Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Will the War of the Pacific ever end?

Bolivia, Chile and Peru just cannot shake the War of the Pacific. The Peruvian government published a map that gave Peru control over waters that Chile claims—the map’s line goes at an angle southwest while Chile says it goes out due west. Just as the war over century ago centered on natural resources (e.g. guano) so does this dispute (fish). As a result, the Chilean government has withdrawn its ambassador. Chile claims the sea borders were fixed in the 1950s, while Peru says they never were and wants to go to the International Court of Justice to sort it out.

This comes right after the Bolivian consul was recalled because he claimed Bolivia and Chile were having final discussions that would lead to a resumption of full diplomatic relations with, of course, access to the ocean. The Chilean government said he was not in a position to know much about the talks.

Unfortunately, the presidents of all three countries face domestic problems, so all are happy to jack up the high political drama. But even under the best of circumstances, it’s no easy task to overcome well over a century of national bitterness and humiliation.


Anonymous,  4:24 AM  

Interesting post, which could also reflect the impact of advance in negotiations between Chile and Bolivia.

Greg Weeks 1:53 PM  

That's a reasonable argument--there is mutual suspicion any way you look.

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