Re: “Gobierno Buscará Que OEA Ratifique Declaración de 1979 Contra Chile”By: Jorge Rojas-Ruiz, Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs
Your May 28 article, “Gobierno Buscará Que OEA Ratifique Declaración de 1979 Contra Chile,” provides a persuasive overview of the Bolivian government’s interest in demanding a rectification of the 1979 OAS treaty concerning Bolivia’s access to the sea. However, the article fails to discuss why Evo Morales’ administration had to struggle to obtain support from other Latin American countries on this issue, namely due to his inability to foster a safe, transparent, and secure political system in his own country.
For example, Senator Roger Pinto, head of the Bolivian opposition, has recently received political asylum from Brazil. Congressman Adrián Oliva says this action stems from the constant “harassment and inclement persecution of President Morales’ government.” Since Morales’ election in 2006, dozens of implicated Bolivian political figures have been granted political asylum in Brazil, Paraguay, Peru, Spain, Argentina, and the United States, all claiming they were subject to harassment. Some leaders, such as President Santos of Colombia, might be ultimately willing to support Morales’ cause of getting sea access for Bolivia but are unwilling to risk the negative publicity that could result from association with Morales at this time.
Now, some of the above charges may be no more than propaganda from an embittered opposition. The Bolivian government failed to gain support from other OAS member states during the last OAS general assembly, which ended on June 5. Nevertheless, if Bolivia implements transparency measures while continuing to maintain its sovereignty vis-à-vis Chile, it should have no problem gaining support from its fellow member countries regarding its access to the sea.
Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs