Miguel Centella on Bolivia’s access to the sea, populism and irrationality

November 26, 2003


As Chavez raised again today the issue of Bolivia’s access to the sea, good piece in Miguel Centella’s blog Ciao! directly from Bolivia on the irrationality of it all. Some excerpts including my favorite sentence in bold:


Days after Mesa took office, his Foreign Minister gave a speech in which Bolivia‘s access to the sea was a primary policy concern. And from there it started again. Even the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, got in the game. He’s willing to offer his “good offices” to help resolve Bolivia‘s “legitimate right” to the sea (I didn’t realize nation-states had “legitimate rights” on geography). Applause, applause from the populist peanut gallery. Then Venezuela‘s president, Hugo Chavez, made certain remarks that’ve led to the worst diplomatic crisis between his country and Chile in recent history (both countries have withdrawn their ambassadors).


An editorial in La Razón made a clever point: If Chavez is so set on making sure Bolivia has a beach he can go swimming in, why doesn’t he give us a slice of the Carribbean. After all, it has much nicer beaches. And in the end the issue’s totally irrational. On so many different levels.


Oh, and I forget. We already do have access to the sea. We have free ports in Peru & Chile. There are hundreds of ships sailing the oceans under the Bolivian flag.


It’s my dream that in my lifetime, a Bolivian politician has the courage to stand up and say: “Guess what, we’re a landlocked country. And I’m OK w/ that.”

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