Former President of Bolivia, Eduardo Rodríguez Veltzé, said Bolivia must recognize its status as a “non-aligned” country in the international arena, maintain good relations with all countries in the world and preserve the importance of multilateralism.
The former head of state spoke to Los Tiempos about the country’s international politics, the issue of maritime demand and the Silala case.
1.- Bolivia has radically changed its international policy regarding the interim government of Jeanine Áñez. Does the government have the right to join the governments of the left?
The transitional government passed a number of provisions on external relations that did not reflect foreign policy as such, but rather were reactive measures against the MAS, such as the dissolution and replacement of the entire diplomatic and consular corps of the state, joining the Lima Group or the Nominations of expediency as offered by Trump’s candidates for the IDB presidency that corresponded to Latin America. The administration of Luis Arce has taken over some lines of the previous MAS administration, such as sympathy with countries of left-wing governments, but a renewed instrument of foreign policy is not yet known, the formulation of which is the constitutional assignment of the president and the vice-president.
2.- Is it good for the country to be close to countries like Russia, China or Venezuela and to move away from others like the USA and Israel?
I believe that Bolivia must recognize its status as a “non-aligned” country in the best practical sense and its prospects in the current international scenario. It is necessary to restore good and productive relationships with all nations of the world and to maintain the importance of multilateralism. The proximity or distance to some opposing states or powers and with exclusively ideological arguments diminishes our identity as a sovereign, dignified and non-aligned country. It restricts the opportunities for exchange and does not focus on the new conditions of the international order that have emerged from the pandemic. Solidarity and fair exchange of resources for the pandemic, respect for human rights and democracy, attention to the challenges of climate change, peace and security are postulates that must be expressed as a priority in the diplomatic leadership.
3.- What should the state realign itself to in its international policy?
I am referring to the previous answer
4.- How could this vital issue for the country be redirected three years after the ICJ ruling on the Bolivian maritime dispute?
Since then, there has been a lack of concern about such an important matter. It will be necessary first to foster a thorough understanding of the scope of the judgment and the opinions it contains, and to plan a follow-up strategy. Although the ICJ has rejected Bolivia’s legal claim regarding Chile’s obligation to negotiate sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean, that same court expressly recognizes that the question of the Bolivian Mediterranean region persists and returns the initiative to countries through meaningful negotiation for the better Solutions to seek neighborhood. This precision is no less; it marks a line on which Bolivia and Chile can find a diplomatic rapprochement again.
At the same time, Bolivia must pay attention to the process that Chile has launched before the same court in the waters of the Silala. Since my return from the mission in The Hague, I have been claiming that, due to the nature of the legal dispute, the government could make transparent the scientific studies that have been carried out as well as the scope of the applicable international law and the course of the proceedings before the ICJ, all the more if Bolivia the Shares water resources across borders with all your neighbors. In all questions and agreed solutions with all neighbors can always be more legitimate and practical than lengthy, burdensome and unpredictable legal proceedings.