Bolivia goes to World Court over Chile sea access

From Reuters via Yahoo News:

Bolivia goes to World Court over Chile sea access

By Thomas Escritt

International Court of Justice in The HagueAMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Landlocked Bolivia went to the World Court on Monday [05/04/2015], seeking to force Chile to negotiate the granting of a corridor of sovereign territory giving it access to the sea for its natural gas and mineral exports.

Opening proceedings at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Chile asked judges to throw out the lawsuit, saying the tribunal had no jurisdiction over the matter.

Screen Shot 2015-05-04 at 7.49.49 PMBolivia lost its coastal territory after being defeated by Chile in the 1880s War of the Pacific.

However, it has argued for decades that it should be allowed sovereign access to the ocean, through which it could export its natural gas. Most of this is presently sold to Argentina and Brazil to its east.

“Bolivia is challenging the stability of borders and sovereign territory solemnly agreed in a peace treaty signed 111 years ago,” said Felipe Bulnes Serrano, representing Chile before the court in The Hague.

Bolivia currently has nearly free ocean access, paying transport costs but no tariffs to export some 1.6 million tonnes of cargo through Chile’s ports each year, including nickel, lead, silver and tin from Bolivia’s mines.

It nonetheless wants judges to order Chile to negotiate fully sovereign access, saying the 1948 Bogota Pact, to which both states are parties, gives judges the authority to do so.

“Our responsibility is to make solid historic and legal arguments to the international community to show that Bolivia should return to the Pacific with sovereignty,” said Bolivian President Evo Morales on Monday.

Chile says the treaty does not give the court a say in territorial disputes that have already been settled.

Even if judges allow the case to proceed, few expect the traditionally cautious court would go as far to order a border revision that went against the wishes of one of the states concerned.

Whatever the outcome, Morales will be hoping that his attempt to get international acknowledgement of Bolivia’s complaint will help shore up declining popularity at home.

(Reporting by Thomas Escritt, Additional reporting by Rosalba O’Brien and Antonio de la Jara in Santiago and Daniel Ramos in La Paz; Editing by Crispian Balmer)

This news only offers the earlier remarks made by the Chileans. I just hope there will be a follow-up on this news, with the Bolivia remarks. As it is, it looks biased…

It also fails to register that being a landlocked country, Bolivia, has to endure greater negative impact economically, as economists like Jeffrey Sachs made strong and compelling arguments for countries like Bolivia who do not have a sovereign seacoast, but need seacoast to fight poverty. It is a proven fact.

Like Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, without a declaration of war, Chile’s invasion deprived us from our territory, we demand JUSTICE be made!

Published by Bolivian Thoughts

Senior managerial experience on sustainable development projects.

2 thoughts on “Bolivia goes to World Court over Chile sea access

  1. “…being a landlocked country, Bolivia, has to endure greater negative impact economically…”

    That is just a plain lie. The negative impact comes from the distance between its production centers and the coast. Bolivia’s mines and gas deposites are thousands of kilometers from the coast. Even if they had coast, they still would have to transport everything to the coast. Now they do it using the train built for them by Chile and paying no taxes in Chilean ports.
    If Chile gives them some territory in the coast, would it be cheaper for them ? It would be even more expensive, they would have to build and maintain their own train and port, and distance would still be the same.

    1. Thank you for your comment. You missed the point, I suggest you read the work of Jeffrey Sachs on the subject. It is pretty clear and reflects what happens with land-locked countries like Bolivia.Thank you.

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