Chile Takes Water Dispute with Bolivia to International Court

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - Jun 7, 2016, 10:29 am

La presidenta chilena Michelle Bachelet, dijo que su país decidió tomar la iniciativa, luego que Bolivia amenazara en marzo con una demanda en la misma Corte por el río Silala (Los Tiempos) La Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced the lawsuit the week of June 6 (Los Tiempos)

EspañolChilean President Michelle Bachelet announced Monday, June 6 that Chile will be filing a lawsuit against Bolivia in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague to determine whether the waters of the Silala River have international use.

The suit was presented to the court by Ximena Fuentes, Director of the Borders and Boundaries sector of Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We have decided to take the initiative,” the President said.

The Bolivian government said in March that it would be suing Chile in the same court for making use of the river.

“Chile cannot sit back and let the Bolivian government conduct itself in a way that ignores our rights,” Chilean Chancellor Herald Muñoz said, “and so we are suing Bolivia before the international court at the Hague.”

“Chile can’t allow Bolivia to continue using international law as a vehicle for political harassment,” he added.”

Muñoz said that the objective of the lawsuit is to “determine whether the Silala is an international river and, therefore, a body of water Chile has some right to.”

Chile maintains that the Silala is a river that starts in the Bolivian city of Potosí and flows through the border to the Chilean region of Antofagasta, therefore making the river international. However, Bolivia alleges it has a 100 percent right to all of its waters.

On May 11, Bolivia enacted Supreme Decree No. 2760, which created a program called the Strategic Defense of the Silala Mineral Springs and All Water Resources on the Chilean Border.

The council will be in charge of carrying out studies for the eventual start of the international lawsuit against Chile for the supposed illegal use of  its waters. The council’s creation came three days after the President of Bolivia Evo Morales denounced the creation of a Chilean military base within 10 miles of the Silala.

Morales said Chile has made “unilateral and illicit” use of the river, which begins in Bolivian territory and supplies water to Chile’s northern region “for free.”

In 2009, Chile and Bolivia reached a pre-agreement that would established shared use of the waters of the Silala. Bolivia submitted the pre-agreement for referendum in Potosí that came back negative, according to Chile, with the request that Chile incorporate some form of “historic debt” that the Chilean government found unacceptable.

Chile insisted it has wanted to resume talks about the dispute, but that the possibility of doing so was cut short by Bolivia’s rejecting the idea of the waters being international. The situation was not helped by Morales’ consistent claims that Chile’s use of the waters was a “robbery.”

Bolivia, which does not have access to the Pacific Ocean, sued Chile in 2014 in the ICJ for its own route to the ocean. The process has been open and in line with the Hague’s schedule, with the final ruling coming at the start of 2018.

Source: Emol

Raquel García Raquel García

Raquel García is a Venezuelan journalist with over 16 years of experience in digital outlets and radios. She currently lives in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Follow her @venturaG79.

Daniel Ortega Will Run for President of Nicaragua for Seventh Time

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - Jun 6, 2016, 9:12 pm

EspañolThe Sandinista National Liberation Front (in Spanish: Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, FSLN) of Nicaragua confirmed President Daniel Ortega as the party's presidential candidate for the upcoming elections. The Nicaraguan elections will take place on November 6 and will define the presidency for the next five years. This is the seventh time that the FSLN, a left-wing party established in 1961, nominates Ortega as its presidential candidate. If elected, Nicaragua will be facing Ortega's fourth term in power. At least a thousand delegates of the FSLN voted for Ortega during the party's National Congress, held this past Saturday in Managua. The Congress was also held to honor the 37th anniversary of the call to arms for the Final Attack (La "Ofensiva Final"), which stretched out into weeks of battles to finally bring victory to the Sandinista Popular Revolution (Revolución Popular Sandinista) on July 19, 1979, effectively ending the Somoza family's dictatorship, which lasted for more than four decades. According to the Sandinistas, their election of Ortega as their presidential candidate acknowledges the "difficulties and challenges" he faced and the "victories" which he obtained during his mandate. Read More: Daniel Ortega to Seek Nicaraguan Presidency for Seventh Time Ortega's election aims to "keep guiding our country, with God's and the people's favor, through the paths of prosperity, victory, and blessings." The Sandinistas also want to "maintain the international alliances that guarantee a model of reconciliation, unity, common good, and prosperity, for a Christian, socialist, and public-spirited Nicaragua." The official text also allows Ortega to freely choose his own vice-presidential running mate. Ortega was the presidential candidate for the Sandinista Front in 1984, 1990, 1996, 2001, 2006, and 2011. His candidacy in 2016 marks the seventh time he runs for president. Ortega won the elections in 1985 (for the 1985-1990 term), 2006 (2006-2011), and again in 2011. His current term ends this year with the November elections. In 2011, he was reelected with 62.45% of the vote. In November, the Nicaraguan people will vote to elect their president and vice president as well as 90 congressmen and 20 members of the Central American Parlament (Parlamento Centroamericano, PARLACEN). "We're done with international observation" In his speech to the FSLN Congress, Ortega slammed the door shut on the possibility of allowing independent international observers to oversee the Nicaraguan elections in November. "Scoundrel observers. Let them go observe other countries. Here, we are done with international observation," Ortega also attacked diplomats. He said that he expects "less noise" from the November elections than in those recently held in other countries, where candidates had to retire from at the last minute. Apparently, he was referring to Sandra Torres, the former first lady of Guatemala, whose 2011 presidential candidacy was blocked by Guatemala's judicial branch. "No observers, not the European Union, nor the OAS, are expected to present themselves... They know that in Nicaragua they face a People of antiimperialist vocation," says Ortega. — Eduardo Montealegre (@emontealegrer) June 5, 2016 Opposition leader Eduardo Montealegre, president of the Independent Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Independiente, PLI), wrote on his Twitter account that the “Election Law establishes electoral observation. Thus, Ortega asks (demands) that the Supreme Electoral Council (Consejo Supremo Electoral, CSE) break the law. Outright disobedience,” he wrote. Source: Confidencial, La Prensa Translated by Jaime Henriquez Fattoni.

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