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  • In 2013, Morales went to the International Court of Justice, ICJ at The Hague in an attempt to restore part of the territory and garner "sovereign access" to the waters.

    In 2013, Morales went to the International Court of Justice, ICJ at The Hague in an attempt to restore part of the territory and garner "sovereign access" to the waters. | Photo: Reuters

Published 14 February 2018

For several decades, Bolivia has been fighting to reclaim its coastal territory from Chile, which it lost in the 1897 War of the Pacific.

Bolivian President Evo Morales has announced a mass mobilization to commemorate his country's centennial maritime claim against Chile. 

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To mark the occasion, Morales said the country will hold nationwide ceremonies and will hoist "the largest flag in the world" which will include the colors of the national flag as well as the colors of the Indigenous Wiphala flag.

The country is preparing for a "show of unity of the Bolivian people around the maritime demand," the head of state said in a tweet.

"We are going to accompany our legal team that is in The Hague with a flag of maritime claim," he added, referring to the case he filed against Chile in 2013 at the International Court of Justice, ICJ.

For several decades, Bolivia has been fighting to reclaim its coastal territory from Chile, which it lost in the 1897 War of the Pacific that left the country landlocked. 

In 1879, after Bolivia tried to impose certain taxes on the Chilean firms operating in the region, Chile decided to violate a 1874 Boundary Treaty, later annexing nearly 240 miles of Bolivia's coastline. A 1904 agreement signed by Bolivia made the cessation of its coastal territories to Chile official. 

In 2013, Morales went to the ICJ in an attempt to restore part of the territory and garner "sovereign access" to the waters it lost. He claimed the 1901 treaty in which Bolivia declared the official cessation of its right to the area was forced upon his country "down the barrel of a gun." 

"The government of Chile is clinging to the logic of the 19th century, and that is not going to take them anywhere. Bolivia is invoking the justice, the history, and the logic of the 21st century," said Bolivian Vice President Alvaro Garcia Linera, Business Insider reported. 

Every year on March 23, Bolivia celebrates the Day of the Sea, a national holiday marking the loss of its territories to Chilean forces. Large crowds gather and march across the streets of La Paz with miniature boats and ships. The Bolivian Navy regularly participates in uniform to mark the day. 


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