Saturday, September 25, 2004

‘Free AGuzman’: The Associated Press reports that a Peruvian judge is reviewing a petition for release from prison for Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman. His lawyer, Manuel Fajardo "argues his rights to due process were violated." NOTE: Eight other guerrillas were also listed on the petition. All are represented by Fajardo. ALSO: Bansgladesh’s Daily Star reports that "the Solidarity Committee to Defend the Life of Comrade Gonzalo staged a demonstration in Dhaka yesterday, calling for release of Gonzalo, the chairman of the Communist Party of Peru. People all over the world must foil the conspiracy to kill Gonzalo, the committee leaders said at a rally at Muktangan. The committee organised the rally to mark 12th anniversary of Gonzalo's historic speech. The leaders said the speech of Gonzalo, which he delivered after his arrest in 1992, served as a guidance for the people of Peru and other parts of the world in regard to the campaign against imperialism. The government of Peru has been staging a farce in the name of trial of Gonzalo, they said. Committee members Foyez Ahmed, Shahidullah and Prof Anu Ahmed spoke at the rally."

Fujimori’s Millions Skimmed? A wire story in Big News Network reports that former President Alberto Fujimori "skimmed more than $167 million from the federal budget," according to a government commission. NOTE: "The money allegedly came from military and police pensions during a 10-year period ending in 2000."

Race in Peru: The Miami Herald offers a short excerpt from the Inter-American Dialogue's 2004 Race Report. "The Program of Support for Indigenous Peoples and Blacks of Honduras is another example of government efforts to promote equality. A similar mechanism was established in Peru. However, these governmental agencies do not have the legal authority or resources to effectively combat or monitor racial discrimination." NOTE: "Some countries with significant Afro-descendant populations such as Panama and Venezuela, have failed to advance policies addressed at racial discrimination. In places such as Costa Rica and Peru, bills have been presented to national congresses but have not yet been voted on." See Also: ‘Race & Peru’ in August 1’s Peruvia.

Crediting Peruvians: Pacific News Service runs a story titled, ‘Globalization Transforming How Poor Peruvians Shop and Live’ where "businesses are slowly learning that the poor in Latin America have real purchasing power. In Peru, that means shopping malls and fitness centers are the new face of low-income communities. While credit card debt looms, older cultural traditions hang on." The first-person reporting includes participation in "a spinning class at Planet Fitness in the lower middle-class neighborhood of San Miguel." NOTE: "Poor Peruvians are deluged by an unprecedented wave of tens of thousands of credit card offers with which to fuel the purchasing of middle class dreams. The advertised interest rate is 2 to 5%, but because it's compounded monthly, the actual annual rate is a stunning 27 to 80%."

No Jobs: Reuters reports that "jobless recoveries threaten Latin American leaders" and focuses first on Chile,then on Mexico and finishes with Peru. "In Peru, employment has improved somewhat in the past few months, but not at the rate it could with the economy set to grow up to 5% this year. A boom in mining -- which generates half of the country's exports -- has not helped since the mines employ only 1% of the country's work force." NOTE: "Toledo raised a lot of expectations with the employment issue. Reducing unemployment is a slow process, and if it drags out it will continue harming Toledo," according to Juan Carlos Odar Zagaceta (Banco de Credito).

Budget Deficit: Reuters reports that "Peru posted a budget deficit of 313 million soles ($93.4 million) in August, compared with a deficit of 378 million soles in August last year," according to the Central Bank in their weekly report. NOTE: "Toledo's government is aiming for a 2004 budget deficit of 1.4% of gross domestic product after a deficit of 1.9% of GDP in 2003. The 2003 budget deficit was 3.762 billion soles. ALSO: The Central Bank of Peru released the full deficit statistics.

China and Peru: China’s People’s Daily reports that First Vice-President Natale Amprimo Pla met with China's top legislator, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the National People's Congress Standing Committee who declared that "China and Peru should expand cooperation and lift trade relations to a new level." Said Wu, "the two countries with complimentary needs have maintained goodmomentum in trade relations" who expressed "his appreciation for Peru's support on the issues of Taiwan, Tibet, and human rights. NOTE: "Amprimo reiterated Peru would continue to adhere to one-China policy."

Southern Peru’s Costs: Dow Jones interviews Southern Peru Copper Corp.’s Chief Executive Oscar Gonzalez Rocha who declared that "costs have risen by at least 10% so far this year on the back of Peru's strengthening currency and other factors." He also declared that "rising fees for maritime shipping, fuels and oils, and for other inputs have also increased costs" for the company.

Atacocha Troubles, cont.: Dow Jones reports that zinc-lead miner Compañia Minera Atacocha "could eventually close its operations in Peru's mineral-rich Pasco region due to community problems. Atacocha has made its concern public and the need to paralyze its operations if they do not have confirmation on the part of the community," according to the Minister of Energy and Mines Jaime Quijandria on RPP radio. NOTE: "Meanwhile, local press reported that 2,000 miners from the company marched to Cerro de Pasco on Thursday to demand that regional authorities intercede to resolve the conflict."ALSO: "The company, a medium-sized miner that started in 1936, in June placed $10 million in five-year corporate bonds on the local market." See Also: ‘Atacocha Troubles’ in September 23’s Peruvia.

Bank Tax, cont.: Dow Jones reports that Peru's highest court, the Constitutional Tribunal, said "that in general the contested financial services transactions tax, or ITF, doesn't violate the nation's constitution." NOTE: The court did say, however, "that in certain circumstances judges can declare the ITF inapplicable, when the tax is determined to be confiscatory. The tribunal also said in a statement that it had declared unconstitutional one article of the law that opened bank accounts to the tax agency, Sunat." ALSO: "Even the International Monetary Fund has weighed in, urging Peru ‘to work towards eliminating or revising the ITF as soon as possible to minimize the risks of financial disintermediation and negative effects on investments, growth, and the collection of other taxes’." CITED: Deputy Finance Minister Fernando Zavala Lombardi; Leopoldo Scheelje Martin (Confederación Nacional de Instituciones Empresariales Privadas de Empresarios del Perú, CONFIEP); and Consultants Macroconsult.

Interviewing Newmont: Denver’s Rocky Mountain News interviews Wayne Murdy, Chairman and CEO of Newmont Mining who "defends Newmont's work in Peru, Indonesia." Murdy says "Newmont's status as the world's biggest gold producer is the reason for recent attacks against the company" and the ‘coordinated’ attacks, mostly backed by environmental groups, would not affect the company's balance sheet or production in the short term." According to Murdy, "the issue in Peru, I'd say, is a legitimate concern of the people in Cajamarca. We have said all along that we would conduct studies and there would be a full environmental impact statement and communication with the community." ALSO: "Murdy said Newmont would ‘go very slow’ in Cerro Quilish, which contains 3.7 million ounces, or about one-eighth, of Yanacocha's 32 million ounces of gold reserve. In any case, the mine was supposed to come online only in late 2007 or early 2008. The company is on track to produce 7 million ounces of gold this year." CITED: Payal Sampat (Earthworks); and Caesar Bryan (Gabelli Asset Management) who repeated that "it's no good if a mining company doesn't have the support of the local population."

Rice Down: The AgReport states that "Peru's rice harvest is expected to end up at just 1.2 million metric tons (MT), down 25% from last year. However, the reduction in the size of the crop is not as large as initially expected because of planting in new areas, reports the U.S. agricultural attache here. The government worked hard to expand production in the oriental slopes of the Andes, especially in the department of San Martin, resulting in a 35% increase in the area."

Selling Gold: The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Aussie Allied Gold "hopes to sell [assets] to a Peruvian group, Minera Colibri, for an ambitious $5 million."

Swallowing the Evidence: India’s Only Punjab reports that Marleny Villa "swallowed the equivalent of £450 in cash to avoid being robbed by a gang." While travelling on a bus travelling to Tacna, ... 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’."



Restaurant Reviews: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reviews El Chalán which offers "a purple punch punctuated with bits of floating fruit. The non-alcoholic beverage, called chicha morada, tastes of cloves and is made from purple corn." It’s not the first time the paper has reviewed the restaurant this year. Deleware’s Milford Chronicle reviews Peruvian Chicken Rotisserie which Dan Perez and Orlando Vargas recently opened. "The restaurant took Best of Delaware 2004 honors in the Best New Rebirth category."

Doing Good In Peru: Massachusetts’ Easton Journal reports on the return of a group of high school student back from "a month-long immersion trip this summer to Peru." NOTE: The trip was organized by Britain's World Challenge Expeditions. ALSO: "‘I have fond memories of Roberta at the bus station in Quillabamba showing the Peruvian children her digital camera,’ [recalls one particpant]. ‘She would take their pictures and then show them the image on the screen. They were amazed. Even their parents were amused’."

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