On March 23, 2022, The Ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, H.E. Mr. Roberto Calzadilla Sarmiento, hosted a reception on the occasion of the 143rd anniversary of La Defensa de Calama, or Day of the Bolivian Sea.
Bolivia filed a lawsuit before the International Court of Justice on April 24, 2013, regarding Chile’s obligation to negotiate with this State, to reach an agreement that would grant it sovereign access to the sea.
“On October 1, 2018, the International Court of Justice ruled on the case that was debated here in The Hague during the last few years. In that context, the court’s ruling has been very clear in recommending both parties to continue the dialogue, exchanges, and negotiations within the spirit of good neighborliness and seek a solution to the situation of Bolivia, which should be of mutual interest.” expressed the ambassador.
It is important to note that the election of the new Chilean president Gabriel Boric on March 11, 2022, augurs a positive expectation from the Bolivian point of view. It presents a possibility that both countries can improve relations due to the ideological affinity of both governments, as well as hope for the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with the solution of Bolivia’s access to the sea.
“For 60 years Bolivia and Chile have not maintained diplomatic relations. Both countries have much to contribute to South American, Latin American, and Caribbean integration. This date, the Day of the Bolivian Sea, is very important for us. We want to overcome the barriers between our peoples and strengthen our ties of brotherhood that have existed since before the colony, to establish a fruitful relationship of good neighborliness. These 400 kilometers that Bolivia claims have deprived us of the economic development that our people deserve.”
Recently, President Boric assured that there is a ‘predisposition’ together with Bolivia to improve relations between Santiago and La Paz,” said Ambassador Sarmiento.
“In his speech at the Day of the Sea event, our President Luis Arce affirmed that re-establishing relations with Chile will only be possible in the framework of the solution to the maritime issue.” The right to the sea is inalienable and is embodied in Article 267 of the Bolivian Constitution. President Arce recalled the phrase of Salvador Allende who said that Bolivia’s right to the sea “is in the conscience of all the peoples of the world”.
In this opportunity, Ambassador Calzadilla introduced Bolivian-Dutch singer Charo Duran. She performed Bolivian music in Spanish and Dutch. Charo Duran was accompanied on guitar by Alvaro Pinta Lyon, a Chilean artist who plays the ronrocco.
The musical program consisted of beautiful songs of the Bolivian repertoire, among them Bolivia y Mar para Bolivia by the Kjarkes, Los pobres recuerdos Muertos by Luisa Molina, Soy caporal by Zulma Yugar, and many others.
The dance group Jallalla Boliviana interpreted the Diablada, a manifestation of the Carnaval of Oruro which is the patrimony of humanity, born in the middle of the XVI century in Oruro, Bolivia. This dance represents the struggle between good and evil, the clash of two cultures.
The dance is related to the figure of the “Tio”, located at the entrance of the Bolivian mines and at whose feet, each miner leaves their offerings of coca and alcohol. Present in the dance is the Archangel Michael, Lucifer, the China Sypay, (Devil Woman) Satan, the bear, the condor, and the devils.
During the reception following the cultural program, the guests enjoyed empanadas Saltenas – a popular Bolivian staple of Potosi origin from the mid-sixteenth century, which is in the southwest of the country.
Each guest received the Book of the Sea, courtesy of the Bolivian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.