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Cable sobre el aumento de la tensión entre Santiago y Lima tras la detención de un espía chileno

El 17 de noviembre de 2009, el embajador estadounidense en Lima informa de que la detención de un militar peruano acusado de espiar para Chile ha tensado una vez más la relación entre los dos países

ID: 235215
Date: 2009-11-17 20:50:00
Origin: 09LIMA1653
Source: Embassy Lima
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno: 09LIMA1635 09LIMA1647
Destination: VZCZCXYZ0012
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHPE #1653/01 3212050
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O R 172050Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY LIMA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0114
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0032
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO

C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 001653

SIPDIS
SOUTHCOM FOR POLAD

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/11/17
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PINR, MOPS, PARM, PE
SUBJECT: BREWING SPY SCANDAL FURTHER TENSES PERU-CHILE RELATIONSHIP

REF: LIMA 1647; LIMA 1635

CLASSIFIED BY: McKinley P. Michael, Ambassador, State, Ambassador
Peru; REASON: 1.4(B), (C), (D)

1. (C) Summary: The arrest of a Peruvian Air Force (FAP)
noncommissioned officer for alleged spying and passing classified
defense information to Chile has brought relations between the two
neighbors to a new low point. It also complicates President
Garcia's peace initiative aimed at reducing tensions and arms
expenditures in the region (ref B). Garcia cut short his
participation in APEC to respond to the crisis, and his public
statements have been measured in tone but more provocative in
content, characterizing Chile as a "banana republic" envious of
Peru's economic growth. The "spy scandal" has overtaken news about
Chile's arms purchases from the U.S. (ref A), but there is still
potential for the U.S. arms sale to resurface. Thus far, Peruvian
reaction seems exaggerated given the relatively limited scale of
the espionage revealed to date, and suggests political opportunism
along with an instinctive reaction to any problem involving Chile.
Still, we need to monitor the situation closely and the Ambassador
is in touch with the Foreign Minister for this purpose. End
Summary.



2. (C) The November 13 announcement by Ministry of Defense
officials that FAP NCO Victor Ariza Mendoza, had been arrested for
allegedly spying and passing classified defense information to
Chile has dominated the news for the past several days. The
45-year-old Ariza was reportedly charged with espionage and
"treason to the homeland" after receiving monthly payments of
$5,000-$8,000 for his services over a period of some seven years.
Ariza was reportedly exposed after he tried to recruit another NCO
to also spy for Chile. Peruvian intelligence officials are trying
to establish what type of information Ariza may have provided to
Chile and who else might be involved. Security officials have
apparently found evidence, including classified documents on the
hard drive of his computer. Media reports claim that he had wide
access to codes, military, legal, and diplomatic information.
According to the national daily "El Commercio", Ariza provided
Chile the list of projected FAP defense acquisitions until 2021,
under the MOD's "Basic Nucleus" strategic defense plans, as well as
the names of FAP intelligence officers.



3. (C) The capture and arrest of Ariza, coupled with reports that
others may be implicated in a larger network of snooping, have sent
Chile-Peru relations into a renewed tailspin. Exacerbated
tensions had already been roiled by a series of recent incidents.
These include Chile's "Salitre 2009" military exercises last month,
which were initially designed with a concept that Peru found
provocative (though this was later changed) and Chile's alleged
quiet negotiations with Bolivia regarding access to the sea for the
landlocked country. After a promising start, the Garcia
government's decision to take its maritime dispute to the ICJ in
The Hague in 2007 cooled the relationship considerably. With
peaks and troughs, relations have been predictably bumpy since that
time, and pivotal confidence building mechanisms - such as the
bilateral 2+2 meetings of Foreign and Defense Ministers - have been
indefinitely postponed. But the spy story represents a new low
point in bilateral relations.



4. (C) The story has also complicated President Garcia's peace
and security cooperation initiative for UNASUR, aimed at preventing
an arms race in the region, reducing military expenditures,
formalizing a non-aggression pact and fielding a regional defense
force ("Fuerza Sudamericana de Paz e Intervencion"). Production
Minister Araoz, who was scheduled to bring the proposal to Chile
this week, postponed her visit and is traveling to Uruguay instead.



5. (C) President Garcia cut short his participation in the APEC
meetings in Singapore to return to Peru and address the fallout of
the espionage incident. According to press reports, Garcia also
cancelled a scheduled meeting with Chilean President Bachelet on

the margins of APEC, in protest. Upon his return to Peru November
16, Garcia publicly addressed the spy scandal during a noon
television broadcast. With a measured tone, Garcia called on
Peruvians not to overreact and said that the GOP courts would rely
on legal solutions to resolve the issue, just as it had done at The
Hague with the maritime dispute. At the same time, he called the
act "repulsive," and characterized Chile as a "banana republic"
("republiqueta") motivated by its envy of Peru's strong economic
growth. Meanwhile, Nationalist Party (PN) leader Ollanta Humala
called on the government to cancel the free trade agreement with
Chile and even break off diplomatic relations. Former PM and
likely future presidential candidate Yehude Simon also joined the
fray, questioning continued diplomatic relations and calling for
the death penalty in the event the alleged spy is convicted in
court. MOD Rafael Rey was summoned to November 17 congressional
hearings to explain the affair.



Comment:

--------------

6. (C) Thus far, the "spy scandal" has overtaken news about
Chile's arms purchases from the U.S. -- the announced sale of a
$665 million U.S. weapons package to Chile (ref A) -- but there is
still potential for the latter "subtheme" to resurface. There has
been some speculation that Peru might be using the affair to
pressure Chile into throttling back on some of its arms purchases,
since the story coincidentally broke on the same day as the U.S.
weapons deal was made public. We have also been told that Peru is
concerned Chile might not abide by an ICJ decision on the maritime
dispute if it favors Peru. Regardless of such possible motives,
the "spy scandal" comes at an awkward time, just as Peru has begun
to more seriously focus on defeating Shining Path narco-terrorists
in the Apurimac-Ene River Valley (VRAE).
MCKINLEY