The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Saturday, January 17, 2004

Boucher and friends utterly at sea on Bolivia seacoast issue!

Fun and games again at Richard Boucher's daily set .

Firstly, he's asked (January 14)
...on the Bolivian issue. Is the U.S. Administration going to be, in any way take part on this issue to the -- to help Bolivia in the access to the sea with Argentina? Could you confirm that? It is any plan to have any meeting with the president of Argentina and President Bush in the future to talk --

MR. BOUCHER: That's three questions, right?

QUESTION: Ah, sorry.

MR. BOUCHER: It's not access to the sea through Argentina, or anything like -- you're not pulling a new one on me, are you?

QUESTION: No, no, no. To Bolivia. I'm sorry. I just --

MR. BOUCHER: Okay...

Then, after some more Q&A, a questioner (the original?) has an anxiety attack:
QUESTION: The -- I just want make one thing -- you're not aware that Bolivia is seeking access to the South Atlantic, are you?



MR. BOUCHER: No. That was --

QUESTION: I can't -- I just wanted to make sure I --

MR. BOUCHER: I just wanted to make sure that was not implied by the question.

QUESTION: Okay, all right.

Seeking access to the Atlantic? What sort of bozo is this? Give the guy a map or something...

Except he's not wrong. Not entirely. There is a plan to give Bolivia access to the Atlantic: the Hidrovía Parana-Paraguay.

It's a project - over 2,000 miles of mouth-watering civil engineering challenges - as tempting, theoretically, as Cecil Rhodes' notion of a Cape to Cairo railway - and, so far as I can see, about as practical [1].

My guess (on the basis of almost no hard data) is that Bolivia will get a sovereign Pacific sea-port before a single cargo leaves Bolivia and travels down to the Atlantic via the HPP. And my interest in the project is hereby declared nipped in the bud.


  1. There is a description in a piece in a bad English translation from the mid-1990s, by the look of it. What looks like the main site (in Spanish) is here - updated to 1997!

    An initial look at some of the stuff produced by Mr Google provides a rather Marie-Celeste experience: there is a good deal of material, but little of it later than 2000.

    There's a piece from June 2003 which has the hapless former Bolivian President Sánchez de Lozada saying that the project was a national priority. There is what looks like a guy's Powerpoint slides (PDF) for an August 2003 presentation on the HPP: and an April 2003 anti-corruption analysis (PDF) from Argentina that may have some goodness.

    If the parties to a project this size can't even manage an updated joint website, what prospect is there of them coming together to complete the damned project!

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