Glimpses of a diplomatic mission, Juan José Plasencia Vásquez, councelor of the Peruvian Embassy in Madrid
27 noviembre, 2015
Sarah Göbel, 27 November, 2015
As we were given the opportunity to do an interview with a person working within the area of International Relations, that’s also related to our region of interest, I immediately knew in which direction I wanted to go. Having been interested in the work related to diplomacy and international relations for a long time I decided to dive right into to the task of contacting Latin American embassies and consulates here in Madrid. After a long process of phone calling and e-mailing I could not believe my luck when I an afternoon received a respond from the Peruvian Embassy informing me that I had an interview scheduled with the councelor of the Peruvian Embassy in Spain.
After a lot of research and preparation I finally arrived at the embassy on the morning of November 16, 2015. As I was waiting downstairs in the beautiful foyer reality slowly started to sink in. I, Sarah Göbel, was going to meet the councelor, who is part of the very head of missions, at the Peruvian embassy. I was going to meet Juan José Plasencia Vásquez.
Greeting me at the top of the elegant stairs, dressed in lustrous leather shoes and a smart suit, was Mr. Plasencia Vásquez who firmly shook my hand and politely showed me into his office. As we sat down in beautiful green leather chairs and began our interview I could barely believe it was happening.
Smoothly and without delay, leaving the small talk behind, we moved onto to the interview questions and dived into the diverse work areas a councelor at an embassy deals with on a daily basis. As Mr. Plasencia Vásquez started telling me about the diplomatic mission of the Peruvian embassy, its close bilateral relations to Spain and its different fields of work, the complexity and multifaceted nature of an embassy’s work became clear to me.
Mr. Plasencia Vásquez’s role as councelor demands an impressive amount of knowledge, as the direct responsibility for a man of his position is the actual political relation between Spain and Peru. Including issues and tasks related to domestic politics, the press, multilateral and migratory issues as well as judicial cooperation.
Curious about the diplomatic career and above all Mr. Plasencia Vásquez’s own journey towards becoming councelor, the questions that followed were many. Telling me about the diplomatic career and its hierarchic system, the councelor explained to me that there are different positions at an embassy, different ranks. With ambassador being the highest ranking one, followed by minister, minister-councelor and councelor.
Mr. Plasencia Vásquez has been on diplomatic mission for Peru in Madrid, Spain, since 2010 and was promoted to councelor in 2012 after first having had the position of first secretary at the embassy. The councelor went on telling me that his career started (after university studies in journalism – specializing in the written press) with obtaining the position of consultant in the city of Cordoba, Argentina, were he worked for five years. Further explaining that: “We have a system of rotation within the diplomatic framework. We have to be abroad for five years and spend three years in Peru”.
With the diplomatic mission of the Peruvian Embassy in Madrid principally being to maintain already strong bilateral relations with Spain (within the political, economical and cultural fields), Mr. Plasencia Vásquez went on to further explain the nature of these special relations. Stating that the relations between the two countries are of the highest level and that there has been special visits by the monarchs, which truly demonstrates the imperative diplomatic bond.
Spain has long been the key investors in Peru, a country that in recent time has grown into one of Latin America’s strongest economies. Mr. Plasencia Vásquez tells me that the Spanish investment in Peru is crucial, not only for economic growth and stability, but also for helping decrease the national high level of poverty. By investing in the infrastructure and telecommunications, making the mountain regions more accessible. Investment also includes the establishment of chains such as Zara and companies within the energy and health field – all which in its turn also provides new jobs on the local market. Making the double investment a vital part of the diplomatic relations.
For the final question the focus changed from Spain and took a broader perspective, as the recently established Visa-pact between the European Union, Colombia and Peru was the topic discussed. According to Mr. Plasencia Vásquez, the Visa-pact is not yet fully implemented, but it’s going to be a large step towards strengthening the bonds with Europe. As the requirement for Visa when travelling would be removed, it would have a direct positive impact on the citizens and further increase the economic, political and cultural relations between the continents. It would bring Peru to Europe, and Peru is ready.