BEIJING – If Bolivia achieves its long sought access to the sea through Chilean territory, it will mean that any international treaty can be revised, which will therefore lead to “absolute judicial insecurity worldwide,” the head of a party in Chile’s ruling coalition told EFE.
“We have to realize what’s at stake in Bolivia’s case in The Hague,” said Ernesto Velasco, president of the Radical Party of Chile that forms part of the New Majority coalition supporting President Michelle Bachelet.
In an interview with EFE in Beijing, where he is on an official visit, Velasco discussed the century-long conflict between Chile and Bolivia over the latter’s demand for a corridor to the sea, which has seen a powerful resurgence after the International Court of Justice, or ICJ, in The Hague declared itself competent to rule on the problem.
Now that the court has responded positively to the case entered by Bolivia and set July 25, 2016, as the final date for Chile to deliver its written arguments, Velasco has traveled to Beijing as part of a government project to explain Chile’s position in the matter to representatives of the principal international powers.
For Velasco, with his background of historical studies, it’s not just Bolivia and Chile that are involved in the conflict. “Respect for international treaties is basic to international coexistence, because otherwise it will mean we can revise all of them,” the politician said.
In the dispute, Bolivia says that Chile must answer to the expectations created for its sovereign access to the sea by the treaties signed in 1975, when dictator Augusto Pinochet offered the neighboring country a corridor to the Pacific Ocean.
That corridor would cross the Chilean-Peruvian border and in exchange, Bolivia would give up some of its territory, but the talks broke down because of the residents’ opposition to the swap and Peru’s claim that the territory it was going to cede to Bolivia was its property before the 1879-1883 War of the Pacific.
For Velasco, Bolivia’s case in The Hague requesting a corridor to the sea will go nowhere.
“It will end as a dialogue of the deaf. Bolivia will ask for sovereignty and for Chile that will never be on the table.”