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Chilean Espionage in Peru Cools Diplomatic Relations

Presidents of Chile and Peru. Picture taken form UNWomen user of  Flickr, used under the license of  Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Presidents of Chile and Peru. Picture taken form UNWomen user of Flickr, used under the license of Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Chile and Peru are in the midst of a diplomatic crisis, following accusations that at least three sailors in the Peruvian Navy were spying for Chile. In response, Peru has withdrawn its ambassador in protest.

Peruvian sailors accused of spying in favor of Chile were identified.

The discovered spies first claimed they were hired by an Italian businessman to provide information about Peruvian fishing, but investigators later learned the businessmen are in fact intelligence officers in the Chilean Navy, and the information supplied was classified documents from Peru's the National Defense Department. 

Apparently, the espionage dates back to 2005.

In times of war or not, espionage is a betrayal to your country and must be punish with death penalty. traitors

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala called together a meeting of several of the country's political leaders, including former presidents, to discuss the crisis. Humala also sent a formal letter of protest to Chile on February 20.

Right now the president @Ollanta_HumalaT is meting with political leaders… case #ChileanEspionage #Peru

The Chilean chancellor initially rejected the espionage accusations, but later said he would review the matter and comment again. On March 3, the Peruvian government reported that it was unsatisfied with Chile's response to the scandal.

#INTER Chilean government denied claims of espionage to Peru.

#Peru Claims of espionage: Chilean Chancellor says they are looking to tense relations: “I think is getting… 

Chilean government does not approve or promote #Espionage

While neither Peru's letter to Chile nor the Chilean response was made public, José Antonio García Belaúnde, Peru's former foreign minister, has said his country performed appropriately by sending the letter of protest and sharing its evidence against the Chilean spies. Chile's response, Belaúnde argues, was conciliatory, but inadequate, given the seriousness of the offense. In this context, Peru temporarily recalled its ambassador from Chile on March 7, dispatching a new letter with more evidence against the Chilean spy ring. “These acts of espionage,” the note read, “violate the spirit of cooperation and good neighborliness that should guide relations between our two countries.” Afterwards, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet said Chile's ambassador would remain in Chile to develop a response to the new letter.

Chilean #Espionage : Peruvian Chancellor temporarily removes Ambassador in #Chile

Bachelet keeps in Santiago the Chilean Ambassador to Peru in order to answer for the case of espionage 

Even in recent years, this isn't the first case of Chilean espionage in Peru. In 2009, there was an espionage case involving two Chilean military technicians embedded in Peru's Air Force. Chile denied the accusations. Victor Ariza Mendoza, the Peruvian non-commissioned officer involved, was sentenced to 35 years in prison for treason.

In 1978, there was another espionage case involving two Chilean officers caught photographing Peruvian war planes at a military base in the city of Talara. Under interrogation, they admitted to being under orders from the Chilean ambassador. The incident ended with the expulsion of the officers and the Chilean ambassador. Simultaneously, an officer in Peru's Air Force was discovered to have photographed military facilities in the city of Arequipa, earning him a conviction for treason and a death sentence, carried out on January 20, 1979.

Post originally published at the Globalizado blog.

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