Bolivia-Chile maritime conflict: Peru says it will not commit 1978 mistake
SAEM – In an interesting story that appeared in Santiago daily La Tercera, Peruvian Ambassador to Bolivia, Luis Solari Tudela, said it was “absolutely false” that a ruling by the International Court of Justice at The Hague on the maritime dispute with Chile would enable Peru to claim “a considerable amount of square kilomters” of land from its southern neighbor.
Rolling back the hands of time to the year 1978, La Paz and Santiago were close to agreeing on a corridor that would have given Bolivia its long-awaited outlet to the Pacific Ocean. Bolivia and Peru fought against Chile in a 19th century war, which forced Bolivia to become landlocked.
What is intersting about the near-agreement over a maritime corridor for Bolivia is that both countries were ruled by military juntas at the time: Augusto Pinochet in Chile and Hugo Banzer in Bolivia. Peru was the reason why the deal fell through. It claimed that granting such a corridor to Bolivia was “giving away” land that was ceded by Chile in the War of the Pacific (1879-84).
Even though Ambassador Solari Tudela says his country will not get in the way of a maritime corridor or enclave for Bolivia, it is a totally different matter whether Chile will ever grant such land to its eastern neighbor.
If the mining-rich region of northern Chile ever decides to import piped gas from Peru and Bolivia, land-claim issues will certainly appear on the negotiation table. Even though Bolivia broke off diplomatic relations with Chile in 1978, there is an oil pipeline that interconnects both countries.