Sunday, June 06, 2004

Sendero or Narcs in Aguaytia?: Reuters and the Miami Herald offer reports on the "guerrillas who ambushed and killed two policemen and a marine officer," near Aguaytia. Although the Reuters seems to focus on Shining Path and even reminds the reader of the $50,000 reward for Artemio's capture, the Herald quotes Minister of the Interior Javier Reategui: "They were terrorists protecting narcotics traffickers. But we still cannot confirm whether they are members of the Shining Path." See also yesterday's 'Red Cross Visits AGuzmán.'

APEC In Chile: Reuters reports that "Peru's economy could get a huge jolt from a free trade agreement that it and other Andean nations are negotiating with the United States, adding 3% points to annual economic growth within a decade," according to Deputy Trade Minister Pablo de la Flor during his presentation at the APEC meetings in Pucon, Chile. ALSO: Peru's "robust economy is seen as the main staying power of President Alejandro Toledo, who has a very low approval rating as his three years in power have been marked by political instability and corruption scandals." Agence France Press reports that US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick is to travel to Peru on June 7 and 8 "to discuss free trade issues at the conclusion of the APEC meetings. He plans on meeting with President Toledo as well as legislators and opinion leaders. Said Zoellick, "Peru has been "working to gain the advantages." According to Zoellick's office, the four Andean countries "collectively represent a market of over seven billion dollars for US exports, and are home to over eight billion dollars in US foreign direct investments." Agence France Press' photograph of Zoellick also notes his trip to Peru.

OAS In Quito: Xinhua Net reports that the Organization of American States "will hold its 34th general assembly here from Sunday to Tuesday and foreign ministers from its members are expected to mainly discuss corruption, regional security and cooperation." Among the issues on the agenda are Bolivia's demand for a sea outlet but "the fight against corruption will be the focus of the assembly." Citing Menem, Fujimori, and Aleman, all former Latin American presidents "who are under prosecution or international arrest warrant,they said corruption has already become a sticking point in the Americas." ALSO: This meeting will choose who will replace Colombia's Cesar Gaviria as the OAS secretary-general. "Former Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the only official candidate for the post, now has the backing of all the OAS members."

Nobel for De Soto?, cont.: The London Telegraph profiles Hernando de Soto in their Money section today: "Few economists can claim to have taken on a terrorist organisation and won. But few economists are like Hernando De Soto." The article includes praise from Time magazine and The Economist, "and since last month, when De Soto won the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Award, there's been talk of a Nobel prize." And then there is his help on Iraq: "With terrorism and nation building high on the agenda at this week's G7 meeting, De Soto's views have been sought on the vexed question of Iraq. The Bush administration has been in touch, as has the United Nations and the chancellor, Gordon Brown." While the article tries to show de Soto's appeal to a broad political spectrum, ("Baroness Thatcher once described De Soto as "compulsory reading". Bill Clinton attributed to him "some of the most significant economic insights of our time"), it's focus reflects the newpaper's conservative bent. At the end of the article, the Telegraph links to an unrelated article on Peru, perhaps placed there as it was the last article the paper reported from there. Date? 13 September 2003. See Also: 'Nobel for De Soto?' in May 25's Peruvia.

Peru vs. Venezuela on June 6: The Associated Press has photographs of Team Peru during a training session in preparation for their qualifying match with Venezuela on June 6 for Germany 2006. Players photographed include Roberto Palacios, Miguel Rebossio and John Galliquio, and Nolberto Solano, among others. The AP also provides the rankings so far.

Peruvian Jockey Wins Belmont Stakes: The Washington Post reports that that Peruvian jockey Edgar Prado "who turns 37 on June 12," rode Birdstone, the winning horse at yesterday's Belmont Stakes. Prado also won the New York race in 2002. While Agence France Press does mention the jockey's nationality, neither the New York Times nor the Los Angeles Times or the Miami Herald do. Sunday's Scotsman does report that "Prado is a Peruvian who achieved his career milestone with a 5,000th success on Win Dot Comma in the Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March." ALSO: The Thoroughbred Times reports on several Peruvian horses including Pegasus and Southern Hemisphere.

"What Ever Happenned to Lori Berenson?" Counter Punch publishes an article: "President Toledo's Trophy Prisoner." The piece is written by Abigail Jones, a Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. The article will be released tomorrow as a press release by the Washington DC-based Council.

PERUVIA EDITORIAL: Counter Punch normally publishes critical essays but the Berenson piece is an exception; it deserved to be offered as a polemic in a press release rather than a news essay. There may be an argument to be made on Ms Berenson's behalf, as apparently Ramsey Clark believes. However, Abigail Jones, in the article directly above this paragraph, provides no cogent argument but seeks only to besmirch and taunt the Peruvian military, the judicial system and Peruvian presidents, and for what end? These institutions and leaders certainly have many failures which they have demonstrated in many ways but these are not evident in this semi-screed.

Jones' argument isthat Berenson had a "patently inequitable trial" but writing so does not make it so. Examples of a few statements show their troubling nature. The piece suggests that "In December of 1994, Berenson allegedly arrived in Peru as a journalist." One has to ask, what part is the alleged part? The month of December? That she arrived under the aegis of two publications is part of her record.

The piece also writes disapprovingly that "Berenson appeared before a 'faceless' military court." However despicable a practice this is, to focus on Peru while not paralleling the practice in Guantanamo Bay is makes the argument leak like a sieve. (She tucks in Gitmo in her conclusion.) Jones then offers grade-school tactics against the military judicial system: "In a grossly contrived trial before a hooded military judge who most likely hadn't attended a day of law school, ..." This discourse is not deserving of Counter Punch.

Jones then ties Toledo's personal ethics to Berenson's case as well as well as the president's "personal psychological state." She identifies Peruvian Ambassador to the United States, Carlos Ferrerro Costa, "an appalling reprobate" whose appointment apparently "raises serious questions over Toledo's malfeasance in office for appointing an established amoralist like Ferrero Costa to Peru's highest diplomatic post abroad." Where then is the call for the Bush administration to deny his recent posting? Jones then explains that the USA "continues to give precedent to good relations with Peru in order to combat the production and exportation of narcotics over the welfare of one of its citizens."

Finally, at the end of her diatribe, she acknowledges that "as the U.S. holds Muslims in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba under the aegis of the country's anti-terror legislation [the reader?] must acknowledge that the violation of the tenets put forth in the American Convention on Human Rights is not unique to Peru" and she offers her own Consitutional understanding that "the U.S. government could potentially face lawsuits from either the Berenson family or other interested parties for not honoring this piece of legislation." These suggestions are likely to be ignored as she states quite flatly that "[w]hether Berenson was involved with the MRTA is now almost irrelevant from an international perspective, for it is Peru's legal system which far more convincingly now stands on trial."

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