Thursday, August 05, 2004

Camisea Spigot Turned On: The BBC, Bloomberg, Reuters all report on the formal start of the gas flow from the Malvinas plant in La Convencion, Cuzco. All three mention environmental concerns, Bloomberg focuses on the Hunt Oil business angle and Reuters offers a stronger political story. (The BBC's story is the weakest.) The BBC suggests that "Peru's biggest gas project is likely to change the fortune of cash-poor, but resource-rich Peru." Bloomberg focuses on the Hunt Oil business angle and states that the project was "the culmination of a 20-year project that was delayed by guerrilla warfare and political opposition." The article also acknowledges Royal Dutch/Shell Group and Exxon Mobil Corp.'s early involvment. CITED: Javier Diez Canseco (Congressman), Carlos del Solar (Hunt Oil), George Beranek (PFC Energy), and Norberto Benito (Pluspetrol SA). ALSO: "The [Malvinas] extraction plant [is] a 46-hectare island of technology in the middle of what was once a rainforest. The plant is only accessible by plane and by the river. 'It's like working on an off-shore rig,'' said Benito." NOTE: Environmental concerns are expressed by Maria Ramos (Amazon Watch) and Walter Kategari (a Machiguenga leader). Reuters reports that "Peru hopes the $1.6 billion Camisea project, which took decades to develop because of doubts about its commercial viability, will invigorate its economy, adding up to 1% point to annual gross domestic product growth when gas sales are fully underway." CITED: an enthusiastic Minister of Energy and Mines Jaime Quijandria, a less enthusiastic Gustavo Rangel (Barclays Capital) ALSO: "For environmentalists, Camisea is an ecological peril." Says Maria Ramos (Amazon Watch): "Camisea is simply not sustainable development."

Times Misses Camisea; Gets Beleaguered Toledo: The New York Times has Juan Forrero reporting from Caracas in article entitled, 'Peruvians Tire of Toledo, but Worry About Ousting Him.' "The press and political analysts in Peru increasingly say Mr. Toledo may be critically weakened." NOTED: "Mr. Toledo's party lost its leadership of Congress after an opposition lawmaker, Antero Flores, was chosen on July 26 to head the single-chamber legislature." CITED: Mirko Lauer, (La Republica), Augusto Álvarez (Perú 21), Michael Shifter (Inter American Dialogue), polls, (see below), and the Caretas cover story that suggested "Toledo had taken a $5 million bribe to favor a Colombian brewer in its purchase of a Peruvian beer maker." ALSO: "The major beneficiary of Mr. Toledo's troubles is Alan García."

CPI Poll: The Centre for Public Opinion and Democracy reviews CPI's latest poll which shows Toledo "gradually recapturing public support in Peru" with 13.2% of respondents approving his performance, "a 3.6% increase since June."

War of the Pacific, cont.: The BBC and the Voice of America report that President Alejandro Toledo and Bolivian President Carlos Mesa yesterday "signed an agreement for landlocked Bolivia to export natural gas through its Andean neighbor." Toledo stated that Peru and Bolivia were not competitors but 'associates.' He also said "the special economic zone would be developed around the southern port of Ilo." Separately, MercoPress quotes Peruvian Vice-President David Waisman saying "he openly supported Peruvian Defence Minister remarks that 'our Armed Forces are ready morally and technically for any armed conflict', in direct reference to the maritime dispute between both Pacific countries." Declared Chilean Cabinet Secretary Francisco Vidal: “As far as we are concerned the maritime borders (with Peru) were finalized with the 1952 and 1954 treaties and are unmovable”. ALSO: "In related news Chile and Ecuador (north of Peru) agreed on naming a special and standing committee to address Law of the Sea and maritime borders issues, with the purpose of a common strategy to face the increasing demands from Peru." The article ends with some editorializing on "the appeal to Peruvian nationalism."

Fuji and Vladi Updates: Kyodo News reports that the Japanese government "has asked Peru to present more evidence concerning former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori's involvement in crimes in connection with the Peruvian government's request for his extradition," according to Peru's Ministry of Foreign Relations. NOTE: "In July 2003, Peru submitted a 700-page document to back its charge that Fujimori was involved in the murder of 25 citizens in 1991 and 1992 when he was in power." Separately, the Sun-Sentinel re-runs the Los Angeles Times profile on Vladimiro Montesinos who is now seen as "a frumpy, balding man with bad posture, sitting behind bulletproof glass in a special 'anti-corruption' courtroom. But no one can say with certainty that the genie Montesinos is really back in the bottle. CITED: Gustavo Gorriti, Moises Wolfenson. The article ends with this ominous sentence: "If Toledo falls, many Peruvians wonder, will the prosecution of Montesinos and his allies fall by the wayside?" Purchase: Sally Bowen/Jane Holligan's biography of VMontesinos, 'The Imperfect Spy' at the Peru Bookstore.

Library Languishes: The Associated Press (re)-runs a story on "Peru's once-grand National Library, where the ravages of humidity, auto exhaust and decay are taking a heavy toll in one of the world's most important repositories of papers from the Spanish colonial era." HISTORY: "Donating his personal collection, San Martin said he hoped the library would serve as 'one of the most effective mediums to put intellectual values in circulation'." CITED: librarian Delfina Gonzales, David Block (curator of Cornell University's Latin America library collection), Ricardo Palma, and Jorge Basadre. NOTE: "Air quality studies have shown that Abancay Avenue, the eight-lane thoroughfare outside the library, is one of the most polluted streets in Latin America."

Hunger Located In Peru: A United Nations press release, CNN, and Reuters announced the launch of the UN's World Food Programme's new interactive Hunger Map which includes a special focus on Peru. It is to track hunger in real-time. See also the WFP’s Counting the Hungry, an online educational resource on global hunger.

Macro/Micro Econ:
Richard LeTourneau Dies: The Texas' Longview News-Journal offers the obituary of Richard LeTourneau, 79, the oldest surviving son of R.G. LeTourneau and his wife, Evelyn. NOTE: "LeTourneau maintained missions started by his father in Peru," particularly those associated with the Christian Missionary Alliance church. Mr. LeTourneau sold LeTournau Inc., a heavy equipment and offshore jack-up rig manufacturer, for $70 million to Marathon Manufacturing Co. ALSO: As of November 2003, the LeTourneau family were still seeking redress from Velasco's appropriations of properties in 1970. In Spanish: Tournavista in Huanuco.

Is Peru Melting?, cont.: Gregory Rummo offers an editorial from Huraz that questions the latest signs of glacier warming in the Andes. NOTE: The piece is a bit defensive and declares, "to blame Americans or even global warming turns out to be not only historically inaccurate but premature."

To Save Money, Swallow: A wire story notes that "a Peruvian woman has swallowed the equivalent of £450 in cash to avoid being robbed by a gang. Marleny Villa was on a bus travelling to Tacna, south of the capital Lima, when a gang boarded the bus. The Terra Noticias Populares says the 35-year-old rolled all the notes up individually and swallowed them one by one. After the robbery Villa was taken to the nearby town of Cocachacra to have her stomach pumped. A police spokesperson said: "She is one brave, crazy person, but fortunately it turned out well and she will still have the money."


UNITAS Recaps: The USA Navy Newstand reports from Callao on the USS Crommelin whose crew "reached out to disadvantaged people while conducting port calls in Salaverry and Callao in July as part of UNITAS 45-04." NOTE: "Members of the Crommelin crew participated in building a wall at Virgin De La Puerta Elementary School in Salaverry, Peru, donating more than $500 to the project and making further improvements to the school’s restrooms and small classrooms." SEPARATELY, the USA DC Military web site offers another review of the UNITAS excercises off the Peruvian coast in July.

New Restaurants: The Miami Herald reviews 'Miami Lakes Seafood,' noting that "the appetite for Peruvian cuisine doesn't seem to be waning." The Cinncinati Post reviews 'Sabor Peruano' after giving it a positive review in January of this year. And the Houston Chronicle finishes up a column saying that for Peruvian ceviche the Pezcalato Restaurant is "the best, bar none."

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