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Durham University

IBRU: Centre for Borders Research

Boundary news

Boundary news Headlines

Bolivia and Paraguay ratify demarcation of their long disputed boundary

(11 May 2009)

More than 70 years after the signature of the peace agreement that marked the end of the hostilities between Bolivia and Paraguay, in a ceremony on 28 April chaired by Argentine President Cristina Kirchner, Bolivian President Evo Morales and his Paraguayan counterpart President Fernando Lugo received the final report on the demarcation of the international boundary dividing the two countries.

The long-standing boundary dispute dates back to the 1930s when the disagreement over the Chaco Region turned into open war between the two countries leaving some 100,000 people dead. After the cease-fire of 1935, a Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Boundaries was signed at Buenos Aires in 1938 which envisioned the establishment of a boundary commission composed of the Presidents of the Republics of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, United States, Brazil, Peru and Uruguay. With Argentina taking the lead, the six guarantors in charge of the boundary delimitation presented their decision in the same year while in 1939 a boundary commission was appointed for the demarcation process. However, while demarcation was taking place a minor dispute arose over a pillar to be placed on Cerro Chovoreca hill situated in the northern part of the border area dividing Bolivia and Paraguay.

Given the uncertainty about the accuracy of the location of the markers on the ground, a new and final report on border demarcation has been produced led by Argentina as a guarantor state and handed over to the Bolivian and Paraguayan governments. The presidents of Bolivia and Paraguay agreed that the war between the two countries was exacerbated by external transnational companies eager to exploit the natural resources of the area. They see the report as a further step towards strengthening bilateral relations and potential co-operation in the energy sector.

Sources: ‘Bolivia, Paraguay end border dispute with accord’ Agence France Press, 29 April 2009; ‘Bolivia, Paraguay settle border conflict from Chaco War’ EFE News Service, 28 April 2009; ‘Bolivia and Paraguay end historic border dispute’ Global Insights Daily Analysis, 28 April 2009.