After more than two months of diplomatic tension between Peru and Chile over accusations that Peruvian naval officials had sold secrets to Chilean intelligence, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala announced yesterday that the countries have resolved the dispute.
Humala said that he “recognizes the constructive attitude and dialogue of President Michelle Bachelet’s government in deploring these acts in the spirit of advancing the continued cooperation and integration of our peoples.”
Peru first accused Chile of espionage on February 19, calling on the neighboring country to investigate the accusations and press charges against those responsible. According to the Peruvian government, there was evidence that three Peruvian non-commissioned navy officials (NCOs) had shared confidential information with Chilean intelligence between 2005 and 2012. The naval officers allegedly stole classified military documents and passed them on to their Chilean handlers in secret meetings held in Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil in exchange for money. These officers first came under suspicion in 2014, when their superiors suspected that the officers could not finance those trips on their salaries alone.
After receiving an initial response from the Chilean government on March 8 that it deemed unsatisfactory, the Peruvian government officially recalled Ambassador Fernando Rojas to Lima. Chilean Ambassador Roberto Ibarra was thereafter recalled for consultations in Chile to help prepare a response to Peru’s accusations.
On April 1, Chile responded to Peru’s second protest note. The contents of the note were confidential, but Chilean Minister of Foreign Affairs Heraldo Muñoz said that he hoped the note would “advance a future agenda” to settle the issue. Chile then sent an addendum to this second note, which Humala recognized as satisfactory.
This was not the first time that the Peruvian government accuses Chile of espionage. On October 30, 2009, Peruvian Air Force official Victor Ariza Mendoza was arrested based on accusations of treason for passing on confidential information on Peru’s military acquisitions to Chilean intelligence officers.