Caracas, Venezuela, mayo 4, 2006—Peruvian-Venezuelan relations turned sour as thecountries pulled their respective ambassadors in the wake of what Peru views asinterference of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in its internal affairs.
“I deplore and condemn this meddling; I don’thave anything to do with president Chávez,” OllantaHumala, the candidate for president who Chávez has repeatedly expressed hissupport for, told the Caracas daily El Nacional.
The mostrecent rift came after Venezuelaannounced its withdrawal from the Andean Community, saying Peru and Colombia’sFree Trade Agreements with the UShad killed the group.
Peruvianpresidential candidate, and former president, Alan Garcia, criticized the move, calling Chávez “shameless” and a “brat.”
Chávez quicklyretorted that should Garcia win the election, Venezuelawould withdraw its ambassador to Peru, calling the candidate“corrupt” and a “bandit,” and cheered Humala’s runfor office.
Peru immediately removed its ambassadorfrom Venezuela,though current Peruvian President AlejandroToledo, who, not immune to Chávez’s name calling, was called a “crocodiles fromthe same water hole” as Garcia, said he did not believe this signaled a rupturein diplomatic relations between the countries.
Fernando de la Flor, Peru’sambassador to the Organization of American States, criticized Chávez’s commentsto the international body. “My delegation denounces the inapropriate, to thepoint of being censurable, intrusion of Persident Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, inmatters which are the exclusive province of Peru, as is the election,democratic and free, of its national political authorities,” he said, accordingto the AFP.
Venezuelaresponded by withdrawing its ambassador to Peru. The National Assembly, whichafter an opposition withdrawal from December’s elections is entirely controlledby the ruling party and its allies, has since passed a unanimous resolutionapproving Chávez’s conduct in the matter.
Peru’s upcoming election has been a source of contention between the twocountries for months, as Hugo Chavez dubbed one candidate, who is no longer incontention, “the candidate of the oligarchy.” At the time, Peru briefly withdrewits ambassador and released a statement asking that “that the Venezuelangovernment respects the Peruvian electoral process.” Chávez did not back downfrom his comments, and reiterated his support for Humula.