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Peruvian government captures alleged Chilean spy

The Americas Post - The alleged Chilean spy is the one wearing the Jack Daniels t-shirt

Peru’s government said Wednesday it is investigating an alleged Chilean spy arrested in the vicinity of a military airbase in the north, in a case that could cast a shadow over relations between Lima and Santiago.

Defense Minister Alberto Otárola, said when Luis Maximiliano Seraín was arrested he had in his possession a CD,  a USB memory stick and “some writings” that are being investigated by the local public prosecutor.

“From what we know he is a Chilean citizen who was arrested near the barracks of El Pato military base in Talara.  I can not provide or confirm more details because I repeat is in full investigation,” Otárola told journalists.

In 2009, Peru and Chile engaged in a diplomatic row after the arrest of a Peruvian Air Force officer, who was accused of sending classified information to Chile.  After a year of research, a military court in Peru convicted the officer, formerly employed in the Peruvian Embassy in Santiago, to 25 years in prison.

This new espionage case involving Chile, a major investor in Peru, comes at a time when both South American countries are in international court disputing differences in their maritime boundaries.

Chilean government spokesman Andrew Chadwick said in Santiago they are fully confident that the person arrested in Peru has no link with Chilean state activities.

“We are absolutely clear on the country’s foreign policy in relation to our neighbors.  We never want to risk any type of situation that could harm our relations,” he said.

“As a government we deal with these situations calmly and wisely,” he added.

Relations between Peru and Chile, both major mineral exporters, have gone through ups and downs since they fought a war in the late nineteenth century.  Despite the friction, trade links and business between the two countries have grown rapidly in recent years.