On October 1, the International Court of Justice ruled against Bolivia in its dispute with Chile over access to the Pacific Ocean. The Court ruled 12 to three that Chile did not have an obligation to negotiate with Bolivia. The long anticipated ruling comes after five years of deliberations and is final and binding. Bolivian President Evo Morales has vowed that ‘Bolivia will never give up,” although it’s unclear how he would go about contesting the Court’s decision.
Evo Morales rose to power in part by stoking Bolivians’ nationalism over access to the Pacific, sparking popular protests in the early 2000’s. But now, Morales should focus on other, more important issues. As Global Americans Director Chris Sabatini told World Politics Review, the ICJ’s decision will have minimal impact on Morales’ controversial run for a fourth consecutive presidential term. Bolivian voter’s are probably more concerned about Morales’ political manipulations to consolidate his grip on power. Voters have already rejected his fourth presidential run through a popular referendum held in February 2016. However, despite the results, the partisan constitutional court overruled the ban on re-election, allowing him to run indefinitely.