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Two centuries after Simón Bolívar failed to unite South America, Andean nations are slowly opening up to one another. Peru is working on the Southern Interoceanic Highway (below), which will for the first time let drivers, truckers and bus riders cross from Lima to São Paulo without a multi-day detour through Chile. A 720m suspension bridge over the Madre de Dios river is to be finished this year after more than 30 years of delays.
Chile’s president, Sebastián Piñera, and his counterpart in Bolivia, Evo Morales, are talking about how to give landlocked Bolivia freer access to the Pacific. That would end a century-old dispute and give Chile access to Bolivian natural gas. Dictators Augusto Pinochet and Hugo Banzer worked out such a deal in the 1970s, but they fell from power before putting it into action.
Colombia has joined Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador in issuing Andean Community passports. While each country is still responsible for producing its own papers, the documents now look similar and are all labelled “Andean Community”. Next year, Chile, Peru and Colombia will create a common stock market, allowing pension funds and individual investors access to a wider variety of stocks without having to open accounts in foreign currencies.