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A Quechua indigenous person walks beside the stream of the Silala River, Potosi, Bolivia, March 28, 2013 (AP photo by Juan Karita).

The Big Political and Legal Stakes of a Feud Over a Tiny South American River

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Earlier this month, Bolivian President Evo Morales publicly berated his Chilean counterpart, Michelle Bachelet, for allegedly disclosing the contents of a filing before the International Court of Justice in The Hague concerning the two countries’ battle over the Silala River. It was just the latest flare-up in a dispute that has further poisoned relations between the South American neighbors. In an email interview, Chrisopher Rossi, an adjunct faculty member at the University of Iowa College of Law who has published detailed accounts of this dispute in the Stanford Journal of International Law and the Inter-American Law Review, explains the two countries’ positions and the case’s implications for other water conflicts.

WPR: What are the origins of the dispute between Chile and Bolivia over the Silala River, and what’s at stake for both countries? ...

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