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Eileen Smith is the editor of Matador Abroad. She's an ex-Brooklynite who's made a life in Santiago, Chile. She's a fluent Spanish speaker who can be found biking, hiking, writing, photographing and/or seeking good coffee and nibbles at most hours of the day. She blogs here.
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