Saturday, November 7, 2015

Peru Rattles its Sabre At Chile's Border

Just as Chile's armed forces are starting a major military exercise, fissures with Peru are opening up again. The government in Lima has created a new district in a disputed piece of territory, triggering an angry response from La Moneda. Up to now, Chile and Peru had resolved border disputes amicably, so the new territorial claim is a significant shift in policy. It's hard to decipher Lima's intentions. Perhaps Peru senses weakness by Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, whose popularity has plunged as she presses on with a number of reforms. Chile also has complained about Peruvian military personnel that have been spotted at the border with Chile. The diplomatic spat serves as the backdrop for Huracan (Hurricane), an annual wargame in the north of Chile that combines Army, Navy and Air Force units. Huracan is one of the principal training exercises for Chile's military, and it does send a reminder to neighboring countries that Chile's borders are well-defended. The combined-arms exercise starts Sunday, Nov. 8 and lasts a week. Update: Some 5,500 troops are taking part in Huracan, which includes front-line units from all armed services.

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