By Carlos A. Quiroga
The governments of Bolivia and Chile may disagree on many things, but they seem increasingly in their desire for confrontation.
In the controversy over the Bolivian demand for sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean, there is no statement of La Paz that not receive immediate and furious response of Santiago, and vice versa. The most recent brush occurred this week:
Chilean Foreign Minister, Heraldo Munoz, said again that Bolivia has all the facilities to import and export through the ports of Arica and Iquique, even that the old Arica-La Paz is operable, although it does not work for three decades.
Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca replied Thursday that the opposite is true, citing logistical, legal, tax and health obstacles in Chilean ports, with huge losses to Bolivian trade and transport.
«Chile violate the 1904 Treaty of limits every day,» Choquehuanca said. «Bolivia confused free transit with gratuity,» Muñoz protested.
Does the International Court of Justice in The Hague hear these disputes?
The binational noise, in any event, is unrelated to the governments’ decision to wait for the authority of the World Court to decide if both countries must open a formal negotiation on the Bolivian demand.