The Andean Community Passport

written by A. L. Hart Havens on August 15, 2022

In mid-summer 1941, the geopolitical situation was approaching a boiling point with the German Wehrmacht smashing eastward through Soviet-controlled territory, the Empire of Japan asserting its military dominance across China and the wider Pacific region, Italian and British forces clashing across Africa, a British-Soviet invasion of Iran, and the Roosevelt Administration itching to find any possible pretext for America to officially enter the conflict. World War 2 threatened to engulf virtually every single region of the world.

Unbeknownst to most, however, a South American territorial dispute long in the making erupted into full‑scale warfare in mid-1941, marking a culmination of hostilities that amazingly had absolutely nothing to do with World War 2. As neither side received any direct or indirect support from either Allied or the Axis forces, this military struggle was one that took place near the very height of World War 2 but was remarkably entirely separate from the overarching worldwide conflict. This was a war between the neighboring Andean nations of Ecuador and Peru.

With both countries accusing the other of incursions across an ill-defined border traversing Amazonian terrain, fighting began in earnest on July 5, 1941 and saw both countries initially occupying towns and provinces in enemy territory until Peru eventually gained the upper hand as the combat wore on. A ceasefire was reached on July 31, although the war did not officially end until the signing of the Rio Protocol on January 29, 1942.

The US-brokered agreement did little to settle the bad blood or resolve the territorial dispute, however, as wars and skirmishes between Ecuador and Peru erupted several more times in the decades thereafter, most notably in 1981 and 1995, with the much-larger Peru yet again getting the better of the action.

A border demarcation and peace agreement reached in 1999 ultimately awarded the majority of the disputed territories to Peru and finally put an end to the territorial dispute, an accomplishment that the mainstream media in the United States was naturally very eager to ascribe to then-president Bill Clinton’s adeptness in the art of international diplomacy.

However, in spite of the longstanding animosity that can be traced back as far as 1821, Ecuadorian-Peruvian relations have seen a marked improvement in recent decades that is evidenced by both holding full membership in a four-country economic, political, and passport union called the Andean Community, which also includes Colombia and Bolivia.

A Union of Western South American Countries

The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean have unquestionably recognized the benefits that a regional bloc can offer in the global economic and geopolitical arena and have slowly but steadily pursued the formation and integration of such blocs even in the face of historically unfriendly relations among neighboring countries.

In addition to Caricom in the Caribbean and the C4 in Central America, these pursuits have given rise to two major economic and political unions in South America, with Mercosur (Mercado Común del Sur) dominant in the eastern part of the continent and the Andean Community (Comunidad Andina) on the western side. Mercosur’s active full members are Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, while the Andean Community’s full members are Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, and Colombia.

Emerging in 1996 from a predecessor organization called the Andean Pact that was founded in 1969, the Andean Community broadly describes itself as “a single market, an Andean territorial development strategy, and an Andean strategy for social cohesion.” Lima, Peru is the seat of the Andean Community’s secretariat and is home to most of the organization’s important governing bodies. Notable exceptions include the Andean Parliament (Bogotá, Colombia), the Andean Court of Justice (Quito, Ecuador), and Simón Bolívar Andean University (Sucre, Bolivia).

Although the bloc formerly included Venezuela, in 2006 then-president Hugo Chávez withdrew the country from the Andean Community in response to Peru and Colombia signing free trade agreements with the United States. Venezuela gained full membership in Mercosur thereafter, but has been suspended from that organization since 2016 and is unlikely to be reinstated under its current Russia/China/Iran-friendly government.

Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay are associate members of the Andean Community and Spain and Morocco are observers. It is notable that most of the full members of the Andean Community are associate members of Mercosur, and vice versa. Chile, however, is a full member of neither and an associate member of both.

Proposals have been made to merge the two organizations with the aim of creating a continental free trade area that would be colloquially termed SAFTA, invoking the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). However, as Mercosur has proven itself in recent years to wield significantly more economic and geopolitical clout than the Andean Community, it will be interesting to observe the course of any further-reaching integration efforts.

The Comunidad Andina Passport

Similar to Mercosur’s arrangement, the Andean Community enables its member-country citizens to travel among the four-country bloc without a visa or even a passport, although the presentation of a national ID card is required.

Additionally, an Andean Community passport cover was introduced in 2001 featuring common-design elements showing Comunidad Andina at the top. In contrast to the Mercosur bloc’s blue passport, which also features common-design elements, the Andean Community’s full member countries issue red passports.

As explained in the Liberated Services articles covering Mercosur, Caricom, and the C4, the passports of Latin American and Caribbean countries are of remarkably good quality. In fact, Haiti, Cuba, and to a lesser extent the Dominican Republic are the only countries in the Western Hemisphere that can be described as having weak passports. The passports of Latin American countries offer excellent visa-free access to many parts of the world although none other than Chile provide visa-free access to the United States or Canada.

All of Mercosur’s full members enjoy visa-free access to the UK and the Schengen Area, however there are a number of pertinent differences within the four-country Andean Community. More specifically, while all of the bloc’s full members can enter Russia without a visa and none of them can enter the UK, Peruvians and Colombians can enter Europe’s Schengen Area without a visa and Bolivians and Ecuadorians cannot. Interestingly, Ecuador is one of very few countries across the world that enjoys visa-free access for ordinary passport holders to mainland China.

The fact that the Peruvian-Ecuadorian hostilities of decades past have subsided considerably creates interesting offshore opportunities for savvy globetrotters, who now have the option of obtaining citizenship in both countries without fear of punitive action by either government. Holders of both citizenships in their passport repertoires can leverage the many offsetting differences in visa restrictions to achieve an outstanding degree of visa-free access throughout the world.

As pertains to passport quality measured by international visa-free access, the 2022 rankings of the world’s 199 passports from most powerful (#1) to least powerful (#199) show Peru at #71, Colombia at #77, Ecuador at #101, and Bolivia at #113.

Challenges Moving Forward

In spite of the positive underlying trend, it is worth noting that both Ecuador and Peru have recently exhibited some concerning developments. Pedro Castillo, an economically far-left union leader belonging to a political party that has openly praised Marxism, Leninism, Fidel Casto, and Hugo Chávez, assumed the Peruvian presidency on July 28, 2021.

And on this very same day, news broke that the government of Ecuador had revoked the citizenship of Julian Assange, retroactively declaring his 2018 naturalization invalid due to a petty technicality. This turn of events marked an abrupt and discouraging end to Ecuador’s longstanding commitment to protecting whistleblowers unpopular with powerful western governments, and it is a stark departure from the policies pursued by former president Rafael Correa, who granted Julian Assange asylum and permission to live at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London (which he did for seven years).

Colombia, a country that has been very much under the wing of the US government in recent times, was declared a major non-NATO ally (MNNA) by Joe Biden in March 2022, making it only the third country in the Western Hemisphere to receive this official designation (alongside Argentina and Brazil). The future of this relationship has become uncertain, however, as the far-left former guerilla fighter Gustavo Petro assumed the Colombian presidency on August 7, 2022.

It is worth pointing out here that the Latin American political parties described as far-left, socialist, or communist are typically the most resistant to US/NATO foreign policy objectives. In fact, the dubious support provided by George Soros and other influential globalists to far-left movements in Europe has led many people to falsely believe that Soros is an ideologically driven communist.

The idea of Soros as a communist is easily refuted in demonstrating his wholehearted support for regime change in various communist countries, which in the case of Venezuela would involve the removal of the current Maduro-led government and the installation the US-backed Juan Guaidó, who is branded a political centrist by western governments and mainstream media.

To the globalists working in tandem with the US deep state, the funding of socialist and communist agitators constitutes a tool that is often effective at bringing about societal upheaval and bringing down uncooperative national governments. By contrast, the far-left governments of Latin America view socialism/communism as an end in itself and have shown themselves to be relatively hostile toward the globalist agenda. And while both ideologies are inherently objectionable, it is extremely important to take note of this difference.

The friction between globalists and genuine communists has also manifested itself in Bolivia, which for well over a decade has been ruled by a government that is openly communist for all intents and purposes. In 2013, the plane of then-president of Bolivia Evo Morales, who had been attending an energy conference in Russia, was brazenly forced to land in Western Europe under pressure from the US government due to suspicions that Edward Snowden may be on board.

Furthermore, Bolivia was one of only a handful of countries in the Western Hemisphere that declined to declare Russia at fault for the ongoing war in Ukraine. Whereas Bolivia and El Salvador took a neutral stance, Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua placed the blame for the conflict squarely on NATO.

In closing, contrary to the conditions prevailing during the 1941 Ecuadorian-Peruvian War, which coincided with World War 2 but saw neither the Allies nor the Axis showing any interest in the conflict, it would not be difficult to imagine the four Comunidad Andina members in the near future taking opposing sides as proxies in the greater geopolitical struggle between the US/NATO and Chinese/Russian spheres of influence. And as pertains to Ecuador and Peru specifically, it may take only a small spark to reignite a two-centuries-old conflict in a way that could seriously jeopardize the cohesion of the Andean Community.