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News > Latin America

Brazil Joins 'Inca Road System of 21st Century': The Transoceanic Railroad

  • Bolivian President Evo Morales (L) meeting with his Brazilian counterpart Michel Temer (R) on December 5, 2017.

    Bolivian President Evo Morales (L) meeting with his Brazilian counterpart Michel Temer (R) on December 5, 2017. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 December 2017

Morales is Bolivia's first Indigenous president, and has been a powerful voice pushing for regional integration.

As Brazil officially signed an agreement to build a transoceanic train connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, Bolivia's President Evo Morales compared the realization of the project to the Qhapaq Ñan, which is the extensive system of Incan roads that unified the Indigenous empire.

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“This transatlantic train will be the Qhapaq Ñan of the 21st century,” Morales, who is Bolivia's first Indigenous president, said after meeting with his Brazilian counterpart Michel Temer to discuss the project, among other things.

The famous Incan road system was key to linking together various parts of the empire, helping maintain political and economic unity of the pre-Colombian Andean civilization.

Morales, who has been a key voice promoting the construction of a cross-continental rail system, has previously said that just as the Inca road system did before, such a project would allow for greater continental integration and economic independence.

Currently, Brazilian exports require 67 days to arrive from Santos Port to Shanghai; with the Qhapac Ñan of the 21st Century; they will only need 36 days. We welcome the signing of the agreement for the Transoceanic train.

Beginning in Puerto Santos, Brazil, the train will provide unprecedented access to easily traverse dense areas of the Amazon, and the Andes mountains, passing through Bolivia and reaching the Pacific Ocean at the Port of Ilo in Peru.

The Bolivian Minister of Public Works and the Brazilian Minister of Transport signed the agreement to participate in the project's construction, joining Peru, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, and Bolivia. Presidents Morales and Temer also held an important bilateral meeting to discuss the train and other integration projects.

The project's economic reach extends far beyond the directly involved countries, and even Latin America. China is a major driving force behind the project, with several European countries also expressing interest in participating in its construction. It will entail contracting, technology and construction from numerous state and private companies.

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