Wednesday, August 11, 2004

UPDATED: 3 Presidents at Border; Cuzco Bus Accident; Gas & Coca Up

Trans Amazon HiWay: The Inter Press Service reports (from Rio de Janeiro) on Presidents Toledo, Lula and Mesa inaugurating the Cobija/Brasileia bridge this morning but spends most of the story on reviewing the economic/ecological impact of the bridge between Iñapari and Assis do Brasil where the presidents were this afternoon where they laid "the first stone of the Integration Bridge." According to Irving Foster Brown at the Federal University of Acre, "the bridge between Brazil and Peru will have strong repercussions on the Amazon jungle, because it will pave the way for roads connecting the western Brazilian state of Acre and Peru's Pacific coast." NOTE: "A route to Peru's Pacific coast would turn southwestern Amazonia into a passage for the enormous production of soybeans and grains in west-central Brazil." Also Cited: Michael Schmidlehner (Amazonlink) and the Madre de Dios-Acre-Pando (MAP) initiative. The MAP initiative seeks "access to relevant information, and the right to participate in collective decisions." The fifth MAP Forum will take place Sep. 16-19 in Puerto Maldonado, Peru. SEE ALSO: Xinhua Press story from last week; stories in Spanish by Agence France Press and Associated Press which note that both bridges are part of the IIRSA project (Integración de la Infraestructura Regional de Sudamérica) which intends to bring the Pacific and Atlantic together infrastructurally by 2010; this 2003 Caretas story; and Prof. Brown's 2002 paper on the road between Acre and the Pacific. For photos of the bridge and the presidents see 'Toledo, Lula, and Mesa' below.

Gas Production Up: Dow Jones reports that "Peru has proven, probable and possible natural gas reserves that could total about 41 trillion cubic feet," according to Vice Minister of Mines and Energy Juan Miguel Cayo Mata. NOTE: "Of that total, 20.7 trillion cubic feet are in the southern jungle region, which include the Camisea project's Block 88. That region also include Block 56, which the government and private sector companies have earmarked as a source of gas aimed at export." SEE ALSO: 'Block 64 Drilled' in yesterday's Peruvia.

Coca Production Down/Up: The BBC reports on US "drugs czar" John Walters who said "the production of coca, the raw material for cocaine, has declined in Colombia by 30% in the past two years." However, the article ends with this: "Production has notably risen in Peru, the world's next biggest producer of cocaine after Colombia." UPDATE: The transcript of Walters' press briefing yesterday afternoon notes that he stated that "there have basically been static rates of cultivation in Peru and Bolivia" as well as some "poppy cultiviation." (You can listen to that briefing here)

Elections in Venezuela: Venezuela News reports that "international electoral organizations, such as chambers, courts, tribunals, parliaments and electoral councils across Latin America, have confirmed their presence during the presidential referendum to take place in Venezuela next Sunday." Among the Peruvians noted as electoral observers : Fernando Tuesta Soldevilla (Peruvian National Electoral Processes Office; ONPE) and Congressman Cruz Gerardo Saavedra Mesones (Pais Posible; Lambayeque). Saavedra is also the Vice President of the Parlamento Amazónico. IN SPANISH: The ONPE released their own press release today on Tuesta's participation.

Tragedy in Cuzco: Ireland's RTE and Reuters reports that "a bus carrying Peruvians and foreign tourists has plunged into a gorge near Cuzco, killing five Peruvians and an Irish tourist and injuring 43 people including tourists from Britain, France and Israel," according to the police. The bus was travelling to the tourist city of Cuzco from near the Bolivian border, "when the driver lost control of the vehicle on a bridge in a steep river valley." The RTE notes that there is no Irish Embassy in Peru and the Department of Foreign Affairs says "it is offering consular assistance through the Irish Embassy in Mexico and the Honorary Consul in Peru."


Toledo, Lula & Mesa: Reuters reports (through photographs) that President Alejandro Toledo, Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, and Bolivian President Carlos Mesa arrived in Brasilea today for "the inauguration ceremony of an international Bridge 'Amistad' on the border of Bolivia and Brazil. The bridge links Bolivian town Cobija with Brasileia." See photographs of the bridge here and here.

CIA, Chavez, & Toledo: Pravda and the UPI wire repeat a front-page story in Monday's El Mundo from Spain (see the sixth headline here; see modified versions of the story here and here) that because Chavez' "revolutionary movement is likely to seize Peru and Ecuador, ... the CIA, is preparing a plan to overthrow the Venezuelan president." NOTE: "The CIA's undersecretary for southern hemispherical affairs, William Spencer, is in Santiago, Chile, to brainstorm the 'Venezuelan situation' with CIA country directors from Colombia, Ecuador, Brazil and Peru. " Says the UPI: "Charges of CIA meddling into other country's affairs has always been a sensitive issue, especially when it comes to Latin America where the agency has a history - and not always a good one at that."

Bond Auctions:


Air War: Reuters reports that Chilean LAN "reported on Tuesday its July passenger traffic grew 22.3% compared with July 2003, consolidating growth seen in the first half of the year due to adding new routes and stronger demand for travel."

Dev't with Gender in Mind: Inter Press Service includes 'Enterprising Women in Peru' in an article titled, 'Gender Perspective Essential to Fighting Poverty' and is based on new reports by the 'Gender, Poverty and Employment' programme in coordination with the U.N. Development Programme and International Labour Organisation's GenProm which conclude that "the incorporation of a gender perspective in projects aimed at generating employment and fighting poverty in Latin America. NOTE: "There are more women than men in the social sectors most vulnerable to poverty in the region, and women are heads of a significant proportion of households, while less than half of working-age women have jobs and women live in poverty for different reasons than men."

Naval Excercises, cont.: The Associated Press and Reuters offer several F-O-T-O-S of the PANAMAX 2004 excercises in Panama in which both Peru and Chile are participating. SEE ALSO: 'Naval Excercises' in yesterday's Peruvia.

Peruvian Judo: Barbados' Daily Nation includes Peruvian Stephano Iglesias in their coverage of the 2004 Junior US Open Judo Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

JLozano Dies: The Bakersfield Californian (registration: peruvia/peruvia) notes that Joel Crithian-HiDalgo Lozano, 35, died on August 6. His funeral will be in California today; "interment to be held in Junin."

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