Bolivians take a dip in freezing Lake Titicaca and use theater to highlight the country's political dispute with Chile over access to the sea. Sharon Reich reports.
A Polar Bear Plunge in the name of politics. These Bolivians are jumping into Lake Titicaca's frigid waters hoping to draw attention to the fact that they want free access to the sea. In May, their landlocked country filed a case in the World Court, seeking to force Chile to negotiate a corridor that would give Bolivia access to the sea for natural gas and mineral exports. Event organizer Juan Carlos Valdivia. SOUNDBITE: Juan Carlos Valdivia, organizer and film maker, saying (Spanish): "It's a way of carrying the longing for the sea outside of the political sphere and towards our bodies and the little actions we do. The majority of Bolivians don't know how to swim. Maybe if we all learn how to swim we are going to change things in a productive manner." The free water access issue seems to resonate with Bolivar's across the country, albeit in different ways. In La Paz, a play called 'Mar' translated as 'Sea' is being put on by the country's Teatro Los Andes theater company. Actor Alice Guimaraes, says the play tries to examine the philosophical aspect of Bolivia's relationship to the sea. SOUNDBITE: Alice Guimaraes, Actress, saying (Spanish): "We try to reflect on what it means to have lost the sea. What is this sea, why do we want to get it back?" Bolivia lost its coastal territory to Chile in 1880. Currently, it's required to paying transport costs but no tariffs to export nearly 1.6 million tonnes of cargo through Chile's ports each year.