Amigos de Sucre

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Agreeing on borders

One of the most important events for anyone interested in 20th Century Bolivian history is the Chaco war, (1932-1935) fought between Bolivia and Paraguay over suspected oil resources in their border region.

As in many previous conflicts that Bolivia was involved in, it ended with the country losing land (approximately 75% of the Chaco region went to Paraguay).  In 1938 a truce was signed in Argentina, but this was not really the end of the subject as many Bolivians were not happy with the result.  It remained a topic as sensitive as the loss of the coastline to Chile.

Recently the topic has resurfaced, and Bolivia and Paraguay have signed an agreement to finalise the border – more than 70 years after the end of the conflict.

It could be compared to a similar situation between Germany and Poland.  Their common border was agreed in Potsdam in 1945 and is known as the “Oder-Neiße-Border“.  A formal agreement between the GDR and Poland was made in 1970, and to avoid any discussion on its validity it was confirmed in the 4+2 agreement on the re-unification of Germany in 1990.  A final contract between the states was signed in 1992.

On the other side of Bolivia, another border project is being discussed: a 150km tunnel to link Bolivia to the Pacific Ocean.  As much as I like the idea, it does sound like rather a big undertaking for those two countries.  And because of the area it is in, Peru would have to agree as well.

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