reinvigorating peru’s role in antarctic geopolitics96x.2015.1030164
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DESCRIPTIONAbstract: Peru has lagged in expanding its miniscule operations in the Antarctic. With neighbours such as Russia and China consistently appropriating greater resources towards its Antarctic bases, Peru can only lay claim to a seasonally operating base and naval vessel capable of annual expeditions to the frozen continent. The lack of investment in the region is crippling to the Andean nation, diminishing its presence and potential influence in the region. With the Antarctic Treaty of 1959 potentially up for revision in 2048, it is in Peru’s national interest to cement, promote and protect its fragile presence in Antarctica. As such, this essay will not only discuss Peru’s historical interactions with the Antarctic dating back to the 1970s, but it will also seek to highlight recent expeditions, including a visit by President Humala to Antarctica in 2013. It is the opinion of the authors that Peruvian initiatives in the Antarctic have been minimalist and insufficient to cement its role as relevant player in Antarctic geopolitics. Furthermore, this essay provides recommendations regarding what initiatives Lima can execute in the near future to not only increase its presence but also showcase it to the world. These suggestions include obtaining a second vessel, establishing a permanent base and promoting Peruvian scientific research regarding the Antarctic to the international academic community and even low-cost initiatives such as utilizing the Internet to promote Peru’s Antarctic history and contributions to the protection of this important region.
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Reinvigorating Perus role in AntarcticgeopoliticsWilder Alejandro Sancheza & Otto Raul Tielemans Jr.ba Council on Hemispheric Affairs, 1250 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite1C, Washington, DC 20016, USAb The George Washington University, 1957 E. Street NW,Washington, DC 20052, USAPublished online: 17 Jun 2015.
To cite this article: Wilder Alejandro Sanchez & Otto Raul Tielemans Jr. (2015)Reinvigorating Perus role in Antarctic geopolitics, The Polar Journal, 5:1, 101-112, DOI:10.1080/2154896X.2015.1030164
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2154896X.2015.1030164
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Reinvigorating Perus role in Antarctic geopolitics
Wilder Alejandro Sancheza* and Otto Raul Tielemans Jr.b
aCouncil on Hemispheric Affairs, 1250 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 1C, Washington, DC20016, USA; bThe George Washington University, 1957 E. Street NW, Washington, DC20052, USA
Peru has lagged in expanding its miniscule operations in the Antarctic. Withneighbours such as Russia and China consistently appropriating greater resourcestowards its Antarctic bases, Peru can only lay claim to a seasonally operatingbase and naval vessel capable of annual expeditions to the frozen continent. Thelack of investment in the region is crippling to the Andean nation, diminishingits presence and potential influence in the region. With the Antarctic Treaty of1959 potentially up for revision in 2048, it is in Perus national interest tocement, promote and protect its fragile presence in Antarctica. As such, thisessay will not only discuss Perus historical interactions with the Antarctic datingback to the 1970s, but it will also seek to highlight recent expeditions, includinga visit by President Humala to Antarctica in 2013. It is the opinion of the authorsthat Peruvian initiatives in the Antarctic have been minimalist and insufficient tocement its role as relevant player in Antarctic geopolitics. Furthermore, thisessay provides recommendations regarding what initiatives Lima can execute inthe near future to not only increase its presence but also showcase it to theworld. These suggestions include obtaining a second vessel, establishing apermanent base and promoting Peruvian scientific research regarding the Antarc-tic to the international academic community and even low-cost initiatives suchas utilising the Internet to promote Perus Antarctic history and contributions tothe protection of this important region.
Keyword: Peru; Antarctica; Foreign Policy; national interests; BIC Humboldt;Machu Picchu; ANTAR
With the global community constantly seeking to unearth greater quantities of natu-ral resources, the Antarctic has established itself as one of the final frontiers forlucrative extraction ventures. Among the interested are countries such as Argentina,Australia, Chile and China each with their established research bases and intricatenetwork of Antarctic infrastructure (i.e. telecommunications systems, vessels, etc.).
Most commonly overlooked, however, is the Andean nation of Peru. Defined byits constitution as an Antarctic nation, Peru has in recent decades maintained asmall but constant presence in the Antarctic, igniting a sense of pride and prestigefor the Peruvian Government, scientific community and military. Although thearmed forces are credited with spearheading Perus presence in the white continentin the 1970s, only a small portion of the Peruvian population is aware of its nationsventures in the Antarctic. After all, with little more than a seasonally operatingscientific base and an ageing naval vessel that conducts annual scientific expeditions,
*Corresponding author. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
2015 Taylor & Francis
The Polar Journal, 2015Vol. 5, No. 1, 101112, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/2154896X.2015.1030164
there is few ammunition on behalf of the Andean nation to conduct any type ofattention-grabbing expeditions or explorations.
Nevertheless, Peru attempts to remain an active role in the region. And althoughits scientific experiments are ongoing, it is debatable to what extent the country isimpacting the global scientific community. Neither can it be said that the base,Machu Picchu, holds strategic value for the countrys commercial and nationalsecurity interests (although the base is necessary to demonstrate that the country isconducting substantial research activity in Antarctica in order to be a consultativeparty of the Antarctic Treaty System). The authors of this analysis argue that Perucurrently has no clear policy towards the white continent, and is only executingminimum initiatives necessary (i.e. scientific expeditions and a semi-permanentbase) to retain its relevance in the region. The accelerated melting of the poles isdriving global powers to look at the South Pole; however, Peru is failing to elevateits standing among its international counterparts. As such, with the Antarctic Treatyof 1959 to be reviewed in 2048 (50 years after it entered into force), it is in Perusnational interest to formulate a short- and a long-term policy leading up to 2048regarding its presence and objectives in the area. Otherwise, the Andean state is injeopardy of losing its little influence over the continents affairs. (Certainly, there isthe scenario where no party calls for a review in 2048, but the authors of this articlesupport the assumption that global geopolitics, and the battle for control overAntarctic resources, will be motives for a review of the Treaty.)
Perus role in the Antarctic
The first legal statement regarding Perus interest in the Antarctic can be found inthe countrys 1979 constitution, drafted a year prior to the countrys return to demo-cratic governance from over a decade of military rule (19681980).1 On 3 May1979, the National Assembly passed a declaration claiming Peru as being a nationlinked to the Antarctic due to its geographical position, as well as due to ecologicaland historical factors.2 A similar declaration was made and added to the countrysconstitution in 1993 by Perus national legislature. Additionally, the PeruvianGovernment has drafted a Poltica Nacional Antrtica (Antarctic National Policy)that was passed in 11 June 2002 (via the Decreto Supremo N 016-2002-RE). Thefact that the Peruvian Governments decision to highlight its connections with theAntarctic while the country was ruled by the military is interesting but should not beinterpreted as a defining factor. The Andean state has a strong history of dealingwith maritime issues, such as, for example, its fierce protection of its control over200 nautical miles as its exclusive economic zone, and, at the time, there was astrong momentum to get involved in Antarctic geopolitics in order to ensure that thefrozen continent remained a military-free zone and protected from changes thatcould impact the world, particularly neighbouring South America and Peru itself.
As opposed to several other governments, however, Peru does not officially claimany territory within the Antarctic (though, following Brazils defrontacion theory,Peru could theoretically claim a sector of the Antarctic). As a matter of fact, it wasnot until 1981, after the country had returned to democratic governance, that theAndean nation became a signatory of the Antarctic Treaty. Years later, in 19