Wednesday, May 05, 2004

CPI Polling: MercoPress is among the first to report on the latest opinion poll by Compañía Peruana de Estudios de Mercados y Opinión Pública (CPI) in which "88.6% disapprove of AToledo's administration while 20.2% said they would vote for former president Alberto Fujimori if elections were held now." The headline on the article over reaches: "Growing number of Peruvians long for Fujimori." The CPI poll interviewed 500 residents in Lima during the last weekend. The poll is not yet online. (See also 'Imasen Polling' in April 24's Peruvia.)

Peru & Cuba Clash Cont.: The Vietnam News Agency comes to FCastro's defense by reporting that "in Peru, many social and political organisations have called for a mass meeting on May 5 to show solidarity for the Cuban people and reject the Peruvian Government's decision to recall its Ambassador to Cuba Juan Segura. A Peruvian politician told local reporters that the demonstration would show the Peruvian people's support to the Cuban Government and its people. Cubans had donated blood to help Peru overcome the consequences of an earthquake in the 1970s and have trained hundreds of Peruvian poor students." The Guardian quotes from an editorial in El Comercio: "The attitude of Mr Castro is totally unjustified. Peru only asked that Cuba cooperate with the protection of human rights. And this vote was cast along with numerous other countries that treat Cuban communism with equal contempt." The international community should intensify its pressure "so that the tyrannical government puts an end to the oppression of his people after more than four decades in power." And the Miami Herald reiterates what is already known: Peru has reduced its bilateral ties with Cuba to the level of charges d'affaires. [NOTE: Peruvia readers can access Miami Herald articles by using 'peruvia@peruvia.com'/'peruvia' as username/password.]

Guzmán and Polay Go On Hunger Strike: The Miami Herald reports that Abimael Guzmán and three other rebel leaders "have started a hunger strike, seeking amnesty for Peruvian insurgents," according to Manuel Farjado, Guzmán's lawyer. This is apparently based on a longer Associated Press piece which adds the names of the other hunger strikers: Elena Iparraguirre (Guzmán's lover) and Tupac Amaru leaders Peter Cardenas and Miguel Rincon. News reports in Lima add Victor Polay to the list. All of these individuals are serving life sentences in individual cells of the prison on the naval base of Callao.

Berenson Wants Out: New York's Village Voice runs another article on Lori Berenson who "has a chance to win her liberty this week." Nicole Karsin (an Associated Press writer) writes that the Berenson case "will be heard in Costa Rica by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the highest such court for members of the Organization of American States. The court has a range of choices, from doing nothing to ordering Peru to set her free."

Terrorists are Technologists: In Singapore's Strait Times, Professor Shyam Tekwani at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University states that "New media technologies have been in use by terrorist groups from Peru to the Philippines to communicate and network for over a decade now." He said that the "online activities of Al-Qaeda, Islamic and other terrorist groups are increasingly being monitored by counter-terrorism agencies, in the belief that they provide a kind of early warning system."

Rospigliosi Censured?: Dow Jones reports that "Peru's Congress will vote tonight on a motion to censure Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi." APRA presented the motion "which if approved will lead to his resignation from Toledo's cabinet." However, Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero declared that "he didn't expect the censure motion to be approved." (For background, see 'Mayor Lynched' in May 3's Peruvia below.)

Pensioners Strike: Agence France Press publishes a photograph of a woman "chained herself to the gates of the Women and Social Development Ministry in Lima" in a demonstration against both the Fujimori and Toledo governments.

Gold Conference in Lima: Reuters reports that Carlos Galvez, the president of the gold committee of Peru's private National Society for Mining, Petroleum and Energy, declared that "Peru expects to be the No. 5 bullion producing nation with output of 185 tonnes next year," during the opening session of the international gold conference being held in Lima. This growth will be largely due to the 2005 start of Barrick Gold Corp's Alto Chicama project. Galvez is also finance director of Peru's Compania de Minas Buenaventura. Minister of Energy and Mines Minister Jaime Quijandria added that "Peru is, without exaggeration ... an enormous gold deposit ... there is gold all over Peru." See 'Peru is #6' in April 26's Peruvia.

ALSO in Gold Conference:
- Reuters reports that "Peru plans to invite bids for San Antonio de Poto, an alluvial gold deposit which it said would cost $30 million to develop, in the second half of this year," according to Jorge Merino, coordinator of mining affairs for the government Private Investment Promotion Agency who spoke at the gold conference. However, a public relations campaign will also be needed. "Convincing local residents about the San Antonio de Poto mining project is key in Peru where peasant farmers marched in April to try to drive out a British-run copper project in the north, and where farmers in Tambogrande shut the door on a planned gold and copper mine last year." The mine is in the Ananea district of the province of San Antonio de Putina, near the Bolivian border.
- Reuters reports that 15 bidders have qualified for Las Bambas copper and gold deposit, set for auction on July 2, according to Jaime Quijandria, the Ministry of Mining and Energy. Las Bambas is eventually "expected to generate 1 percent of Peru's gross domestic product every year and will take $1.5 billion to start up."
- Reuters reports on the "low-grade, technically challenging Minas Conga gold and copper mine project in northern Peru [which] will require a $1.3 billion investment and could start production in 2010," according to Thomas de Mull (Newmont Mining) said during a presentation at a gold industry conference in Lima. "The concentrator alone is probably a $400 million investment." Added detail: "If gold prices slump badly "we'll put it on the shelf," De Mull said.
- Reuters reports that Gold Fields Minerals Services "still sees gold in the $390 to $450 range this year, despite last week's slide sparked by China saying its economy was overheating," at the conference.

Not Gold, Copper: Reuters reports that the Toromocho copper project expects to hold an initial public offering (IPO) in Canada in June to raise at least US$25 million," according to David Lowell of the Peru Copper Syndicate who spoke to reporters on the sidelines of the gold conference. Peru Copper Syndicate was "the lone bidder last May at an auction to develop Toromocho. It offered to pay a royalty to the Peruvian government of 0.51 percent of annual sales of treated ore."

Macro Econ:
- Dow Jones reports that the Trade Ministers from Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador "have formally asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick to allow Bolivia to take part in negotiations aimed at reaching bilateral trade pacts." The Andean foreign trade ministers were meeting in Lima. They offered some in between steps and declared that "We want to make known the importance that the Andean Community, as a group, has to ensure as much as it can the widest participation of the countries that are part of the process of integration."
- Reuters reports that the Ministry of Economy and Finance announced the government "would auction 100 million soles of debt due Oct. 9, 2007 and 50 million soles of bonds due May 12, 2011 ... aimed at financing the fiscal deficit and promoting local capital markets."
- Reuters reports that "a cut in Peru's controversial bank tax has not prevented people from leaving the banking system and more cash transactions could lead to tax evasion," according to Raimundo Morales, Credicorp's chief operating officer. On March 25, Congress "approved a reduction in the new bank tax -- which is levied on customers when they transfer money, take out loans or use credit cards -- bringing the rate down to 0.10 percent from 0.15 percent for this year." The tax, due to run through 2006, will "raise revenue to pay for police and teachers' salary increases and for social projects like health service improvements." Dow Jones reports that "Peru's overall tax revenues, excluding certain contributions, reached 2.406 billion soles in April, an 8.8% increase in real terms over the same period a year earlier," according to SUNAT.

Micro Econ:
- Reuters reports that transportation and storage company Cormin will "stop exporting lead from May 11 until the government allows for the construction of a transport belt at Callao port to load container ships." Holland's Trafigura Beheer, which controls Cormin, "expects the closure to cost it $30 million a month." The company is the biggest warehouse in the port and the sixth biggest mineral exporter in Peru.
- Telefonica Moviles put out a press release to announce their growth in the first quarter and their net profit rising 17.9%.
- Bloomberg reports that Credicorp announced their "net income this year may rise by as much as a third as its retail loan portfolio more than offsets a decline of less profitable corporate loans," according to Walter Bayly, Credicorp's chief financial officer.
- BNAmericas reports that the "Peruvian banking and insurance regulator SBS put a new norm into effect that will allow pension administrators or AFPs to increase total funds in investment projects," according to the chief technical coordinator for the joint governing of AFP-SBS, Elio Sánchez. Note: "SPP's total funds come to US$6.74 billion, making the system the biggest institutional investor in the Peruvian economy."

SCristal 2 - Boca 3: The Associated Press, Reuters and the Voice of America note that Sporting Cristal was leading Boca Juniors 2-1 at halftime before late goals from substitute Jose Maria Calvo and striker Guillermo Barros Schelotto gave Boca "a dramatic win away to their Peruvian opponents in Lima." The Associated Press also offers a few photographs.

LHorna in Italian Open: The Voice of America reports that Luis Horna defeated 14th-seeded Dutchman Martin Verkerk 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 in the Italian Open.

Copa America Preps: Reuters: offers a photograph of Arturo Woodman, president of the Copa America 2004 organizing committee, holding the Copa America trophy at a press conference in Buenos Aires, as he announced "the twelve soccer national teams will compete in the South America's Copa America tournament, which will be held in seven venues of Peru starting on July 6."

El Che in Peru: Reuters reviews the 'The Motorcycle Diaries,' a new film by Brazilian director Walter Salles that "tells the story of that formative road trip" that the 23-year-old Che Guevara made. "During their eight-month trip through Peru, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela, they see such splendours as the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru but also the harsh conditions which many people lived in. They reach a leper colony deep in the Peruvian Amazon. Che, a medical student, and Alberto, who studied biochemistry, stay there for three weeks working with the community." The article states that the movie will go on broader U.S. release in the fall and will also be shown at the Cannes Film Festival in France later this month.

Schools Help to Chimbote: Pennsylvania's Valley Independent leads a story this way: "The poor in Chimbote are being helped by children who attend Madonna Catholic Regional schools in Donora and Monongahela. Their gift of almost $2,000 this year came mostly from personal sacrifices the students made to understand better the difference between those who have and those who have not." The Pittsburgh Roman Catholic Diocese has been involved with this project for 10 years.

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