On Monday, Bolivian President Evo Morales met with Uruguayan President Tabaré Vázquez in Montevideo to negotiate an agreement that would provide Bolivia with access to the Atlantic Ocean in exchange for the use of Bolivia’s natural gas resources. The deal will give free port privileges to Bolivia in Nueva Palmira—a key port on the Paraná River— and Montevideo. For the Bolivian gas to reach Uruguay, approval would be needed from Brazil and Argentina since the existing pipeline system connects these two countries.
The Bolivian and Uruguayan leaders also discussed restarting Urubapol, an alliance that promoted the development of Bolivia, Uruguay and Paraguay in the 1970s and 1980s. Vázquez also promised to support Morales in demanding the delisting of the coca leaf from the international dangerous drugs list referring to it as “a plant that forms part of the Bolivian highland culture.” Both presidents also issued statements expressing their full support for the government of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.