Posted on June 12, 2017
Today is the anniversary of the 1935 end of the Chaco War.
If you have never heard of this war, that's because you live in neither Bolivia nor Paraguay. But 100,000 lives were lost in what was apparently a war caused by greed (probably like most wars)...Apparently, oil companies wanted the oil and natural gas that they thought to be in the Chaco Basin, and they influenced the then-government of Bolivia to grab control of the area with military might.
But the Paraguayans fought back. At first, just skirmishes...eventually full-scale guerrilla warfare. After seven years of conflict, the Paraguayans had taken back the Chaco Basin region, had cut off some water supplies to Bolivian populations, and was ready to invade Bolivia itself - but both sides agreed instead to sign a peace treaty.
In 2009 Bolivian President Evo Morales said that the war hadn't been between the two nations' peoples, but rather was caused by transnational corporations. We would all be wise to remember that lesson as we consider current events.
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