Monday, June 6, 2011
Voters in Peru elected Ollanta Humala as their next president, sending shock waves through Chile. Humala, of course, is the leftist politician who frequently has expressed hostility toward Chile. He wants Chile to apologize for a recent case of espionage and for policies in the past the he believes harmed Peru. As a former army officer, Humala trained to fight a war with Chile -- another fact not lost on Chileans. During his political campaign, the nationalist Humala adopted a softer tone than when he unsuccessfully ran for president in 2006. He distanced himself from Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez. But is this kinder and gentler Humala for real, or just a product of political necessity? Humala's post-election comments so far are conciliatory. A key milestone in Chile-Peru relations will be the ruling in the International Court over Peru's claims over its maritime border with Chile. Humala says he'll abide by whatever ruling the court makes.