Sunday, January 26, 2014

Anticipating the ICJ Ruling for Chile and Peru

It's not easy to sum up the feeling as Chile and Peru wait for tomorrow's ruling from the International Court of Justice in The Hague--there is a lot of anticipation but not excessive, and there is nationalism but muted. As a reminder, the stake is a chunk of Pacific Ocean, which dates back to the War of the Pacific (with updates in 1952 and 1954) and is currently valuable for fishing, mostly anchovies:

Source: Defense-Update

Both presidents have made a show of meeting with their respective predecessors (well, not Fujimori!) and to that Sebastián Piñera even added a very public meeting of his National Security Council. I see this is as good for public consumption, as it makes a show of national unity even while the presidents make moderate statements.

So this is the sort of thing that Ollanta Humala has been saying:

“We have a shared commitment to abide by and enforce the judgment to be rendered by the International Court of Justice that will turn, I am sure, the paradigm of our relationship toward a profitable and enduring one for the future of our peoples,” President Ollanta Humala of Peru said from the United Nations General Assembly in September last year.

And this is the sort of thing that Piñera has been saying:

He added “we have also tried to maintain an atmosphere of harmony and peace with our Peruvian neighbors, because Peru will be our neighbor before, during and after the ruling by The Hague.”

Another positive sign is that Michelle Bachelet announced that Heraldo Muñoz, a very well-known and moderate diplomat, will be the new foreign minister. The Peruvian government immediately signalled its approval of the choice.

This matters much more in Peru than it does in Chile, since Peru has felt aggrieved for well over a century, while Chile has generally felt a sense of superiority, so at least on the surface can better afford to appear magnanimous. So probably the biggest question is what the Peruvian response will be if the decision goes against them. A secondary question might be what Peru's response is if Chile loses, but then drags its feet, since the government has indicated any change would have to be "gradual."

At any rate, we will see starting tomorrow.


boz 9:41 AM  

You could also interpret Piñera's comment there as a shot at Bolivia and their claims on sea access.

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