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Bolivia-Chile's Dispute on Way Out to the Sea, New Scenarios
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) of The Hague, in the Netherlands, has ruled clearly that Chile's objection to the Bolivian demand of access to the sea was out of the question.

Or what is the same, it declared the Court competent to rule on the case presented by La Paz in 2013.

The truth is that 14 of the 16 judges of the CIJ, voted against the Chilean objection and the hurrahs in La Paz were so emphatic as instead of a simple step toward solving the case, some hand from above had opened a road to the coast and made it accessible without passing through customs or migration control posts.

The Bolivian enthusiasm not only expanded from the multitude concentrated in squares and streets many hours before knowing the verdict, but also to many authorities that dream some day to barely have a small land strip, open to a couple of kilometers of the sea.

Former president Eduardo Rodriguez Velze, named by Evo Morales to discuss the issue before the ICJ and also ambassador to Hollandk, considered as vgery important the determination of the Court, even warned that it would not only be trascendent for Bolivia but also for Chile and beyond, for Latin America.

The judges ratified the spirit of the treaties and protocols of the countries to solve their differences, which is very important because today the world is yet witness to wars, stressed Rodriguez Veltzé, who recalled that "two countries resorted to this pacific space to solve old and complex differences and we will continue in this space of justice to solve that difference peacefully."

The Chilean counterpart, Felipe Bulnes, admitted he would have liked the ICJ to accept the objection of his country, but considered Santiago did not lose completely because the position of the Court reduces the Bolivian demand.

"We are not discussing the eventual right of Bolivia to a sovereign access to the sea, but an obligation or not to negotiate without the Court rule regarding its content," he insisted.

Evo Morales, on his part, considered what happened in Le Hague as a victory and greeted all those in charge of defending the Bolivian demand, as he invited Chile to negotiate and to solve the dispute, but by then, President Michelle Bachelet had already appeared to assure that "Bolivia did not win anything until now."

While Morales thanked the international support, including Pope Francis and that of Chilean social movements, Bachelet insisted that what was decided by the Court up to now, was that the Court is competent to rule on the subject without any evaluation of what Bolivia pretends.

"I assure you that my government will adopt all the measures necessary to safeguard the integrity of our territory and that under no circumstance it will be affected," she emphasized, as to say the last word on the subject.

Anyway and whatever is the final determination of The Hague, the decision or not to negotiate corresponds to Santiago and Bachelet, as well as other occupants of La Moneda, are reluctant to dialogue with Bolivia.

Bolivia was born as a republic in 1825 with coasts to the Pacific ocean, but a Chilean invasion, in February, 1879 snatched over 400 kilometers of coast and 120 thousand square kilometers of territory rich in minerals.

A quarter of a century after, both parts signed a Peace and Friendship Treaty, which Chile always refers to when an access to the sea is referred to by La Paz, in a show off sidesteping or dodging any blow. / By Hector Miranda - PL.

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