Sea For Bolivia - A Negotiation Analysis Part I



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In the early 16th century, when most South American countries gained independence from Spain, Bolivia had access to the Pacific Ocean through a land strip that extended southwest from present Bolivian territory. Since those territories were mostly unpopulated desert, the border with Chile on the south was not clearly defined. During the 19th century several subsequent treaties between the Chilean and the Bolivian governments, defined this border as the 24th parallel, with the condition that the Bolivian government would not over tax Chilean salt pepper mining companies already operating north of that line. In 1879 the Bolivian dictator Hilarion Daza, under the pressure of a huge economic deficit, violated this treaty and expropriated the privately owned Chilean companies in these territories. Chile declared null all the treaties celebrated with Bolivia so far and immediately declared war, occupying all coastal territories disputed with Bolivia reaching the border with Peru. Peru on the other hand had a secret pact with Bolivia, which compromised mutual cooperation against any common enemy; therefore Peru had to declare war to Chile and the War of the Pacific begun.

The Bolivian forces abandoned the dispute early in the conflict leaving their Peruvian allies to face the better-equipped Chilean forces by themselves. After a five-year war, Chile defeated Peru, expanding its territory north not only claiming the disputed Bolivian coast access, but also acquiring a large portion of Peruvian land west of the Andes. Chile signed a peace treaty with Peru in 1883 and an indefinite truce with Bolivia in 1884. The conditions of the peace treaty signed with Peru stated that the region of Tarapacá with the cities of Arica and Iquique Chile will remain under Chilean control but Chile could not cease any of the formerly Peruvian territories to any other nation, without approval from Peru.

Since the end of the War of the Pacific, Bolivia has regretted the loss of their access to the ocean and they blame their landlocked condition to be the reason of their lack of progress. Many Bolivians, mainly among uneducated population and indigenous groups, believe that Daza had some kind of secret agreement with Chilean groups of power, and that the whole war was a plot to grant Chile these territories in exchange of some kind of payment. This is an unfunded version but it is still believed by an important part of Bolivian population.






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