Peru Table of Contents
The emergence of highly nationalistic forces in Peru's political system during the 1960s was accompanied by a marked shift in the nation's approach to foreign relations. A desire to alter Peru's traditionally passive role in foreign affairs, which had led to what was perceived as inordinate influence by foreign countries--and particularly the United States--in the political and economic life of the nation, became a central objective of the Velasco Alvarado regime. During the 1970s, Peru's military government sought an independent, nonaligned course in its foreign relations that paralleled the mixed socioeconomic policies of its domestic reform program. Diplomatic dealings and foreign trade were thus diversified; official contacts with the nations of the communist world, Western Europe, and Asia were significantly expanded during the decade, while the United States' official presence receded from its once predominant position. Multilateral relations, particularly with Latin American neighbors that shared economic and political interests common to many Third World nations, also assumed a new importance.
Peru's foreign policy initiatives were undertaken in part as an effort to gain international support for the military government's experiment in "revolution from above." The initial success of many programs of the military government brought it considerable international prestige and thus, during the early 1970s, Peru became a leading voice for Third World nations. As the fortunes of the Peruvian experiment fell during the late 1970s, however, its international profile receded markedly. The Belaśnde government deemphasized further the nonaligned stance of the military government while working toward closer relationships with the United States and the nations of Latin America.
Data as of September 1992