Friday, June 25, 2004

LAST ITEM TODAY: Editorial: Peruvia Questions NYTimes Judgement

Shining Path in Huanta: Reuters and the Voice of America report that "some 30 Shining Path rebels killed one soldier in an attack on a military patrol ... guarding an asphalt factory," in the town of Cangari, Huanta, Ayacucho, according to an army spokeswoman. ALSO MENTIONED: Comrade Artemio. The VOA reports that "the Associated Press says the government-owned plant makes asphalt for highway repairs in the region and is permanently guarded by soldiers." See also 'Sendero or Narcs in Aguaytia?' in June 6's Peruvia.

- Strike Before Copa? The Associated Press reports that government airport workers "announced a strike during the first three days of July." The Copa América tournament is set for July 6-25. DETAILS: Union leaders announced a "48-hour strike - set to begin at 7 am on July 1 and end at 7 am on July 3 - comes in protest of government plans to privatize provincial airports." Two previous airport strikes have been called off.

- Trouble in Chiclayo? The Northern Report (from Chiclayo) focuses on the challenges that the Copa América tournament particularly in Piura, Trujillo and Chiclayo. Piura and Chiclayo are the co-hosts for Group B while Trujillo and Lima are co-hosts for Group A. Among the upcoming challenges are the impending CGTP strike, dengue, and - - street crime. CITED: Juan Carlos Muga Santamaría (Director of Tourism, Region of Lambayeque) and Arturo Castillo Chirinos (Mayor of Chiclayo), Yehude Simon Munaro (President, Region of Lambayeque), and Rodolfo Gonzales Rodríguez (Director of Health, Region of Piura). ALSO: Each city is expecting approximately 10,000 tourists, "a number Trujillo tourist officials say will match their annual total." NOTE: The Northern Report also has a separate post which highlights, with photographs, the preparation of Elías Aguirre Stadium.

- Copa Dreams: Reuters updates the pursuit of Jefferson Farfan by Dutch club PSV Eindhoven, according to his club Alianza Lima. ALSO: "The 19-year-old, linked with a move to English premier league club Chelsea last year, has been named in the Peru squad for the 12-nation Copa América.

Mining Levy Pressures: Bloomberg and BNAmericas report on the efforts to roll back the mining levy President Toledo signed earlier this week in Pasco. Bloomberg reports that the Toledo government "asked Congress to revise a mining royalty passed this month after companies such as Anglo American and Rio Tinto" withdrew from bidding on Las Bambas according to Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero. ALSO: "The new draft bases the fee on international metals prices rather than gross sales," according to Minister of Energy and Mines Jaime Quijandria. Six companies have exited the bidding since Congress passed the royalty plan on June 3. QUOTED: Emilio Fandino (Industrias Penoles) who was the most recent to withdraw, and Peter Faur (Phelps Dodge) which "still plans to take part in the bidding." NOTE: The headline seems a bit presumptive: 'Peru to Amend Royalty as Miners Pull Out of Bambas.' BNAmericas reports that Peru's mining companies are going to take legal action against the legislation and quotes José Miguel Morales (National Society of Mining, Petroleum and Energy) declaring that they have "plans to collect 5,000 signatures in order to be able to present a case of 'unconstitutionality'." PROCESS: The law was signed by Toledo on June 23, published in El Peruano on June 24 and the Ministries of Energy and Mines & Economy and Finance "now have 60 days to draw up regulations to implement the law." CITED: lawyer Luis Carlos Rodrigo (Rodrigo, Elías & Medrano), and Armando Mendoza (assistant to Congressman Javier Diez Canseco). ALSO: South Africas Engineering News surveys the impact of the mining levy and the politics surrounding the bidding process on Las Bambas.

Peruvians Abusing Peruvians, cont.: New York Newsday offers an update on the 69 Peruvian caught up in the 'human trafficking ring' and quotes Alexander Ugarte, deputy counsel general at the Peruvian Consulate in Manhattan saying that some of them "are relieved they were rescued but worried about what will happen to them next." NOTE: Ugarte "expected to find the detainees in prison jumpsuits, but they were wearing civilian clothing - indicating authorities may be viewing them as victims rather than suspects." ALSO: The International Immigrants Foundation was asked "to cease its efforts to assist the victims after immigrant advocates criticized the organization."

FWyatt Dies: The San Francisco Chronicle notes that Francis D. 'Bud' Wyatt, who played an instrumental role in the development of Peru's fishing industry, has died. In the early 1940s, Wyatt was visiting Peru "where he conceived of the development of that nation's commercial fisheries. In 1946 he moved his family to Lima and in a period of four years assisted in the creation of one of the world's largest tuna fishing operations." ALSO: "As the Peruvian tuna fishing industry thrived and the number of employees grew, there soon emerged a union movement whose leaders were well motivated but lacked the skills for collective bargaining. In recognition of these shortcomings, Mr. Wyatt created an unconditional fund for educating young labor leaders at the venerable University of San Marcos, the western hemisphere's oldest university. Upon his retirement in 1963, Mr. Wyatt was presented with a medal for distinguished service by the President and Legislature of Peru."

CHACCU!: The Associated Press reports, through several photographs, on Chaccu, the once-a-year and now state-sponsored shearing event in Ayacucho in which thousands of wild vicunas are rounded up, shorn of their wool and then released. SEE ALSO: This first person, North American, fully-illustrated account of the Gran Chaccu and this shorter piece from Rumbos del Peru. IN SPANISH: See the government's version of the Tenth National Chaccu and a tourist information take.

Keiko: Wedding and/or Jail?: The Associated Press and the BBC report on former first lady/daughter Keiko Sofia Fujimori, who was officially charged "for mishandled donations as first lady" nine days before her July 3 wedding date to Mark Vito Villanella. Prosecutor Marta Salinas is " seeking five years in prison ... a fine of 5,000 soles (US$1,430) and that authorities block Keiko Fujimori from holding public office for two years." NOTE: "The latter punishment is an apparent attempt to prevent her from running from Congress in 2006, a move she has considered." ALSO: The donations under investigation were sent by private American aid group World Vision and was intended for flood victims. SEE ALSO: 'Fujimori Wedding Bells' in March 9's Peruvia (which got the grooms' name wrong); this 1998 World Vision Annual Report (on p. 14) has Keiko Fujimori and then Prime Minister Carlos Torres y Torres Lara receiving $1 million in pharmaceuticals for flood victims. IN SPANISH: See this 2003 Associated Press story on the donations.

Wedding Celebration – Mazeltov!: Israels' Arutz Sheva offers a column by Batya Medad on participating in "a regular religious wedding in Jerusalem. The men wore kippot, mostly crocheted; the women were in dresses with sleeves and the married ones wore hats. The difference was that the chattan, kallah (bride, groom) and most of the guests looked like Peruvian Indians." NOTE: "Half a millenium after their ancestors fled the Spanish Inquisition, the spark of Judaism is burning brightly in Peru. Clans of Peruvians are discovering the source of 'secret family customs.' ... [E]ntire families of three and even four generations are rejoining the Jewish religion and then making aliyah to Israel." ALSO: "The wedding music was Jewish-Israeli with a Latin beat."

Salseros in Washington: The Washington Post includes a profile on 'Son de Aqui' in an article on local salsa bands. 11 of the 12 band members are orginially from Peru and play "pretty much the salsa dura." Says Adrian Reyes, "We knew each other from Peru because we all used to play in groups there." In fact, much of Son de Aqui's lineup "derived from three of Peru's most popular salsa bands, La Clave del Callao, Orquesta Progressiva del Callao and Orquesta Antonio Cartagena." SEPARATELY: Colorado's Summit Daily includes the Manuel Molina Jazz Quartet in an article about jazz performances. NOTE: This site says that "At 17, Manuel was the youngest to conduct the Peruvian National Symphony."

Macro/Micro Econ:
- WBank Finances Bonds: Reuters notes that the World Bank's International Finance Corp. "will issue up to 50 million soles ($14.4 million) in three-year Peruvian bonds on Friday, the first time it has issued debt in Peru. The program foresees the issue of up to 180 million soles in bonds." The IFC's press release page does not yet have information on this.
- Dow Jones reports that Compania Minera Atacocha "successfully placed $10 million in five-year corporate bonds," according to Chief Financial Officer Sergio Escalante.
- Marriot Hotels referred in a press release to a survey in Global Finance in which "readers listed the JW Marriott Hotel & Stellaris Casino in Lima as one of the 'Best Hotels in Latin America'."
- The Airline Newsdesk repeats LAN Peru's press release that they have "initiated five new regional routes including expanded service to Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Mexico. The airline now operates services to seven cities within Peru and 11 international destinations."
- The Instituto para el Crecimiento Inmediato y Masivo de Empresas includes this in a press release on their newsletter: "And this is what Jorge Guerra Lopez from Paisano Telecom Café Internet, in Huanuco, Peru has to say: “You can’t imagine how important it’s been for our company to receive your newsletter Exito Empresarial -- to learn about practical marketing and run the business successfully. It’s true!"

Asparagus Wars, cont.: The Washington Times runs a gossip piece on Democratic lobbyist Terry Lierman who "was spotted by [this columnist] aboard a train bound for Machu Picchu in Peru. When he asked an anonymous Peruvian "how one should invest in Peru?," [Lierman] received a one-word answer: Asparagus. ALSO: London's Independent runs letters on asparagus and globalization (second to last letters) including the surprise of finding "Peruvian-produced spears on the shelves" in Norfolk.

New Spider: National Geographic reports on a new spider, Ochyroceratidae, was just discovered in Peru in May, and is the fifth known spider with "the ability to measure and create symmetrical webs."

Aguaje - The Miracle Fruit!, cont.: The aguaje story keeps on traipsing the globe and reaches South Africa today.

EDITORIAL: Representing Whose Interests?: Yesterday's New York Times article, reported from Ilave, argues that Alan García was "exiled in disgrace after a tenure considered one of the most corrupt and incompetent in Peru's recent history." Peruvia has no partisan stake and no reason to defend individual politicians but this dig simply seems gratuitous. That it appears in almost every mention reporter Juan Forero makes of García calls for some attention. Upon the end of his presidential term, García's APRA party candidate, Luis Alva Castro, received 22% of the votes in the first round in the 1990 elections, not exactly a contemporaneous electoral repudiation (with Vargas Llosa at 33% and Fujimori at 29%). By way of comparison, President Belaunde's party candidate received 7% in the 1985 elections. In addition, most charges of corruption against García came from a Fujimori government which sensed García was its only real challenger which is why they 'exiled' him. And the charges of corruption? According to this Jan. 2001 BBC story, "the Peruvian Supreme Court annulled corruption charges against Mr Garcia, following a recommendation by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights." The CIDH ruling weakens the suggestion that this was all about the statue of limitations. If a newspaper wishes to criticize a politician, why resort to unsubstantiated jeremaids? The New York Times is certainly not the only news source which depicts García this way; indeed the Wall Street Journal's Mary Anastasia O'Grady and the Dow Jones Newswire have finessed it down to an artform. These critics' strongest suit against García could be his record of dismal economic policies in the 1980s. In yesterday's article, the Times extolls the macroeconomic setting: Peru "has the region's most impressive economic growth, on paper, with the economy expanding about 4 percent a year since Mr. Toledo was elected in 2001." There is, however, no uncertain irony that the same voices that jump at every opportunity to praise Toledo's competent economic policies, which are diametrically opposed by the great swath of the Peruvian population, are the same who rail the loudest, quickest and most consistently against García's history and return.

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