Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Ilave May Protest Again: Reuters reports that peasants in Ilave, "most of whom are Aymara Indians," will launch fresh anti-government strikes today against the new provisional mayor and to demand more investment in the impoverished region," according to Mariano Encinas, a community leader. In an interview with RPP radio, Encinas declared that provisional mayor Ramon Arias is "incapable." ["Incapaz," perhaps?] Minister of the Interior Javier Reategui "denied in a statement that dialogue had collapsed and said it was continuing in Lima." UPDATE: Reuters has and updated story by Tania Malledo with an interview with Fidel Mamani, another "community leader" who gives Mayor Arias until Friday to leave and reveals they are considering a "Marcha del Collasuyo," to Lima." See Also In Bolivia: Reuters: "Bolivians Burn Alive Mayor Accused of Corruption." Financial Times: "Bolivian demonstration ends in lynching."

Worries about Copa America: Reuters reports on Minister of Labor Javier Neves and his efforts "to persuade workers to postpone a general strike until after next month's Copa America soccer competition, the country's biggest international sports event in years," according to a radio interview. The CGTP plans a general strike on July 14; the tournament runs from July 6-25. Minister Neves said "the government was forming a commission.

Morning-After Pill Makes Waves: Reuters reports on the Minister of Health Pilar Mazzetti's move "to allow free distribution of the morning-after pill [which] has sparked protests in the Roman Catholic country where abortion is banned and unmarried woman have only been allowed contraception for 20 years." Minister Mazzetti is a "respected neurologist" who said that the pills “would be available in about three months." NOTE: Hector Chavez Chuchon, head of the Health Commission in Congress and a surgeon, "slammed what he said was an anti-life policy." ALSO: While Church leaders showed their displeasure. Flora Tristan said that there there were over 410,000 'back-street' abortions last year and that the "pill has been available in Peru since the 1970s, but until 1985 only married women could have it, with their husbands' permission." Others quoted: Jorge Avendano (a constitutional lawyer who headed the Justice Ministry panel), Elio Ugaz (who sells shorts on a street corner in Lima) and Angela Pumalloclla (a newspaper vendor).

Basadre Lives: The Associated Press offers a photograph of President Alejandro Toledo accompanied by the late historian Jorge Basadre's anthology, 'Peru's Memory and Destiny,' during a ceremony at a public school in Lima. Title in Spanish: "Memoria y Destino del Perú. Jorge Basadre: Textos Esenciales" Editor, Ernesto Yepes del Castillo, Lima: Fondo Editorial del Congreso de la República. See Also: An interview with the books editor in La República

Trading with Thailand: Thailand's The Nation ponders why the 30-member Thai delegation made the 30-hour trip from Bangkok to Lima to talk trade when “Peru ranks as the 89th-largest export market for Thailand, and the Kingdom is 21st for Peruvians." ANSWER: Because Thai Trade Representative Kantathi Suphamongkhon believes "Peru could serve as a gateway for Thai exports to Latin American countries and Thailand can do the same for Peru in Southeast Asian markets." The examples given, however, were suggestive: "Thailand exports washing machines, rubber and automotive parts to Peru and imports metal products, fresh shrimps, fish oil and pesticides from the mountainous country." Minister of Trade and Tourism Alfredo Ferrero added that direct foreign investment was also a goal. NOTE: Reuters stringer Tania Mellado (described as a "local reporter") was a quoted source in the story criticizing the Toledo government." (See Ms. Mellado Reuters story on Ilave above.)

Trading with Russia: The Russian news agency Novosti reports on the recent (June 13-15) visit by Deputies of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament in Lima in which they saw "Peru as promising not only in terms of inter-parliamentary links, but also in terms of building up potential in various fields," according to Nikolai Tulayev, leader of the delegation and a Senator from Kaliningrad. ALSO INCLUDED: Congress President Henry Pease and Lima mayor Luis Castaneda.

Trading With Zambia? The Times of Zambia reports that "three Peruvians have been arrested in Chingola for allegedly working in the country without valid documents. Their work permits at the AAC, a company contracted by Mopani Copper Mines, had expired. Initially, they "fled to the Democratic Republic of Congo" but were forced to return to Zambia. An immigration spokesman said that "Zambians were capable of doing the work and engaging foreigners, especially those without valid documents, was illegal."

Camisea Spigot Turned On, cont.: The Oil & Gas Journal reports that the "Camisea consortium expects to invest as much as $500 million in Block 56 development, following the recent agreement on royalties for natural gas exports," according to Antonio Cueto, president Perupetro. NOTE: "Block 56, adjacent the Camisea natural gas megacomplex in Peru's Amazon rainforest, holds reserves estimated at 3 tcf of gas from Pagoreni and Mipaya fields discovered by the Royal Dutch/Shell Group in the late 1990s."

Who Is Buying the Beer?, cont.: Just Drinks and Reuters report that Bavaria denied a report in El Comerico that "it used bribes to gain control of Peru's only brewer, Union de Cervecerias Backus & Johnson. The front-page article in the Lima daily stated that Bavaria had "paid $2 million in bribes to allow it to buy Backus ahead of arch rival Venezuela's drink maker Empresas Polar." A statement by Bavaria states that it "emphatically rejects the imputation in El Comercio." The now-jailed former adviser to President Alejandro Toledo, Cesar Almeyda, was also looped into the story.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Reuters gives an updated story on yesterday's INEI economic numbers which showed a "strong performance in Peru's economic powerhouses mining and fishing, and in dynamic sectors like textiles and furniture, pushed gross domestic" and offers a breakdown sector by sector.
- Lucent Technologies announced in a press release that it was selected by Nextel Peru "to provide managed services -- full responsibility for the maintenance and operations -- for Nextel's multi-vendor network."
- AgReport reports that Peru expects to expand asparagus production 1.5% in 2004, … allowing the vegetable to retain its status as the country's most valuable agricultural export. Asparagus exports contributed a record of about $206 million in export sales in 2003, reports the U.S. agricultural attache [in Lima].”

Europe Should Help The Andean Nations: The International Crisis Group released their report, 'Increasing Europe's Stake in the Andes,' that calls for the European Union to "play a more substantial role in helping the [region] achieve stability and deepen its regional integration. Europe has demonstrated at home how to solve regional problems with a regional approach. A truly Andean cooperation strategy that incorporated the programs of its member states could give the European Union contribution far greater impact than the sum of its individual donor parts." Read the press release and the report.

Mining Unions - 'Please Listen': Reuters amplifies the advertisements placed by unions at two mining companies in anticipation of Toledo's Cabinet review of a mining royalties policy. The union at Southern Peru pulled a large advertisement in today's El Comercio which "urged the government to change the bill and to apply it only from 2010 if it had to be applied at all." A smaller advertisement from the union at Mina Animon, (part of Volcan Compania Minera) said "royalties would hurt wages, put jobs at risk and close mines." Said the larger ad: "Please listen to our plea and rectify this bill ... and if you think it should be applied, do so after 2010." Not surprisingly, these two companies "would be the worst hit as they are the only two without so-called tax stability contracts which fix unchangeable rates for long periods and will thus protect them from royalties." ALSO: "Many here now believe some kind of royalty is a certainty and ... are lobbying to get ... more favorable terms." Quotes come from Minister of Energy and Mines Jaime Quijandria.

More Mining:
- Dow Jones reports that Phelps Dodge Corp.'s Sociedad Minera Cerro Verde "resubmitted an environmental impact study for the possible mining of sulfide copper reserves in Peru," according to the company. Cerro Verde is located 34 kilometers outside Arequipa, "where two open-pit mines - Cerro Verde and Santa Rosa - are being mined." See Also: 'Cerro Verde Gets A 'No'' in June 8's Peruvia including the rejection letter.
- Sulliden Exploration announced in a press release that they "closed the previously announced agreement to acquire the 30% interest in the Shahuindo gold/silver property held by Socrate Capital Inc."
- The Sydney Morning Herald reported that mining company "BHP Billiton is moving the corporate headquarters of its $5.7 billion base metals division from the United States to Chile. ... The move will put the corporate centre for base metals closer to its major assets, especially its copper operations." ALSO: "It is believed Mr Goodyear expressed his displeasure to Mr Lagos over government plans to introduce a 3% royalty tax on gross sales for mining companies."
- Gold Point Exploration announced in a press release on its exploration activities and acquisition of the Envidia mineral property, located in Lambayeque. "The Envidia property covers an area of 200 hectares (two square kilometres) and is located in the district of Pitipo, province of Ferrenafe, department of Lambayeque, near Chiclayo.

Zevallos Still Blocked: The US Treasury Department announced through a press release today the testimony of Richard Newcomb, Director of the Office of Foreign Assets Control before a US Congress' Subcommittee in which he reviewed President Bush's "Drug Kingpin designations" in which his office "blocked, in furtherance of investigation, the Peruvian airline company, Aero Continente, six other companies, and six other individuals connected to the newly named Kingpin, Fernando Zevallos." See Also: 'Aero Continente/FZevallos Woes' in June 7's Peruvia.

Protecting Peruvians in Chicago: The Chicago Tribune reports that Efrain Saavedra, the consul general of Peru in Chicago is "pressing state authorities to investigate firms that sell prepaid phone cards that make false promises to their customers," in a section of the article subtitled, 'Protection of Peruvians.'

From Atlanta With Love: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on a local woman etting involved with the New York-based group, Cross-Cultural Solutions, which "found her work caring for children in Peru, in [Ayacucho] that was the center of a vicious civil war in the 1980s and 1990s between Marxist guerrillas and government forces.” NOW: "She plans to become a social worker and return to Peru to live."

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