Chilean president-elect Sebastian Piñera has already announced that Brazil and Argentina will the first countries he will visit. He added he will accept invitations from Spain and France and anticipated one of his first actions would be to de-freeze relations with neighboring Peru.
In an interview with Santiago’s La Tercera, Piñera said that Cuba was not a democracy and that he disagrees with the way President Hugo Chavez is conducting affairs in Venezuela.
“I believe our first visits will be to the world of our neighbors, particularly Argentina and Brazil, and we will also accept some of the invitations that have been extended to us by European countries such as Spain and France”, said the president elect.
Piñera anticipated that the foreign policy of his administration would clearly “mark our positions and values: our commitment with democracy, with human rights, and our profound respect for International law”.
“When I’m asked if I believe Cuba is a democracy or not, I’m going to say what I believe: that it is not a democracy and that in Cuba human rights are not respected”.
Regarding Venezuela he insisted that “the way which democracy is practiced and the way that economic development is being applied is one which I do not want for Chile.”
However “this will not be an impediment to have excellent bilateral relations with countries with which we have some discrepancies.”
“I do not pretend to interfere in Venezuela’s internal affairs and I hope Venezuela does not attempt to interfere with Chilean internal affairs,” said Piñera.
Regarding neighboring Peru, “there’s an agenda that belongs to the past, which tends to divide us, and another of the future which tends to unite us, I will look to the future.”
“The one of the past is currently in the (International Court of) The Hague,” he added regarding the maritime limits’ dispute with Peru.
“We are going to defend firmly and with prudence that which legitimately belongs to us. But we are not going to freeze the whole relation with Peru waiting what is decided in The Hague…I would like to see the future agenda with Peru out of the freezer”.
As to the other neighbor with which Chile has a long conflicting relation, Bolivia, Piñera revealed he addressed a letter to President Evo Morales congratulating him for the new chapter of his government and underlining “my best intentions and willingness towards our bilateral relation.”
Landlocked Bolivia is claiming a sea outlet since the 1880s when the country together with Peru was defeated by Chile. Bolivia’s sea outlet and the most southern province of Peru have since become Chilean territory to ensure a contention block for any future episodes.