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Bolivia sues Chile for access to the Pacific

Bolivia wants its coastline reinstated after losing it to Chile in a 19th-century war.

Argentina mate 2012 04 26Enlarge
An Argentine tourist sips "mate" (herbal infusion typical of some South American countries) while sunbathing at Renaca Beach in Vina del Mar, Chile. (CLAUDIO SANTANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Bolivia wants its beaches back and is suing Chile in order to get them, according to BBC News, citing an already-triumphant-sounding Bolivian President Evo Morales as saying: "We're going to win this battle because we're right."

The suit, two years in the making, was filed Wednesday at the International Court of Justice by Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca, said Agence-France Press

The case "assumes the historical mandate of the Bolivian people," Choquehuanca said, describing it as "a swift and effective agreement that grants it [Bolivia] fully sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean."

Chilean officials see no room for any such agreement, however. 

"If they want to talk about Chile's maritime sovereignty, no," Chilean Interior Minister Andres Chadwick told reporters, according to BBC. "No dialogue is possible."

Bolivia lost about 250 miles of coastline and a significant amount of land during its 1879 war with Chile. The two nations' current borders were drawn up in a 1904 treaty, said BBC, but their relations since then have been chilly at best. 

Bolivia now says it signed the 1904 agreement under duress, according to AFP.

Bolivia has repeatedly asked Chile for coastal access but has been refused, said BBC

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/bolivia/130424/bolivia-sues-chile-access-the-pacific