Bolivia, Peru Accuse Chile of Acts of Intimidation
As Chile continues to conduct sea, air and land military exercises along its northern border region, tensions have been mounting with neighboring Bolivia and Peru, which have called the exercises an act of intimidation.
The Chilean military exercise, dubbed “Huracan 2015,” is one of the largest ever conducted by Chile in the region, according to reports by the World Socialist Web Site Tuesday.
Chile, Peru and Bolivia have long been engaged in a territorial dispute over Chile’s coastline, which Chile took from the two nations during The War of the Pacific (1879-1883). The territorial loss made Bolivia a landlocked country.
Chile’s military maneuvers this year come after both Bolivia and Peru have made major advancements on the international stage in trying to regain their territory.
In February, the International Court of Justice in The Hague granted Peru control over 50,000 square kilometers of open ocean that Chile had previously claimed as part of its national waters. In September, the ICJ declared that it would hear Bolivia’s claim demanding for access to the sea.
Though Chile has been conducting military exercises annually since 2000, this year’s have been “by far the most menacing,” reported the WSWS.
Over 5,500 troops were mobilized, with tanks, frigates, submarines as well as combat and transport aircraft were all deployed on Chile’s northern border with Bolivia and Peru for “Huracan 2015.”
Last month, Bolivian President Evo Morales called the maneuvers an act of intimidation.
“Maybe some conservative groups in Chile still think that these kind of exercises of the Armed Forces will intimidate Peru, and Bolivia,” said Morales. “They are wrong. With this kind of action, only the dignity of the Chilean people is damaged.”
Chile has denied any wrongdoing, saying the increased military maneuver was to combat issues of crime along the border.