LA PAZ – The Bolivian navy launched on Thursday an effort to make a flag 70 km (43 mi) long in hopes of setting a new world record to dramatize La Paz’s demand that Chile return a portion of the Pacific coastline that landlocked Bolivia lost in a 19th-century war.
Pupils at La Paz’s Heroes del Pacifico school invited the navy commander, Vice Adm. Flavio Gustavo Arce, to come and take delivery of the first segment of the flag.
Bolivian individuals and businesses have been urged to contribute to the project, whether by crafting segments or by taking part in the final assembly of the banner, which is set to be unfurled March 10 along a major highway.
The design consists of a blue field bearing the red-yellow-green national flag and the wiphala – the multicolored ensign of Bolivia’s indigenous peoples – in the upper hoist quarter, surrounded by nine gold stars, representing each of the country’s eight regions and the prospective coastal province.
The International Court of Justice in The Hague is set to hear oral arguments next month in the case that Bolivia has brought against Chile over the coastal territory.
Bolivia lost around 400 km of coast and 120,000 sq km (46, 332 sq mi) of territory to Chilean troops during the 1879-1884 War of the Pacific.
Chile maintains that there is nothing to negotiate, as the borders were established in a 1904 treaty.