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ICJ ruling on October 1 liable to lead to incidents in La Paz, other cities in Bolivia

The government, military, social, and indigenous sectors are calling the population to gather in squares in La Paz, Sucre, and other cities, where public screenings will be mounted to broadcast the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) ruling on Bolivia’s maritime claim against Chile (for sovereign access to the Pacific Ocean) in real time. The broadcast will begin on October 1 at 09:00 (local time). The ICJ could potentially instruct Chile into entering good faith negotiations with its neighbor. Chile claims that it has no obligation to surrender sovereignty to Bolivia.

The government of Evo Morales has been using the maritime dispute to rally political support for his 2019 presidential campaign, so a ruling in favor of Bolivia will most likely prompt large pro-government demonstrations near the presidential palace in La Paz, and Plaza 25 de Mayo in Sucre, causing traffic disruptions. Conversely, a negative outcome of the ruling is liable to increase the possibility of demonstrations and violence against Chilean property, including consular buildings, and Chilean nationals in the country.

Those residing or traveling to Bolivia on October 1 are advised to exercise vigilance in the vicinity of public gatherings, especially in La Paz and Sucre. Chilean nationals are advised to exercise additional vigilance due to potential for violent incidents.

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