On a visit to Colombia yesterday, Bolivian Foreign Minister David Choquehuanca said that Bolivia would seek to re-establish formal diplomatic ties with Peru as soon as possible. In a statement, Mr. Choquehuanca attributed the change of stance to popular demand saying, “Our peoples want harmonious relations…government officials must obey our peoples’ wishes.” A deterioriation in relations led to Peru recalling its ambassador to Bolivia on Tuesday.
This was in response to comments earlier this week by Bolivian President Evo Morales, describing the Peruvian government’s response to recent unrest in the Amazon as a “genocide” caused by free trade. Prior to recalling its ambassador, Peruvian Foreign Minister José Garcia Belaunde labeled Mr. Morales “an enemy of Peru.” Other Peruvian officials have suggested that Bolivia was interfering in Peru’s domestic affairs by actively inciting protests by indigenous groups that have so far left at least 34 people dead.
A warming of the rhetoric between the two Andean neighbors could be a first step toward improving the bilateral relationship which some experts believe “has never been so bad.”