Cenepa War Case Study

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Latin American countries have experienced many interstate disputes since their fight for independence from Spain and Portugal. Since 1990, however, only one — the conflict between Peru and Ecuador — escalated into a full-blown war (Dominguez, 2003: 5). These two countries had a long-running conflict, with many events leading up to this final war, after which a successful arbitration occurred. In this paper, I will look at two explanations of war in the field of international relations — the security dilemma, an assumption of realism; and issue indivisibility, an assumption of the bargaining model of war — and apply them to the Cenepa War. As we will see, both theories fit parts of this case. The long-running dispute over territory between Peru and Ecuador started with the Real Cédula de 1802. This was a royal decree, issued by the Spanish king in 1802 at the request of the governor of Maynas, which transferred the control of the region of Maynas and the region of Quijos from the Viceroyalty of Santa Fe to the Viceroyalty of Peru (Aranda, 1890: 204). The confusion lay, however, in whether this transfer of control was exclusively over religious and military matters, or territorial as well. This region of Maynas encapsulated parts of present-day Peru and Ecuador, and the ambiguity of the Cédula made for unclear territorial boundaries …show more content…
Because of this, it tried to improve its neighborly relations, including its relationship with Ecuador. While amends were attempted to be made, Peru insisted on sticking to the Rio Protocol, while Ecuador insisted on its invalidity. Because neither side would budge, no amends were made. There was a fragile peace, which gave way for many skirmishes. A pacto de caballeros (gentleman’s agreement), which called for both sides to abandon their outposts in the disputed Cenepa River area, generated peace until 1994 (Simmons, 1999:

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