Brand: The Chilean Government
FTI Consulting was instrumental in helping the Chilean government secure a favourable ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Bolivia's irredentist claims on Chilean territory. We developed and delivered over four years an international communications strategy, fully integrated with Chile's diplomatic efforts, that was critical in shaping public opinion and creating a favourable media environment for the ICJ's judgment. The ICJ ruled in favour of Chile on 01 October 2018.
In 2013 Bolivia lodged a claim with the ICJ to try to force Chile to 'negotiate a sovereign access to the sea' for Bolivia. This was the latest in a series of threats to Chilean territorial integrity by Bolivia since the end of the War of the Pacific between Bolivia, Peru and Chile (1884). Given the binding nature of the ICJ's rulings, Bolivia's claim represented an existential threat to the Chilean government's sovereignty over the entirety of its national territory; the self-determination of the Chilean citizens living in the disputed area; and the historic cohesiveness of the Chilean nation whose current borders have been in place for more than two-thirds of the country's existence.
Bolivia's strategy was clearly to have the case adjudicated in the court of public opinion. Domestic political considerations also came into play as Bolivia's populist president Evo Morales, in an attempt to secure his re-election, was pillorying Chile in the media as the foreign bogeyman to stoke the fires of national sentiment. Chile found itself in an unenviable position.