Saturday, May 29, 2004

Trouble Reading Peruvia? Press 'F11' key near top of your key board twice.

Peru to IMF/IMF to Peru: Reuters reports that Peru "submitted a draft letter of intent to the International Monetary Fund seeking a two-year standby loan and reiterating that it was on track for strong economic growth and was seeking to reduce its public debt," according to a draft of the letter on the Ministry of Economy and Finance's web site. According to the government, "the economy could expand even more than 4 percent this year." That is only 2% less than the president is polling at. The Economy Ministry said Peru would accept comments on the letter from Peruvians until June 4. Concurrently, the International Monetary Fund announced the completion of "the fourth program review under the Stand-By Arrangement for Peru."

VP Waisman in Africa: South Africa's Mining Weekly interviews Vice-President David Waisman's tour through that country with a focus of encouraging their involvement in Peru's mining industry, "across the entire spectrum from exploration to investment, opening and operating mines, supplying expertise, technology and equipment." Said Waisman, "Peru is a mining country par excellence, and we have exploited only 5% of our mining resources, with the other 95% still available for exploitation." Anglo American, Harmony, Gold Fields, and BHP Billiton are already present in Peru. Also included: Waisman's words on the impending royalties on mining operations saying that "the ore deposits in Peru, as most investors know from experience, are located in the poorest areas of the country," including Huancavilca. "After all, the rural poor (and their flocks) get their drinking water from rivers and streams, rely on natural grazing for their animals, and rely on their animals for food, diary products and clothing." Waisman had earlier been in South Africa for the second inauguration of President Thabo Mbeki. Mining Weekly also includes a Reuters article that focuses on the mining royalties and includes quotes from Congressman Jose Carrasco (APRA), Alejandro Ore and Jacques Rodrich (Pais Posible) as well as Victor Espinoza, president of the Pasco region.

No Airport Stike; Yes Port Strike: Reuters reports that "port workers will hold a three-day walkout starting on Monday to protest government plans to bring in private operators, but airport employees canceled their planned strike after reaching a deal with lawmakers, according to Congressman Mario Ochoa, president of the Transport Commission. The agreement was with the Peruvian Corporation for Airports and Aviation (CORPAC) and their union leader Sergio Salazar.

P-PK: "Massive Tax Evasion": Dow Jones reports reports that "Peru's new financial services tax or ITF, which went into effect in March, has turned up widespread tax evasion," according to the Minister of Economics and Finance Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski. For example, in April "the government detected 1,500 people who do not have government tax identification numbers but who carried out banking transactions for more than 1 million soles each a month."

Miss Peru: The Associated Press offered a better photograph of Liesel Holler, Peru's representative at the Miss Universe contest being held in Quito. (See also a promo page for Ms. Holler, an Associated Press group photograph from last week and, in Spanish, an article by El Peruano.)

Peruvian Sub in Excercise: The Associated Press reports on "one of the largest joint military exercises since 1996" called 'Exercise Blinding Storm' by the United States and 'Exercise Rapid Alliance' by the United Kingdom. "Dutch marines and French soldiers will take part, as well as a Peruvian submarine and contingents from Germany and Canada. The flotilla is expected to set sail Tuesday, with the two-week amphibious exercise scheduled to begin June 10."


Friday, May 28, 2004

Toledo Stays in Peru Because of Strikes: Reuters reports that President Toledo "would skip a summit of European and Latin American leaders in Mexico and instead remain at home 'to keep order' after a wave of protests and strikes." In his stead, Foreign Minister Manuel Rodriguez Cuadros would attend the summit in Guadalajara, "at which delegates are expected to call for more cooperation in resolving crises and fighting terrorism, and more trade between Latin America and the European Union." The article notes that "hundreds of noisy construction workers carrying sticks and batons marched on Congress in Lima to call for better working conditions and higher salaries." In addition, Cusco was "paralyzed by a one-day anti-government strike and Peru Rail, which runs trains between the city and the Inca tourist mecca Machu Picchu, said it had suspended services 'as a security measure.' " Reuters also runs a group photograph in Mexico that includes Rodriguez Cuadros.

Airport/Seaport Strike: Bloomberg reports that "Peru's airports face a three-day shutdown next week as air traffic controllers and others workers prepare to strike against government plans to let private companies run the country's regional airports." The possible strike involves about 1,120 workers at regional airports and controllers at Lima's airport. Jose Luis Mesones, the leader of airport workers' union, says "the concessions will lead to job losses" and that "no commercial planes will fly in Peru during the strike." Jose Ortiz, the Minister of Transport and Communications said to RPP radio, "There is no way a standstill will happen. We will ask the Air Force and the Navy for help." In addition, "1,200 dockworkers of the Callao port, Peru's biggest port, will go on strike on Monday to support the airport workers and to oppose the concession of the port." Also mentioned: the demonstrations in Ilave and the road blockades by coca growers in Tingo Maria.

Postal Workers Post-Strike: The Union Network claims that "workers of Empresa Servicios Postales del Perú (SERPOST), grouped within the National Union of Postal Services Workers (SINATS), have been subjected to tough labor policies that violate their rights." The article details the May 14 24-hour strike "with the participation of 90% of the national workforce, and ended with a mass march through the streets of Lima," and includes the resulting negotiations with management.

Mining Costs: Reuters uses an interview with Jose Miguel Morales, head of the private National Society for Mining, Petroleum and Energy, to report on the mining industry's concern over the impending congressional mining tax. The headline shows the angle: "Peru seen losing out to Chile over mine royalties." Says Morales, "Peru aims to challenge Chile by doubling mining exports in 10 years, but its wings will be clipped if Congress approves a bill to slap royalties on the economy's main moneyspinner." The article does a good job of supporting the mining industry's interest as Congress still is unable to come to a consensus. After a patriotic argument ("We're playing into the hands of the Chileans," is another quote), the article predicts economic doom with a subheader, "Bye-Bye Bambas?" based on the suggestion of Morales that "Las Bambas, which is the most profitable project of them all, looks pretty marginal with royalties. If there had been a 3 percent royalty on Antamina, the investment wouldn't have gone ahead." The article waits until the end of the article to report that "The only big miner that would have to pay royalties is Southern Peru Copper Corp., one of the world's top 10 copper companies. Unlike its peers, it does not have a tax stability deal locking in its tax rate for years."

FLombardi Wins Prize In NYC: The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival will present it annual 'Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award' to Peruvian filmmaker Francisco Lombardi in recognition of his 'lifelong commitment to human rights filmmaking.' The director's latest film, 'What the Eye Doesn't See,' a fictitious five-story film set against the collapse of former controversial Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori's fall from power will open the festival the following night." (See page 9 of the Film Festival's program.) The films New York City premiere will be on June 11 at 8:30pm.

Universitario Players Banned: Reuters reports that "four Universitario players have received bans of up to four months after a first division match against Cienciano at the weekend where they had five men sent off and match officials and opponents were attacked," according to the Peruvian Football League. Midfielder Gregorio Bernales, "who was not among the players sent off, had been banned for five months for assaulting a match official at the end of the game."

Petrol Prices Keep Rising: Reuters reports that Peru "launched a tax-cutting plan to stop high world oil prices from further pushing up local fuel prices, according to the Minister of Energy and Mines Minister Jaime Quijandria. In the last week, "fuel prices in Peru have risen an estimated 5%."

Peruvian 'Big Cola' in Mexico: Spanish news agency EFE reports that "Peru's Grupo Aje, the maker of Big Cola soft drinks, has announced plans to open a second plant in Mexico in a bid to double its current market share of 5% by 2009," according to Roy Morris, administration and finance chief of Ajemex, Grupo Aje's Mexican unit. "The new plant will built in northern Mexico at a cost of more than $10 million would have the capacity to produce 300 million liters per year."

Miss Peru in Ecuador: The Associated Press has a photograph that includes Liesel Holler who is representing Peru in the Miss Universe proceedings in Quito.


Thursday, May 27, 2004

Fujimori and the Fortune Teller: The Associated Press, the BBC and Reuters report on the new vladivideos that show AFujimori "being warned of danger by the mysterious fortune teller" who evidently tells Fujimori that "he would face serious danger soon after 15 September [2000]." The first vladivideo was released on September 14 of that year and AFF fled the country that November. Congresswoman Anel Townsend Diez Canseco received the video anonymously and El Comerio played their scoop with front-page coverage yesterday. The BBC reports that "anti-corruption investigators have already begun the hunt to track down the clairvoyant, who is believed to be Bolivian and named Jennifer." The AP headlines its story: "Former presidents of Peru and Ecuador shared fortune teller." That Ecuadoran president, Jamil Mahuad, is now a fellow at Harvard University.

Mayor Lynched, cont.: Reuters runs an update focusing on President Toledo's "surprise nationwide speech" last night where he declared: "Democracy yes, disobedience and disorder no. No minority on the fringes of the law can impose its way of thinking through force." In addition to the protests in Ilave, there have been cocaleros in Lima and around Tingo Maria, as well as strikes by health workers, miners, port workers and "the country's largest workers union, CGTP, plans a general strike for July 14, its first in almost four years." Toledo's solution: "he would urgently send a bill to Congress to toughen penalties for protesters who cause disturbances." The president reiterated what his government has been suggesting: "Contraband dealers and drug traffickers were behind the violence" in Ilave. Quoted: APRA Congressman Aurelio Pastor. Under "intense pressure": Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero. The New York Times includes a paragraph by Juan Forero only on the suspension of the protests in Ilave. It ends by stating, "the government says it will negotiate the town's demands." (Forero also writes a story on Colombia in the same column.) The Miami Herald uses a version of yesterday's Associated Press story. (Note: The Reuters article was available by deadline for most USA newspapers.)

Ayacucho Visit: The Miami Herald's reports from Pomacocha, Ayacucho on the visit of Werner Omar Quesada Martinez who "was treated like royalty during the visit last month because Pomacocha is an isolated community high in the Andes, desperate for any kind of government assistance." Apparently, the Herald's reporter, Tyler Bridges, rode into town in Quesada's Nissan SUV. Quesada is the Regional President of Ayacucho. [This story was in yesterday's paper; thanks to VR for emailing about its omission.]

Amnesty Report on Peru: Amnesty International has released their 2004 Report which "documents the human rights situation in 155 countries and territories in 2003, and summarizes regional trends." Their section on Peru includes this summary: "The Truth and Reconciliation Commission presented its final report to the President. "Anti-terrorism" legislation, which had rendered all trials unfair since 1992, was ruled unconstitutional and reforms were introduced. Scores of prisoners of conscience remained in jail. Prison conditions remained harsh."

LHorna Loses in Paris: The Financial Times and London's Telegraph report that Luis Horna was defeated at the Paris Open by Spaniard Galo Blanco 2-6 6-4 1-6 6-2 6-3."

De Soto Speech: The Cato Institute today posted Hernando de Soto's speech he gave upon upon receiving the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty on May 6. Among his statements: "I would like to hereby confirm that Milton Friedman and Rose are two rock stars in Peru" since their visit in 1979.

Peru & Pakistan @ Peace: Pakistan's Daily Times reports that "Peru has withdrawn the 33 percent anti-dumping duty which had been imposed on the import of Pakistani poplin (cotton/polyester) in March," according to "an official at the commerce ministry." This official said "when Pakistan authorities informed Peru that Islamabad has asked its mission to move the WTO Dispute settlement Board against the decision, which was based on one-sided investigation, authorities in Peru decided to withdraw the duty." Note on Definitions: "Peru authorities during their one-sided investigation treated Pakistan as a non-market economy country and imposed the duty. A non-market economy (NMC) country is the country where economy is controlled by the state, and Peru treated Pakistan as NMC despite the fact that the government is pursuing liberal economic policies." The piece states that Pakistan's exports to Peru stood at $5.140 million in 2002-03 while imports from Peru were at $ 0.931 million.

Real Estate Conference in Lima: Real Estate News reports on the Andean Housing Conference held in Lima in July. "Real estate leaders, professionals and high-level Peruvian officials will gather with leaders from the Andean Region and leaders and professionals for a dynamic two-day conference on housing and emerging real estate markets." The conference will be hosted by the Camara Peruana de la Construccion and will include "real estate think-tanks such as the Instituto Libertad Democracia and Uniapravi ... making it an intellectually stimulating laboratory for international real estate professionals."

Tragedy at Gas Project: Dow Jones reports that "three men were killed in a work-related accident involving the Camisea natural gas project," according to Luis Ortigas, who oversees the Camisea natural gas project for the government. The men, who worked for Gas Natural de Lima y Callao (a division of Belgium's Tractebel), and died in Lurin "from inhaling nitrogen." Cited: Energy and Mines Minister Jaime Quijandria.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Sulliden Exploration released a press release to announce "the first of an exploration progress update of ongoing geochemistry, trenching and drilling on the Shahuindo gold/silver property in Cajamarca."
- Dow Jones reports on the "the selective consumer tax on fuel to protect consumers from rising international crude oil prices," according to Energy and Mines Minister Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski.
- Dow Jones reports that Congress voted "to close the indexed government pension plan known as Law 20530. or the "cedula viva," was 96-to-5, with 11 abstentions." A second vote will now involve "a constitutional modification and under Peruvian law, a two-thirds majority of Congress must vote in favor in two separate sessions of the legislature in order to modify the Constitution." About 295,000 pensioners receive a fully indexed pension under the Law 20530. "After the death of the retiree, the pension passes to the spouse and, should they have an unmarried daughter, then she is entitled to receive the benefit as well."

Good Art: Maryland's Gazette reports that Peruvian artist "Americo Rios LaTorre has never been to Urbana. But his paintings have."

Teenager at Orphanage: The British Paisley Daily Express reports that a local "teenager is pursuing her very own American dream - by spending a year working at an orphanage in PERU! Big-hearted Morvyn McKelvie will become "mum" to a family of eight children as part of the charity project." The article includes a fund-raising pitch for the teenager.


Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Mayor Lynched, Cont.:The Associated Press and Reuters offer updates with the AP reporting that "300 marine, army and police commandos arrived in Puno overnight to enforce the agreement if necessary," Community leader Julian Rivera's (using his interview with RPP) says that "the protest would end at midday Wednesday." Deputy Interior Minister Richard Diaz, the lead state negotiator, said the government had agreed to "progressively reduce" the military and police presence in Ilave once peace was secured. Reuters reports that yesterday, "roving groups of protesters shouted at news photographers on the outskirts of town. Others used slingshots to launch rocks at the journalists. 'Lying journalists -- we are going to kill you,' some shouted." [This Associated Press shows an injured La Republica reporter.] Reuters focuses on the suspension of the protests and quotes Diaz saying, "They have agreed to unblock roads, open the international road bridge between Bolivia and Peru and end the protests." The government says "drug traffickers were also behind the unrest." Ilave residents say "they want a return to normality and have dropped their demands for the release of Ilave's jailed deputy mayor." The Associated Press and Reuters show photos of the military in downtown Ilave including the Plaza de Armas. The Associated Press offers a photo of Rolando Quispe as he "transports a coffin over the international bridge, now cleared of rocks and protesters in Ilave." The Associated Press offers other photos of that bridge as well. Another Associated Press photo has this caption: AToledo decided late Sunday to send hundreds of army soldiers to Ilave." And then this from a letter to the editor in Mississippi's Delta Democrat Times: "Do we really think that we can establish a democratic system in Iraq that these people will live by? Did you see the one about the mayor down in Peru?"

Mining Debate: Bloomberg and Reuters report on the congressional debate about "the controversial plan to levy a royalty on mining in Peru," which is expected to resume tomorrow. Reuters says that "Congress held a first debate on the royalties issue on May 12 and a second on May 20. Several proposals have been put forward, ranging from a flat levy to a sliding tax that only applies to miners generating a profit." Quotes come from APRA Congressman Jose Carrasco and Congressmen Alejandro Ore and Jacques Rodrich, both from Pais Posible. Victor Espinoza, president of the Pasco mining region says, "We have the right to receive at least $3 million a year from mining to allow for a sustainable development of the region." He added that Pasco currently only receives $90,000 a year in taxes from mining. Bloomberg believes that the Congress "will probably impose a royalty on mining companies' sales, opposition and governing coalition lawmakers said, approving a plan companies such as Minas Buenaventura say would discourage investment in the country's gold, copper and zinc mines." This story also suggests that "President Alejandro Toledo's coalition will back the opposition-sponsored plan ... " It is unclear who the non-opposition is if Pais Posible is on board. Quotes come from Victor Flores (HSBC Securities USA), Roque Benavides (CEO, Buenaventura), and the Minister of the Economy and Finance Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski.

Copa America Forced to Use Smaller Stadium, cont: Reuters explains the shift Copa America had to make from using Estadio Monumental to using the Estadio Nacional. Quotes come from local organising committee president Arturo Woodman and Peru Football Federation president Manuel Burga. The story also includes the history of the problem. Separately, Reuters offers a photograph of Peruvian soccer players dousing their assistant coach Giorgiao with eggs and flour to celebrate his birthday. Peru is preparing for a June 1 match with Uruguay with Nolberto Solano among others. Separately, a Reuters story on football in the Olympics has this: In the 1936 Olympics, "[a] diplomatic incident was provoked by the quarter-final between Austria and Peru after the Peruvians were disqualified despite winning 4-2 because some of their fans ran on to the pitch and attacked an Austrian player." For more background, see this Reuters story.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Reuters reports that "Peruvian exports grew 32% in April from the same month last year to $841 million, due to strong sales to the United States," according to Trade Minister Alfredo Ferrero. The United "is the largest buyer of our manufactured goods," Ferrero said.
- The Guardian and the Times (of London) reports that Monterrico Metals "jumped 9% as the Peruvian copper miner put itself up for sale. The recent surge in copper prices and a steady stream of positive drilling updates from its Rio Blanco copper project in northern Peru have stoked speculation that it was only a matter of time before Monterrico drew predatory interest from a mining heavyweight."

Study in the USA! Oregon's Bend reviews the story of how Patricia Abón used a train ride in Machu Picchu to get a scholarship to Oregon State University. "Abón plans to get a graduate degree before returning to Lima, where she can 'make positive changes in my country.' Her dream is to found and grow a company “to help lower the unemployment rate among my people.'


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Mayor Lynched, cont: The Associated Press, the BBC, Reuters and the United Press International all report on the continued violence in Ilave. The Reuters story from Ilave reports that "Ilave has witnessed more than a month of disturbances and we are considering declaring a state of emergency," according to an Interior Ministry spokesman. Yesterday, 300 additional soldiers arrived in Ilave to back up about 600 police. "A commission named by President Alejandro Toledo is in the region to try to organise local elections to bring calm [but] many Aymaras oppose the new mayor who replaced Robles." The Associated Press adds several details including quotes from President Toledo: "Order and discipline are key elements in a democracy. We are not going to permit disorder and chaos." Also cited: Interior Minister Javier Reategui. The protestors want the release of the deputy mayor and six others jailed in connection with the murder of Mayor Robles. The UPI uses reporting by El Comercio and states that "the ongoing unrest in Ilave is just the latest in a serious of setbacks for the Peruvian government." Reuters offers photos of "special armed police patrol downtown Ilave" and a photo of La Republica reporter Cristian Ticona "after been injured during a protest in Ilave."

Sally Bowen Accused, cont: A wire story in the Scotsman reports that Sally Bowen's travel restrictions have been lifted by Judge Alfredo Catacora. She had been "accused of libel for writing in a book that a Peruvian airline mogul was believed to be a major cocaine trafficker." Bowen was to leave tonight on a previously planned trip to England to attend her daughter's wedding. Reporters sans Frontières had earlier protested the court order stating that "Our organisation views the restrictions placed on Bowen as excessive. It comes to the same thing as preventing her from doing her job." RSF stated that "the judge's ruling was linked to a libel complaint against Bowen by Fernando Zevallos, founder of the Peruvian airline Aerocontinente. In her book, the journalist quoted Oscar Benites Linares, an ex-member of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), now in prison, who accused the businessman of involvement in the alleged reorganisation of drug-trafficking by former intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos. Zevallos has filed a 10 million-dollar libel suit against [Bowen]."

Copa America Forced to Use Smaller Stadium: The Associated Press reports that "the stadium that was to host the final game of this summer's Copa America was dropped Tuesday after a co-owner threatened to deny its use unless soccer officials lifted penalties against his players." The Monumental Stadium (see an AP photo), which holds 80,000, will be replaced by 45,000-seat National Stadium, for the July 6 doubleheader opener and the July 25 final. Co-owner Alfredo Gonzalez is president of Monumental's home club, Universitario. IN SPANISH: See an electronic debate on this topic in Terra and a report on Ahunet.

Coffee in Moyobamba: Reuters runs a feature on coffee quality with colourful scenarios from Moyobamba. "But the age-old practice of relying on middlemen is undermining Peru's efforts to produce and export quality coffee at higher prices because intermediaries lower the grade of coffee by mixing it, say farmers." Cited: Friolan Fernandez farmer in the Altomayo valley; Julio Morales who buys some 600 100-pound bags of coffee a month from small growers; and coffee cooperative Oro Verde's manager, Hiderico Bocangel. Reuters accompanies the story with a photo of coffee grower Gernando Davila and "the dreaded borer beetle eats away at his coffee crop in the Altomayo valley."

The Science of Palms: The New York Times Science section has a short article on palm fronds and their effects when they fall, based on Stanford University graduate student Halton A. Peters who studied Iriartea deltoidea. The species is "one of the grandest and most common palms making up the rain forest canopy in the western Amazon," and a "a major influence on the makeup of the rain forest." The article is based on Peter's research in the Manu and his co-authored article "Falling Palm Fronds Structure Amazonian Rainforest Sapling Communities" in Biology Letters.

Nobel for De Soto? The Copley News Service runs an op-ed by Jack Kemp (former USA Republican Vice-Presidential candidate) who nominates Hernando de Soto for the Nobel Peace Prize. Meandering through his reasons, Kemp manages to include the USA's problems in Iraq before he finishes: "If the Nobel Prize committee wants to award the prize to someone who is working to bring hope to those in despair, they should seriously consider De Soto for the Noble Peace Prize."

Posh in Peru: The Guardian offers this headline: Posh, Peru and the paparazzi and reports that Mother Beckham had "popped down to Peru to relaunch herself as a bling Mother Teresa, all for charity and a fly on the wall. It transpired that Victoria had flown to Lima and spent 36 hours in the poverty-stricken Las Lomas de Carabayllo district on a project run by a British charity, Childhope UK. A spokeswoman for Sport Relief, who arranged the project, explained: 'She went to Peru to help make a documentary explaining where donors' money is being spent'." (See also this Observer piece from Sunday and a mention of her Peruvian escapade in Hello!. And finally, (because there is much, much more) WebIndia123 affirms that "a documentary film on the celebrity's visit to Peru will be aired on BBC.")

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Reuters reports that "Peru posted a fiscal surplus of 0.4% of gross domestic product in the first quarter compared with a deficit of 0.6% of GDP in the first three months of 2003," according to theCentral Bank's weekly report.
- Reuters reports that Petroleos de Peru "expects its 2004 net profit to rocket by around 440 percent to at least 70 million soles (US$20 million) compared with last year as the company cuts costs."
- BNAmericas reports that Peru's government "is planning to replicate the model of the Yuncan hydroelectric project by allowing private companies to participate in advanced stages of generation projects under a scheme to benefit regional infrastructure projects," according to energy and mines minister Jaime Quijandría.

More Mining:
- Reuters reports that "Peru's top mining lobby remains firmly opposed to royalty payments but is working with lawmakers to try to make the best of a bad job if the levy finally goes ahead," according to an interview with Jose Miguel Morales, president of the private National Society for Mining, Petroleum and Energy. NOTE: "Most of Peru's big mining companies have tax and legal stability contracts that lock in their tax status for years." Also Cited: Congressman Jorge Del Castillo (APRA) and Isaac Cruz (zinc miner, El Brocal). An earlier Reuters piece reported that lawmakers had postponed until May 26 "further debate on a controversial mining royalties plan after failing to decide how the levy should be applied." Cited: Congressman Alejandro Ore, (Energy and Mines Commission).
- Reuters reports that Canada's Candente Resource Corp "has high hopes for its Alto Dorado gold project in Peru, where drilling is turning up promising ore grades," according to its President and CEO Joanne Freeze.
- Reuters reports that Southern Peru Copper Corp. "expects output of 850 million lbs of the red metal this year, up from 800 million in 2003," according to an interview with its president, Oscar Gonzalez.

Team Peru in NYC: The New York Times briefly notes that Peru will play Argentina in the first annual Fiesta Cup soccer match on June 30 at Giants Stadium. Tickets, starting at $25, can be had through Ticketmaster.

LHorna in Paris: Reuters offers two photos of Luis Horna during his match against Mark Philippousis of Australia whom he eventually defeated 6-1 7-6 6-3 in the first round of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris.


Monday, May 24, 2004

[Peruvia Readers: Thank you for all your kind emails of concern during this last week when there were no posts. We intend to resume our daily posting shortly. During this brief interregnum, some postings on news on Peru in English newspapers will be summarized.]

Mayor Lynched, cont: The Los Angeles Times' is the first of the major US newspapers to report from Ilave with Héctor Tobar on the scene declaring that "it's hard to find anyone in this town who regrets the killing [of Mayor Robles]. But in the rest of Peru, there has been widespread revulsion and horror since the broadcast of videotaped scenes of the bloodied Robles being pummeled and paraded through town." The article suggests that La Republica reporter Cristhian Ticona witnessed the attack and includes the dying mayor's last words spoken "into a microphone placed before his lips: "I ask the forgiveness of the people." The article gets several on the ground quotes from Rosa Marta Mamani, a peasant leader; Edgar Larijo, a village leader; and police Gen. Luis Vizcarra Giron. Also quoted: television commentator Cesar Hildebrandt. This is the first news piece in English that includes a mention of David Inchuta, a young village leader who was "opposed to Mayor [Roble's] rule, [and who] was stabbed to death a few days before the mayor was lynched. Inchuta had tied a dead rat to a poster attacking the mayor."

Sally Bowen Accused: The Miami Herald runs an Associated Press piece on a judge's order that British journalist Sally Bowen "remain in Peru ahead of a libel trial" as a result of accusations by Fernando Zevallos. Her most recent book 'The Imperfect Spy: The Many Lives of Vladimiro Montesinos,' "cited an imprisoned drug runner - a former informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration - as saying that Fernando Zevallos, founder of Aero Continente airlines, was a leading Peruvian drug trafficker." See a slightly different version of this story in the Scotsman.

Free Trade? The Miami Herald ran an Associated Press story on Wednesday on the free trade negotiations Peru, Colombia, and Ecuador are undertaking with the United States presently in Cartagena. "The three Andean nations already enjoy tariff-free access to the U.S. market on hundreds of their products, including garments and cut flowers, through an accord to help countries on the front lines of the war against drugs. But with that deal set to expire in 2006, the countries hope to lock in a permanent agreement." The article cites Michael Shifter (Inter-American Dialogue) declaring that "any progress made over the next eight months could be lost if Bush is ousted in November." The Miami Herald followed up with another Associated Press piece on Friday saying that "negotiators set Atlanta as the site for the next round of talks, in mid-June" and that "a deal is expected to be inked by February 2005." Today, the Orlando Sentinel publishes an op-ed by Professor Terry L. McCoy who states that the trade talks between the United States and Peru "should be cause for celebration. Instead, the visitor finds this country on the Pacific coast of South America mired in self-doubt." McCoy believes that the "Peruvian angst is in large part a product of a chronically unsettled political situation" and reviews the last 20 years of presidential political history. "As long as Peruvians continue to struggle with a dysfunctional political arrangement, their country remains at risk. And the fact that once-reviled former presidents Garcia and Fujimori are today the most popular political figures in public-opinion polls underlines that serious political reform is not in the cards."

Bush Connection to Camisea: The Washington Post recently noted that 37-year-old Jose Fourquet the USA's representative before the InterAmerican Development Bank, is among the "Bush Pioneers," those who agree to raise a minimum of $100,000 each for the Bush campaign. [Technically, he is the US Treasury Department's representative at the IDB.] The article delves into Fourquet's relationship with the Camisea gas project. "Fourquet played a pivotal role in the financing of a massive Peruvian natural gas project that benefited Hunt Oil Co., whose chairman, Ray L. Hunt, signed up to be a Pioneer and is a longtime ally of the president. The Camisea Natural Gas Project is set to extract fossil fuel from one of the world's most pristine tropical rain forests and pipe it over the Andes toward Lima and the coast, where it will end up at a depot near a marine sanctuary. Hunt is one of several participants in the project. His company hired Halliburton's Kellogg Brown & Root to design a $1 billion export terminal on the coast." It was Fourquet who abstained on the $135 million financing for the project, allowing it to proceed. "Opposition from the United States, a primary funder of the IDB bank, would have jeopardized the deal." The U.S. Agency for International Development had told Fourquet to cast a "no" vote because "environmental reviews were deficient. In addition, others on a federal interagency task force urged opposition."

Sofia is #1: The Los Angeles Times also lets its readers know about the recent successes of "20-year-old Peruvian Sofia Mulanovich [who] took the title for the Billabong Girls Pro held at Teahupoo in perfect 2- to 4-foot surf. Mulanovich also won the event before this, the Roxy Pro in Fiji, with some explosive surfing, moving her up to second in the world standings."

Other Stories: The Los Angeles Times also included this in a story on Mexico: "Demonstrations are nothing new in Latin America, a region of turbulent democracies and fragile economies. The capitals of Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru were recently rocked by noisy protests directed at alleged government misdeeds." And the LATimes did run Reuters story on the discover of "a well-preserved graveyard possibly a thousand years old has been discovered at an archeological complex of Incan and pre-Incan temples on the outskirts of Lima."

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