Monday, March 26, 2007



Bolivia celebrate the "Day Of The Sea" Dia Del Mar on March 23rd. Its that time of the year when Bolivians stake their claim to the city port which Chile seized several years ago. Demonstrations, parades and speeches are part and parcel of the Day Of The Sea. Attempts at undoing this act of aggression by recovering their only outlet to the sea is deeply embedded in the Bolivian psyche.

At the turn of the 20th century, Chile, invaded Bolivia's only port along the Pacific coast. This land grab was the result of Chilean militarism, Bolivian passivity and regional politics. Since then Bolivia has been characterised as a land locked country. Bolivians have never forgotten their loss to the Chileans. A historical equivalent would be Japan's sneak attack and destruction of the American fleet at Pearl Harbour.

Diplomatic relations do no exist between Chile and Boliva. Any attempt to try and bring Chile and Bolivia together is always marked by Bolivia's insistence on the return of their land.

Bolivian presidents never fail to remind the world community of their rightful claim to the territory, especially when its their turn to speak at the UN general assembly. Children are taught in schools to never forget the injustice that was perpetrated by the Chileans.

Chilean presidents have never tried to settle this matter in an amicable manner. Its a pity because what's at stake is not a huge piece of, mineral-rich, real estate but only a small port city. Returning to Bolivia what is rightfully theirs will hardly create a dent in the Chilean economy. The Chileans have the entire coast to themselves and are a powerful economic and military entity in South America. Bolivia pose no threat to them.

It remains a mystery as to why Chile have never seriously considered Bolivia's claims.


Anonymous said...

hmnn...Chile may relent if they are paid a substantial sum to give up Bolivian property

Anonymous said...

This is an interesting piece of history I never knew about: amazing. Is there access to the port or is it through Chile territory? was that path through Chile annexed as well?

Bolivian Beat said...

yes the access was annexed as well.

I ended my post saying that it's a mystery as to why the Chileans have never taken Bolivian claims seriously. It ain't a mystery when you consider regional power politics.