Chile made ‘secret offer’ to Bolivia in sea dispute


Isabel Cocker/The Santiago Times Staff

LA PAZ – Bolivian President Evo Morales has declared that Chile made a secret offer to cede territory to Bolivia in 1975 in order to grant the land-locked country freer access to the sea.

Morales stated on Sunday that the proof of this offer could be found in the 2891 recently-unclassified archives about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, released by the United States.

Morales used his Twitter account to publish the statement, alleging that “Documents declassified by Trump – U.S. President – reveal that in December 1975, Chile made a secret offer to Bolivia: a 10km corridor.”

Bolivia has always maintained that the Pinochet administration promised to grant the country access to the Pacific through a ceding of land through Antofagasta. However, Chile has denied the allegations and has refused to give Bolivia the land that Chile believes it won fairly in the War of the Pacific (1879-1883) and ratified in the 1904 Treaty between the two countries.

If evidence of this statement is found, it could impact the court case currently at The Hague through which Bolivia is suing Chile for access to the ocean. The court has just received the final written arguments by Chile, and in 2018 will be hearing the final oral arguments by both sides before reaching a judgment.

Chile concludes closing arguments in sea dispute with Bolivia at The Hague

A “secret treaty” would provide Bolivia with precedence upon which they could sue Chile. One of Chile’s main arguments against the case at the International Court of Justice is that the only treaty that has been made is the 1904 treaty which clearly cedes the Antofagasta region to Chile and provides a tax-free corridor through which Bolivia could move their goods and use of a port – but not overall possession of land to Bolivia.

The Bolivian Head of State used the hashtag #MarParaBolivia (#SeaForBolivia) to highlight his campaign, stating in another tweet that “Chile says it doesn’t have any outstanding issues with Bolivia, but history reveals that it admitted its obligation to satisfy the demand of #MarParaBolivia.”

So far, no official response has been made by the Chilean administration, but they have always affirmed that they will continue with the case as they believe that the Bolivian demand is unjust.