Did I not say a little while back that Evo was pissed at Sebastián Piñera for making promises he had no intention of keeping? And that he got on better with Ollanta Humala? Why yes, I did. And lo and behold, there has been some fallout…much to Chile’s detriment and Peru’s gain:
President Evo Morales confirmed the exclusion of Chile from the inter-oceanic highway project which will begin in Brazil. Yesterday, he stated that he would inaugurate the cross-continental highway in San José de Chiquitos, along with the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff. He also announced that the special guest for the occasion would be the president of Peru, Ollanta Humala.
The announcement comes in the midst of a climate of tension between Bolivia and Chile, following the detention of three Bolivian soldiers and over the maritime claim being pressed by the Morales government in international courts.
“We will meet with the sister president of Brazil and talk about a topic that is important to us. We have agreed that on April 5, I hope I’m not mistaken, we will inaugurate the cross-continental highway. Initially, we agreed that this joint ceremony will happen in San José de Chiquitos,” said Morales during a press conference yesterday in Palacio Quemado, La Paz.
In December 2007, President Morales met in La Paz with former presidents Michelle Bachelet of Chile and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil. During this meeting they agreed to to complete, by 2009, a highway of 6,100 kilometres with an investment of $604 million US, to connect the three countries, uniting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Three years later, President Morales announced that the Chilean president, Sebastián Piñera, would come to Santa Cruz to inaugurate the highway, along with Dilma Rousseff. But now there is no intention of including Chile in the project, since the Chilean ports initially chosen as endpoints of the highway have been bypassed in favor of those of southern Peru.
After ruling Chile out of the project, Morales said that the special invited guest would be Ollanta Humala, since it was decided that the corridor, and the inter-oceanic railroad, would end in Peru’s ports. “Our special guest will be the president of Peru, Ollanta Humala, so that we will go on seeking integration for the benefit of the peoples of this region and especially of Bolivia, Brazil and Peru.”
The government already has a project to reorient the highway, as well as the railroad. Since until now, the corridor stretched from the port of Santo, Brazil, on the Atlantic, to the Chilean ports of Arica and Iquique, they will soon be diverted toward the Peruvian ports of Matarani and Ilo, as announced by vice-president Alvaro García.
Peru granted port facilities and free transit for its exports via the port of Ilo. Evo Morales and [then-president] Alan García signed the accord in 2010.
Along with the international leadership of the government of Evo Morales, social movements in favor of the government decided to go to the United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) to deounce Chile over the situation of the three detained soldiers.
“We’re going to mobilize, not only in our country but at an international level, we are going to appeal directly to the United Nations and the Organization of American States. This case shows the arrogance of Chile and we cannot accept that,” declared Ever Choquehuanca, executive of the Confederation of Interculturals.
The director announced that he would call a meeting of the Unity Pact to decide when to send a delegation to the international organizations.
Juanita Ancieta, executive of the Bartolinas, and Julián Jala, campesino director, backed the decision to go to international organizations to denounce the detention of the soldiers in Chile. The ruling MAS party, in Cochabamba, criticized the “injustice” on the part of the Chilean government.
You really have to admire the politeness and restraint Evo showed while dealing Tatán such a tremendous ass-kicking. That’s vintage Evo there. The man’s a Scorpio, after all. You cross those guys at your peril. They can put the mother of all beatdowns on you with exquisite good manners, but by gawd, you will FEEL it in the morning.
And thanks to the stupidity and arrogance of their no-good-very-bad president, the Chilean people are feeling it now. The goodwill of the bilateral relations Bolivia and Chile enjoyed when Michelle Bachelet was president of the latter has all been squandered by Tatán and his mafia of assholes and incompetents. The trade and tourism they’re losing by this is going to cost them billions. And it’s not like they couldn’t use the money. Contrary to anything the bizmedia may tell you, Chile’s “economic miracle” is not merely hollow, it’s bogus. The average Chilean is hurting, and Tatán’s mismanagement has only made the pain worse.
And now this.
But hey, there’s no great loss somewhere without a commensurate gain elsewhere, and sure enough, Peru is the gainer. Ollanta and Evo get along very well indeed. And the port cities of southern Peru stand to benefit hugely by it.
It’s an object lesson in how to do bilateralism: You be nice to the other guy, and the other guy will be nice to you. It’s a no-brainer. And thanks to his lack of brains, Tatán Piñera is finding it out the hard way. I feel very sorry for the people of Chile, but not a bit for him. If only he would suffer for it the way they will. That’s the only thing standing between me and a massive cackle of Schadenfreude right now.