“I am confident that he will assume the same position in relation to the 1879 invasion and will reaffirm his sea proposal for Bolivia,” Morales said.
Former Bolivian President Evo Morales asked Chilean President Gabriel Boric on Thursday to “reaffirm” his commitment to give Bolivia access to the sea, an idea that the head of state defended when he was a deputy.
Morales took advantage of Boric’s recent intervention in the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN), which is being held in New York, USA. There, the president condemned what he considers an “invasion” of Russia in Ukraine, for which that the Bolivian leader asked him to do the same by rejecting the War of the Pacific (1879-84), in which Bolivia lost its access to the sea.
“Brother president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, condemns what he calls ‘invasion of Ukraine, violation of its sovereignty and the illegitimate use of force’ by Russia. I am confident that will assume the same position in relation to the 1879 invasion and will reaffirm its sea proposal for Bolivia,” Morales wrote on his Twitter account.
Brother President From Chile @gabrielboric condemns what it calls “invasion of Ukraine, violation of its sovereignty and the illegitimate use of force” by Russia. I am confident that he will assume the same position in relation to the 1879 invasion and will reaffirm his proposal for #SeaForBolivia.
– Evo Morales Ayma (@evoespueblo) September 22, 2022
There were several occasions in which the now Chilean head of state expressed himself in favor of a sovereign outlet to the Bolivian sea. He did so before and after becoming a deputy, a position he assumed in 2014.
In 2013, Boric responded to a tweet by the right-wing leader Jose Antonio Kast in which he quoted Camila Vallejo, current Minister Secretary General of the Government, to question her for her support for La Paz in its desire to regain access to the Pacific Ocean. “There are many of us who agree with Bolivia’s sovereign access to the sea. You don’t have to be a PC (Communist Party) for that,” she wrote on that occasion.
Eight years later, Boric and Kast would compete in a presidential runoff. In March 2022, already as president, Boric invited Luis Arce to resume diplomatic relations, suspended in 1978, but also emphatically said that “Chile does not negotiate its sovereignty”.
The War of the Pacific began in February 1879 and, with the occupation of Antofagasta by Chilean troops, marked the end of Bolivian sovereignty in that city, a fact that made it lose its access to the sea.
The armed conflict lasted until 1884 and pitted Chile against the allies Bolivia and Peru. The dispute took place in the Pacific Ocean, in the Atacama desert and in the Peruvian mountains and valleys.
Since then, Bolivia has made its demand a central issue of its foreign policy and reiterates its claim in every international forum. In fact, he even filed a plea before the Court of The Hague, which in 2018 ruled out that Chile is obliged to negotiate.