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Humala Approval Jumps on Chile Maritime Dispute, Peru Poll Shows

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala’s approval rating climbed the most in nine months amid optimism the country will win a maritime border dispute with Chile, a poll showed this week.

Humala’s rating rose to 50 percent from 44 percent the month earlier, according to a poll by Datum Internacional for Lima-based newspaper Gestion.

Peru, the world’s biggest producer of fishmeal, is contesting Chile’s control of 66,680 square kilometers (25,745 square miles) of rich fishing waters off the two Andean neighbors’ Pacific coast. Peru, which in 2009 filed a claim with the International Court of Justice in The Hague, presented its case on Dec. 3-4, and Chile follows today and tomorrow. Datum’s poll shows 67 percent of those questioned expect Peru to win.

Datum questioned 1,217 people nationwide from Nov. 30 through Dec. 4. The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

The two countries have a history of animosity going back to before the five-year War of the Pacific that ended in 1884, when Chile invaded Lima and stripped Peru and its ally Bolivia of mineral-rich territories that later helped make Chile the world’s biggest copper producer.

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