Sea For Bolivia - A Negotiation Analysis Part III



@font-face { font-family: "Arial"; }@font-face { font-family: "Cambria Math"; }@font-face { font-family: "Calibri"; }p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; }.MsoPapDefault { margin-bottom: 10pt; line-height: 115%; }div.WordSection1 { page: WordSection1; } Alternatives to a Negotiation Agreement and BATNAs:

.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal { margin: 0cm 0cm 10pt; line-height: 115%; font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; }.MsoChpDefault { font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; }.MsoPapDefault { margin-bottom: 10pt; line-height: 115%; }div.WordSection1 { page: WordSection1; } Alternatives to a Negotiation Agreement and BATNAs:
The most probable alternative to a negotiation agreement is to keep the discussion unresolved eternally. That is actually what has happened so far and that’s the reason why this conflict has been alive for 131 years. Chile has a very good BATNA. It is very unlikely that an armed conflict occurs, and if it does Chile has much stronger defense power than Bolivia and good relations with other powerful nations like Brazil or the US. On the other hand Bolivia has tried to take the case to the International court of The Hague, but they have a very weak case and their chances of winning are also very low. There are only two costs for Chile if no agreement is met. One is not having Bolivia as a regional economic partner, and the other is the image damage infringed by the Bolivian government and its allies like Hugo Chaves who keeps seeding anti Chilean feelings in the region. On the other hand Bolivia’s BATNA is very bad if we compare it to their aspiration value. They are asking for a cession of sovereign territory with access to the sea, but are being left not only without that, but they are also self-imposing a restriction in the use of Chilean ports.

Current Strategies:

In the last decade, Bolivia has tried to debilitate the Chilean BATNA by using their allies to attack the Chilean government’s public image and by using issues like the gas exports as a trade coin. This actions had had an impact in Chile because is raises public awareness, at least among some groups of people, of the necessity of helping a fellow country in trouble.

Chile’s strategy on the other hand has been to show itself as a country willing to cooperate, but being clear in stating that a cession of sovereign territories is out of question and that the problem must be resolved between the two countries without the participation o third parties. Chile has offered many alternatives to Bolivia, like assigning an exclusive port to them with special tax-free conditions and a statutory corridor with roads or railroads for transporting Bolivian goods. This actions help to counteract the damage on Chilean image and sometimes even leave the country better off.

The Road to more Effective Negotiations and Future of the Conflict:

Today president Evo Morales is the Bolivian head of state. He is a key player because he has the potential to become an unbalancing piece in this negotiation. He is very close to Hugo Chaves from Venezuela and other extreme left wing governments like Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Raul Castro in Cuba, but that has not stopped him of having good relations with Sebastian Piñera, the conservative Chilean president. Morales’ predecessors had a great disadvantage treating the maritime issue compared to him. Due to their empowered-class origin, people in Bolivia tended to associate them with Hilarion Daza and feared that history would repeat itself (they fear a Principal-Agent conflict!). Therefore to win an election and maintain popularity, those presidents needed to prove their adhesion to the maritime cause and continually show their belligerence toward Chile. That helped to improve their internal image but certainly didn’t facilitate relations with Chile. Morales on the other hand has an indigenous origin and doesn’t need to proof his allegiance to Bolivia to maintain the trust of the Bolivian people. This gives him more freedom to address this issue because he is less constrained by public opinion.

I believe that today there is no ZOPA in this negotiation. Chile will not cease any territory because its BATNA is too good and Bolivia will not accept any of the Chilean offers to help them overcome their trading restrictions because Bolivian government is too constrained by their own history and their public opinion. The best Chilean strategy in my opinion is to keep stalling an agreement while making gestures of good will to Bolivia, because Chile has little to loose. On the other hand, although very improbable, I believe that the only strategy that can help the Bolivians to reach a favorable agreement is to try to set a more realistic reserve value. To achieve this many presidents and many leaders in Bolivia have to work for a long time lessening the anti Chilean feeling in Bolivia and showing that using Chile as a partner is more convenient that seeing Chile as an enemy. Whoever takes the first step in this direction in Bolivia will be assuming huge political risks, but somebody has to do it. I doubt that Morales is willing to take this step, because he is too influenced by Hugo Chavez, but I believe he is in a much better position than any of his predecessors to lead such a bid change of mind among the Bolivian people.






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