Bolivia Declares Chile An Unfriendly Neighbor

Category: Politics / Dec 27, 2012 5:47PM EDT
Bolivia's vice president Alvaro Garcia Linera declared Chile an 'unfriendly neighbor' on Thursday (December 27) as the two countries continue to butt heads over Bolivia's demands to have access to the sea. An outlet to the ocean has been a major issue for Bolivia since the 1879-1883 War of the Pacific that allowed Chile to annex a vast northern expanse of land from both Bolivia and Peru. Bolivia complains that Chile has drug out an accord since a 1904 agreement they say is not honored. "Bolivia has been very patient, very friendly, very understanding -- and not only now, but over decades past -- in respect to negotiating a solution to our maritime disagreement that would give us access to the Pacific Ocean. It's a 100-year-old request, but the Chilean government -- I wouldn't say the Chilean people -- has responded with delays," Garcia Linera said. Bolivia and Chile have not had regular diplomatic relations for 30 years and Bolivia withholds exporting natural gas to energy-starved Chile. Garcia Linera said Bolivia is prepared to take legal action to force Chile's hand, and plans to gather support from other countries in the region. "We want to go country by country showing that Chile is a bad neighbor. The government is aggressive. It's a government that does not seek out sincere dialogue. It's a government that won't give a country an outlet to the sea, a country that was created with access to the sea and had it taken away by an unjust war. And today, in times when everything is globalized and there are continental blocks, Chile has a contrary attitude to history itself in that sense," Garcia Linera added. The International Court of Justice in the Hague is currently reviewing a case brought by Peru over maritime boundaries with Chile.