Selecciona Edición
Entra en EL PAÍS
Conéctate ¿No estás registrado? Crea tu cuenta Suscríbete
Selecciona Edición
Tamaño letra

Cable sobre la coincidencia del 'conflicto de los espías' con una venta de material militar a Chile

El 18 de noviembre de 2009, el embajador en Santiago, Paul Simons, informa de que la detención en Perú del militar Víctor Ariza Mendoza, acusado de espiar para Chile, ha eclipsado la noticia sobre las posibles ventas de misiles y radares estadounisenses a Chile

ID: 235456
Date: 2009-11-18 20:18:00
Origin: 09SANTIAGO905
Source: Embassy Santiago
Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
Dunno: 09LIMA1635 09LIMA1647 09LIMA1653 09SANTIAGO339 09SANTIAGO869 09SANTIAGO887 09SANTIAGO893
Destination: VZCZCXYZ0014
OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHSG #0905/01 3222018
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O R 182018Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0296
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA 0169
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO

C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 000905

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 2019/11/18
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MASS, CI, PE
SUBJECT: Chile Tries to Tamp Down Peru's Reaction to Potential FMS
and Spy Story

REF: LIMA 1653; LIMA 1647; LIMA 1635; SANTIAGO 893; SANTIAGO 887
SANTIAGO 869; SANTIAGO 339

CLASSIFIED BY: Paul Simons, Ambassador; REASON: 1.4(B), (D)

1. (C) Summary. Chile has responded in measured tones to
increasingly harsh comments from President Garcia of Peru after
Peru reported that a Peruvian military official was arrested for
spying for Chile. After Garcia said the alleged spying was
something for a banana republic and not a democracy, President
Bachelet criticized the comments as "offensive." The spy story was
published the same day that the Defense Security Cooperation Agency
announced potential Foreign Military Sales to Chile. Peru also
criticized the potential FMS sale, and in response Chilean
officials have emphasized that the sales would replace existing
defensive equipment. The spy story has largely overshadowed the
potential military sales. (The Ambassador's November 18 meeting
with FM Fernandez is reported septel.) End summary.



Weapons and Spies -- Latest Friction between Chile and Peru

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



2. (U) On November 12, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency
(DCSA) announced that it had notified the U.S. Congress of the
potential sale to Chile of three military systems under the Foreign
Military Sales (FMS) program: Sentinel radars, the Avenger air
defense system, and AMRAAM missiles. That afternoon, Defense
Minister Francisco Vidal acknowledged to the media the potential
sales. In doing so, he stressed two points: that Chile was
replacing aged defensive systems, and that these were potential,
not definitive sales. Expanding on the second point, he said that
Chile would consider options from other countries and the posted
headline sales price ($640-665 million) was the uppermost limit,
and that Chile would spend less than that.



3. (U) Also on November 12, the Peruvian media reported that a
Peruvian military official, Victor Ariza Mendoza, had been arrested
in Peru for allegedly spying for Chile (ref a and b). The media in
Chile and Peru reported the spying story and the potential FMS sale
as two factors leading to Peruvian discontent with Chile, also
linking those stories to the potential impact on Peru's proposal
for a Peace and Security Cooperation initiative (reftel c). The
Chilean media subsequently reported, citing Chilean government
sources, that Ariza had been detained for approximately two weeks
before the story became public. Chilean press articles suggested
that that Peruvian officials decided to release the story to
capitalize on anticipated discontent with potential FMS sales.



Peruvian Reaction

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



4. (U) On November 13, President Garcia of Peru, who was visiting
Singapore for the APEC summit, announced that he would return to
Peru a day earlier than anticipated and that he was cancelling a
previously scheduled bilateral meeting with President Bachelet
(reftel a). Peru also announced that it was recalling its
Ambassador to Chile for consultations. In addition, Peru announced
that Minister of Production Mercedes Araoz was cancelling a
November 18 visit to Santiago, where she was scheduled to meet with
President Bachelet and FM Mariano Fernandez to discuss Peru's Peace
and Security Cooperation proposal.


5. (U) According to media reporting, on November 16, Garcia more
sharply criticized Chile, stating that the alleged spying was
repulsive, inconsistent with a democratic country, and lowered
Chile's international standing. Garcia further criticized Chile
for being in an arms race and said the "Hague court and what it
says can't be answered by war games," alluding to the pending
maritime dispute. (See also reftel a.)



Chilean Response

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



6. (U) According to Chilean media, on November 14, Bachelet
approached Garcia at an APEC reception to express her displeasure
that Garcia highlighted bilateral friction in multilateral fora,
noting that Garcia had asserted (erroneously) just before a UNASUR
summit in August that Chile and Bolivia were negotiating a secret
pact. In response to the alleged spying incident, FM Fernandez has
stated publicly that Chile does not spy, a point that was
reiterated by presidential spokesperson Carolina Toha.



7. (U) Following the APEC summit, Bachelet continued her planned
itinerary, flying to Rome to participate in a summit organized by
the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). FM Fernandez returned
to Santiago, where he met first with Chile's ambassador to Peru
(in-country for personal reasons), and then met with the Minister
of Interior Perez Yoma and Minister of Defense Vidal. Following
the meeting, Fernandez reiterated that Chile does not spy, and
Vidal re-emphasized that Chile was not in an arms race, was only
replacing old material, and that Peru already possessed military
capabilities similar to the proposed purchases. Chile's Ambassador
to Peru has been instructed to remain in Santiago until further
notice.



8. (U) Upon Bachelet's return to Chile on November 17, after
meeting with her foreign policy team she publicly criticized
Garcia's November 16 comments as "offensive and grandiloquent
(altisonante)." She added that the comments "do nothing to
contribute to the cooperation and integration that we should
stimulate between neighboring countries."



Chilean Views on Peru-Chile Relations

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



9. (C) In contrast to Chile's relatively good relations with
Argentina (with whom Chile has just signed an integration treaty)
and Bolivia, Chile's current relations with Peru are tense and
feature frequent highly public squabbles. Prior to the latest
go-round sparked by allegations of spying and proposed military
sales, Peru publicly complained about the underlying scenario for
the Salitre multilateral military exercise (reftel f).



10. (C) Prior to the recent spats over Salitre and spying, the
Chilean Deputy Director for South America in the Foreign Ministry
had characterized Peruvian-Chilean relations as "frozen" by Peru's
decision to challenge the existing maritime border between Peru and
Chile in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the Hague
(refel f). (Chilean officials have consistently told us that Chile

will honor any decision issued by the ICJ, contrary to Peruvian
allegations in reftel a.) In practice, bilateral relations are not
completely frozen since important areas of engagement, including
trade, investment, and law enforcement cooperation, continue
largely uncolored by the high profile disputes. However, Chilean
military officials report that their efforts to pursue confidence
building measures with their Peruvian counterparts are usually
rebuffed.



11. (C) While senior Chilean officials have been guarded in their
comments, upper mid-level officials in the Foreign Ministry and
military maintain that the high profile spats are generated by Peru
to distract the Peruvian public from domestic Peruvian problems.
Regardless of the underlying cause, following the sparring over
Salitre, both the Foreign Minister and Presidential Foreign Policy
Advisor told the Ambassador that Chile was trying to lower the
rhetoric level (reftels d and e).



12. (SBU) The Ambassador met with FM Fernandez on November 18.
This cable summarizes information available up to that meeting,
which is reported septel.



13. (C) Comment. In contrast to the Salitre incident, where
comments by Defense Minister Vidal helped fuel the controversy,
thus far Chilean officials have been discrete in their public
response to the potential FMS sale and the spy incident, responding
to the developments with mild, pre-crafted talking points. It
appears to us that the Chilean government has acted effectively to
take wind out of any public controversy regarding the potential FMS
sale, and has responded to harsh comments from Lima in measured
tones, meeting domestic needs to respond to the Peruvian assertions
while not adding additional fuel to the fire.
SIMONS