Bolivian President Evo Morales held a press conference Monday insisting that the there was indeed a Chilean base near the border after the Chilean foreign ministry denied there was a base at all.
“There is a military base as confirmed by the Armed Forces, the commander of the region and the Minister of Defense, (while) the foreign minister says something else,” stated the Bolivian president.
Chilean foreign ministry first responded to Morales' claims saying that "the accusation by Bolivian President is totally unfounded, there is no such alleged military installation” but that the Armed Forces had merely built up its presence on the border.
Chile has been building up its troops along the border for months, ostensibly to tackle cross border crime. However, border security in Chile has been traditionally handled by soldiers known as the Carabiniers of Chile, the gendarmerie of the country.
Tensions between Chile and Bolivia have grown over the latter's effort to secure a sovereign exit to the sea. The coastal territory was taken from Bolivia in The War of the Pacific, which ran from 1879 to 1883.
The International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled in September that it would hear Bolivia's claim demanding access to the Pacific Ocean.
The Bolivian government also recently announced that it launch an international campaign regarding Chile's use of water from the Silala river, whose source is in Bolivia.
President Morales of Bolivia alleges that the installation of a Chilean base near the border is directly born out of this new campaign.