In an attempt to record part of our history, I decided to translate the following article from Guillermo Soto, published in El Diario:
Chile, nothing due to Bolivia?
As soon as a Forum, event or opportunity is presented, the Chilean authorities repeatedly say that “Chile has no pending litigation with Bolivia”, that “nothing is due to Bolivia”, which “is generous with Bolivia to allow free transit through Chilean ports”. In the end, they say many other absurdities when have to refer to our more than right Centennial demand to recover the sea-coast that was seized in a war of conquest from us.
On the pass 42 General Assembly of the OAS, the Chilean Foreign Minister, without respecting our condition of host country, even for a rule of courtesy, “comitas Pentium” is called in the diplomatic language, he returned to hammering our intelligence by expressing that “treaties generate rights and our maritime demand is regrettable”.
With Chilean State and Government, we do not only have pending our maritime recovery as a supreme non-waivable, but also many other topics that I list them briefly to refresh your memory of our “mapochino brothers”.
– Economic loss by the exploitation of guano and saltpeter, during the time of these organic products.
– Benefits that Bolivia ceased to perceive by the exploitation of copper and other minerals, operated by Chile for 133 years.
– (Labor, transport and others), collateral benefits during the exploitation of guano, saltpeter and copper.
– Benefits that Bolivia was deprived of by being land-locked. On this particular case, the economist Jeffrey Sachs said: “land-locked countries lost 0.7 percentage points in their growth rates, where it is clear that in the last ten years, the Bolivian enclosure costs exceed four billion dollars ($4,000,000,000)” In 133 years how much will it be?
– Costs of handling in Chilean ports which were Bolivian.
– Revenue ceased to perceive by Bolivia in tourism.
– Cost-benefit from the exploitation of the [train] FFCC Bolivia to Arica-Antofagasta.
– Amount of what they meant and means of the marine resources exploitation.
– Capital gains on the establishment of populations that appear in territories that belonged to Bolivia. (Municipal, regional and national tax collection).
– Deprivation of a merchant fleet with full sovereignty and consequential damages.
– By the Reversal notes of 1950, Chile forced in direct negotiations to find a formula that can give Bolivia its own maritime outlet and sovereignty, and the neighbouring country seek compensation without territorial in nature.
– Implementation of the resolution of the OAS in 1979, which considered the problem of continental interest and forcing Chile to start negotiations to resolve this.
– The compensation by the unilateral and unfair diversion of the waters of the Lauca River.
– Compensation for the use of waters of the Silala wetlands.
These issues and many more, if we review and account for the rich resources that lay in our captive territories, the exploitation, we have them pending with Chile. The historical foundations of fact and of law fully assist us to claim what was ours. In Chile’s obduracy, only assists “the right of the victory, the Supreme Law of Nations…”, as stated by Abraham König, the figurehead who came to Bolivia to impose on us with the threat of a new invasion, the ominous Treaty of 1904, absurdly called “Peace and friendship”.
We agree with the internationalist Ramiro Prudencio that Bolivians must not fall into the naivety of believe in international justice, both in the Hague and of any other court. Chile, in adherence to indicating their national emblem: “By reason or force”, never met a ruling requiring it to the maritime problem of Bolivia. For this reason, also agree with what expressed the fiery defender of our cause, the extinct writer Fernando Diez de Medina: “Chile will hear Bolivia in our maritime claim, when we are in a position to speak as equals”.
The proper exploitation of our natural resources and the adoption of smart policies for economic and social development will place us, someday, with the sufficient negotiating capacity to be heard.
The author is a lawyer, graduate in international studies.