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Montevideo, November 21st 2018 - 16:05 UTC

Morales insists in involving the Pope in the ongoing sea outlet dispute between Bolivia and Chile

Wednesday, December 27th 2017 - 09:42 UTC
Full article 124 comments
According to the Vatican the pope and Morales spoke about “various themes of common interest,” and there was no mention of the ongoing dispute According to the Vatican the pope and Morales spoke about “various themes of common interest,” and there was no mention of the ongoing dispute

Bolivian President Evo Morales implied in a Tweet that he and Pope Francis had discussed Bolivia’s territorial dispute with Chile during a meeting at the Vatican on December 15. According to the Vatican, the 30-minute private meeting “took place in a cordial atmosphere.”

 During their conversation, the Vatican said, “appreciation was expressed for the contribution the church has given and continues to ensure in favor of the human, social and cultural progress of the population of the country, and mention was made of the updating of the framework of agreements between the Holy See and Bolivia.”

In his official Twitter account, President Morales said his meeting with the pope “gives me more strength and more commitment” to serving the most abandoned. The pope’s “reflections on the poorest, his prayers for peace and against injustice are always for reflection,” he tweeted after the meeting.

Although the Vatican said Morales and the pope spoke about “various themes of common interest,” there was no mention in the Vatican statement of the ongoing dispute between Bolivia and Chile. Francis will visit Chile Jan. 15-18.

Bolivia and Chile share a border of more than 650 kilometers, but do not have diplomatic relations. The sour relations are the product of a long history: Chile defeated Bolivia and Peru in the War of the Pacific in 1879 and seized a mineral-rich region of Bolivia, turning Bolivia into a landlocked country.

Access to the sea is a common call from Bolivia, but Chile considers the case closed.

Morales has tried to draw Francis into the issue. When he welcomed the pope to Bolivia in 2015, Morales told him, “You have arrived in a country mutilated by its lack of access to the sea,” and gave him a gift, the “Book of the Sea.”

Francis responded by saying, “Dialogue is indispensable,” along with “building bridges instead of building walls.”

In a second tweet Dec. 15, Morales said Bolivia “still has very emotional memories” of the pope’s visit, and he thanked the pope for his support of their claim to sea access, using the hashtag #MarParaBolivia (#SeaForBolivia).

Arriving in the papal library, Morales warmly greeted the pope saying, “Brother Pope, good morning.” As they sat down, the Bolivian president told Francis that he looked “much younger.”

Top Comments

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  • Chicureo

    In reference to the Bolivian Pacific coastline, we stole what is now part of Bolivia and Peru about 100 years ago. Chile during that war lost a large part of its claim to Patigonia. During the Pinochet government, a thin corridor along the Peruvian border was proposed, but rejected by Peru.

    Bolivia today has full free port access to the Pacific via rail built by Chile.

    Dec 28th, 2017 - 04:47 pm +5
  • imoyaro

    I see Edgar is not very well read in history. Actually, Chile had claims to the Atacama which they resolved in Bolivia's favor under treaty in 1874 in return for a promise not to raise taxes on existing Chilean businesses in the disputed region. Five years later, the Bolivian president, Hilarion Daza, decided to unilaterally break the treaty, and Chile then reclaimed the previously disputed territory. Typically Bolivian behavior, if you ask me, with predictable results. (Witness the Chaco war with Paraguay in the 1930s.)

    Dec 29th, 2017 - 02:47 pm +4
  • imoyaro

    Riiiiight. They didn't just have claims, they had a presence. As for moving north of that, the Peruvians made that happen. Again you are trying to obfuscate. Typical viveza criolla, eh, Edgar?

    Dec 29th, 2017 - 03:38 pm +4
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