Thursday, July 15, 2004

Strike Reviewed: The Agence France Press, Associated Press, the BBC, Bloomberg, Dow Jones, the Financial Times, Reuters, and the Voice of America all report on yesterday's strike. Newspapers generally ignored or downplayed yesterday's CGTP strike and the few who report on it offer abbreviated stories from the wires. (For example, the Miami Herald and the Washington Post used the Associated Press story and the Los Angeles Times used Reuters. The New York Times and, aside from FT, the British papers didn't seem to include the story in their print editions.) Reuters seems to be the only one that uses its Copa reporters to add to the strike story and suggests that they have reporting from ten reporters in Lima, Arequipa, Tacna, Piura, and Trujillo. The BBC headlines, 'Peru hit by major workers' strike' and reports that "at least 76 people have been arrested in Peru during a 24-hour strike" which was "declared a success by the CGTP." However, "the government said the protest had failed because people were working and public transport was functioning." NOTE: "The BBC's Hannah Hennessy in Lima reports that for many the protest has become less about economics and more about trying to undermine the authority of Mr Toledo." CITED: Minister of the Interior Javier Reategui who "claimed only half of all transport services in Lima had been affected by the strike." The AP says that "Peruvians went to work on Wednesday in large numbers, turning their backs on calls for a nationwide strike by a Marxist-led labor federation to protest President Alejandro Toledo's free market policies." NOTE: "In some cases, their incentive was to keep from being docked a day's wages for missing work. The government decreed the pay measure on the eve of the strike as a way to deflate the protest." CITED: William Villarroel (waiter), Interior Minister Javier Reategui, labor leader Juan Jose Gorriti, Labor Minister Javier Neves who said that "95% of private-sector employees in Lima and 89% nationwide reported for work." Reuters reports that "thousands of Peruvians, some burning effigies of President Alejandro Toledo, took to the streets nationwide on Wednesday to tell his unpopular government bluntly: Change your policies or go." It is the only one that refers to the protests in Ayacucho earlier this month. CITED: Julio Lopez (student in Arequipa) and Minister of Production Alfonso Velasquez who asked, "What strike?" Bloomberg has the best quotes including citations from Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero ("There is no strike."), Alan Garcia ("I hope that Toledo's advisers will tell him the consequences of such a strike"), and President Toledo ("I listen. There are some issues we can improve and other simply are mot in our hands," without elaborating). ALSO CITED: Jorge Luis Rodriguez (Centura SAB brokerage), Minister of Labour Javier Neves and Congressman Antero Flores-Araoz (PPC) who said, "Personally I worked all day at my law office." The Financial Times is the only one to report that "the protests failed to shut down commercial activity in the capital because of a last-minute withdrawal by the city's transport unions representing drivers of buses, vans and collectivos - shared taxis that are popular with poor Peruvians."

CGTP Strike in Chiclayo: The Northern Report offers a fascinating review of the strike in Chiclayo and includes Copa news, Aero Continente, tourists, alternative transportation modes and competing political voices. It also offers some on-the-ground photojournalism of the strike. NOTE: Chiclayo Mayor Arturo Castillo, "strongly opposed the strike, refused to allow city workers the day off to participate, [and] called the day, 'a total disaster'." ALSO: APRA President of the Piura region, César Trelles, broke with his party's national leadership and "told local newspapers that although he opposes the policies of the Toledo government and supports the concerns of works, the strike would be devastating to his region during the tournament." CITED: Yehude Simon Munaro, (President, Region of Lambayeque), Erwin Salazar (President of CGTP in Lambayeque), Juan Carlos Muga Santamaria (head of tourism, Region of Lambayeque), Renzo Franco Leon (Center for Promoting Tourism in Piura), Rev. William Lego, and Eduardo Majail (La Industria newspaper).

AeroCont Passangers Stranded: Reuters reports that "some 4,000 passengers have been left stranded in Peru after the government grounded Aero Continente over an insurance policy dispute," according to the Aero Continente spokesman German Arata. According to the Minister of Transportation Jose Ortiz, the airline "presented partial insurance that doesn't cover all eventualities and the law doesn't permit this ... It's nothing against Aero Continente; we acted in accordance with the law." NOTE: "The government had been prepared to step in to guarantee Aero Continente's insurance policy but said no documents had been presented so the guarantee was not activated." The recent listing of AeroContinente founder, Fernando Zevallos on the 'drug-kingpin list,' "prevents Americans from flying on Aero Continente, embargoes its assets in the United States and prevents it from any dealings with U.S. companies, such as insurers or spare parts suppliers." NOTE: "The Peruvian [football] team had managed to switch its flight for its next match to LanPeru."

Mining Strike: Reuters reports on the continuing "strike over pay at Peru's only iron mine, Chinese-owned Shougang Hierro Peru [which] went into its 18th day on Wednesday and has cost the company $4.5 million," according to Raul Vera, the mine's general manager. NOTE: "A 13-day walkout in June by Shougang's own miners, also over pay, cost the company $3.5 million in lost business." CITED: Minister of Energy and Mines Jaime Quijandria and Julio Pacheco (Grupo Santo Domingo)

Economic Numbers: Reuters reports on economic analysts who "expect Peru's economy to grow 3.95% in May, short of the government's estimate of around 4.2%, led by strong manufacturing output and a surge in fishing production. The $60 billion economy, one of the fastest growing in Latin America, also is set to grow 4.2% in the January to May period, year-on-year," according to the median forecast of four economic analysts polled by Reuters. CITED: Pablo Nano (Banco Wiese Sudameris) and Henry Alvarez (Maximixe).

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