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In 1927, an army offcial presented the government with a troubling assessment of the Gran Chaco, the open region in the southeastern lowlands of Bolivia that borders on Paraguay and Argentina. His report revealed the weak integration of the territory within the nation. The routes for transportation and communication were lamentable. The population was minimal in size and prone to emigration to Argentina, and the towns mostly sleepy. Economic activity was sluggish and limited in scope. The Franciscan missions and the Standard Oil Company exercised more presence in the region than did the Bolivian state. Writing five years prior to the Chaco War (1932–35), the report was prescient about the disastrous consequences that would ensue if the country undertook an unconsidered war effort on the southern border with Paraguay.

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