Shoving Peru out of the Andean Community of Nations

Excerpted editorial from today’s El Comercio newspaper:

Another ungrateful junkyard dog. This time it’s an Andean breed with two heads? Once more, the Bolivian and Ecuadorian governments have made obvious their obstructionist agenda and politicking within the Andean Community of Nations (CAN).

Bolivia and Ecuador maliciously insist on throwing a monkey wrench into the works in order to hinder the international commercial projects being promoted by Peru. This intensely revives the national debate concerning the feasibility of remaining within this sub regional forum, which has repeatedly proved its incompetence for regional integration.

The latest example of this has been the Bolivian and Ecuadorian stonewalling of Peru’s request to be more flexible with the Decision 486 Common Regime on Intellectual Property. This has been done with no technical argument and with the knowledge that it is a necessary condition for the implementation of our FTA with the United States.

It is understandable that Bolivia and Ecuador, because of their controversial ties to Hugo Chavez’s obsolete pro-Castro and socialist project, do not wish to get involved with the United States. However, they have no right to dangerously undermine Peru’s sovereign and coherent decision to do so. The same is occurring with the decision to negotiate with the European Union: who knows if Bolivia and Ecuador are only lazily insisting on a bloc treaty in order to derail the bilateral negotiation Peru and Colombia are hoping for in an effort to attract more investment, create more employment and reduce poverty.

There is room for suspicion: Peru recently sent Bolivia a letter of protest following the absurd and insolent declarations made by President Evo Morales describing Peru’s demand for the extradition of his former adviser Walter Chávez as a CIA conspiracy. It is likewise a fact that Bolivia has several times threatened to withdraw from the CAN, but apparently only returning to the fold at the urging of Chavez so that he could have it there to push his agenda.

It is a shame that the relations between Peru and Bolivia, as ancient as they are close, are being perturbed by the personalized agenda of a government like Morales’. Also, in the current political situation where the FTA with the United States has become a national priority, what the Peruvian government must do is insist politically on the pertinence of flexibility within the CAN and, at the same time, evaluate the possibility of giving these modifications legal status here.

There is no room for inaction or mollification, especially when the Andean obstructionists haven’t given us any technical reason to justify their position. In the near future, therefore, we must reiterate our editorial position: Bolivia and Ecuador are progressively pushing us toward abandoning the CAN, which has become inviable for dealing with economic issues. As a last resort, it should be used as a political forum. It suffices to consider Chile, which liberated itself from the hindrance of the Andean Pact more than three decades ago and then consequently had a free hand to start its successful development through bilateral agreements.

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