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  Bolivia takes Chile to The Hague over sea access
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Author Topic: Bolivia takes Chile to The Hague over sea access  (Read 4340 times)
Velasco
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« on: April 24, 2013, 04:50:35 pm »

I read this news in El País online and I think Lumine or someone mentioned this old dispute between Chile and Bolivia.

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Bolivia has filed a complaint against its neighbor Chile with the International Court of Justice in The Hague over its longstanding demand to gain direct land access to the Pacific Ocean.

The government in La Paz estimates that it lost 400 kilometers of coastline and 129,000 square kilometers of land after the War of the Pacific (1879-1883), when Bolivian forces battled the Chilean army.

But the government of Santiago says that there is nothing more to settle after both sides signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1904. Chilean lawyers will argue before the court at The Hague that Bolivia’s case has no legal backing.

The International Court of Justice was created in 1945 to resolve disputes between nations.

In the complaint, Bolivia has stated “its commitment” to comply with the final resolution, whatever the decision may be. In order for the government’s case to prosper, Bolivia must not only submit legal arguments but also demonstrate the numerous attempts it has tried over the years to resolve the dispute — without the use of violence or force — with the Chilean government. This is a mandatory requisite under the court’s statutes.

In 1948, both countries ratified the so-called Bogota Pact in which they recognized the court’s jurisdiction — another condition that must be met by both sides so that the case can be admitted.

The court will set the rules for hearings on the case, including admitting third countries who could be called to testify before the panel of international judges (...)

http://elpais.com/elpais/2013/04/24/inenglish/1366823596_128656.html

The brief article ends with some considerations on how important is to Evo Morales this historical demand, what he considers "our right to have access to the sea".
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politicus
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2013, 02:28:55 am »

Countless countries have lost territories over the years. Taking this to court sounds completely unrealistic.

But I hope they succeed. Since Denmark has lost so much territory, this would definetly be worth looking into for our government Tongue
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Velasco
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« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2013, 06:23:33 am »

Don't give ideas. Time ago we were the Empire where the Sun never sets. Give us all the Americas back, from Oregon to Cabo de Hornos Tongue
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« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2013, 07:38:04 am »

Does Bolivia think they have a genuine chance here, or is this just a case of the government/Morales trying to increase their support domestically?

But I hope they succeed. Since Denmark has lost so much territory, this would definetly be worth looking into for our government Tongue

You did go to the court (or its predecessor) in 1933 after the Norwegian occupation of Eastern Greenland. No need to mention who won that case  Tongue
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politicus
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« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2013, 09:55:31 am »

Does Bolivia think they have a genuine chance here, or is this just a case of the government/Morales trying to increase their support domestically?

But I hope they succeed. Since Denmark has lost so much territory, this would definitely be worth looking into for our government Tongue

You did go to the court (or its predecessor) in 1933 after the Norwegian occupation of Eastern Greenland. No need to mention who won that case  Tongue

That area wasn't really lost, since there weren't any soldiers occupying it, it was just an incursion by private individuals from a foreign country. The DK government chose to appeal to the court in Haag in order not to accelerate things.

But Norway should have a strong case regarding Shetland and the Orkneys, since the Scots (and later the Brits) never gave you a chance to buy them back, after we pawned them without asking you. I expect Lerwick being renamed Lervik within a few years.

Also Sweden broke several clauses in the Treaty of Roskilde about respecting the autonomy of Scania, their customs and the use of the Danish language over there. It should be a slam dunk case. Cheesy

The possibilities seems endless if this thing gets going.  
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Velasco
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« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2013, 12:03:06 pm »
« Edited: April 25, 2013, 12:08:28 pm by Velasco »

Does Bolivia think they have a genuine chance here, or is this just a case of the government/Morales trying to increase their support domestically?

On the paper the Bolivian demand looks unrealistic. Fulfilling it would suppose giving Bolivia 120,000 square km at the expense of Chile, in the Atacama desert, with big mining resources. While Chile wrested to Bolivia the lands around Antofagasta, the region around Iquique, northwards, was a territorial gain at the cost of Peru. Of course Morales has domestic issues and sometimes his government actions have been unpopular, though he retains a huge support in general and his political opponents are weak (Bolivia is not Venezuela).

 
Img


However, the news points that Bolivia has put a great effort in this case and won't spare no expense, including a team of national and foreign lawyers. So the Bolivian bet is strong. At this point, I'd like to know in some detail if the treaties between Bolivia and Chile, regarding the access to the sea of the first country, could be revised and if there's something in this direction behind these moves.  
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MaxQue
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« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2013, 12:05:57 pm »

Why not giving a meter large strip of land on the Peru-Chile border?
That would be an appropriate answer to the demand.
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Velasco
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2013, 12:13:18 pm »

Chile and Peru have another and unrelated case opened since 2008, a dispute on their maritime limits, according to the same news. You might create a new tripartite war for that meter large strip.
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MaxQue
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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2013, 12:39:12 pm »

Well, most countries have territorial differents. Canada has one with Denmark, about Hans Island, a little island on the Denmark-Canada border between Ellesmere Island and Groenland. Last proposal in splitting the island in two. We also have 4 differents disputes about USA-Canada border.
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Lumine
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2013, 07:36:08 pm »

Interesting, I didn't notice there was a topic on this until now.

I don't see this as a stunt that Morales prepared for political gain: the Bolivians are (sadly) serious enough about this. They didn't try this kind of thing before because they didn't think they could win, but since a recent ruling towards Panama and Colombia (I believe) gave them an interesting precedent, they will try. They even hired the same British adviser the Peruvians used to lead their case against us.

My opinion? This is outright ridiculous. It would be like Germany suing Poland to regain East Prussia, or Mexico suing the USA to regain California. We took that territory in a fair war (if such a thing exists), we expelled their people, and now the zone is 100% Chilean. We lost a large amount of land to Argentina in 1881 (the size of our country now), and we are not complaining.

Img


Still, nobody is going to war. Most of Peru (except the Army Leadership) does not want it, we don't want it, and even if Bolivia wanted it, they wouldn't last. Chile spends huge sums of money on the military, and while our population is far lesser than the Peruvian and Bolivian combined (even lesser than Peru alone), our army outclasses theirs (we use Leopard tanks v. the Peruvian T-55, and the Bolivians use the Kürassier and several vehicles from former soviet countries), our navy is stronger in 2:1 proportion (12 frigates, 7 corvettes and 4 submarines v. 6 frigates, 4 corvettes and 4 submarines), and the only place were Peru is even with Chile is the Air Force, since they use modified MIG 29 that can prove a real match to the F-16 of the Chilean Air Force.

The problem? (Sorry for talking a lot about the military: I love the subject), Bolivia can't spend more on their forces, but Peru is pushing itself, and they could close the gap in a few years. That will create a serious arms race here (even stronger than the one we already have), and our economies might suffer from the military spending. I'm confident we can keep the spending without any problems (at least until 2020, when we will have to face energy shortages), but I'm not so sure about Peru.

I'm confident that we won't have a war, but since we (Bolivia, Peru and Chile) are all very nationalistic, I'll say this: We have won two wars against Bolivia and Peru, and we can probably win the third one if Argentina and or Brazil are not involved, or at least in separate sides (there is a strange popular belief here that Brazil and Ecuador would side with Chile, and that Venezuela and perhaps Argentina would help Bolivia).
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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2013, 08:11:28 pm »

Why can't Evo Morales just march overland through Argentina and invade the Falklands? It would make just as much sense, and would be much more dramatic.
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Lumine
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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2013, 08:16:19 pm »

It would seem fair if Bolivia receives a narrow strip of land, so it can have access to the sea, but it should also give up an equal amount of territory to Chile in return; a land swap.

The same should happen with Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Indeed, that would be a reasonable and diplomatic solution (and we could end up with some extra water and lithium reserves). However, and not being as sarcastic as it might seem: this is Latin America. We never do things in moderate, reasonable, mature and diplomatic fashion: We try to do everything fast: and if we fail to do that, we blow it up!

If we had created the history of our continent in harmony and reason (and without the meddling of some US diplomats), we wouldn't be in a situation were Ecuador hates Peru, Peru hates Chile, Chile hates Bolivia, Bolivia hates Brazil, Brazil hates Argentina, Argentina hates Uruguay, Uruguay hates Paraguay, Paraguay hates Venezuela, Venezuela hates Colombia, and Colombia hates them back.

Why can't Evo Morales just march overland through Argentina and invade the Falklands? It would make just as much sense, and would be much more dramatic.

I'd say because he wants to annex Gibraltar, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia first.
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Velasco
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2013, 02:58:21 am »

Why can't Evo Morales just march overland through Argentina and invade the Falklands? It would make just as much sense, and would be much more dramatic.

Well, no, the comparison really makes no sense and Morales did lost nothing on those rocks full of sheep.

My opinion? This is outright ridiculous. It would be like Germany suing Poland to regain East Prussia, or Mexico suing the USA to regain California. We took that territory in a fair war (if such a thing exists), we expelled their people, and now the zone is 100% Chilean. We lost a large amount of land to Argentina in 1881 (the size of our country now), and we are not complaining.

In agree on what the territorial claim makes no sense nowadays. Despite the region receives Bolivian immigrants, according to some documentaries that I've seen about the mining industry in the north of Chile, I'm sure that the population there is fine being in the country where now stands. However, I think that Bolivia has some rights on the question of the sea access, but this is something that both countries have to solve via bilateral treaties and it would be fair from Chile being generous on that matter.

I really don't think that any of those XIX century wars was fair, though I know what you mean. By the way, Paraguay suffered the worst part in the South American wars: the country was almost annihilated by the Triple Alliance (Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraguayan_War
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Secret Cavern Survivor
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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2013, 04:18:04 am »

I have to say, territorial changes in Latin America in the 19th and 20th centuries are pretty fascinating. Wink
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2013, 05:13:53 am »

Still, nobody is going to war. Most of Peru (except the Army Leadership) does not want it, we don't want it, and even if Bolivia wanted it, they wouldn't last. Chile spends huge sums of money on the military, and while our population is far lesser than the Peruvian and Bolivian combined (even lesser than Peru alone), our army outclasses theirs (we use Leopard tanks v. the Peruvian T-55, and the Bolivians use the Kürassier and several vehicles from former soviet countries), our navy is stronger in 2:1 proportion (12 frigates, 7 corvettes and 4 submarines v. 6 frigates, 4 corvettes and 4 submarines), and the only place were Peru is even with Chile is the Air Force, since they use modified MIG 29 that can prove a real match to the F-16 of the Chilean Air Force.

There's one problem, dear chap. Your Commander-In-Chief is Mr. Bad Luck Wink
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« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2013, 05:18:37 am »

Anyway, I kinda sympathize with Bolivian sentiments. After all, lacking a sea access contributed in large part to them being the poorest South American country.

Yet obviously regaining long-lost territory is not going to happen and Bolivia should try to settle the dispute differently, trying to negotiate access to ports and some communication route (after all, Paraguayan Navy has access to Argentinian ports, for example Wink)
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Lumine
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« Reply #16 on: April 27, 2013, 01:32:19 pm »

My opinion? This is outright ridiculous. It would be like Germany suing Poland to regain East Prussia, or Mexico suing the USA to regain California. We took that territory in a fair war (if such a thing exists), we expelled their people, and now the zone is 100% Chilean. We lost a large amount of land to Argentina in 1881 (the size of our country now), and we are not complaining.

In agree on what the territorial claim makes no sense nowadays. Despite the region receives Bolivian immigrants, according to some documentaries that I've seen about the mining industry in the north of Chile, I'm sure that the population there is fine being in the country where now stands. However, I think that Bolivia has some rights on the question of the sea access, but this is something that both countries have to solve via bilateral treaties and it would be fair from Chile being generous on that matter.

I really don't think that any of those XIX century wars was fair, though I know what you mean. By the way, Paraguay suffered the worst part in the South American wars: the country was almost annihilated by the Triple Alliance (Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paraguayan_War

[/quote]

I must say I have always felt bad about what happened to Paraguay. It took decades to repair a part of the damage, and Paraguay was never quite the same (the country even flirted with fascism in the 1930's). Even today, when you compare a country like Uruguay with Paraguay, the huge differences are incredible.

I have to say, territorial changes in Latin America in the 19th and 20th centuries are pretty fascinating. Wink

Indeed, I think the only country here that hasn't lost territory in a war is Brazil. Venezuela lost Colombia, Colombia lost Panama, Ecuador lost 30% of their lands to Peru, and so forth... So many interesting wars and so many untold stories. The influence of the USA and the European Powers in those wars is always underestimated, and sometimes forgotten. Example: We (Chile) won the Pacific War with the help of liberated Peruvian-Chinese slaves, French ammunition, British ships and German cannons.

Anyway, I kinda sympathize with Bolivian sentiments. After all, lacking a sea access contributed in large part to them being the poorest South American country.

Yet obviously regaining long-lost territory is not going to happen and Bolivia should try to settle the dispute differently, trying to negotiate access to ports and some communication route (after all, Paraguayan Navy has access to Argentinian ports, for example Wink)

Our President? I like him, but he makes Violet Jessop look like the spirit of luck... One of the jokes about him is that every time someone he wished someone good luck, that person suffered a horrible fate (Chavez died, Lula had cancer, several chilean sportsmen lost competitions, politicians ended up in scandals, Pope Benedict resigned, and so on). With that luck, we could have several earthquakes in the moment an invasion is launched!

Still, it would be great to see the dispute solved in such a simple way (I believe Paraguay offered to share their Navy access in Argentina in the 1960's, and the Bolivians refused).
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Snowguy716
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« Reply #17 on: April 27, 2013, 03:32:49 pm »

I sympathize with Bolivia. 

The best solution would be to open a cooperation zone in the areas of Chile pointed out above that would give Bolivia unfettered access to the port and new infrastructure to connect the port to Bolivia.  But still keep the port in Chilean hands.  That way Bolivia gets the economic boost and Chile could also benefit from it since it would be in one of their coastal cities.

But nothing ever works out nicely like that.  So... let the courts decide.
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Nutmeg
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« Reply #18 on: April 27, 2013, 09:09:07 pm »

I sympathize with Bolivia. 

The best solution would be to open a cooperation zone in the areas of Chile pointed out above that would give Bolivia unfettered access to the port and new infrastructure to connect the port to Bolivia.  But still keep the port in Chilean hands.  That way Bolivia gets the economic boost and Chile could also benefit from it since it would be in one of their coastal cities.

But nothing ever works out nicely like that.  So... let the courts decide.

That was the arrangement. Bolivia has duty- and inspection-free access to the three northernmost Chilean ports (Arica, Iquique, and Antofagasta), but Chile also was supposed to have maintained a rail link from La Paz to the sea. Such a rail link was never completed.
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Snowguy716
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« Reply #19 on: April 27, 2013, 10:18:14 pm »

That's where I think my sympathy for Bolivia drops.  It is not Chile's responsibility to maintain a rail line all the way to La Paz.  Bolivia isn't entitled to sea access.

If a rail link is vital, Bolivia should fork up most of the money for it.  Surely the return on investment would be high.

But I also sympathize with Bolivians in that they probably just want unfettered access to the sea without a different nation holding it over their heads.  Every time a dispute comes up, i can see Chile being vindictive and blocking access.
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Lumine
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« Reply #20 on: April 27, 2013, 11:53:59 pm »

That's where I think my sympathy for Bolivia drops.  It is not Chile's responsibility to maintain a rail line all the way to La Paz.  Bolivia isn't entitled to sea access.

If a rail link is vital, Bolivia should fork up most of the money for it.  Surely the return on investment would be high.

But I also sympathize with Bolivians in that they probably just want unfettered access to the sea without a different nation holding it over their heads.  Every time a dispute comes up, i can see Chile being vindictive and blocking access.

Sadly, it would be very hard for us not to be vindictive. Bolivia has declared war on us twice (1837 and 1879, and they almost did it again in the 1970's), they have a very aggressive rhetoric (even more aggressive than ours), and they have used every possible chance they had to undermine our diplomatic position. Practical Example: When Marshal Tito of Yugoslavia came here in the 1960's, the Bolivian Ambassador even requested him to give his full support to Bolivia and give a "Vive le Quebec Libre" type of speech. It's an endless circle of insults that won't take us anywhere, expect in the case were Venezuela gives Bolivia enough armament to believe they can retake their lands, and even that is literally impossible.
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Benj
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« Reply #21 on: April 27, 2013, 11:56:02 pm »

But I also sympathize with Bolivians in that they probably just want unfettered access to the sea without a different nation holding it over their heads.  Every time a dispute comes up, i can see Chile being vindictive and blocking access.

Whatever. Plenty of countries don't have coastlines. They do just fine without throwing fits about their neighbors. Austria doesn't go around demanding that Italy or Croatia open their ports, even though Austria controlled ports now in Italy and Croatia more recently than Bolivia controlled ports now in Chile. This is just childish.
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politicus
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« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2013, 11:56:02 am »

But I also sympathize with Bolivians in that they probably just want unfettered access to the sea without a different nation holding it over their heads.  Every time a dispute comes up, i can see Chile being vindictive and blocking access.

Whatever. Plenty of countries don't have coastlines. They do just fine without throwing fits about their neighbors. Austria doesn't go around demanding that Italy or Croatia open their ports, even though Austria controlled ports now in Italy and Croatia more recently than Bolivia controlled ports now in Chile. This is just childish.

Borders between two Spanish speaking countries in Latin America is a bit more arbitrary than between two ethnically defined nation states in Europe or Asia. The difference between a Bolivian mestizo and a Chilean mestizo is not necessarily that great. So this is mostly one of the historical accidents where the wrong part (seen from a utilitarian POV) won the war.
Not much to do about it given current differences in military strength, but I can see why Bolivians wont let this issue go away.  They simply need this area far more than Chile does.
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Ichabod
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« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2013, 05:47:33 pm »

That's totally true.

The initial problem started because after the independence from the Spanish Empire, the new countries decided that they were going to keep the same boundaries that they had as colonies (the Uti Possidetis principle) but these boundaries were not so obvious in all the cases (e.g. Chile and Bolivia).
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