From the sea to the fight against organized crime, the new agenda of Bolivia and Chile

From the sea to the fight against organized crime, the new agenda of Bolivia and Chile

July 20, 2023, 4:00 AM

July 20, 2023, 4:00 AM

The new Bolivian consul in Chile is the sociologist José Enrique Pinelo. He was formally received in Santiago by the authorities of the Foreign Ministry of the neighboring country and thus formalized the start of his functions that will now be marked for “a new technical agenda” of three points that seeks to deactivate organized crime on the basis of bilateral cooperation.

These topics are marked for border integration, immigration issues and the fight against crime organized. They were part of the first formal meeting between Bolivia’s new diplomatic representative and the Chilean Undersecretary of Foreign Relations, Gloria de la Fuente.

It wasn’t always like this. Between 2006 and 2010, the two countries launched the ’13-point agenda’ that included the maritime issue. Without agreements in this last aspect, the government of President Evo Morales (2006-2019) sued Chile before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for this court to declare that there is an obligation to negotiate a sovereign access to the sea. On October 1, 2018, the ICJ denied the existence of this obligation and urged Bolivia and Chile to continue talking. In December 2022, this same court declared that the course of the Silala waters was shared and closed the last bilateral litigation.

Both legal processes froze the relationship that has not reached the ambassadorial level since 1979. President Luis Arce had proposed in March to restore the treatment of the sea issue in the context of a seven-point agenda. The proposal also aimed to “work together against organized crime”, without neglecting “the true causes” that motivate the illegal activity of smuggling. So it was not possible to reactivate any dialogue table, this without prejudice to business appointments.

After receiving Pinelo, De la Fuente expressed his country’s willingness “to continue jointly addressing the issues of mutual interest” and precisely pointed to border issues that are already part of the anti-crime dialogue.

In fact, and according to a press report from the Chilean Ministry of Foreign Relations, “both authorities expressed their willingness to continue cooperating in matters of border integration and immigration, among other issues.

These are precisely the issues that are now being debated in a technical dialogue commission carried out by the ministries of the Government of Bolivia and its counterpart of the Interior in Chile. A next meeting is expected during the first week of August to launch a database that will allow consult the complaints of vehicle theft that, especially, occurs in the north of Chile to then be trafficked in national territory.

The anti-crime agenda launched by the Bolivian and Chilean authorities entered official talks on June 12 when the Minister of Government, Eduardo del Castillo, met in Iquique with the Undersecretary of the Interior, Manuel Monsalve. This meeting took place after the attack with firearms suffered on July 8 by the Chilean truck driver Mario Bello and his companions when they tried to recover their truck in the municipality of Challapata (Oruro). The motorized, a six-axle Mack truck tractor with its hopper, was stolen in Antofagasta.

In a previous contact with EL DEBER, the Chilean consul in Bolivia, Fernando Velasco, expressed the need to reactivate bilateral talks in the technical field, precisely to stop these crimes, in addition to other related crimes that occur at the border. “We have understood from both sides that this must be handled collaboratively,” said Consul Velasco.

The Chilean trucker was shot and last Sunday he returned to his country in an ambulance plane. He became a paraplegic because the shot that received an impact on his spine. Mario Bello and his family had decided to take the risk of coming to Bolivia on their own to recover the truck. They knocked on several doors, they even tried to file a complaint in Uyuni, but they were not listened to, as they denounced.

During the next meeting, the Bolivian and Chilean authorities will even agree the reactivation of joint operations, in addition to the management of a database so that the Bolivian authorities are aware of the existence of motorists with reports of robbery in the country.

“Chile has a new consultation system and this system will be available to all Bolivian authorities. There is the entire database of stolen vehicles in Chile, those who are reported to the Carabineros, to the Investigative Police (PDI) and the Civil Registry, ”said Fernando Velasco.

After this stage, it is expected that within 30 days the immigration problems will be put on the table and a memorandum of understanding will be signed. For example, Chile analyzes the possibility of making temporary work permits more flexible for Bolivian migrants whoThey migrate attracted by agricultural activity, explained the diplomatic authorities.

For congressman Gustavo Aliaga, a career diplomat and part of the opposition Comunidad Ciudadana (CC), the appointment of Pinelo is a good sign to restore bilateral work. “He is not a career diplomat, but he is a good professional,” said.
Pinelo was part of the Bolivian mission to the Organization of American States (OAS) and advisor to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, when this entity was in charge of David Choquehuanca, now vice president.

In 2006 he had already been sent as head of the mission to Santiago, but shortly after being appointed, he was abruptly relieved of his post at the instruction of Evo Morales. It happened at the beginning of the debate on the 13-point agendawhich included a dialogue on the maritime theme.

Coco Pinelo was born in January 1953 and became the first consul general appointed in Chile by President Luis Arce. Since the technical agenda with Chile was launched, more than 10 vehicles have been recovered. Yesterday the businessman Humberto Durán returned to Antofagasta with his vehicle, a 2022 Chevrolet Silverado who was found on Sunday at a private home in San Julián148 kilometers east of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.

Chilean deputy Sebastián Videla, who was in the country this week, announced the recovery of another 10 vehicles that were under complaint in his country.
Yesterday, the Bolivian Police had detected two other units in the municipality of La Guardia and the data is being collated.

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