Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Peru errs in sea border dispute: rebuttal

From Giancarlo:

Hey! Great to see so many people talking about our tiny countries... I'm a Peruvian expatriate living overseas, and I'm accustomed to questions such as “Peru? Is that in Africa?”… It is really encouraging to find articulated people discussing about South American politics!

Regarding timing let me tell you that, in this particular case, it doesn’t have anything to do with our poor economic results, with the low acceptance of Toledo’s policies (his popularity is well below 10%) or with the fact that Fujimori decided to arrive in Chile, leaving his comfortable auto-exile in Japan. During the whole Toledo presidency, we have all had the feeling that economic results are favoring only wealthy people; Toledo’s popularity has been extremely low since his first semester in charge; And Fujimori arrived in Chile after the Peruvian sea border reclamations were stated.

Besides, Peruvian reclamations were following a diplomatic track when Chilean politicians decided to make lots of noise about it. I’m not saying that this reclamation is non-important but that the noise started there (and it was promptly replicated in Peru, I must admit). Please remember that Chile is closer to national elections than Peru. Sorry if “noise” sounds offensive, I don’t mean that but, please, take note that in Spanish “ruido politico” is a common term (and that my English is not that good).

Regarding the validity of our position, I must admit that while it sounds fair (please, check this graphic in Wikipedia, sorry it is in Spanish) I think that Chile has more chances to win the dispute than us. Not because our position is wrong, but because the status quo of the last decades favors them. Peru considers that there is no formal sea borders treaty with Chile (and by that, we mean a treaty proposed by the Foreign Affairs Ministry and ratified by the Congress), while Chile considers that the status quo (and the treaties signed by the Fishing Ministry and other Ministries) are valid sea borders treaties. It’s like the housing law in Peru: if you can prove that you have been living in the same house for more than 20 years without anybody complaining, the house is yours. And Chile has been effectively administrating the marine region in dispute for at least 30 years.

There’s a nice article in Wikipedia explaining both points of view (I’m sorry again for it’s in Spanish). Maybe the Google auto-translation feature can help you understand it.

And Taylor, thanks again for setting up this nice space. I may not agree with your opinions, but it’s nice to find people that care about our beloved continent.

I’ll keep reading you!

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