Sunday, September 27, 2015
More Than 130 Years on, Chile and Bolivia Unable to Escape War's Legacy
Bolivia won a legal victory in its fight to reclaim an outlet to the Pacific Ocean, when the International Court of Justice allowed its case against Chile to proceed. Chile had challenged the court's jurisdiction, arguing its authority is limited to treaties since 1948 only. But the court ruled Chile has an obligation to negotiate a settlement with Bolivia. What's next? A full trial, although the court indicated it is not going to judge the results of the two countries' negotiations. Unlike last year's amicable resolution with Peru, Chile is entirely rejecting Bolivia's claims, citing the two countries' treaties. The dispute has its roots in the War of the Pacific (1879-1884), which resulted with Chile winning control of Bolivia's coastline and vast territory from Peru. For Bolivia, it was a specially painful loss, because it not only became a landlocked country but also lost a region that today includes rich copper mines. The war stands as one of the great pivotal moments in Latin American history, and one of the most costly. Chile, Peru and Bolivia are still dealing with its aftermath. There are a couple of excellent books on the war. "Andean Tragedy" provides deep details on the combatants and a detailed account of the entire conflict. "The 10 Cents War" is another commendable work with impartial analysis.