SANTIAGO – Chile’s representative before the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Jose Miguel Insulza, said on Tuesday that the visit of Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca to northern Chile was intended to “poison” relations between the neighboring countries.
“Foreign Minister Choquehuanca will always be welcome in our country, and what is asked in return is only an attitude of respect, that he did not have on this occasion. He came to poison relations in the most complicated and most important location of our relationship, which is the northern part of the country,” Insulza told Radio Cooperativa.
The former secretary general of the Organization of American States said that he had a “high opinion” of the Bolivian foreign minister, a “respectful” person with whom “one has always been able to talk” but that “now he comes at the head of a gang.”
“He’s going too far because in no country of Latin America, many of which have problems with their neighbors, may the foreign minister of that country commit the number of outrages that Foreign Minister Choquehuanca has committed,” Insulza added.
Choquehuanca, who on Sunday arrived in the city of Arica accompanied by a large delegation of Bolivian lawmakers, truck drivers’ representatives and journalists, on Monday made an inspection visit of the port of Arica and on Tuesday will tour the Antofagasta port facilities.
The aim of the visit, which has been harshly criticized in Chile, is evidently to verify the complaints of alleged abuses against Bolivian truckers and potential violations of the bilateral 1904 Peace and Friendship Treaty.
The controversy surrounding the foreign minister’s visit has prompted the rejection of both Chilean government and opposition political figures.
On Monday in Arica, the Bolivian delegation had to wait for several hours to be allowed to enter the site of a Bolivian institution at the port in the city, located on the border between Chile and Peru.
As a result, the Bolivian government delivered a verbal protest to Chile’s consul general in La Paz, Milenko Skoknic.
The Chilean government considers the delegation’s trip a private visit because diplomatic protocols were not followed, a position that Choquehuanca rejects.