Saturday, August 07, 2004

War of the Pacific, cont.: Merco Press suggests that Chile went on the offensive "after several weeks of difficult diplomatic exchanges with Peru repeatedly calling for a review of maritime borders, and sent a 'dissuasive' signal to its northern neighbor with a military display" of weaponry in Iquique. [Editorial Note: The piece has a significant Chilean bias.] Xinhua News reports that Minister of Foreign Relations Manuel Rodriguez "has defused tensions between [Peru] and Chile by saying that the 1929 Treaty that has set borders between Chile, Peru and Bolivia is 'perpetual'." Earlier, President Toledo "had told the Bolivian press that Peru was negotiating with Chile a revision of the 1929 Treaty. Toledo's remarks drew strong protest from Chile, which said Toledo was "ill informed." Rodriguez' comments were placed in the Chilean daily, La Tercera.

Camisea Spigot Turned On, cont.: Algérie Presse Service notes that President Toledo was accompanied in the Camisea inauguration ceremonies by Algerian Energy and Mining Minister Chakib Khelil and Sonatrach Chief Executive Officer Mohamed Meziane. The Algerian petroleum company Sonatrach owes 10% of the shares in the development project of this gas and condensate deposit in a consortium made up of Argentinian (Pluspetrol), American (Hunt Oil), South Korean (SK) and Peruvian (Tecpetrol) companies. Separately, Pravda offers a different take on the gas from Camisea with this title: 'Peru inaugurates devastating gas plant in the Amazon.' The piece focuses on the environmental challenges the project poses (leaning heavily on Amazon Watch) as well as Toledo's weak political positioning. The BBC and Reuters offer follow-up stories that are similar in tone and scope.

Trans-Amazon Highway: Xinhua Net reports that "the presidents of Peru, Brazil, and Bolivia will meet next week to unveil a bridge in the border area between Brazil and Bolivia, and to lay the cornerstone for the Integration Bridge that will link Brazil and Peru." The bridge will link Brasileia in Acre and Cobija in Pando. ALSO: "During the summit, the three presidents will also discuss issues of common interests, particularly those related to the common borders of the three countries." [Editorial Note: Xinhua suggests the Brazlian town is 'Brasilia' but that is incorrect. It should also be stated that a bridge is currently operational and is used by dozens if not hundreds of pedestrians and vehicles daily.]

USA Returns Montesinos' Millions: The Associated Press reports that "USA officials on Friday returned $20 million in embezzled Peruvian government funds that had been deposited in American banks under the direction of fallen spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos," according to Peruvian Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero. The Prime Minister said that "prosecutors believe that some $1 billion was skimmed from state coffers and squirreled away in foreign banks during Montesinos' tenure atop Peru's now-defunct National Intelligence Service."

Japans Returns Fujimori's Identity: Xinhua News reports that "the Japanese government has asked the Peruvian government to clarify the nationality of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori," according to this morning's El Comercio. "The newspaper quoted Peruvian Judge Jose Lecaros, who is in charge of the Fujimori case, as saying, "Japan's petition opens possibility that the fugitive ex-president be brought to trial with transparency and impartiality." NOTE: El Comercio suggests this shows "a change in the Japanese government, which has until recently refused to address the issue."

LBozzo Talks on NBC: Tomorrow at 7:00 pm (EST), on the USA NBC television network program Dateline, "Peruvian talk show host Laura Bozzo talks with Dateline's Victoria Corderi about her over the top, flamboyant television personality that has garnered her popularity throughout the U.S. and Latin America. Bozzo also discusses why she is currently living under house arrest."

Trade Surplus & Interest Rate Rise: Reuters reports that "Peru's trade surplus rose to $1.009 billion in the first six months of 2004 from $187.4 million in the year ago period," according to the Central Bank. However, "for the month of June, Peru's trade surplus slipped 1.2% to $135.4 million from $137.1 million in June last year, the bank said in its weekly report." NOTE: "Mineral-rich Peru is enjoying a boom in commodities prices and traditional exports -- metals and fishmeal -- rose 19.4% in June. Peru's nontraditional exports -- including such sectors as light manufacturing, textiles and agriculture -- rose 21.3% in June." Separately, Bloomberg reports that "the Peruvian central bank raised its benchmark interest rate for the first time since October 2003 in a bid to cool the country's longest economic expansion in a decade. The bank boosted the rate, at which it lends overnight money to commercial banks, by a quarter of a percentage point to 3.5%." CITED: Minister of Economy and Finances Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski SEE ALSO: See yesterday's Peruvia for Reuters' take on the interest rate story.

Flying Peru: The Independent (at end of article) notes that Nuevo Continente has replaced Aero Continente. The paper, however, editorialises that "the geography of Peru makes flying the ideal way to travel, but the country's aviation record is not a happy one. David Gilmour, director of the specialist agency South American Experience, says: 'A few years ago, Fawcett Airlines (whose inflight entertainment consisted of bingo), went into liquidation, as did AeroPeru'." SEE ALSO: 'Nuevo Continente' in July 22 and 23's Peruvia.

Peru & Bio-Trade: Inter Press Service reports on "environmentally sustainable 'bio-trade' [which] is gaining ground among the long-standing commercial products that the Andean region puts on the international market," which has spurred the interest of the CAF, the development agency of the Andean Community of Nations. As an example, it states that "Peru supplies minerals and fish for restaurants, but also ornamental fish for home aquariums." ALSO: "In Peru, for the past 10 years the local company OAFA (Ornamental Amazon Fish Aquarium), an exporter of aquarium fish, has run a 250 million-dollar-a-year business, and aims to become the main supplier for Europe," declared OAFA manager Edgar Panduro. "OAFA is working on setting up an office in Germany to avoid reliance on European importers, who currently earn up to 1,000% on the final sales."

Korean Politicians Travel to Peru: The Korea Times reports that Korean legislators, members of the environment and labor committee in the National Assembly, are beginning a trip to Latin America. "Reps. Kim Young-joo of the Uri Party and Dan Byoung-ho of the Democratic Labor Party departed Incheon International Airport with another six colleagues ... [on a] nine-day tour of Peru, Argentina and Brazil."

Winning the National Lottery: The USA State Department's current 'Visa Bulletin' (Number 72, August 2004) cites 2,514 Peruvians have registered for the USA's 'DV-2005' visa lottery program.

HdeSoto in Manila: The Manila Times profiles Hernando de Soto and his relationship with the newly re-elected President Arroyo. "Just a few weeks ago, de Soto became front page material when Malacañang announced that he was going to be appointed as a presidential economic adviser." The article cites his local detractors as well as his supporters. NOTE: "By virtue of his effective policies in fighting poverty, de Soto has gained international following which includes, but is not limited to, various heads of state. These include President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra of Thailand, President Vicente Fox of Mexico, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, former US President Bill Clinton and, most recently, President Arroyo."

Development in Piura: BNAmericas reports that "Peru's housing, construction and sanitation ministry has opened an international bidding process for a project to expand and improve the water and sewerage system in Piura and Castilla municipalities in northern Piura department," according to the official government news agency Andina. NOTE: "Bidding rules will be on sale until September 16 with the winner to be chosen November 5. ProInversion, will be managing the bidding process." IN SPANISH: See Proinversion's 'Investment Opportunities' page.

Mining in Arequipa: Arcturus Ventures announced in a press release that their Peruvian subsidiary, Exploraciones Coropuna S.A.C., "has tripled the size of its Esperanza property located in northern Arequipa. The Esperanza property is now made up of three claims and totals 3,000 hectares."

Air Force Offers Medical Help: The USA Air Force Link reports on the Kansas Air National Guard's 184th Medical Group "providing humanitarian medical assistance to a needy portion of the civilian population" in Tacna. "In nine days, seven medical doctors, one physician assistant and an entourage of medical specialists treated 5,092 patients in austere conditions." NOTE: "The medical group was asked by the Peruvian minister of heath to participate in this joint exercise with the Peruvian military."

Abortion Battles Brought to Peru: LifeSite News announced in a press release that U.N. emissary to Peru is "urging the predominantly Catholic and legislatively pro-life country to allow abortion." It refers to United Nations Special Rapporteur Paul Hunt's "25-page report on his June 6-15 mission to Peru" in coordination with the Second National Health Conference in Lima. The press release continues this organization's public battle with Minister of Health Pilar Mazzetti and their support of former Minister of Health Fernando Carbone. SEE ALSO: 'Morning After Pills Make Waves' in June 23's Peruvia.

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