Spying Row a Bump in the Road for Peru-Chile Relations

Spying Row a Bump in the Road for Peru-Chile Relations
Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet at the Cerro Castillo presidential residence, in Vina del Mar, Chile, March 11, 2014 (AP photo by Luis Hidalgo).

Peru recently recalled its ambassador to Chile for consultations over allegations of Chilean spying. In an email interview, Christopher Sabatini, adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, discussed the ongoing diplomatic spat between Peru and Chile.

WPR: What are the reasons behind the current diplomatic tensions between Peru and Chile?

Christopher Sabatini: The specific event that led to the tensions was the sale of information from Peruvian surveillance of Chilean fishing vessels to officers from the Chilean navy. As a result, both countries—at least temporarily—recalled their ambassadors. In truth, neither side comes out looking good on this: Peru because it was spying on Chilean vessels, and Chile because it had naval officers pose as Italian businessmen to purchase the information. Although Peru has acted the most indignant, it is legitimate to wonder why it was spying on fishing boats. Chile has acted quickly to detain the naval officers accused of purchasing the information.

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