Festive Left Friday Blogging: Evo, just being his awesome self

Evo paid tribute to Bolivian mothers at the palace today, and this nice shot was the result of that. But check out what other awesomeness he’s up to. How about that challenge to the asshole next door in Chile?

The president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, asked today of Chilean president Sebastián Piñera that he present a “concrete proposal” to resolve his country’s request for sea access in accordance with the recommendations of the Organization of American States (OAS).

“If they talk so much about ‘dialogue’, let Chile present a concrete proposal, so we can formally begin a process of negotiation for Bolivia to gain sovereign access to the Pacific,” said President Morales, during an appearance with the armed forces of his country.

The General Assembly of the OAS, which will meet again in Bolivia next year, reached a resolution in 1979 in La Paz, which established that the Bolivian demand had continental importance, and insisted on dialogue between the parties to resolve the conflict.

Morales replied in this form to assertions made a few days ago by Piñera, to the effect that Bolivia could not ask for revision of the treaty of 1904, which redrew the borders between the two countries after the War of the Pacific (1879-1883).

“We understand that Bolivia has an aspiration, but we cannot try to revise treaties that have been in full effect for more than a hundred years,” said the Chilean President last Monday.

The Bolivian leader replied today that international law “is based in principles of justice, equality and harmonious relations, not like this in hegemony, militarism, unilateral imposition or conditions,” which, according to him, is what took place in 1904.

That treaty, said Morales, “brought no peace or friendship”, because Chile has not responded to this day to the Bolivian maritime demand and, on the contrary, “has dedicated itself to military armamentism in the South American region.”

“If the Treaty of 1904 brought peace, as our brother president of Chile says, why the constant escalation of armamentism? We ask ourselves that, and so will the people of Chile,” said Morales in a speech before the Bolivian military.

Morales assured that he was not bothered or offended by the statements of Piñera, but they “oblige [us] to demonstrate that Bolivia is in the right, despite some distortions over international law.”

Morales said that his country would lay suit against Chile in international tribunals, but “without abandoning dialogue”, even though the Chilean government has said that the two options are incompatible.

Bilateral relations between Bolivia and Chile, which have seen some rapprochement in the last five years, have taken a turn since Morales announced in March that Bolivia would take its demand for sea access to the international courts.

The conflict has strained ties between the two countries, who have not had diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level since 1962, with a brief break between 1975 and 1978.

A survey published last Sunday in a national newspaper showed that only 40% of Bolivians approved the new maritime strategy of Morales, although 73% said that Bolivia must never renounce its claim to a sea exit.

Translation mine.

They don’t say which newspaper it was (my guess is it’s an oppositionist one, and that they surveyed mostly rich white folks from the lowland regions; hence the strange dissonant results.) But the fact is, Evo’s challenge to the Pinochetist next door is just in line with a long, long dispute, one that’s been raging since the War of the Pacific ended. In fact, the ruling in Bolivia’s favor came long before Evo got anywhere near to elected office, as you can see.

And for a while there, things looked good: the progressive Michelle Bachelet was in office, and bilateral relations were excellent. And then along came Piñera, and of course, he just HAD to be a prick about it all.

But I’ve a hunch that this is going to end before Evo hands his sash over to his VP, Alvaro García Linera. And if I know Evo, I’m betting he’s gonna win this one, too. He’s never lost a fight yet.

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2 Responses to Festive Left Friday Blogging: Evo, just being his awesome self

  1. El Gav says:

    I don’t know, Bina, if the Bolivian people will ever get behind Alvaro. While he’s a brilliant tactician, he’s viewed in Bolivia as cold, manipulative, and borderline homosexual (not that it would bother me if he was (which I don’t think is the case), but Evo’s base of militant indigenous might not be cool with it). I’ve got a feeling that Evo will run again and win in 2014. But you know what? It’s Bolivia, and anything can happen.

    • Sabina Becker says:

      Gav, good to see you again!

      I’m wondering if Evo will be allowed to run again; wouldn’t he have to put the question to a referendum first, or even make a constitutional amendment? One thing I can’t see happening is anyone from the opposition winning, that much is certain. I think they might well have seen enough of Alvaro by now to like him better than anybody from the other side. He didn’t strike me as cold in any of the footage I’ve seen of him. Intelligent, for sure, but not unlikable.

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