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Ties that bind in Latin America.

Slowly but surely Latin American nations are forging rail, road and river links between their countries, at times over and through extremely hostile terrain. If all goes according to plan, it is only a matter of time before Bolivia has access by rail to a Peruvian port on the Pacific Ocean, Peru overland access to the Atlantic, Argentina access to the Pacific over two rail lines, and Chile access to the Atlantic, again by rail.

One year ago an official Bolivian delegation boarded a vessel at Puerto Quijano in Santa Cruz Province and, several days later, disembarked at Nueva Palmira, Uruguay on the Atlantic coast, following stops in Corumba, Brazil; Asuncion, Paraguay; and Rosario, Argentina. The trip down the Paraguay and Parana Rivers was baptized at the time as "The Voyage of Integration."

At a later meeting in Brasilia, officials of the River Plate countries discussed details of the Corredor Ferroviario de los Libertadores (Railroad Corridor of the Liberators). Scheduled for completion later this year, this 2,200-mile (3,484-kilometer) rail line will link Buenos Aires and La Paz, Bolivia, with the Peruvian port of Matarini. It will include a ferry trip across Lake Titicaca and involve four and one-half days travel time. As might be expected, the three-nation project has faced a host of climatic and structural problems.

Italian investors are reportedly interested in financing the construction of the final link of the railway which would connect the port of Talcahuano in southern Chile with Bahia Blanca in southern Argentina. Only 130 miles (200 kilometers) of the 650-mile (1,050 kilometer) line still remain to be built.

Brazil and Peru, meanwhile, continue efforts to push to completion the Marginal Jungle Highway despite criticism that Brazil's segment of the road, BR-357, may damage the fragile ecology of the Amazon region. If this project is ultimately completed, it will link Matarini on Peru's Pacific coast with the northern Brazilian port of Belen on the Atlantic.
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Title Annotation:rail, road, and river links
Author:Goethals, Henry
Publication:Americas (English Edition)
Date:Mar 1, 1990
Previous Article:Jaws avenged.
Next Article:Sweet smell of success.

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