Saturday, October 02, 2004

UPDATED: IMF in Peru; Las Bambas; and Andean Global Warming
Print Today's Peruvia Here

Al Qaeda in Peru or Not? The BBC, Miami Herald, Reuters, the Washington Post (using Reuters) report on Peru and the United States intercepting "a criminal network with possible al Qaeda links that smuggled Arabs into America after getting them false papers in Lima," according to Interior Minister Javier Reategui. Reuters quotes Minister of the Interior Javier Reategui saying that "This is an international mafia. The most dangerous thing is that some of them could be linked to al Qaeda." Reuters reports that "after eight months of investigations in the United States and Peru, authorities detained three U.S.-naturalized Iraqis in Detroit and one Jordanian in Lima on Sept. 7, and another four Jordanians in Lima on Sept. 23." NOTE: "A U.S. official in Lima who declined to be named said: "There is no evidence to show these guys are linked to al Qaeda, but it's worrisome that an operation like this could have existed." CITED: Ken Katzman, a terrorism expert with the USA Congressional Research Service, when asked specifically about Peru, said, "Al Qaeda is always looking for new routes. It's plausible." However, the BBC quoted Peru's immigration director Diogenes Diaz told Canal N television in Lima there was "no evidence" to suggest those involved were linked to al-Qaeda. NAMED: Ismael Asaifini Tha'Er Omran, 34, arrived in June in Peru, where he allegedly helped clients from the Middle East enter the US. The BBC also reports that around 200 people were smuggled from the Middle East into the USA via Peru. In Spanish: El Comercio offers a short synopsis, largely based on Reuters, but adds that smugglers used houses in Jirón San Martín (Miraflores) and another in Pasaje Cayra (San Luis).

Qosqo Not Cajamarca: The New York Times offers a correction from their art review last weekend on ‘The Colonial Andes: Tapestries and Silverwork, 1530-1830,’ at the Metropolitan Museum, which "misstated the site of the capture of the Inca king Atahualpa in 1532 by the Spanish explorer Pizarro. It was Cajamarca, Peru; Pizarro did not reach Cuzco until 1533." See Also: ‘Art in NYork’ in September 24’s Peruvia.

IMF Check-Up on Peru: The International Monetary Fund announced in a press release and Reuters reported on an IMF mission which "visited Lima during the last two weeks for discussions in the context of the first review under Peru's 26-month Stand-By Arrangement." NOTE: "The mission welcomed the favorable performance of the Peruvian economy in 2004 ... [and] commended the authorities for their continued commitment to fiscal consolidation. Also, it stressed the importance of implementing the programmed structural and institutional reforms to boost sustainable output and employment growth over the medium term." Reuters stated that "Peru's economy has been one of the fastest growing in Latin America since 2002." ALSO: "The IMF said it expected Peru to control inflation despite rising prices due to high world oil prices and said it supported government plans to reduce the fiscal deficit to 1% of gross domestic product next year." See Also: The staff report to the Executive Board; and ‘IMF To Peru – US$422 Million’ in June 10’s Peruvia.

Macro Econ Numbers: Reuters reports that "Peru's consumer price index edged up 0.02% in September, the second month in a row that inflation was virtually flat, but the National Statistics Institute (INEI) said inflation in the first nine months was higher than it had been for three years." NOTE: For full inflation details, see the latest INEI report.

Las Bambas Officially Sold, cont.: BNAmericas and Dow Jones report that "Peru and Swiss-based miner Xstrata PLC "inked the concession contract for the Las Bambas copper deposit, while the government started a campaign to short-circuit any opposition to the mining project." (This was the lead story in this morning’s El Comercio.) NOTE: "In August Peru's privatization agency awarded Xstrata the concession after it bid $121 million, about three times the base price." CITED: President Alejandro Toledo held a press conference on-site in Apurimac and declared, "Nothing will stop the people's desire to lift themselves out of poverty, especially not any foreign fly-by-night ideologies." ALSO: "Government television station, TNP, showed crowds of local residents waving flags and holding up signs supporting the project. Touted as one of the nation's most promising mining prospects, the government is working feverishly to avoid any community backlash that would derail what could become a multibillion dollar project." The government and Oxfam America published competing newpapers advertiements on La Bambas. See Also: ‘Las Bambas Officially Sold’ in September 30’s Peruvia.

Newmont Gives Up, cont.: Dow Jones reports that the Newmont Mining Corp. "gave up its lengthy battle to keep litigation over a mercury spill in Peru out of the U.S. courts." NOTE: "The lawsuit, filed in 2001, stems from a mercury spill in three villages situated along a 25-mile stretch of road near Newmont's Yanacocha gold district in northern Peru. A truck contracted by Newmont was hauling mercury, a byproduct of Newmont's cyanide-based ore processing, to Lima, where it was sold for use in medical instruments. The truck spill initially sent as many as 100 villagers to seek emergency medical treatment." NOTE: Engstrom Lipscomb & Lack, the Los Angeles-based firm representing the villagers, has noted their involvement on the case on their web site with accompanying photographs. They write, "It seems a simple question of jurisdiction until you scratch the surface and find a tale of intrigue leading from Peru to the White House and featuring foreign governments, intelligence agencies and international tycoons." See Also: ‘Newmont Gives Up’ in yesterday’s Peruvia.

Andean Global Warming: The Washington File reports on a speech by World Bank President James Wolfensohn who stated that, "Improving the environment and establishing more connections with civil society and the business sector have become increasingly important to the World Bank during the past 10 years." NOTE: "Wolfensohn said that in focusing on environmental issues, ‘we must have a planet we can live in’ or other development efforts are ‘useless.’ He related an exchange he had the previous week with an indigenous Peruvian farmer about global warming. The conversation was during a bank forum on development efforts targeting indigenous peoples held in conjunction with the Washington opening of the National Museum of the American Indian. The man, who lives near the ancient site Machu Picchu, noted how environmental changes are affecting his community's livelihood. ‘The mountains are sad because the glaciers that made them smile are no longer there,’ Wolfensohn recounted the man saying. Melt-off from glaciers had provided water for the area's farmer's cattle. Without that water, cattle herds were diminishing, and farmers were being forced to leave their land, Wolfensohn said. See Also: ‘Peru is Melting’ in August 6’s Peruvia.

LDibos, USA Citizen, cont.: The LPGA announced in a press release that Alicia Dibos, a native of Peru who joined the LPGA Tour in 1993, earned U.S. citizenship on Sept. 17 at a courthouse in Bridgeport, Conn. Dibos has recorded 14 top-10 finishes in her LPGA career, including a tie for second after a sudden-death playoff at the 1994 Children's Medical Center Classic." See Also: 'LDibos, USA Citizen' in September 29’s Peruvia.

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