Panam Sports President Neven Ilic remains optimistic over the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games, despite resignations of Organising Committee officials and unrest in the Chilean capital in recent months.
The Panam Sports Executive Committee received an update today from Santiago 2023, amid an uncertain period for organisation.
Santiago 2023 chief executive Della Maggiora was confirmed to have resigned from his post last week.
His departure came shortly after Karl Samsing, President of the Santiago 2023 Board, announced he would leave on December 26.
According to local reports, the resignations were due to internal disputes within the board, rather than as a consequence of a Government request to lower the salary of senior officials in the Organising Committee.
Chile’s Sports Minister Cecilia Perez was among the delegation present at the Panam Sports Executive Committee meeting.
Ilic expressed his confidence that Perez and Santiago 2023 will make positive decisions to ensure the organisation of the Games is effective.
“There was a bad situation with some internal relationships,” Ilic told insidethegames.
“The new Minister of Sport understood this.
“She decided to say yes to some resignations and reorganise the team.
“I think they are taking good decisions and including good people.”
Chile has been rocked by protests in recent months, which were triggered by an announcement that public transport fares would increase in the capital.
The initial protest spiralled into a mass movement against inequality and high living costs.
Chile’s Government ultimately declared a state of emergency.
The United Nations earlier this week accused Chilean police and armed forces of committing serious human rights violations when responding to the protests.
A UN report claimed there had been 113 specific cases of torture and ill-treatment, and 24 cases of sexual violence perpetrated, along with around 350 people suffering injuries to their eyes or faces.
UN Human Rights High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet, a former Chile President, said follow-up mechanism would be established to assess whether recommendations on rectify police practices were followed.
“Recognising and learning from what happened, we should look forward in a constructive way," Bachelet said.
“This follow-up mechanism should aim to establish measures to prevent the recurrence of the sad and troubling events that have engulfed Chile over the past two months – especially as protests are continuing in different parts of the country, albeit with less intensity, and we continue to receive allegations of human rights violations.”
Ilic acknowledged the social and political unrest in his home nation has been difficult.
The Panam Sports President remains confident that the Pan American Games can have a positive impact on the country and stressed that the Government were fully supportive of hosting the multi-sport event for the first time.
“I am a Chilean, I was there and it has been very hard for everybody,” he said.
“But in terms of the Games we have the promise of the Government that everything is moving in the same line.
“They are including other venues in the programme for the Games, which is important for us.
“The Pan American Games is a dream for Chile.
“We need to work on many different things for the society in Chile, but sport is important too.
“Sport is a good tool to develop young people and the Games will be a good way to align the processes that we are defining in the sport.”
Santiago was confirmed as host in November 2017 after its bid was unanimously approved by Panam Sports.
The city was the sole bidder for the 19th edition of the Games, following the withdrawal of Buenos Aires.
Chile will host the Games for the first time, with the South American country set to become the 12 nation to stage the multi-sport event.