Tension between Peru and Chile over Gabriel Boric’s criticism of “the outrages” against the protesters
The Peruvian government reported on Wednesday afternoon that “the malaise” that the “disrespectful manner” with which Chilean President Gabriel Boric referred to the president of the Peruvian government on Tuesday has been transmitted to Chile. neighboring country in his speech at the Celac summit in Buenos Aires. According to the Peruvian Foreign Ministry, through Twitter, Vice Foreign Minister Ignacio Higueras did so before the Chilean ambassador in Peru. “He told him that the course chosen by the constitutional government of President Boluarte is the advancement of general elections so that Peruvians decide without interference and in peace the destiny of Peru. The Government will not change the course of democratic institutions,” added the Peruvian Foreign Ministry.
In his speech at the Buenos Aires summit, President Boric referred directly to the internal situation in Peru, a country with which relations are especially taken care of, due to its historical complexity. “We cannot be indifferent when today in our sister Republic of Peru, with the government under the command of Dina Boluarte, people who go out to march, to demand what they consider fair, end up shot by those who should defend them. More than 50 people have lost their lives and that should shock us,” the left-wing president said on Tuesday, who will celebrate his first year in power next March. Boric, 36, who emerged as a leader in 2011 as a university student, referred to what happened this week at the University of San Marcos. “It is also unacceptable that the universities of America revive the sad scenes of the times of the dictatorships of the southern cone, as happened recently with the violent entry of the police into the University of San Marcos. Faced with these outrages, I reiterate Chile’s willingness to contribute to all multilateral spaces to accompany an inclusive dialogue capable of building democratic governance and ensuring respect for human rights,” added Boric.
In his speech, the Chilean president called on the Boluarte government to undertake a turnaround. “Today, with the same clarity with which we have always supported the constitutional processes in our region, we point out the urgent need for a change of course in Peru, because the balance that the path of repression and violence has left behind is unacceptable for those of us who defend – and I have no doubt that here in Celac that will is overwhelmingly majority – democracy and human rights”, said Boric, when Chile seeks a second constitutional process, after a failed attempt between the social outbreak of 2019 and the plebiscite on September 4, when 62% of voters rejected the proposal for a constitutional convention that the government supported.
The Peruvian Foreign Minister herself, Ana Cecilia Gervasi, made reference to Boric’s words in her speech at the regional summit, after that of the Chilean president. Gervasi accused that it seeks to “establish a distorted narrative that does not coincide with the objective facts” and called for compliance with the principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of countries. The Peruvian foreign minister regretted that “some governments, from particularly close countries, have not accompanied Peru in this difficult institutional situation and, rather, have prioritized ideological affinity over unequivocal support for the rule of law and constitutional succession.” Gervasi added before Celac that “it is false and offensive to insinuate, as has been mentioned, that the Government has authorized the violent repression of those who protest.” “In this forum, I reaffirm our commitment to the preservation of democratic values and principles and to the full and unrestricted validity of human rights and the rule of law,” the chancellor said on Tuesday.
These have been difficult times for Chilean foreign relations with neighboring countries. An audio that was apparently released by mistake from the Foreign Ministry made public a private meeting of the Chilean Foreign Minister, Antonia Urrejola, with a team of close collaborators. In this file, Urrejola is heard referring in harsh terms to the Argentine ambassador in Chile, Rafael Bielsa. “He says what he wants when he feels like it, and the explanation is that he is crazy?”, the chancellor said at one point about the Argentine representative. The episode occurred precisely when both Boric and the minister were participating in the Celac summit, leaving both in an uncomfortable position, although it was Alberto Fernández himself who downplayed the incident: “Argentina and Chile are going to continue working together, as we have worked in this meeting, and we will continue to grow together. The rest is gossip and misuse of private conversations. I have the highest respect for the Chilean chancellor”, settled the Argentine host.
In Chile, however, the audio incident has not ended. Along with dismissing the ministry’s head of communications, the Foreign Ministry reported today that the minister “made a complaint to the Public Ministry and requested the opening of an administrative summary” to clarify the facts and determine possible responsibilities.
With the president low in popularity (26% approval and 58% disapproval, according to a recent Data Influye poll), his statements on Peru have been heavily debated in Chile. For the political journalist Ascanio Cavallo, an expert in Foreign Relations, his words are much more serious than the audio episode. “The president has issued a completely childish statement. He is dedicated to criticizing the Peruvian police without taking into account that there is a situation of instability in Peru that is really serious. That a president of a neighboring country does not consider this framework and the political process that tries to restore order is neither pertinent nor intelligent. I do not remember that a neighboring country has ruled on the Chilean police in October and November 2019″, in the days of the social outbreak, the analyst assured this afternoon.