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
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...