Bolivia’s ruling party sets up headquarters in Peru
Just days after Peruvian President Pedro Castillo Terrones lost the support of his Marxist Peru Libre party, which decided not to support his new cabinet, news reports appeared indicating that the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) of former Bolivian President Evo Morales set foot in the country and even established his headquarters in Cusco.
The city that was once the capital of the Inca Empire seems quite worthy of neighboring Bolivia, with a similar climate and even an altitude above sea level. And the sea would explain Evo’s interest in a country off the ocean coast.
Since the loss of the so-called Pacific War (1879-1884). and with it all direct access to the Pacific Ocean, Bolivia must negotiate how to ship its exports. The 1904 Peace and Friendship Treaty with Chile in 1904 provided some form of solution, but Evo insisted and in 2018 the Hague-based United Nations International Court of Justice ruled that Chile was not not bound to give Bolivia access to the sea in any form other than those agreed in the 1904 document, which means that Chile does not even have to guarantee Bolivia’s free access to the sea.
Some estimates suggest that Bolivia’s maritime isolation damages around 47% of its export potential and that landlocked countries are less likely to receive foreign direct investment. And given Chile’s higher prices and growing restrictions, Bolivia might as well negotiate some sort of corridor to the sea through Peruvian territory.
In this geopolitical scenario, some Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) letterhead identifies Cusco as the seat of the political party led by Evo Morales, according to a report on the Peru Panorama show. The letters were reportedly sent from Cusco to Bolivia between August and September 2021.
?? We ask his eminent authority that Brother Cecilio Máximo Ilasaca, graduate in computer science, be considered for an appointment as consul in the Cusco region of the Republic of Peru, ?? said one of the letters.
Panorama contacted the person signing the documents, Isabel Ara Condori, who identified herself as a representative of the Bolivian residents of MAS-IPSP. ?? This will expand nationwide because there are a lot of people in the departments here in Peru, ?? Ara told Panorama.
Meanwhile, Morales is also negotiating to legalize the cultivation of coca in Peru, industrialize it nationally and the DEA as he did in Bolivia a few years ago. Morales already proposed in 2018 the return to the Peru-Bolivian Confederation (which lost the war against Chile at the end of the 19th century).
On August 12, the Arica Port Company (EPA) applied a tariff increase for 23 services provided to Bolivian commerce. This decision was rejected by the government of Luis Arce, who called the measure “taxation”? and assured that he would not tolerate it. According to Dante Justiniano, director of the Administration of Port Services-Bolivia (ASP-B), the recent increase “represents a flagrant violation of the Treaty of 1904”, which establishes that any decision on this class of tariffs must be agreed bilaterally.
For several decades, the Chilean ports of Arica, Iquique and Antofagasta were the most important triad for Bolivian foreign trade, the former being the most important. In 2020 alone, an approximate value of $ 6,898 million of Bolivian exports left through the said port, or about 18% of total exports. At the same time, 31% of Bolivian imports entered through Arica in the same year. Now, the EPA’s decision contemplates increases of nearly 200% for 40-foot containers.
With a new Peruvian president much closer ideologically to Morales’ party, stopping all negotiations with Chilean ports should come as no surprise, as plans for a multinational America appear to be gaining momentum. Morales’s recent tour of Peru seems to be clearer now.
Read also: Peru’s ruling party turns away from proposed cabinet – MercoPress