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News > Latin America

Bolivia's Morales Says His Fight For Sea Rights Isn't Over

  • Evo Morales at a conference at La Casa Grande del Pueblo in La Paz, Bolivia, Oct. 2, 2018.

    Evo Morales at a conference at La Casa Grande del Pueblo in La Paz, Bolivia, Oct. 2, 2018. | Photo: Courtesy of Bolivian Presidency/Handout via REUTERS

Published 8 October 2018

President Evo Morales: The Hague's decision was made out of 'fear', Bolivia will seek to 'amend' the court's ruling that continues to cut off Bolivia's sea access. 

Bolivian President Evo Morales denounced the decision by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that sets back the country's ability to gain access to the ocean as being, "determined by fear," and is seeking an "amendment" to the court’s ruling.

Bolivia's Morales to Dispute World Court Decision on Sea Access

On Monday Oct. 1, the ICJ ruled 12 to 3 in favor of Chile saying that the South American country with a lengthy Pacific coastline does not need to negotiate with landlocked Bolivia over the latter’s “sovereign access" to the sea.

"We are evaluating, whether it is via United Nations or directly to the International Court of Justice, a request to clarify, an amendment, a clarification of the court’s contradictions in the historical acknowledgments (of the case), the legal acknowledgments, but it says there is no obligation,"  to discuss the coastline, said the head of state in a television interview on Sunday night.

He later tweeted: “The ICJ does not oblige (Chile) to negotiate, but in other paragraphs, it favors Bolivia. That will help us in our struggle to return to the sea. That is why we are evaluating what we are going to do to address the contradictions of the ruling with the ICJ or the UN.”

Morales said that the ruling was influenced by "fear" factors that ultimately benefits Chile.

"Fortunately the court tells us that the Treaty of 1904 is still a pending issue. Bolivia was born with 400 kilometers of coast," the president told his interviewer on Sunday. Morales added that the court not forcing Chile to discuss the sea with Bolivia was done out of “fear."

The Bolivian president said that the Plurinational State will not leave the issue until it returns to the Pacific coast with full sovereignty. "We are not going to stay here, we are optimists, we will happily turn toward the sea," he said.

Morales tweeted just after the ICJ decision was announced that the "Chilean oligarchy wants to destabilize and divide us so that we forget about the sea," to which Chilean President Sebastian Piñera responded on Sunday: “In life, one must know … how to lose with dignity and truth."

A British-backed Chile helped the nation win the ‘War of the Pacific,’ which eventually led to the 1904 Treaty of Peace and Friendship and the Salas-Pinilla Protocol of 1907 that left Bolivia increasingly landlocked and without a sovereign border to the Pacific Ocean.

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