Yet another reminder that the War of the Pacific is still not over. Chilean Defense Minister Andrés Allamand made comments about needing to retain a deterrent force in anticipation of a 2012 decision from the International Court of Justice regarding Peru's maritime claims.
Su apoyo cerrado entregó este martes el senador y presidente de Renovación Nacional (RN), Carlos Larraín, a las declaraciones del ministro de Defensa, Andrés Allamand, luego de que el fin de semana destacara la importancia de “mantener una capacidad disuasiva muy preparada”.
Of course, the Peruvian government immediately criticized the statement. It seems that Chileans gratuitously bring it up every so often, spark a debate, then it settles down for a while. Allamand's comments reflect concern that Peru will try some sort of land grab if it loses at the ICJ. I find that pretty implausible, especially since Presidents Humala and Piñera have made concerted efforts to warm relations. Plus, the risk of losing--both militarily and diplomatically--would be extremely high.
Regardless, it's hard to see the issue going away no matter what happens at the ICJ. The War of the Pacific has been going on for well over a hundred years, and probably won't end now. It reminds me of a controversial book by a colleague in the history department, Still Fighting the Civil War.
Click here for a previous post with a variety of links on the topic, including a map.