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Country Reports
BOLIVIA, Landmine Monitor Report 1999


Mine Ban Policy

Bolivia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Javier Murillo de la Rocha signed the Mine Ban Treaty on 3 December 1997. Bolivia ratified on 9 June 1998, becoming the first country of South America and the sixteenth globally to ratify.

Bolivia participated in all of the ban treaty preparatory meetings, endorsed the pro-treaty Brussels Declaration, and took part in the Oslo negotiations. It also voted in favor of the pro-ban UN General Assembly resolutions in 1996, 1997 and 1998, as well as the pro-ban resolutions of the Organization of American States (OAS). It is also a signatory to the 14 July 1998 Declaration of the Common Southern Market (MERCOSUR); in its sixth article governments agree “to work towards being able to declare MERCOSUR, Bolivia and Chile zones free of antipersonnel landmines and propose to enlarge this zone to include the entire Western Hemisphere.”

Production, Transfer, Stockpiling, Use

Bolivia is not believed to have ever produced or transferred antipersonnel mines. Bolivia has stated that it does not possess stockpiles of antipersonnel mines.[1] Bolivia is not known to have used antipersonnel mines.

Mine Action

Bolivia is not mine-affected with the exception of its border with Chile which was mined by Chile during the 1970s, particularly during a territorial dispute in 1978. On 22 September 1997, the Bolivian newspaper El Diario reported that 80,000 Chilean landmines are buried in an area of approximately 10,000 square kilometers between the towns of Todos los Santos and Salar of Ayuni.[2] El Diario reported that landmines have killed three Bolivian peasants since 1985.

In July 1998, Bolivia offered to collaborate with Chile to remove the landmines along the border, according to Bolivia’s Minister of Defense Fernando Kieffer.[3] Bolivia’s President, Hugo Banzer, asked Chile to demine as soon as possible.[4] Banzer said that the mines planted twenty years ago have harmed both the Bolivian and Chilean people, citing the case of three Chilean workers who were injured by an antipersonnel mine near the border. According to press reports, during the 1997 treaty negotiations, Chile asked for ten years to remove the mines but Bolivia said it considers this to be too long.[5]

At the Canada-Mexico Regional Seminar, 11-12 January 1999 in Mexico City, David Bautista Sanchez, Ministry-Advisor of the Bolivian Embassy in Mexico, made a short but passionate speech demanding that other hemispheric countries urge Chile to clear the mines buried along the frontier. Sanchez said that these mines have claimed victims and caused economic hardship for those living in the region.


[1] Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s Mine Action Database

[2]El Diario, 21 September 1997..

[3]Agence France Presse, La Paz, 4 July 1998.