Monday, October 24, 2011

Law_Territory 2_Atacama Border Dispute

Bolivia is one of only two landlocked nations in South America and by far the continent's poorest country. Since its official independence from Spain in 1825, Bolivia has lost over half of its original territory to neighboring countries in a series of wars, the most devastating loss occurring from the War of the Pacific in which Chile took over its coastal area of Litoral. While the Treaty of Peace and Friendship of 1904 officially transferred all the the Bolivian Coast to Chile, the Atacama border dispute remains ongoing as Bolivia claims a sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean. The name derives from the Atacama Desert which constitutes the majority of the disputed territory, and also has proved to be valuable land due to its nitrate, silver, and copper deposits. This piece of land is claimed to be the driest in the world; some weather stations have never witnessed rain. The Bolivia-Chile boundary has a length of about 535 miles and is demarcated by pillars located in the Andes, but Bolivia is still separated by ocean by a 100-mile wide portion of Chile.

Although the 1904 treaty granted Bolivia duty-free use of the Chilean ports of Arica and Antofagasta, Bolivia is inherently tied dependent on its neighboring country for its trade and its ability to play in the global economy. The land of the Atacama Desert was not of interest to either country much as it was extremely arid and but Chile also already had close to 3,000 miles of coastline. The borders were not defined before the discovery of mineral wealth in the region, which spurred both nations to want a piece of the deposits, leading to decades of dispute. Due to Chile's eventual sovereignty over this territory, they have been able to reap the benefits of its natural resources. Today, Chile is one of South America's most stable and prosperous nations and recognized worldwide as a middle power. Meanwhile, Bolivia remains one of the most economically disadvantaged states in the world, dependent on worldwide aid and unable to participate in the global financial and trade structure.

In 1975, the Chilean government proposed swapping a narrow continuous border of their land running parallel to the border between Chile and Peru in exchange for an equal amount of Bolivian territory. This proposal involved former Peruvian land, and therefore could not occur without Peru's approval, therefore, some have argues that this proposal was simply a gesture to Bolivia as Chile knew it would not come to fruition. Bolivia and severed diplomatic relations with Chile indefinitely and today only maintain consular relations. In 2004, a hundred years after the signing of the treaty, Bolivian claims to the land in question were revived, especially with the events of the Bolivian Gas War. The slogan "gas-for-sea" became the slogan of people who opposed exportation of gas from Bolivia through Chile.

Case Studies (non-buildings)
Alaska Boundary Dispute
Kashmir Dispute

1 comment:

  1. According to Wikipedia, there are 47 countries in the world that are landlocked - a condition that is generally assumed to be disadvantageous. I wonder if it's possible to imagine that this is not the case and propose a project that illustrates why landlocked could be advantageous. Are land- and air-based ports capable of making up for the lack of coast? We could argue, for instance, that architecture has more agency in the land-port or air-port than it could in ports that negotiate land and sea.