Thursday, June 10, 2004

IMF to Peru – ‘$422 million’: The International Monetary Fund announced in a press release the approval of "a 26-month Stand-By Arrangement for Peru to support the country's economic program through mid-2006. ... However, the authorities have indicated their intention to treat this arrangement as precautionary." Bloomberg, Reuters, the Voice of America, and Xinhua Net report on the agreement and Reuters notes that the IMF believes Peru's "economic performance has been 'favorable' ... although it says it was 'critical' that more reforms take place to secure growth in the future." A separate Reuters story notes that this is Rodrigo Rato's first loan as IMF chief, a post he assumed on Monday.

The G-8 and Peru: A White House press release announces that “Peru and the members of the G-8 announce today their intention to cooperate in a "Compact to Promote Transparency and Combat Corruption." Peru and the G8 share the view that corruption is a threat to democratic institutions, economic development and to the integrity of the international system of trade and investment." ALSO: The Statement of the Government of Peru: “The Government of Peru reaffirms its commitment to fighting corruption and improving transparency in the conviction that these are key underpinnings of democratic government, development, and poverty reduction.” See Also: Copies of the same story on the USA's G-8 Summit page and the US State Department’s version of the story in their Washington File. Canada's G-8 press release of 'transparency and corruption' barely mentions Peru.

Media Law & Int’l Investors: Dow Jones reports that "Peru's Congress will vote on a new law on radio and television Thursday that has raised concerns about possible foreign influence in the sector." The piece notes that the Peruvian Press Council warned "about the inherent danger in ... the law which, as is, does not establish real limits or restrictions on foreign investment or control, lacks the necessary mechanisms to avoid a loss of national identity in radio or television communication media." Quoted: Congressman Mario Ochoa, president of the legislature's Transport and Communications Commission.

Peru to Telefonica – ‘No Deal’: Reuters reports on the Peru's telecommunications regulator, OSIPTEL's decision to turn down [Telefonica del Peru's] request for a five-year extension to its license on the grounds that it had not met some of the terms of the contract. A later Reuters story was pegged on company president Javier Nadal's press conference who "slammed as 'unfair' a government decision not to renew its contract beyond 2019 -- something that could potentially force it out of the market" and declared that "the company had invested $7 billion to enter Peru a decade ago and build its business, and it remained committed to the country." Quoted: Minister of Transportation and Communications Jose Ortiz; Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero; and APRA Congressman Jorge del Castillo who said "the decision meant Telefonica could no longer plan long-term investments." The article manages to bring in the "controversial plan to apply royalties to mining companies, which many say will scare off exploration." NOTE: "Telefonica entered Peru with a monopoly but now faces competition from AT&T Corp., BellSouth Corp., and Telecom Italia Mobile." IN SPANISH: See Osiptel's press release on the story.

Copa Luringancho: The Associated Press offers several photographs of the 'Penitentiary Copa America', an indoor fulbito tournament at the Lurigancho Prison in Lima. "The prisoners wore jerseys of various national teams from across South American to participate in the [tournament] put on by prison officials. El Chasqui, the Copa America mascot, made an appearance.

Cipriani’s Letters: ALC Noticias reports that on the letters that were “supposedly sent by Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani to former President Valentin Paniagua and Vladimiro Montesinos ... now allegedly involves another bishop and threatens to create a rift in the Peruvian Catholic Church.” The story is based on reporting by Lima daily El Correo which points to the Bishop of Puno, Jorge Carrion. One of the letters was written by “someone claiming to be Cipriani who asked “to incinerate all the videos that showed him in company of Fujimori and Montesinos.”

Coke in a Bottle: The New York Times runs an article on KDrink, "a new company is producing a soft drink that its creators pledge will transform this Andean country, if successful." It's parent company, Kokka Royal Food & Drink, has been "200,000 of the 10-ounce bottles since operations began in February ... spent $500,000 marketing and producing the beverage." The promise of the business is as an export (indeed, the Times prints the article in the final section of the paper, in 'World Business') though "no major country has yet permitted the drink to be imported, since the coca leaf is banned outside of the Andes." Quotes come from Diodora Espinoza (coca farmer in Huánuco); Cristina Tudela (Kokka Royal general manager); Fernando Hurtado ("a top official with Devida, government agency) and Anselm Pi Rambla (the Spanish investor who has spearheaded the project) who declares, "It does not give you a high like crack cocaine. But it does give you energy you can use." The story dutifully mentions Vortex, "another Peruvian company, started bottling a soft drink. Vortex calls its beverage the 'coca energy drink,' though it does not contain the alkaloids used in KDrink. But it, too, is playing up the coca ingredient." The Narcosphere blog has a positive reaction on the Times story. See Also: 'Have Some New Coke!' in April 11's Peruvia which includes this Associated Press story on KDrink; and 'Coca Rising, cont' in May 6's Peruvia which includes thie Reuters story. IN SPANISH: See other articles on Vortex.

Asparagus Wars, cont.: The Associated Press reports that "U.S. Congressman George Nethercutt asked the U.S. International Trade Commission yesterday to investigate asparagus imports from Peru, the leading competitor for the United States. Asparagus from Peru is currently imported to the United States duty-free under the Andean Trade Preferences Act, which was intended to help countries combat drug trafficking. The law was a boon to Peru's asparagus industry, but it devastated Washington growers." Quoted: Alan Schreiber, Washington Asparagus Commission. See Also: The letter to the International Trade Commission posted on Congressman Nethercutt's website.

Malaria Research in Iquitos: The University of California, San Diego announced in a press release that Eduardo Gotuzzo, director of the Tropical Medicine Institute at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, and tropical disease specialist Joseph Vinetz, M.D., from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine will wage a battle against malaria "in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon," otherwise known as Iquitos, in a “training program titled 'Endemic Infectious Diseases in the Peruvian Amazon'." NOTE: "According to the CDC, Peru reports the second highest number of malaria cases in South America, after Brazil." ALSO: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia faculty involved with this project include: Humberto Guerra, Jorge Arevalo, and Alejandro Llanos. Universidad de Las Amazonas del Peru's Graciela Meza and Hospital Apoyo de Iquitos' Hermann Silva are also collaborating. See Also: This updated page on Malaria in the Amazon and this 1999 study on 'Malaria Reemergence in the Peruvian Amazon Region', both on the CDC's website.

More Mining:
- BNAmericas reports that "the strike which has semi-paralyzed iron-producing company Shougang Hierro Perú for 10 days will be solved by Peru's labor ministry," according to company executive Raúl Vera. "We were close to solving the problem with the unskilled laborers under conditions established with the semi-skilled workers, [but] unfortunately we were unsuccessful, and now the labor authority will decide," he explained. Shougang Hierro Perú is located in Marcona, Ica.
- The Miami Herald (registration: peruvia@peruvia.com; peruvia) reported that Southern Peru Copper Corp.'s "will refuse to bid on Peru's Las Bambas copper deposit because a mining royalty passed this month may make the project unprofitable." Bloomberg reports that neither Southern nor Barrick will bid in the auction.

Orchid Thief – ‘Guilty’: United Press International reports that James Michael Kovach, "a Virginia orchid dealer [plead] guilty in Florida to violating the Endangering Species Act by smuggling in a protected plant from Peru. The Justice Department said he hoped to name a new species after himself. [See this site where the "Exciting New Phragmipedium kovachii" is extolled.] "All species of the genus Phragmipedium are protected under an international treaty called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora to which the United States, Peru and 162 other nations are signatories." See Also: The USA Dept. of Justice indictment from last year. See: 'Stealing' in December 19; 'Orchid Saga, Denied?' in January 17 and 'Orchid Grower Guilty' in May 14's Peruvia.

MBalarezo at the UN: The United Nations announced in a press release and in their news service that Marco Balarezo, Peru's Deputy Permanent Representative to the internation body, had been elected as Chairman of the Economic and Financial (Second) Committee.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- BNAmericas reports that "Sedapal has completed its US$135 million Mesías sanitation project." Said a company news release, "We are truly excited because this is the largest sanitation and treatment project in the country, and will stop the contamination of the beaches to the south of Lima." Now, “wastewater that is currently discharged into the Lurín river will be treated at the San Bartolo treatment plant. About 30% of the treated water will be used to irrigate 8,000ha of agricultural land, with the remainder discharged." Sedapal's press page did not include this information. NOTE: Nothing is mentioned about the water rationing in Lima. For this, see ‘Saving Water’ in May 10’s Peruvia.
- BNAmericas reports that "USA reinsurance broker Willis is looking to buy its local broker partners in Peru and Puerto Rico this year or in 2005," according to company CEO for Latin America and the Caribbean José Ribeiro.

New Music from A-SRamírez: Straight Magazine reviews Alexander-Sergei Ramírez’s new release, Odyssey (on Deutsche Grammophon). "The Peruvian-born guitarist seems especially comfortable playing music from outside the western chamber tradition. The rain-forest sound effects and aggressive rhythms of his compatriot Alejandro Núñez Allauca's Koribeni No. 2 fall easily under his fingers."

Peru Negro: The USA National Public Radio ran a segment on Peru Negro on its Morning Edition program today, reported by Rolando Arrieta. "Peruvians are embracing the music of Peru Negro, a group of performers formed to preserve the country's African musical heritage. At first, many white Peruvians were wary of the group's music, but now black Peruvian music is in vogue and playing a role in shaping the country's social agenda." See Also: Peruvia’s coverage of Peru Negro and their new album, Jologrio.

FLombardi in NYC: The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival will be screening Francisco J. Lombardi's film 'What the Eye Doesn't See' tomorrow at 8:30pm. "Francisco Lombardi is the recipient of HRWIFF's 2004 Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award. The New York Times ends its story on the festival with this Peruvian film.

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