La Paz (AFP) - Bolivia accused Chile of racism Tuesday in a dispute over treatment of La Paz's foreign minister, who is an Aymara Indian.
That minister, David Choquehuanca, will leave Sunday for a four-day visit to Chile during which he will visit two ports on the Pacific.
Bolivian truck drivers have complained they are mistreated at those ports, being forced to make under-the-table payments and denied access to some trucking facilities. They say they are also treated disrespectfully.
Choquehuanca wants to inspect the ports, which are Arica and Antofagasta.
Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz said Monday that he can certainly go to the ports, but will be recognized not as foreign minister but rather as "a tourist."
Bolivian President Evo Morales, who is also Aymara, blasted Chile on his Twitter account Tuesday.
The warning that Chile will receive the minister as a mere visitor at the ports "is the most damning proof of the neo-colonial racism that reigns in Chile and which will not recognize an indigenous foreign minister," Morales said.
Modern-day Bolivia is landlocked, but its territory used to stretch west to the ocean.
It lost that land, which included 400 kilometers (250 miles) of coastline, in a war with Chile in the late 19th century.
Under a 1904 peace treaty, Bolivia is supposed to have free access by land to Arica and Antofagasta.
By denying Choquehuanca permission to inspect the ports, Chile is violating that accord, Morales said.
To this day, the territorial dispute is a hot one. Bolivia filed suit against Chile in The Hague in 2013 to try to regain access to the Pacific.
Since the late 1970s, Bolivia and Chile have not even had full diplomatic relations.