“Bilateralizing” Relations between Peru and Venezuela

By Ariela Ruiz Caro

, by CIP Americas Program

After President Ollanta Humala’s state visit to Venezuela Jan 7, and despite some adverse reactions to the visit in Peru, Humala announced that the two countries have “succeeded in turning away from the bilateral politics of the past in which nothing major had been accomplished in diplomatic, commercial and cultural relations.”

In effect, the two presidents reached new agreements in the areas of trade, energy, education, social programs and economy, as well as migratory regulation.

A top priority of the visit was to maintain, insofar as possible, the Commercial Liberation Program negotiated within the Andean Community (CAN). Venezuela withdrew from CAN on April 22, 2006, claiming that Colombia and Peru’s free trade agreements with the United States, “created a new legal body that tried to assimilate the regulations of free trade into the Andean Community, changing de facto its nature and original principles.” The Foreign Minister at the time, Alí Rodriguez, who is in line to become the next Secretary General of Unasur, sent a letter to CAN members in which he denounced the Cartagena Agreement, and consequently announced the withdrawal of Venezuela from CAN. Nonetheless, Venezuela remained within the Commercial Liberation Program for five years following its decision to withdraw from the CAN, which now consists only of Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador.

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