Chile offers Bolivia sea access…but…


So, Chile finally decided to do Bolivia a favor in its demand for access to the sea. (You may recall that the latter lost that during the War of the Pacific.) Only, as with all things Piñera, there’s a catch:

Chile offered Bolivia an enclave with autonomy but no sovereignty to the north of the city of Arica, near the Peruvian border, to resolve Bolivia’s maritime demand, Chilean president Sebastián Piñera told the daily newspaper, La Tercera.

“Chile has offered to give Bolivia autonomy in a territorial enclave in the border region, where they can build a port, a beachfront, but without ceding sovereignty,” Piñera said.

However, the sticking point of the case is that the zone is located north of Arica, and this is included in the territory which Peru sued Chile over in The Hague, and which is considered a no-man’s-land to this day.

In this sense, President Piñera indicated that if The Hague decides in favor of Peru, the solution to Bolivia’s maritime demand “will lose validity”.

Translation mine.

Yeah, I can see why Evo always looks skeptical when he’s photographed with Tatán. I would too. He’s a shrewd piece of nasty, that man.

On the plus side, he gets on better with Ollanta, anyway. Maybe the latter would be more agreeable to Bolivian sea access, if things go that way.

Edited to add:

Looks like Tatán was, as I suspected, talking out his ass. Here’s his foreign minister to confirm it:

The Chilean foreign minister, Alfredo Moreno, affirmed on Tuesday that his government has no official proposal over “pending issues” with Bolivia, and called for Bolivia to come back to the discussion table, which is where, in his opinion, these propositions are to be debated “together”.

Moreno responded thus to the president of Bolivia, Evo Morales, who said on Monday that he was awaiting an “official proposal” from the Chilean government as to how to advance in order to resolve “pending issues” between the two countries, including the Bolivian maritime demand.

Moreno assured that Morales had committed “a grave error” and that “he has to know that Chile owes nothing to Bolivia.”

For his part, Galo Bonifaz, Bolivian deputy of the ruling “Movement Toward Socialism” party (MAS), considers the negative response of the government of Chile to be a political calculation in order not to resolve the century-old dispute between the two countries.

“I believe Chile is playing with the emotions of the Bolivian people, and is making political calculations in accordance with its interests,” Bonifaz told Bolivian state news agency ABI.

The president of the Bolivian senate, Gabriela Montaño, stated that the responses coming from Chile show no predisposition toward any concrete proposals.

“They keep calling us to a bilateral dialogue, but one in which they show no proposals to discuss and debate,” Montaño said in declarations to the press.

Bolivia lost 120,000 square kilometres and 400 kilometres of coast during the War of the Pacific, which it fought against Chile near the end of the 19th century.

In 1904 both countries signed a treaty which fixed the border, and in 1978, Bolivia and Chile cut off diplomatic relations.

In March 2011, Evo Morales announced Bolivia’s decision to sue Chile before an international tribunal for the restoration of its seacoast, after a sustained resultless dialogue with Santiago on the matter, following an agenda of 13 points agreed on in 2006.

Translation mine.

BTW, here’s a map showing that lost territory from that long-ago war:


As you can see, the territory “offered” to Bolivia is in the orange zone that once was Peru (and is now the northernmost end of Chile). Yeah, I’d say Piñera was talking with a deeply forked tongue here, wouldn’t you?

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2 Responses to Chile offers Bolivia sea access…but…

  1. Mexfiles says:

    I wonder whatever happened to the delightfully bizarre idea floated by Chile during the Bachelet Presidency of building a platform off Antafagosto and running a tunnel to Bolivia.

    • Sabina Becker says:

      Obviously, it won’t happen. And the passage through Arica won’t happen either, for obvious reasons.

      If I were Evo, I’d sue to get back the entire yellow territory, at least. There are three ports in it, plus a big chunk of the nitrate deposits in the Atacama. That war was a massive theft.

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