Latin America’s leaders are again opening the 133-year-old issue of a Bolivian route to the ocean through Chilean lands, after the Andean Parliament called on the two countries to settle their disagreement.
The four-country body – which includes Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Perú – adopted a statement yesterday asking the countries to resolve the ocean issue, according to the Bolivian newspaper Los Tiempos.
Bolivia lost its access to the ocean in 1879 during the War of the Pacific, when Chile seized 400km of coastline and 120,000 square-kilometres of Bolivian territory as well as land from Peru along the the Pacific.
As the Organization of American States gathers near Cochabamba in Bolivia for an assembly that starts tomorrow, the host country’s president Evo Morales reiterated that Bolivia would again demand a Pacific gateway from Chile.
According the Spanish newswire Efe, Morales asked for the “Malvinas for Argentina and ocean for Bolivia,” also noting that the chewing of coca would be on the agenda.
Bolivian newspaper Página Siete also noted that the Chilean deputy Hugo Gutiérrez today said Bolivia should have a gateway to the ocean.
“Bolivia should have an outlet to the sea; it should be able to have a good port that faces the Pacific,” said the Communist Party member of Chile’s Lower House.
“I believe that Chile also deserves better integration with Bolivia and the rest of Latin America; and if that means it has to make concessions, I believe that Chile has to make them, so that the prosperity and better quality of life of people in the north of Chile can be in a consistent and solid manner some day,” he said.
For his part, Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno said yesterday that statements of support for Bolivia are not expected at the meeting, and that both countries have existing treaties should be respected and taken into consideration.