Ecuador vs. Peru: Peacemaking amid Rivalry

Ecuador vs. Peru: Peacemaking amid Rivalry

Ecuador vs. Peru: Peacemaking amid Rivalry

Ecuador vs. Peru: Peacemaking amid Rivalry


Although the 1995 Cenepa War between Ecuador and Peru was the first military conflict in South America in over 50 years, the Ecuador-Peru relationship has been one of enduring rivalry. This text analyzes the mediation process that followed the 1995 war.


It is with great pleasure that we publish this IPA Occasional Paper detailing an important but little-known peace process that ended the enduring rivalry that has simmered between Ecuador and Peru for well over 100 years.

We are particularly delighted that the two authors, Monica Herz and João Pontes Nogueira, agreed to undertake this project in Brazil, where they both teach, traveling from there to carry out field research in Ecuador, Peru, and elsewhere. Brazil, notably President Henrique Cardoso, played an important part in coaxing the parties toward resolution of their bitter dispute.

This instance of peacemaking is interesting for several reasons. It did not involve mediation by the United Nations or the Organization of American States. Rather, negotiations were facilitated by four “guarantor” countries—Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and the United States—which had underwritten the earlier treaty between Ecuador and Peru that provided the framework for the ultimate settlement. Each brought particular attributes to the negotiating table. The private sector in both countries also played a very constructive role in urging their respective governments and parliaments to settle. As well, several important media organizations in each country forsook jingoistic coverage of the negotiations and attempted, with considerable success, to build mutual understanding.

Moreover, the agreement between Ecuador and Peru was reached at a time of considerable political instability in Ecuador, undercutting the belief in some academic circles that weak governments cannot make peace. Peru also was experiencing some domestic turmoil.

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