Wednesday, September 29, 2004

UPDATED: LBerenson Speaks; Newmont Defends; LBozzo Speaks (Again)
Print Today's Peruvia Here

Incident in Koricancha: The Agence France Press, Associated Press, the BBC, the New York Times, Reuters, and Xinhua Net all report on the 17 to 20 European tourists who were briefly held (several news sources use ‘taken hostage’) by coca farmers (and possibly students) at the Koricancha site in Cuzco who in turn, "demanded to meet with government officials to press for an end to American-financed drug-eradication efforts." The affair took place over an hour and was over by early afternoon although details varied throughout the day. The most cursory reports are the Miami Herald (using the AP), the New York Times (second item, by Juan Forero) and Xinhua Net. The Herald counts 19 hostages; the Times says it was 20 tourists but offers no further details. Agence France Press’ last report cites 17 French and two German tourists and reports that "300 farmers supported by university students burst in and took them hostage. Some 50 riot police then stormed the site, hurling tear gas canisters and swinging clubs to evict the protesters." AFP also notes that "the protesters wanted President Alejandro Toledo to fulfill his promise of buying the coca leaf harvest in the southern Andean provice of La Convencion. The area has been paralyzed by a farmer strike that began eight days ago." The Associated Press uses a story on Radioprogramas radio for counting the 17 French and two Germans, and notes that "some 70 protesters were detained." They cite "about 100 coca growers surrounded the travelers, refusing to move for about an hour until police used tear gas to disperse them." An early Reuters report had the incident occur shortly after noon yesterday; a Reuters story 10 minutes later had special forces freeing the hostages. For a short while, there was a Reuters story that claimed that "PromPeru said 15 French tourists and five Japanese nationals were released from inside the Koricancha complex. There were no German hostages among the group, as had been reported earlier." At the end of the day, Reuters reported that Peruvian special forces freed 17 foreign tourists but there was still confusion as to their national identities. Reuters quotes police spokesman Ricardo Vargas saying that "Special agents got the 17 tourists out with no injuries. They used tear gas to free them. ... There were 70 militant coca growers but only 7 were detained because the others escaped when the gas was let off. The temple is now closed and police are guarding it," Vargas added. The story also quoted a coca leader on RPP radio declaring that, "We are stepping up our protests. The government must listen to us to solve this problem once and for all."

Israeli Killed: Arutz Sheva, Ha’aretz, the Jerusalem Post, and VOA News all report that an Israeli, Mordechai Nir, was killed and three more were injured “when the group of travelers was ambushed and shot by bandits while hiking in Peru. (VOA also includes the ‘Koricancha Incident’.) The travelers were evacuated Tuesday afternoon by a helicopter dispatched by the Israeli Foreign Ministry and were brought to Lima, many hours after the attack. NOTE: “The four travelers, three young men and one woman, were attacked late Monday night while hiking in the Juarez [sic, Huaraz].” CITED: Uri Noy, Israel's ambassador to Peru. ALSO: “One of the groups was equipped with a satellite telephone, which it used to call authorities in the village of Hatkambo, from where the tourists began their trek.” NOTE: “The body of the dead Israeli has yet to be flown home due to difficulty in finding a flight. Peruvian law mandates that an autopsy be performed on the body when involved in a criminal case, however Israel does not agree, asking that the autopsy be done in Israel.”

LBerenson on Newmont's Mining: Counter Punch offers an editorial by Lori Berenson from the Establecimiento Penal de Huacariz in Cajamarca focused largely on Newmont/Yanacocha’s mining near her prison cell. She refers to the recent protests and states that “the clearest signal that ‘something is wrong’ is the annual statistical report on poverty that shows how Cajamarca has moved from fourth to second place in the rankings by department, a poverty level which has increased during the years in which Latin America´s number one gold producer has been functioning here.” ALSO: “My solidarity is with the peasant communities and all of those who initiated [these protests]. I am convinced that many more of us will continue to join hands to promote life and true justice and oppose the destruction of the livelihood of a people, their water sources, and their future, in Cajamarca and elsewhere.”

Newmont’s Defense: The Denver Gold Conference is taking place and Dow Jones, Reuters, and MineWeb cover the conference. The Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post refer to but don’t report on Peru. Reuters gets an interview that Wayne Murdy, the CEO of Newmont Mining Corp. who “defended the environmental record of the world's largest gold producer." NOTE: “The Denver-based company also negotiated earlier this month with authorities in northern Peru to end a blockade of a Newmont-owned mine by local farmers who accused it of causing pollution to drinking water Denver Gold Forum's conference on Tuesday. Dow Jones reveals writes about a conciliatory Murdy who specifically said Newmont’s “situation in Indonesia is ‘very different’ from the company's problems in Peru, where residents had blocked the road to its Yanacocha gold mining operations. Murdy said the Peruvians had ‘legitimate’ concerns about what Newmont's operations might do to their water supplies. … About 10,000 villagers began their blockade of the Yanacocha mine's access road on Sept. 2 after Newmont began exploratory drilling on the Cerro Quilish gold deposit. ‘We got more reaction than we expected,’ Murdy admitted. ‘Fortunately no one was seriously injured.’ He said Newmont must now work to convince the residents there that its mining operations won't hurt their water supplies. MineWeb says that Murdy “lashed out at the company's detractors during a presentation” and said that Newmont had been the victim of a “very organized campaign to attack us.” However, he admitted that Newmont made “some misjudgment as to how fast we could move" in the exploration and development of the Cerro Quilish deposit.”

LBozzo Again: The Los Angeles Times offers yet another profile of Laura Bozzo, with her “skin-tight jeans and brassy one-liners … 3-inch pumps and a nicotine-coarsened, machine-gun mezzo-soprano that makes you sound like a Spanish-speaking Lauren Bacall after one too many double espressos.” NOTE: “Her 6-year-old ‘Laura in America,’ a Jerry Springer-like talk show in which long-suffering women and mostly unsavory men act out real-life mini morality plays, is the top-rated program on Telemundo, where it airs twice a day, five days a week. … The network and its corporate parent, General Electric, recently completed a $2.5-million upgrade of [her] studio.” CITED: Executive producer Miguel Ferro who says that “between 12% and 15% of the show's budget goes to provide psychological counseling, medical treatments, food stamps, educational scholarships and other assistance to people who appear on the show and their relatives.” Bozzo’s eldest daughter, Victoria, 22, a student at Pepperdine University declares that “When my mom went in television, the only people were, like, white people. She doesn't act like one, she doesn't behave like one. She goes around hugging every single person.” NOTE: “Bozzo has been studying English for nine months and hopes she'll soon be able to cross over into the Anglo-American entertainment universe.” See Also: 'LBozzo's Troubles' in September 26's Peruvia.

Retiring Shifts, cont.: BNAmericas reports that “approximately half of the 3.5 million private pension fund affiliates in Peru do not make regular contributions to their capital accounts,” according to José Antonio Velarde Benza, head of the AFP association. NOTE: Said Velarde, “This problem is based on several factors. The first is that many affiliates lose their jobs and are unemployed so they stop making pension payments. Also, in a large number of cases, companies collect pension payments from their employees but fail to make payments to their AFPs.” ALSO: “Peru's private pension system was set up in 1992 and is currently made up of four AFPs, which handle some US$6.4bn in assets.” See Also: 'Retiring Shifts' in September 24's Peruvia.


Pirates Near Conchan, etc.: Maritime Global Net follows up on “a violent robbery involving a gunfight at Conchan and adds that “five armed robbers boarded a bulk carrier at berth and took hostage security guard on patrol and severely beat him. Shore security patrol personnel responded with an exchange of gunfire. The robbers stole ship's stores and escaped in a high speedboat. There were no injuries to crew.” See Also: 'Pirates Near Conchan' in September 28's Peruvia.

Cienciano Defeat: Reuters reports that Cienciano, the Copa Sudamericana champions, “were sent crashing to a 4-0 defeat away to Ecuador's Liga de Quito in their second round, first leg tie. Cienciano, who in winning last year became the first Peruvian club to win an international competition, were quickly in trouble.” NOTE: Liga is coached by Peru's 1978 World Cup forward Juan Carlos Oblitas.

Peruvian Thieves on Long Island: New York’s Hampton’s Independent reports that two men and two women, “all but one allegedly illegal aliens from Peru” are in custody today after they went on a crime spree at the Bridgehampton Commons and made off with $10,300 in merchandise from various stores. The Peruvians included Guillermo Guzman-Sanchez, 27, and Maria Gutuerrez, 28, of Queens and Josefina Burgos, 54 of Brooklyn. NOTE: “Detectives from the NYPD South American Intelligence Division and the Southampton Town Police stopped the thieves as they were leaving the grounds of the shopping center.”

ADibos, USA Citizen: The Golf Channel reports that “Alicia Dibos, a native of Peru who joined the LPGA Tour in 1993, earned U.S. citizenship on September 17 at a courthouse in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Dibos said, “The LPGA gave me the opportunity to make a wonderful career in this country, and thanks to the LPGA, I am so proud to become a U.S. citizen.” ALSO: Since 2003, she is assistant pro at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y. See Also: 'ADibos Tries Again' in July 3's Peruvia.

Food Prize in Oregon: Portland's Andina Restaurant was named a ‘Big Deal’ by Gourmet magazine's October 2004 restaurant issue which highlights hot restaurants in 30 U.S. cities divided in two categories, Big Deal and Good Deal. The magazine says that you can “discover the sophistication and spice of new (Novoandina) and traditional Peruvian fare” and even describes their sashimi-like tiraditos with a bold statement: “step aside, Nobu.” NOTE: “A rare Peruvian gem filled with folk art and weavings, this is unique on the West Coast.”

USA Record on Fujimori: Washington File reports on a talk given by John F. Maisto, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization of American States, who declared that “good governance is key to strengthening democracy,” in his review of USA regional policy. NOTE: “Maisto noted that the United States vigorously pursues foreign assets that are determined to be the proceeds of corruption, and works with other governments to return these diverted assets. For instance, Maisto said, the United States has returned over $20 million in funds to the government of Peru, derived from corrupt acts during the administration of former Peruvian president Alberto Fujimori.”

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