Chilean authorities stop distribution of condoms at beaches

In response to public outcry, government officials in Chile moved to prohibit the distribution of condoms to summer vacations at beaches in the country’s central region.

Luis Guastavino, administrator of Chile’s central region, said he was personally in favor of the distribution, but he said the regional government would not participate in a controversial campaign organized by Chilean AIDS activists, which includes parading “promoters” dressed up as condoms who will distribute flyers, condoms as well as balloons for children and young people.

“Each group can organize its own activities, as long as they are permitted by law, and whether I like it or not, I cannot intervene.  What I will not do is allow the regional health department to be present and to sponsor these kinds of initiatives that are not accepted by a significant part of the population,” Guastavino said.

Local residents and business owners demanded government officials stop the condom distribution and prevent disturbance of the peace, which last year included a volunteer dressed up as condom passing out prophylactics in front of the Cathedral of Valparaíso.

“I do not agree with standing in the doorway of a church with a giant condom.  This is extremely crude,” said Guastavino, adding that he had been informed of the incident by the local bishop.

AIDS activists promise to go forward with their plans, and local business owners have promised to call the police if any “volunteers” show up.

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