LA PAZ – Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said on Monday that Chilean officials prevented his delegation from entering the port of Arica.
The delegation was also prevented from entering the offices of two Bolivian agencies operating in the terminal, Choquehuanca told radio station Compañera via telephone.
“When we were about to enter, the ones who privatized this port did not let us enter. We are waiting. They say there is a note from Foreign Ministry authorities, but they won’t show it to us,” Choquehuanca said.
The foreign minister said port officials were told to allow the delegation to enter in the afternoon, so the Bolivian group will wait because its offices are under Bolivia’s jurisdiction.
The delegation was trying to enter the offices of the Port Services Administration-Bolivia, or ASP-B, and of the customs service.
If this is the treatment given to Bolivian government representatives, then Bolivian truckers must be facing far worse, Choquehuanca said.
Choquehuanca is leading a delegation of lawmakers, truck drivers’ representatives and journalists.
The delegation traveled on Sunday to Arica to investigate allegations of mistreatment of Bolivian truck drivers at northern Chilean ports.
If mistreatment is confirmed, it could violate a treaty between Chile and Bolivia that establishes the right to free transit for Bolivian cargo through Chilean ports.
The Chilean government considers the delegation’s trip a private visit because diplomatic protocols were not followed, a position that Choquehuanca rejects.