In early October, Chile delivered an official letter of complaint to Argentina over Buenos Aires' decision to grant asylum to Sergio Apablaza Guerra, a Chilean ex-guerilla fighter. In an e-mail interview, Council of the Americas' Senior Director of Policy Christopher Sabatini discusses Chile-Argentina relations.
WPR: What is the historical context of Chile-Argentina relations?
Christopher Sabatini: Relations between Argentina and Chile have never been smooth, but the two Southern Cone countries have always managed to avoid outright conflict. Since both countries achieved their independence from Spain, there have been minor territorial disputes along their shared border through Patagonia. The most significant one occurred in 1977-1978 over the Beagle Channel, when both countries were under military governments. After Argentina briefly attempted to seize the contested islands in the channel, the dispute was resolved -- in Chile's favor -- through the mediation of the Vatican.