Sunday, August 01, 2004

Race & Peru: The Miami Herald offers an in-depth look at racism in Peru, written by Tyler Bridges, and pegged on "the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Peru ... and a few determined Afro-Peruvians are using the occasion to tell their countrymen that racism is alive and well here, in ways both similar to and different from racism in the United States." NOTE: "This Dec. 4 will mark the day that Peru's president in 1854 freed the last of the 3,000 to 4,000 remaining slaves." CITED: Jorge Ramírez Reyna (Black Association for the Defense and Advancement of Human Rights - Asociacion Negra de Defensa y Poromocion de los Derechos Humanos); Rafael Santa Cruz (a black actor who in 1991 portrayed the first successful black professional in a Peruvian soap opera ('Querer Volver') who says, "In Peru, you're black if you look black. The darker you are, the lower you are socially and economically.'); José Luis Risco (one of Peru's three black congressmen; Unidad Nacional); Oswaldo Bilbao Lobatón (Center for Ethnic Development - Centro de Desarrollo Étnico); Josefina Stubbs (World Bank). The Numbers: "Black leaders in Peru, where 8 to 10% of the 27 million people are considered black, express similar hopes amid their frustrations." The Facts: "Newspaper job ads request someone with a ''good appearance,'' which blacks here say is a code for no blacks need apply. Peru has no black Cabinet ministers, no black ambassadors, no black bishops, black leaders say." Says Ramírez, "Racism in Peru is not in the laws. It's in the mentality of people." A photograph of the cover of the 2004 Lima phone book which "features a white doctor, a white nurse, a white chef, a white man on the phone, two white men doing home repairs -- and a black bellhop carrying luggage," accompanies the article. (The article also briefly reviews race relations in Brazil, Colombia and Venezuela.) [Editorial Note: A Peruvia editor noted the presence of the Black Association for the Defense and Advancement of Human Rights last week at Miraflores' Parque Kennedy at an event sponsored by the Municipal government.] SEE ALSO: 'Race and Poverty: Interagency Consultation on Afro-Latin Americans' which includes 'Discrimination by Afro-Peruvian Groups' by Jorge Ramírez. IN SPANISH: Read commentary by Jorge Ramírez here; and the open letter to President Toledo asking him to recognize December 4 as the 150th anniversary of abolition in Peru.

War of the Pacific, cont.: Bloomberg reports that "the Peruvian government will offer Bolivia an area in which to build a plant to export natural gas," according to EFE which quoted the foreign ministers from both countries, Manuel Rodriguez and Juan Ignacio Siles. NOTE: "The proposal reopened a 125-year-old territorial dispute in which Bolivia and Peru lost land in a war fought against Chile in 1879 and Bolivia lost access to the Pacific Ocean. Building the plant in Peru would cost an extra $600 million because a longer pipeline would be needed, analysts have said."

Inca Observatories Found: Agence France Press reports that "Peruvian archaeologists have discovered two Inca observatories in central Peru, which they said are the most imposing of the stone structures found to date.The discovery of the observatories, announced Friday, is the result of five years of searching in Huanuco." NOTE: "One of the two, known as Ushnu, is larger than the observatory of Cuzco, the largest previously found," according to archaeologist Juan Luis Pino. ALSO: "The observatory's principal function was to help the Incas decide where to build according to the positions of the sun and the moon, Pino said. The Portuguese version of the story connects the story to the University of San Marcos in Lima and the University of Florida in Gainesville.

Curious Charity Ties Peru & Japan: Kyodo News reports that "supporters of convicted murderer Norio Nagayama held a charity concert in Tokyo on Sunday, the seventh anniversary of his execution, as part of efforts to realize his wish to aid poor children in Peru. Four-time killer Nagayama, also an award-winning writer, wanted the royalties from his books written in prison to be used to help poor children around the world, particularly those in Peru, escape poverty and ignorance." SEE ALSO: This Asahi Evening News piece and this one from India's Express News, both from 1997.

SMulanovich is #2: The San Diego Union-Tribune notes that Sofia Mulanovich placed second in her competition at the 11th annual U.S. Open of Surfing, the largest professional surfing event in the world." She is "the current top-ranked surfer on the Woman's World Championship Tour (WCT) and won $3,000" at this event.

Comparing Incomes: The Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer, in a column about Latin American emigration to the USA, compares the per capita income in the United States ($36,000) with that of Mexico ($9,000) and Peru ($5,000) and declares that "as long as U.S. Hispanics continue believing in the American Dream, the exodus will continue. The only solution will be helping speed up Latin America's development."

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