Thursday, May 13, 2004

Shining Path in Ilave? MercoPress reports that "the Peruvian government believes remnant elements from the Shining Path guerrilla-terrorist organization are behind the uprising in the southern city of Ilave where the mayor was mob-lynched by a furious crowd in the main square a few weeks ago." The article cites articles in the Lima press including "Correo" which quotes Interior Minister Javier Reategui saying, "There are some serious indications that protestors and agitators were mostly from Shining Path and maybe even Red Nation [Patria Roja]. These are terrorist groups that take advantage of situations looking for political reactions." MercoPress seems to put more credence in a different report that states that an "Aymara Indian organization is spearheading the indefinite walkout in Ilave claiming it’s the first step to recovering the Aymara nation." (See earlier reports under "Mayor Lynched" below.)

Coca Rising, cont.: Reuters reports that coca growers from Tocache "threatened to occupy government offices and take officials captive if President Alejandro Toledo failed to meet their demands within three days," according to Luis Salinas, vice president of the main coca growers group in Tocache. Also cited: Nancy Obregon.

Health Workers Strike, cont.: Reuters provides a photo of "health worker yells slogans as police put out a coffin that protesters burned to signify what they call 'Peru´s dying public health service'." In another Reuters photo, the protestors burn a coffin.

Mining Taxes: Reuters reports on the debate in Congress over "a bill to impose a 3 percent royalty on mining production, a move that mining companies say would make Peru a much less attractive prospect and could scare off investors." Lawmakers are expected either to vote on the bill on Wednesday or to send it back to the Congress Energy and Mines Commission for changes. Quotes come from Apra Congresswoman Judith de la Matta: "The people have to receive a return for what is mined from the ground. It is not right that some get rich while the people remain poor." Dow Jones reported later that Congress has "decided to delay until next week any vote on a proposal that could apply royalties on mining companies." This action was praised by Finance Ministry chief adviser Cecilia Blume. However: anti-mining group Conacami Peru published a newspaper advertisement that said "that neither the 3.0% flat tax proposal nor the variable royalties proposed by cabinet were adequate." Peru's National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy, alongside various mining institutes, also pulled out advertisement which "said royalties would make Peru less competitive compared with emerging mining nations such as Argentina, China and Mongolia."

Free Trade? Dow Jones reports that President AToledo declared that "Peru expects free trade talks with the U.S. to conclude later this year or at the latest by February 2005." The president spoke at a ceremony unveiling Peru's negotiating team for the free trade talks scheduled to start on May 18. Even more, Toledo stated that "the next government will receive from us open markets in the United States and I hope in Europe and in Asia, especially in China." Also cited: the Lima Chamber of Commerce's new president, Graciela Fernandez-Baca. Also noted: a new University of Lima poll which found that "only 7.8% felt Toledo was doing a good job." Reuters runs a feature article on international trade with "drug-trafficking Andean nations" and the "Free Trade Area of the Americas." Some duty-free incentives will expire in 2006 "unless negotiators from Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador succeed in locking them in at free-trade talks with the United States starting on May 18.

Trade with China: Xinhua Net reports that a goodwill delegation from the Communist Party of China is on its way for a visit to Peru. "The delegation, headed by Yang Anjiang, member of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC and deputy secretary of the CPC Beijing Municipal Committee, is making the visit at the invitation of the Possible Peru Party."

Paita Port in Piura: BNAmericas reports that "Paita port in Peru's northern Piura department will be one of the leading contenders for private sector participation once the national port development plan is promulgated," according to Jose Luis Guerola, president of the national port authority. "Development of Paita would provide a northern trade hub for the country to complement Callao port to the south. Callao handles 70% of the country's trade and 90% of its container traffic. "

More Gov't Employees? Bloomberg reports that the labor committee in Congress "approved a plan to add 84,000 people to the government payroll as President Alejandro Toledo faces opposition to his efforts to lower the budget deficit." Citations come from Patricia Teullet (APEX), and Congressman Jaques Rodrich who said, "We will do anything for this not to become law."

Doe Run, Cont.:The Presbyterian Church USA reports on Movement for the Health of La Oroya (MOSAO), a group supported by the Presbyterian Church "were attacked and pummeled with rocks on April 14 by five busloads of Doe Run smelter employees outside the National Congress in Lima, where the group was invited to testify by the Congressional Environment and Ecology Commission." Said Rev. Elinor Stock, "Doe Run is for the fourth time attempting to avoid responsibility and delay necessary actions which would reduce chronic industrial lead poisoning in the children of La Oroya." Also cited: the Rev. Hunter Farrell, a presebyterian missionary in Peru who works with MOSAO. (See 'Doe Run' in April 21's Peruvia.)

More Mining: Chariot Resources's Home put out a press release "to announce that it has entered into a letter agreement to earn-in and purchase the Chonta Gold Prospect from BHP Billiton Exploration and Mining Peru B.V."

Finding Other MPicchus: The New York Times's Juan Forrero reports from Cuzco in an article that serves as a profile for Peter Frost, "a British-born explorer and mountain guide" and the surrounding region that is still "chock full of ruins" and "secrets." The article also serves to suggest those who have chosen to follow the "Indiana Jones fantasy" including: Also cited: Ives Bejar Mendoza, Johan Reinhard, ("explorer in residence at National Geographic"), Scott Gorsuch, Vincent Lee, Hugh Thompson, Robert Nichols and, of course, Gene Savoy. The latter is described as "a larger-than-life American with a handlebar mustache who started a church that revolves around him and his discoveries." Bejar states: "About 90 percent has not been investigated. There are maybe 1,000 books on Machu Picchu, but only five or six are really scientific." (See also this 2002 BBC piece titled, "Peru's New MPicchu" and this article from a travel site on "Chacha Picchu." In Spanish: For a fight-through-words about who discovered Corihuayrachina, see the '¿Quien Descubrio Que?'letters in Caretas.)

Cuisine in Miami: The Miami Herald runs a cooking piece titled: "Bold, sunny Peruvian cuisine spans the oceans," and is pegged largely on the late chef Felipe Rojas Lombardi and his magisterial work, The Art of South American Cooking. "Peruvian cuisine is one of the richest and most diverse in Latin America, a reflection of both Peru's ancient history and the important role it played during the colonial period."

UNDP Report in Lima, cont.: BusinessWeek magazine (this version of the article obviates registration) runs an opinion piece pegged on the UNDP reports on the crisis of democracy in Latin America. It states that "in Peru, Stanford University-educated economist Alejandro Toledo is the first President of Indian origin and a democratic alternative to the strong-arm rule of ousted leader Alberto Fujimori. Yet Toledo's approval rating recently slipped to 8% because of corruption allegations and a failure to make much improvement in citizens' lives after three years in office." (See also "UNDP Report in Lima" in April 28's Peruvia.)

More Crime, cont.: PriceWaterhouseCoopers released a study (see the press release) that finds economic crime to be a significant problem in 38% of South and Central American companies, including Peru. (See another report of crime in Latin America in 'More Crime' in April 1's Peruvia.)

Silicone Customs: The New Jersey Daily Record reports that Miryam Wiener-Morales "a 40-year-old woman from Lima, Peru, was indicted Wednesday on charges of injecting two sisters in Dover with silicone to enhance their buttocks, thighs and stomachs when she was not medically licensed to do so." Her lawyer defended that "in Peru, giving silicone injections to improve physical attributes is equivalent to a beauty salon practice and does not require a license as it does in the United States. The two charges are punishable upon conviction by up to five years in prison."

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