dreams of the sea

bolivia's battle to reclaim its lost coastline - and the extraordinary back-up plan taking place 2,000km away from the ocean

Published in the FT Life & Arts, and as an e-book, January 2016. Winner of the Bodley Head/FT Essay Prize.

PUERTO BUSCH, BOLIVIA -- Second Lieutenant Nicolas Espejo serves in the navy of a landlocked nation. The 23-year-old commands at Puerto Busch, an isolated riverbank naval base on a sliver of Bolivian territory between Brazil and Paraguay, close to the exact heart of South America. The sea is 2,000km away down the Río Paraguay, the wide, deep watercourse that bisects Bolivia’s neighbour to the south, passes through Argentina as the Río Paraná, and empties out past Uruguay into the Atlantic Ocean.

I’d travelled perhaps a quarter of that distance upriver to get here: three nights from the Paraguayan town of Concepción...

Read the full article here. 

We’re still not landlocked, Bolivia. We have this, here; this river.
— Second Lt. Nicolas Espejo