Friday, February 06, 2004

Toledo's Troubles, Cont: The Miami Herald has Lucien Chauvin write up a recap on AToledo pegged largely on an interview with CPI's Manuel Saavedra and his latest poll. (See a 29-page summary of the poll here.) The piece leads with some confusion: the economy did not grow 9.2% in two years as he suggests; it grew 5% and 4.2% respectively over the last two years). Other CPI numbers: "50.5% of voters" don't believe Toledo will finish his term;" and "Congress' approval rating stands at 10%." The piece describes Toledo as "too inept or unwilling to break the cycle of scandals and missteps." Un-named are the Congressman who defected from Pais Posible and the Cabinet Minister who says ''[t]he president knows, and we have told him this, that we cannot give the country's enemies more ammunition.'' The Associated Press offers photos to go with the polling data.

Vladi the Journalist: Reuters offers photos with captions but no story (yet) on VMontesinos' note-taking during his trial in Lima. This photo shows Vladi showing a note "to Moises Wolferson [sic], whose family owns the tabloid paper 'La Razon', during his trial in Lima, on February 3." La Razon ran headlines based on these notes, (including Toledo's past drug-use history) yesterday.

Fujimori's Defender: China's Xinhua Net reports on Japanese political leader (and former Foreign Minister) Shizuka Kamei's support for AFujimori's "aspirations to regain the Peruvian presidency." Foreign Minister Manuel Rodriguez Cuadros declared that "the Peruvian government would present a formal complaint against recent statements by Kamei, head of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party." Kamei's quote: "Let's gather the strength of Japanese citizens so that Fujimori can once again be president (of Peru)."

Seeking Sendero: The BBC's Jeremy McDermott explains that he met in Lima with "members of left-wing parties" and "put out the word that I wanted to contact" representatives of the Shining Path. He eventually spoke in a Lima hotel with 'El Flaco,' a FARC representative who declared, "We are recruiting Peruvians for the revolution, and now have almost 1000 former members of the Shining Path." Also included: Rifle Butts with the inscription: 'Thanks Fujimori.'

Climate Change in Peru: The Science and Development Network reports on a study on "Andean biodiversity 'at high risk from climate change'." (See a brief summary of the Science article: "48,000 Years of Climate and Forest Change in a Biodiversity Hot Spot.") The new research suggests that "[a]nimals and plants in the Andes may be particularly vulnerable to rapid global warming." Professor Mark Bush of the Florida Institute of Technology is one of the lead scientists in this effort. His University put out a press release for the story as well.

No Asparagus? The Tri-City Herald, a newspaper from Washington State, reports of the tension that the Andean Trade Preference Act has caused, particularly among asparagus growers in that region. "While the act has been a boon to countries like Peru, it has devastated the asparagus industry in Washington." The article details the state legislative activity which seeks the exemption of asparagus from the Andean Trade act. "It also requests that the act not be renewed."

Beauty Queen, Cont: It took a few news cycles but the story finally hit the British tabs including the Daily Mirror which starts out: "[A]n African president tried to seduce Miss Peru thinking she was a hooker ... [with] a button which opened sliding doors to reveal a giant bed." The reporter, who is the Mirror's 'Foreign Editor', names Manuel Rodriguez (instead of Oswaldo de Rivero) contacting Gabon's UN envoy to express his country's 'serious concern'. Meanwhile, the Associated Press offers a photo of her in Lima with her boyfriend. The caption states that "[a] spokesman for Bongo told The Associated Press on Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2004 by telephone from the capital, Libreville, he was not aware of the allegations." The United Press International picks up the story, largely based on BBC's stale version of the events. However, it does add that "President Bongo's office denied the incident took place, claiming it was a defamatory campaign that coincides with preparations for presidential elections expected next year."

Skulls, Cont.: The Associated Press follows up on those dozen human skulls "auctioned as ceramic figurines [which] began as a bargain-hunting trip to Miami." Now, armed with photographs, the piece adds a few details and ends with: "A message seeking comment on the Peruvian origin of the shipment was left Thursday at the embassy of Peru in Washington, D.C." (For more, see "The Odd" in Peruvia yesterday.)

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Reuters reports that the Central Bank is posting "economic growth of 4 percent in 2004, after an expected 3.9 percent in 2003." Also: "Latin America's No.7 economy should see 2003 tax revenues of 12.9 percent of gross domestic product, rising to 13.4 percent of GDP in 2004."
- BNAmericas on Mibanco.
- BNAmericas on Interbank.
- BNAmericas and Reuters on Tractebel and Yuncan.
- BNAmericas and Reuters on Credicorp.
- Latin Finance on Peru's national port authority APN.
- BNAmericas offers a longer piece on the "unresolved issue of water supply holding up development" of a USD$1 Billion investment into Moquegua's Quellaveco copper project co-owned by Anglo-American and the World Bank. "Water is the main issue that has held up the project's development but social and political issues are also important factors." The World Bank's International Finance Corporation holds a 20% stake in the project.(See also: this 2002 report; and this Friends of the Earth analysis.)

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