History 101: Bolivia and Peru Alliance and Chile maneuvers: June 4, 1879

This interesting and exceptional article will serve to keep in mind our past, from El Diario, an article which was printed June 4, 1925, 1926, 1927 and yesterday 2012:

Fourth Chilean proposition to break the Alliance Peru Bolivia

Few days after Chile had declared war on Peru and Bolivia, the Cabinet of that nation Council adopted, on the proposal of the Minister of the Interior Domingo Santa Maria, a new international political plan, which consisted of removing Bolivia from its alliance with the Peru and locate the war only against this last nation.

Santa Maria, according to other eminent politicians from Chile, as Eusebio Trujillo, Melchor Concha y Toro, Justinian Sotomayor, Cornelio Saavedra, Alejandro Fierro, Eulogio Altamirano, the Vicuña, etc., put in game all media that were at their disposal to perform its international plan, and this time found the cooperation of two Bolivian nationals: Luis Vega Salinas y Gabriel René Moreno, who, “seduced by the desire to get a honorable solution of the outstanding difference as well as the conquest of permanent means to invigorate and strengthen the Bolivian nationality to their homeland”, were provided willingly to serve as intermediaries between the Government of Chile and their homeland Bolivia.

René Moreno had resided in Chile for many years dedicated to literary and biographical, work which gave him a reputation deserved in the Republic of letters. This character used Santa Maria to secretly convey the General in Chief of the army on campaign, the foundations for a settlement between the two Nations. René Moreno accepted the mission that was proposed, “because in this way – says the same – right or wrongly, thought an important service to my country, in a time in which for a thousand reasons I thought supreme and life or death for Bolivia”.

The same Santa Maria gave Moreno following manuscript documents: “Republic of Chile.- Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Santiago, May 29. 1879 – the Government of Chile interested in putting an end to the war against Bolivia, watches with pleasure the willingness of you (Gabriel René Moreno) to contribute to achieving this desire – as a result the Government of Chile would welcome you will get close to the President of Bolivia and convey our feelings in that regard.

My Government hopes that the Bolivian government will hear and welcome as you expose in this regard and in accordance to what you represented in our personal conferences and the present note. “Giving to you since then my thanks for the noble spirit that animates it, I offer you attentive server.-(signed) Domingo Santa María”.

“Chile Republic – Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Bases –

1st.- resume friendly relations which have always existed between Chile and Bolivia and that only they been interrupted since February of this year-as a result stops the war between the two republics, and the armies of both shall be regarded henceforth as allies in the war against the Peru.”

2A.- in testimony of which disappear since then all the reasons for disagreements between Chile and Bolivia is declared for latter that recognizes as the exclusive property of Chile all the territory between the parallel 23 and 24, which has been that have mutually disputed.

3A.- as the Republic of Bolivia has needed a part of Peruvian territory to regularize their own, and provide a communication to him with the Pacific, that lacks at present, without being subjected to constraints that he has always put the Peruvian Government, Chile not claim the acquisition of that part of the territory nor oppose his final occupation by Bolivia, but that, on the contrary, shall provide at the present more effective assistance.

4A.- aid will consist, as long as the current war with the Peru, providing arms, money and other elements necessary for the better organization and their army service.

5Th- defeated the Peru, and time to provide peace, not may it be made by Chile if Peru also does not with Bolivia, in which case Chile will respect all territorial concessions made by the Peru to Bolivia or that is imposed on one.

“Nor Bolivia can celebrate peace without the consent and involvement of Chile”.

René Moreno, bearer of these documents, arrived at the port of Arica and had his first interview with general Hilarión Daza, who was there. Days later, a secret Conference between Daza, its Secretary-General, Dr. Serapio Reyes Ortiz and René Moreno was held in Tacna.

There were read Chilean propositions, being openly rejected by Daza. It then became a serious and in-depth discussion between Reyes Ortiz and Moreno. The first argued vehemently loyalty to the ally, and the second the policy of convenience for Bolivia.

Over 46 years a question arises: which of the two was right?… Let others answer, we do not but narrate. At the conclusion of the Conference, Daza ordered draw copies of the Chilean bases to be delivered to the President of the Peru, who at that time was in Tacna, and send them to the chancelleries of La Paz, Lima and Buenos Aires.

Then and later, René Moreno was accused of traitor to the homeland, for being the carrier of Chilean propositions; but a Court of honor and the same Congress that acquitted of the accusation, stating that he had not done but do his duty.

El Diario, June 4, 1925, 1926, 1927.

Archives of the National Congress



I think is undeniable that Chile had always clear its geopolitics and Bolivia and Peru lost territory and what is more important: to remain under a coalition, a unity. It is no secret that Bolivia was called High Peru back in colony times, due to its highlands. After living sometime in Peru, I found more coincidences and background among our people, we should have remained as one country.

Some of Peruvians I knew in Lima and Arequipa, told me at one point or another that Bolivia left them alone in that war, they said they jumped in the war because of us and then we left them alone… and that Chileans invaded Lima, raped their women and pillaged Miraflores and other Lima neighborhoods, while we remained “aside”… I guess that is how they learn their history, in Bolivia I learned differently, but if we did such thing, I ask for forgiveness from that beautiful Peruvian people.

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

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