“We are remembering 144 years since the Chilean invasion of Antofagasta, which plunged our country into a war between sister nations that has left thousands dead. Honor and glory to our heroes who defended the Bolivian coast with courage and patriotism,” Arce wrote in a tweet.
Referring to the aggression of the neighboring country’s troops against the Bolivian port of Antofagasta, the leader of the Movement for Socialism – political instrument for the sovereignty of peoples reaffirmed “Bolivia’s sovereign and inalienable right to regain its access to the Pacific Ocean”.
“The sea should unite us, not divide us. Bolivia and Chile are brother nations,” Morales said on his Twitter account.
The Andean-Amazon nation gained independence on August 6, 1825 with approximately 400 kilometers of coastline on the Pacific Ocean.
However, without prior declaration of war, Chilean troops invaded the Bolivian port of Antofagasta on February 14, 1879, violating the border treaty between the two states.
This event began the so-called Pacific War, which lasted until 1884, when the parties signed an armistice under the logic of addressing the issue later.
As a result, Chilean troops occupied what had previously been Bolivian territory and deprived the highland state of sovereign access to the sea.
Bilateral dispute over this issue dates back to 1828, when the Chilean constitution stipulated that its territory extended to the depopulated Atacama sector, a stipulation that ended with the invasion of the site in 1879.
In 1904, both nations signed a Peace and Friendship Treaty, ending the conflict and finally and permanently recognizing Chilean sovereignty over Antofagasta.
For its part, Chile guaranteed the free transit of Bolivian goods without taxes between Chilean ports and Bolivia, as well as the construction of the Arica-La Paz railway line.
However, the Bolivian government has repeatedly denounced the breach of contract for not complying in its entirety, which it considers unjust.
Faced with this situation, Bolivia filed a complaint with the International Court of Justice in The Hague, which concluded on October 1, 2018 that there was no obligation for Chile to negotiate with Bolivia on sovereign access to the sea.
It also recommended that the parties start talks in search of an agreement.