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Bolivia Mobilizes with Peru To Make Chancay Port ‘South America’s Port’

As work proceeds rapidly for the planned November inauguration of Chancay Port in Peru, excitement is spreading throughout the region over how this great port-logistical project being built by China’s Cosco Shipping on Peru’s Pacific coast will transform the economy of all of South America. This past Tuesday, May 28, the Government, Defense and Armed Forces Committee of Bolivia’s Chamber of Deputies held a hearing at the parliament in La Paz, for the head of “Cosco Shipping Peru,” Peruvian Admiral Carlos Tejada, to brief military, private business and social leaders as well as Congressmen and women on the geoeconomic strategic implications of the project.

Using slides and videos, Admiral Tejada conveyed beautifully how grand this project is. Plans to develop the deepwater port go back to 2007, he reported, but with the 2019 decision to contract Cosco Shipping to finally build it, came the decision to build not just a modern state-of-the-art port, but to turn it into a logistical-technological hub for the whole region. He detailed how that hub concept, requiring extensive road and rail connections, can transform the South American economy as a whole, bringing with it employment, the most modern technology, and industrialization, so that Peru and Bolivia can export “value-added” products, rather than only raw materials. He declared that the medium-term objective of the project, part of the Belt and Road, is to build a transcontinental (bi-oceanic) railroad from Brazil to Bolivia and Peru, and showed a map with two proposed transcontinental rail lines, one to the north of Peru, the other to the south passing through Bolivia. Both routes would connect the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans by rail across the South American continent.

The response was electric. Several of the people who asked questions had come from other parts of Bolivia, and clearly represented organizations. Comments included “this gives us hope!” to “the world is changing, and Bolivia has to be part of it.” Another commented that they now understood that “more than just a port for Peru, this [Chancay] is South America’s port to Asia.” A former ambassador spoke of the importance of Bolivia and Peru joining the BRICS, to ensure that this great vision be realized. (Bolivia is likely to be accepted as a new member of the BRICS in October; Peru has yet to apply.)

The moderator, Anibal Aguilar Gomez, announced in closing the hearing, that Tejada’s visit to Bolivia had been the kickstart for the establishment of a trinational—Peru, Bolivia, Brazil—commission, including business and social organizations, to mobilize to ensure that the development of the port leads to the full integration of South America that is needed.

This is the project which the U.S. Southern Command and the State Department have declared to be “a national security threat” to the United States, to be stopped at all costs—supposedly because it opens the door to China in South America. Doing so will not be as easy as they might delude themselves to believe.