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Peru - Relations with Venezuela

The common history between the two countries dates back to 1823. Peru's formal independence from Spain in 1824 (proclaimed on July 28, 1821) was largely the work of "outsiders," such as the Venezuelan Simon Bolivar Palacios and the Argentine Jose de San Martin.

Peru and Venezuela established diplomatic relations as independent republics on February 17, 1853 and signed numerous cooperation agreements. Among the common objectives was to promote effective linkages with integration blocs. It is also noted that on March 18, 1872, the Peruvian government received with honors the Venezuelan General Jose Antonio Paez, and the Government of Lima granted him an annual pension of 8,000 soles and a house in the center of Lima, as a gesture of gratitude. Paez chaired a commission that helped to mark the earthquake in Peru in 1868, the first humanitarian assistance from Venezuela to Peru.

In July 1916 the Government of Venezuela negotiated with the Peruvian government to search for the remains of Simon Rodriguez, a teacher of the Liberator to move his remains to Venezuela's National Pantheon, such remains were actually found by the Peruvian Government on 22 December 1924. In September 1920, the Peruvian government found the remains of Venezuelan national hero Jose de la Trinidad Morán, in Arequipa, and were rendered him funeral honors.

On April 22, 1924 Venezuela initiated contacts with the President of Peru, Augusto Leguia to establish the foundations for a more intense, effective and permanent trade relations, in correspondence President Leguia exonerated the Venezuelan won 50% of the rights import to Peru. And on January 29, 1943 that the governments of Venezuela and Peru elevated to the rank of Embassies their respective diplomatic missions in Lima and Caracas.

On September 16, 1970, the first agreement on telecommunications between Peru and Venezuela was signed in Lima, with high integrationist sense in agreeing the temporary operation of radio stations between the two countries.

Bilateral relations began to show a boost with the signing of the Agreement for the establishment of the Joint Commission on Venezuelan-Peruvian Economic Cooperation signed in the city of Lima, on April 1, 1976, and which allowed an institutional mechanism to promote exchange and development of bilateral cooperation in a framework that led to new meetings and meetings in different areas of the economy: commercial, industrial, financial, technical, agricultural and fisheries. Also that same day, these was signed a Basic Agreement on Technical Cooperation which allowed re-evaluating cooperation activities based on a more scientific and technological interest of developing economies.

December 1, 1994 saw the operation of the first meeting of the Mechanism of Political Consultation and Coordination created in 1991 and made a comprehensive assessment of bilateral relations. There was therefore a dynamic effect on the political dialogue at the highest diplomatic level, increasing agreements and cooperation agreements between the two countries.

By 2005 Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was actively seeking to project his "Bolivarian Revolution" to Peru politically, institutionally (via Venezuela's membership in the Andean Community and South American Community of Nations), commercially (energy integration and offers of development funding), and covertly (support for far-left parties and to the fascistic Ollanta Humala). Peru should be fertile ground for Chavez, populist and anti-systemic message; the poverty rate is 52 percent, and opnion polling that showed that distrust of government institutions and dissatisfaction with the fruits of democracy is the highest in the Andean region.

The Venezuelan Embassy has been very active in organizing "Bolivarian" events, attempting to engender support for "Bolivarianism" among leftist parties and organizations, sponsoring the travel of students and youth leaders to Venezuela, and providing funding (perhaps through the Cuban Embassy) to far-left parties and Ollanta Humala's fascistic Nationalist Peruvian Party. Despite its efforts, the GOV had not had noticeable success in fostering "Bolivarianism" here, with disappointing attendance at rallies and minimal pro-Chavez activism on the part of its erstwhile allies.

One reason is that the overwhelming majority of Peruvians reject the local partners cultivated by Chavez. By alternately offering and withholding financial support, Chavez aimed to build a brown-red coalition to contest Peru's 2006 elections. The country's unreconstructed Stalinists and Maoists, who represent the red integer in the equation, enjoy minimal popular support, are led by veteran political has-beens, and are tarred in the court of public opinion by their historic linkages to the Sendero Luminoso and MRTA terrorist organizations.

Brown shirt Ollanta Humala, according to recent polls, was doing much better. He may have as much as a 10-12 percent nationwide following, centered in the long-neglected southern and highland departments. Like Evo Morales in Bolivia, Humala was trying to moderate his image in order to broaden his appeal. The Humala threat should not be dismissed; he had a good prospect of winning enough seats (up to 10 percent) to be a disruptive force in the next Congress, but a minuscule chance of winning the Presidency or imposing his policy agenda.

Venezuelan President Alejandro Toledo,along with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, were the South American leaders most opposed to Chavez's ideology, initiatives and methods. Publicly, Toledo had not hesitated to stand up to Chavez's antics in international fora, such as the South American Community of Nations Summit. The Government of Peru promoted free markets, foreign direct investment, a free trade agreement with the US, and private-sector-led growth. Consequently, it rejects Chavez's statist prescriptions for national and regional development, as evidenced by Peru's dismissive response towards the Petroandina initiative.

Peru's political class largely shared the Toledo Government's hostility towards Chavez and his "Bolivarian" revolution. The center-right rejects his left-wing politics and statist economics, which they equate with the disastrous policies implemented by the 1968-75 leftist military Velasco regime. The center-left rejects Chavez's authoritarianism and militarism, his human rights violations, and his undermining of democratic institutions. APRA, the populist major opposition party, rejects his pretensions to regional leadership and "Bolivarianism," which conflicts with Aprismo's own pretensions to be a regional political ideology.

Public opinion polling showed that Peru and Colombia, where 70 percent of the population has a favorable view of the United States, were the most pro-American countries in all of South America. Chavez, attacks on President Bush resonated with many Peruvians, who are critical of perceived US unilateralism. His attacks on the United States, however, did not. Most elements of US policy in Peru (anti-terrorism, democracy, human rights, honesty in government, job creation through trade) touch a deep and sympathetic chord with Peruvians except those on the farthest right and left. Even many Peruvians who are critical of US anti-narcotics policies (the most controversial element of our bilateral relationship) fear the narco-terrorist link and value the US assistance commitment.

Chavez, attacks on neo-liberalism played well to his narrow red-brown base, but met with indifference or antipathy from the broader public. Peruvians had fairly fresh memories of hyper-inflation and a sclerotic statist economy. Orthodox policies had brought Peru record low levels of inflation, steadily declining interest rates, and the best economic growth record in decades. Venezuelan purchases of government debt evoke no interest in a country with record reserves and which is close to winning investment grade status. The Venezuelan proposal for Andean energy integration met with similar Peruvian opposition because it was predicated upon increasing the role of state companies in the sector. The Toledo government succeeded in de-politicizing the economic model. In fact, parties from the right to center-left have embraced the present macroeconomic approach. In the same way, however, that many Peruvians complain that economic growth is not trickling down to the general populace, so Chavez won points for his programs to fight illiteracy and provide broader medical care.

Many of Peru's leading journalists are left of center, but their recent struggle against Montesinos, control of the press colored their attitude toward Chavez. The anti-democratic tint of Chavez, allies in this country offend even regular critics of the US among the democratic left. Despite a lack of sympathy for Chavez among media owners and editors, he does make good copy. Most papers have a quarter to half a page every Monday quoting his colorful attacks during "Alo Presidente" of the day before against regional leaders or their policies.

By May 2006 Peru's relations with Venezuela further soured after officials from the South American countries traded barbs and a Peruvian presidential candidate accused Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez of financing his rival's campaign. The two South American nations had been in an escalating diplomatic row over Chavez's endorsement of Ollanta Humala in an upcoming presidential runoff and his criticism of Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo's free-trade pact with the United States. Peru withdrew its ambassador from Venezuela to protest what it called Chavez's "persistent and flagrant" interference in its presidential election.

By late 2007 diplomatic relations between Peru and Venezuela appear to be on the mend despite developments that might have been expected to provoke a rift. Peru decided to drop what looked like becoming an acrimonious dispute with Venezuela over the recent opening of an office of the Alternativa Bolivariana para las Américas (Alba) in the southern region of Puno.

In April 22, 2009 Venezuela’s main opposition leader and Maracaibo Mayor Manuel Rosales fled Venezuela and sought political asylum in Peru to escape a trial on corruption charges he said were politically motivated. Peru Foreign Affairs Minister José García Belaunde said “I believe that Peru-Venezuela relations are going very well, and will continue do to so.”

On 23 May 2011, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Peru officially announced that the Peruvian government had granted the approval requested by the Government of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for designation as new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic Bolivariana de Venezuela in Peru, the citizen Alexander Yanez Deleuze, who from June 2010 and until then had been serving as Minister Counsellor, Charge d'Affaires ad interim in the diplomatic mission.

The governments of Peru and Venezuela relaunched their political and economic relations by signing an accord of productive and commercial complementation in Lima in October 2011. This complementation accord replaced tariff preferences Venezuela had arranged with Peru as part of the commercial accords of the Andean Community (CAN), bloc from which Venezuela withdrew in 2006. The signing of these accords had been pending since July 2011, after the deferral of 90 days for an extension of the tariff regime Venezuela had with CAN members expired when it officially separated on April this year.

Admiral Diego Alfredo Molero Bellavia was appointed as the new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipontenciario of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in the Republic of Peru, presenting credentials to President Ollanta Humala on 25 February 2015.

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