Saturday, June 12, 2004

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

Trading with Asparagus: Lawrence D. Fuell's (former U.S. Agricultural attaché in Lima), letter to the editor in the Seattle Times is titled, "Skewed asparagus," in response to the paper's editorial last week. The USA "asparagus industry is less competitive than Peru's for many reasons, including differences in the length of production seasons (two months in Washington, 12 months in Peru) and improvements in transportation and communication that permit year-round availability of fresh produce." See Also: 'Asparagus Wars' in Thursday and 'USA: 'No More Peruvian Aspargus' in Tuesday's Peruvia below.

Trading with Thailand: The Thai News Agency and Channel News Asia both report the free trade area agreement that Peru and Thailand will sign with each other. The agreement will be formalized when Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra "pay[s] an official visit to Peru" in November or December. The Numbers: "Peru currently imports around USD60 million worth of goods from Thailand each year, the bulk of these products being machinery and capital goods. The deal is likely to be the first such free trade agreement signed between Peru and an Asian country, and between Thailand and a Latin American country." Both are reported from Lima.

New (Old) Agri Minister: The Miami Herald reports that Alvaro Quijandria was (re)sworn in as Minister of Agriculture, replacing Jose Leon Rivera who resigned "after a television news program reported that he owns a cheap hotel known for prostitution." Note: Quijandria was Agriculture minister "from July 2001, when Toledo took office, until June 2003." The Houston Chronicle only mentions the resignation.


Friday, June 11, 2004

Peru Won’t Defend Aero-Continente: The Associated Press reports that the Minister of Tranportation, Jose Ortiz, declared that the Peruvian government "will not help the nation's largest airline fight being placed on a U.S. blacklist for companies suspected of engaging in drug trafficking." NOTE: "Since the blacklisting, a U.S.-based ticketing service pulled the plug on the airline's electronic booking system and two credit card companies began blocking users from buying tickets with their cards." The Minister has been discussing "a contingency plan to divvy up routes in the event that Aero Continente collapses."

Gov’t Gets More To Spend: Dow Jones reports that Congress "approved supplementary spending worth 1.46 billion soles at the request of the executive branch. The legislature said in a statement that the revenues for the new expenditures will come mainly from increased taxes."

Newmont Mining and its Defenders: Denvers' Rocky Mountain News runs an op-ed by Carlos Santa Cruz (Vice president of South American operations for Newmont Mining) in response to Marco Antonia Arana Zegarra's op-ed which ran last Saturday (see 'Newmont Mining and Its Critics' below.) Writes Santa Cruz: "I've worked for both Newmont Mining Corp. and its Yanacocha gold mine over the last decade and represent many employees who take great pride in the contributions we have made in the areas of social and environmental responsibility. The June 5 commentary left the false impression that the mine is causing pollution in the local water system. This is untrue and particularly frustrating given so much hard evidence that exists to the contrary," and Santa Cruz encourages to read reports supporting his view at Yanacocha's website. "As in all businesses, accidents do regrettably happen. In 2000, a Peruvian transportation company contracted by Yanacocha spilled elemental mercury on a road connecting three small communities many miles from the mine. Yanacocha committed substantial expertise and resources to identify and provide treatment to those affected."

More Mining: Reuters reports that Noranda mining representatives " 'will be "very careful' before bidding on the Las Bambas copper project in Peru, although it has not backed out of the process." Reuters gets the quotes at the Reuters Mining Summit in Toronto on Friday. Earlier this week Barrick Gold Corp. and Southern Peru Copper Corp. said they "would not bid for Las Bambas if the royalties plan goes ahead." Details: "Peru on May 7 fixed a base price at $40 million for the Las Bambas auction and a royalty of 2 percent of sales. Winning bidders must commit to invest $1 billion or build a processing plant with a minimum capacity of 50,000 tonnes of mineral a day."

Living On Turtle Blood: Reuters reports that "three Peruvian shark fishermen lost at sea for 59 days survived by eating turtle meat and drinking the reptiles' blood," according to a story in El Comercio. They were out in the ocean since March 25. "The sailors tried drinking the water in the radiator of the ship's engine but quickly realized it was toxic and turned to turtle blood instead." On May 23, they were rescued by an Ecuadorean ship "some 700 miles from the Peruvian coast ... [after] each had lost 22 pounds (10 kg)."

An Iquitos Journey: The Sydney Morning Herald (registration: peruvia@peruvia.com/peruvia) has a travel piece on Iquitos. Though the writer states that he is a frequent visitor to South America, the piece is written with some appealing innocence and not without some familiar travelogue language. "Iquitos's tiny jungle airport, deep in the Amazon rainforest, is more like a dinghy in a high sea than an international terminal. ... the syrupy dark of a rainforest night, zapped by bolts of lightning and lashed mercilessly by rain. ... The streets are alive with three-wheel taxis named mosquitoes for their signature whine and erratic road sense." Also, sociological conclusions: Iquitos, in many ways, is a relic of the impossible promise that capitalism made to the jungle." It also mentions the ‘Iquitos Monthly’ whose current edition has "a splashy cover story: Giant Snake Attacks Fisherwoman."

Mummies Detained Before Leaving Peru: Agence France Press, the Associated Press, and the Voice of America report that "Peruvian customs agents opening suspicious packages found five ancient skulls from a pre-Inca culture that someone tried to mail to California." The agents became suspicious after the package "emitted a disagreeable odour" which turned out to be "mummified skulls, estimated to be as old as 2,700 years." Agence France Press suggests a link with the Paracas culture. The Associated Press offers a photo of "Two Peruvian postal workers look at X-rays of skulls" and a photograph shows a "postal worker" holding one of the skulls.

Ummmmm! Alpaca!: The Associated Press reports on a new cookbook DESCO just published titled, "Alpaca: The Great Andean Taste," which includes "tasty alpaca steaks." The recipes "come from six chefs in Lima as well as women from community kitchens in the highland Huancavelica region," according to the book's editor Hugo Carrillo. Note: "Alpaca has higher levels of protein, very low fat and no cholesterol." The Associated Press offers a photo of alpacas. Quoted: Chef Nelson Medrano.

No Hiding in Argentina: The Associated Press and Reuters each offer a photo of Minister of Foreign Relations Manuel Rodriguez Cuadros withi his Argentine counterpart Rafael Bielsa "exchang[ing] documents during a meeting at the Argentine Foreign Ministry in Buenos Aires [after] sign[ing] an agreement to accelerate extradition procedures in both countries."

Report on Violence and its Cost: The World Health Organization released a report on the Economic Dimensions of Interpersonal Violence that reports on "the expensive economic consequences to societies of violence." See the press release and the full report (70pp., .pdf). The reports bases its information on Peru on Efrain Gonzalez y Olarte and Pilar Gavilano Llosa's "Does Poverty Cause Domestic Violence? Some Answers from Lima." (See Chapter Three in this volume.)

Wash Your Hands!: Medical News Today reports on a project to get people to wash their hands which, "if widely adopted, would save more than one million lives around the world yearly, most of them children under the age of five in poorer countries," according to a program from GlaxoSmithKline, the African Medical and Research Foundation, and Plan International. It quotes a field worker in Piura, Alejandro Herrera saying, "teachers and children clearly understand the project’s messages as these are very simple, but the results show that these simple messages are very effective in changing behaviour and improving children’s health."

Travellers to Peru:
- The Scotsman (among others) runs a wire story headlined, "Posh brings touch of glamour to Peruvian slums" on Victoria Beckham visit to a "poverty-stricken children working on a rubbish tip in Peru. Seeing the children on their hands and knees sifting through piles of burnt junk, it was worlds away from the glamorous lifestyle led by the former Spice Girl. The three-day trip was filmed as part of a Sport Relief documentary highlighting the plight of disadvantaged communities and will be shown on BBC1 next month."
- The Gloucestershire Echo runs "Peru Journey Was Magical" on a Cancer Research event.
- The Pepperell Free Press reports on visits by the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences to the Catholic University of Santa Maria in Arequipa. One of the Trustees of the college received "an embroidered T-shirt that says "INKA MAMA (fearless leader)."


Thursday, June 10, 2004

IMF to Peru – ‘$422 million’: The International Monetary Fund announced in a press release the approval of "a 26-month Stand-By Arrangement for Peru to support the country's economic program through mid-2006. ... However, the authorities have indicated their intention to treat this arrangement as precautionary." Bloomberg, Reuters, the Voice of America, and Xinhua Net report on the agreement and Reuters notes that the IMF believes Peru's "economic performance has been 'favorable' ... although it says it was 'critical' that more reforms take place to secure growth in the future." A separate Reuters story notes that this is Rodrigo Rato's first loan as IMF chief, a post he assumed on Monday.

The G-8 and Peru: A White House press release announces that “Peru and the members of the G-8 announce today their intention to cooperate in a "Compact to Promote Transparency and Combat Corruption." Peru and the G8 share the view that corruption is a threat to democratic institutions, economic development and to the integrity of the international system of trade and investment." ALSO: The Statement of the Government of Peru: “The Government of Peru reaffirms its commitment to fighting corruption and improving transparency in the conviction that these are key underpinnings of democratic government, development, and poverty reduction.” See Also: Copies of the same story on the USA's G-8 Summit page and the US State Department’s version of the story in their Washington File. Canada's G-8 press release of 'transparency and corruption' barely mentions Peru.

Media Law & Int’l Investors: Dow Jones reports that "Peru's Congress will vote on a new law on radio and television Thursday that has raised concerns about possible foreign influence in the sector." The piece notes that the Peruvian Press Council warned "about the inherent danger in ... the law which, as is, does not establish real limits or restrictions on foreign investment or control, lacks the necessary mechanisms to avoid a loss of national identity in radio or television communication media." Quoted: Congressman Mario Ochoa, president of the legislature's Transport and Communications Commission.

Peru to Telefonica – ‘No Deal’: Reuters reports on the Peru's telecommunications regulator, OSIPTEL's decision to turn down [Telefonica del Peru's] request for a five-year extension to its license on the grounds that it had not met some of the terms of the contract. A later Reuters story was pegged on company president Javier Nadal's press conference who "slammed as 'unfair' a government decision not to renew its contract beyond 2019 -- something that could potentially force it out of the market" and declared that "the company had invested $7 billion to enter Peru a decade ago and build its business, and it remained committed to the country." Quoted: Minister of Transportation and Communications Jose Ortiz; Prime Minister Carlos Ferrero; and APRA Congressman Jorge del Castillo who said "the decision meant Telefonica could no longer plan long-term investments." The article manages to bring in the "controversial plan to apply royalties to mining companies, which many say will scare off exploration." NOTE: "Telefonica entered Peru with a monopoly but now faces competition from AT&T Corp., BellSouth Corp., and Telecom Italia Mobile." IN SPANISH: See Osiptel's press release on the story.

Copa Luringancho: The Associated Press offers several photographs of the 'Penitentiary Copa America', an indoor fulbito tournament at the Lurigancho Prison in Lima. "The prisoners wore jerseys of various national teams from across South American to participate in the [tournament] put on by prison officials. El Chasqui, the Copa America mascot, made an appearance.

Cipriani’s Letters: ALC Noticias reports that on the letters that were “supposedly sent by Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani to former President Valentin Paniagua and Vladimiro Montesinos ... now allegedly involves another bishop and threatens to create a rift in the Peruvian Catholic Church.” The story is based on reporting by Lima daily El Correo which points to the Bishop of Puno, Jorge Carrion. One of the letters was written by “someone claiming to be Cipriani who asked “to incinerate all the videos that showed him in company of Fujimori and Montesinos.”

Coke in a Bottle: The New York Times runs an article on KDrink, "a new company is producing a soft drink that its creators pledge will transform this Andean country, if successful." It's parent company, Kokka Royal Food & Drink, has been "200,000 of the 10-ounce bottles since operations began in February ... spent $500,000 marketing and producing the beverage." The promise of the business is as an export (indeed, the Times prints the article in the final section of the paper, in 'World Business') though "no major country has yet permitted the drink to be imported, since the coca leaf is banned outside of the Andes." Quotes come from Diodora Espinoza (coca farmer in Huánuco); Cristina Tudela (Kokka Royal general manager); Fernando Hurtado ("a top official with Devida, government agency) and Anselm Pi Rambla (the Spanish investor who has spearheaded the project) who declares, "It does not give you a high like crack cocaine. But it does give you energy you can use." The story dutifully mentions Vortex, "another Peruvian company, started bottling a soft drink. Vortex calls its beverage the 'coca energy drink,' though it does not contain the alkaloids used in KDrink. But it, too, is playing up the coca ingredient." The Narcosphere blog has a positive reaction on the Times story. See Also: 'Have Some New Coke!' in April 11's Peruvia which includes this Associated Press story on KDrink; and 'Coca Rising, cont' in May 6's Peruvia which includes thie Reuters story. IN SPANISH: See other articles on Vortex.

Asparagus Wars, cont.: The Associated Press reports that "U.S. Congressman George Nethercutt asked the U.S. International Trade Commission yesterday to investigate asparagus imports from Peru, the leading competitor for the United States. Asparagus from Peru is currently imported to the United States duty-free under the Andean Trade Preferences Act, which was intended to help countries combat drug trafficking. The law was a boon to Peru's asparagus industry, but it devastated Washington growers." Quoted: Alan Schreiber, Washington Asparagus Commission. See Also: The letter to the International Trade Commission posted on Congressman Nethercutt's website.

Malaria Research in Iquitos: The University of California, San Diego announced in a press release that Eduardo Gotuzzo, director of the Tropical Medicine Institute at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, and tropical disease specialist Joseph Vinetz, M.D., from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine will wage a battle against malaria "in the middle of the Peruvian Amazon," otherwise known as Iquitos, in a “training program titled 'Endemic Infectious Diseases in the Peruvian Amazon'." NOTE: "According to the CDC, Peru reports the second highest number of malaria cases in South America, after Brazil." ALSO: Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia faculty involved with this project include: Humberto Guerra, Jorge Arevalo, and Alejandro Llanos. Universidad de Las Amazonas del Peru's Graciela Meza and Hospital Apoyo de Iquitos' Hermann Silva are also collaborating. See Also: This updated page on Malaria in the Amazon and this 1999 study on 'Malaria Reemergence in the Peruvian Amazon Region', both on the CDC's website.

More Mining:
- BNAmericas reports that "the strike which has semi-paralyzed iron-producing company Shougang Hierro Perú for 10 days will be solved by Peru's labor ministry," according to company executive Raúl Vera. "We were close to solving the problem with the unskilled laborers under conditions established with the semi-skilled workers, [but] unfortunately we were unsuccessful, and now the labor authority will decide," he explained. Shougang Hierro Perú is located in Marcona, Ica.
- The Miami Herald (registration: peruvia@peruvia.com; peruvia) reported that Southern Peru Copper Corp.'s "will refuse to bid on Peru's Las Bambas copper deposit because a mining royalty passed this month may make the project unprofitable." Bloomberg reports that neither Southern nor Barrick will bid in the auction.

Orchid Thief – ‘Guilty’: United Press International reports that James Michael Kovach, "a Virginia orchid dealer [plead] guilty in Florida to violating the Endangering Species Act by smuggling in a protected plant from Peru. The Justice Department said he hoped to name a new species after himself. [See this site where the "Exciting New Phragmipedium kovachii" is extolled.] "All species of the genus Phragmipedium are protected under an international treaty called the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora to which the United States, Peru and 162 other nations are signatories." See Also: The USA Dept. of Justice indictment from last year. See: 'Stealing' in December 19; 'Orchid Saga, Denied?' in January 17 and 'Orchid Grower Guilty' in May 14's Peruvia.

MBalarezo at the UN: The United Nations announced in a press release and in their news service that Marco Balarezo, Peru's Deputy Permanent Representative to the internation body, had been elected as Chairman of the Economic and Financial (Second) Committee.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- BNAmericas reports that "Sedapal has completed its US$135 million Mesías sanitation project." Said a company news release, "We are truly excited because this is the largest sanitation and treatment project in the country, and will stop the contamination of the beaches to the south of Lima." Now, “wastewater that is currently discharged into the Lurín river will be treated at the San Bartolo treatment plant. About 30% of the treated water will be used to irrigate 8,000ha of agricultural land, with the remainder discharged." Sedapal's press page did not include this information. NOTE: Nothing is mentioned about the water rationing in Lima. For this, see ‘Saving Water’ in May 10’s Peruvia.
- BNAmericas reports that "USA reinsurance broker Willis is looking to buy its local broker partners in Peru and Puerto Rico this year or in 2005," according to company CEO for Latin America and the Caribbean José Ribeiro.

New Music from A-SRamírez: Straight Magazine reviews Alexander-Sergei Ramírez’s new release, Odyssey (on Deutsche Grammophon). "The Peruvian-born guitarist seems especially comfortable playing music from outside the western chamber tradition. The rain-forest sound effects and aggressive rhythms of his compatriot Alejandro Núñez Allauca's Koribeni No. 2 fall easily under his fingers."

Peru Negro: The USA National Public Radio ran a segment on Peru Negro on its Morning Edition program today, reported by Rolando Arrieta. "Peruvians are embracing the music of Peru Negro, a group of performers formed to preserve the country's African musical heritage. At first, many white Peruvians were wary of the group's music, but now black Peruvian music is in vogue and playing a role in shaping the country's social agenda." See Also: Peruvia’s coverage of Peru Negro and their new album, Jologrio.

FLombardi in NYC: The Human Rights Watch International Film Festival will be screening Francisco J. Lombardi's film 'What the Eye Doesn't See' tomorrow at 8:30pm. "Francisco Lombardi is the recipient of HRWIFF's 2004 Irene Diamond Lifetime Achievement Award. The New York Times ends its story on the festival with this Peruvian film.


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Minister of Agriculture Resigns: Pravda reports on the resignation of Minister of Agrigulture José León Rivera and declares that "Life is not good for Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo." The New York Times' 'America's Briefing' column includes a short paragraph by Juan Forero on the resignation and adds: "Struggling to maintain control of his country, Mr. Toledo has seen seven ministers resign under pressure in the past six months over a range of charges leveled by his political foes, everything from influence peddling to the inability to quell protesters who lynched a mayor in southeastern Peru." The Miami Herald also runs what seems to be a summary of yesterday's Associated Press story in their 'Latin American Briefs' column.

OAS In Quito, cont.: The Organization of American States issued their Quito Declaration on "Social Development and Democracy and the Impact of Corruption". The Associated Press reports that it was "signed by 34 foreign ministers or heads of delegations," and recognizes "that corruption has a serious impact on public and private institutions, weakens economic growth and impinges upon the needs and fundamental interests of a country's most vulnerable social groups.'' HOWEVER: "The general assembly rejected a Peruvian proposal calling for countries to extradite officials accused of corruption. The Peruvian government had hoped the measure would help its effort to extradite former President Alberto Fujimori from Japan, where he took refuge after his government collapsed in a corruption scandal in 2000. Mexico, which has a long history of providing refuge to officials who say they are fleeing political persecution, opposed Peru's proposal." Said Foreign Minister Manuel Rodriguez, "Governments are not corrupt. Members of a given government are corrupt." (The Associated Press has a photograph of Minister Rodriguez.) SEE ALSO: The Financial Times ('Pledge to cut OAS corruption') and the Voice of America ('OAS Meeting Ends with a Call To Fight Corruption.')

Unions Support Aero Continente: Reuters reports that "Peruvian airport staff will refuse to let Chilean flag carrier LanChile and its LanPeru unit take off or land on June 16 and 17 in support of Peru's No. 1 airline Aero Continente, which is under U.S. sanctions because its founder has been accused of links to illegal drugs," according to an advertisement in Gestion by CORPAC (Peruvian Airports and Commercial Aviation Corporation). "The unions said the action was in solidarity with workers of Aero Continente, which is now off limits to U.S. passengers and maintenance companies." NOTE: The boycott action was also in protest at as yet undefined government plans to sell operating concessions in 16 regional airports. Unions said they would join a national strike planned for July 14 in protest at Peru's unpopular government." ALSO: "The organizers of the Copa America soccer tournament, which takes place across Peru next month, have chosen Lan Peru as the competition's official airline. Lan Peru has just under a quarter of the Peruvian domestic market."

Unions Want Copa America's Success: The Associated Press reports that Mario Huaman, the head of the CGTP [General Confederation of Peruvian Workers], Peru's largest labor union coalition, "says a one-day [July 14] national protest planned for mid-July will not upset the monthlong Copa America soccer tournament." The labor leader made his comments before leading a march to Congress to deliver lawmakers a memorandum outlining why they want to protest during the soccer tournament. ALSO: "In a boost that adds clout to the nationwide protest, Peru's highly organized Aprista party pledged on Sunday to support the strike." Minister of Women's Affairs Ana Maria Romero stated, "I don't understand how they can be planning - 30 days in advance - a nationwide strike that by all indications jeopardizes the country's image." EARLIER: The Northern Report reported on the intersection of Aero Continente and the Copa America in Chiclayo.

Copa America - Public Launch: The Associated Press offers a photograph of President Alejandro Toledo with Nolberto Solano and Manuel Burga, President of the Federacion Peruana de Futbol, "accompanied by children, at the government palace," in a public announcment on Copa America. "Solano will be the public face of the Copa America soccer tournament." ALSO: The Associated Press (through several photographs of Brazilian Coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, reports that "Brazil's team will play 2004 America Cup in Peru from 06 to 25 July 2004," as he announced his line-up.

Mining Levy Debate Continues: Bloomberg reports that Southern Peru Copper Corp. "has decided not to bid for the Las Bambas copper deposit because of a mining royalty that Congress imposed this month," according to their chairman Oscar Gonzalez Rocha. The auction for the Las Bambas deposit is scheduled for July 23. (See also 'More Mining' in Monday's Peruvia below for BNAmericas story.) The Washington Times (second story) reports that "the Toledo administration will hold back from signing into law a tax bill passed last week that ould charge mining companies a royalty on sales and will recommend changes in the legislation, according to Minister of Economy and Finance Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski. "The government, eager to maintain the sector's dynamism, had proposed an early income-tax payment by miners instead of a royalty, but that proposal never gathered support in Congress." NOTE: BNAmericas reports that an anomyous official from state minr Centromin suggests that ProInversión, Peru's state investment agency, "is likely to amend the bidding rules for the Las Bambas copper project following recent congressional approval of a mining royalty. ... Peruvian authorities would have to address because the royalty "radically changes" the situation of Las Bambas." This was supported by "the view of another Centromin official involved in the process, engineer Hugo Aragón."

More Mining: The Andean American Mining Company announced in a press release information about "additional drill results from the first phase drill program from the Carelo Zone in the Santa Rosa Mine, located in South Eastern Peru, 550 kilometers South East of Lima." A second press release announced an addition to their Board of Directors.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Dow Jones reports that the Ministry of Economy and Finance said that "it had placed two series of bonds worth a total of 110.4 million soles on the local market. ... Last month, the Finance Ministry canceled two auctions of local treasury paper due to volatility in financial markets at the time." This all was aimed to "reduce [Peru's] reliance on international bonds placements and to help meet financing needs."
- Reuters reports further on yesterday's notice about Union de Cervecerias Backus & Johnston swap auction. The brewer "will offer to swap its B-class and investment shares for a new class of nonvoting preference ones," according to a plan approved by the Board at a general meeting on Monday. Backus makes Cusquena, Cristal and Pilsen brands.

Coke in Cans: The Associated Press offers photographs of Interior Minister Javier Reategui showing "where drugs were found inside cans of fruit cocktail." It was reported that "anti-drug police seized more than 700 kilograms (1,540 pounds) of cocaine hidden inside cans of fruit cocktail and cast inside lead bars during a drug bust that led to the arrest of 12 people."

The Road to Puno: The Associated Press offered several photographs of the Bolivian Army clearing the road from La Paz to Peru of a "rock blockade" placed "by campesinos protesting against a national refreendum on gas policies."


Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Will A-C Troubles Affect Copa América?: The Northern Report reviews the impending confluence of Aero Continente's current troubles and the arrival of next month's Copa América. Reporting from Chiclayo, C.J. Schexnayder writes that "it did not take long" for Chiclayo to feel the ripple effects of Aero Continente's troubles. "Within days of [Fernando] Zevallos' designation" as a 'drug kingpin' by the Bush Administration, "a tour group of 100 tourists from Mexico cancelled their trip to Chiclayo," according to a local tour operator. Chiclayo and Piura are hosts to Group B in the soccer tournament which include Argentina, Ecuador, Mexico, and Uruguay. NOTE: "There are only three flights from Lima to Chiclayo every day. Two on Aero Continente and the other on Lan Chile." The Northern Report is "an English-language news resource concentrating on the region of Peru north of Lima." USA Today runs yesterday's Reuters story on Aero Continente. See Also: 'Aero Continente/ FZevallos Woes' in yesterday's Peruvia; and 'FZevallos in Top Ten' and 'Copa America News' in Thursday's Peruvia below.

Rating the Economy, cont.: Standard & Poor's raised Peru's long-term foreign currency credit rating to double-B, two notches below investment grade, from BB-minus, citing a recent strengthening of Peru's economic fundamentals. Bloomberg and Reuters both report on it. See also last week's Fitch report in 'Rating the Economy' in June 3's Peruvia below.

USA: "No More Peruvian Aspargus": The Seattle Times runs an editorial on Washington State's declining asparagus industry, following their news report last week. (See 'Asparagus Wars' in Friday below.) For the newspaper, it is very clear: "The Andean Trade Preferences Act was intended to discourage cocaine production by luring growers out of coca leaf cultivation. A federal report concluded the trade act has served not to curb cocaine production at all but to help Peru's asparagus industry flourish at the expense of the U.S. industry. Peruvian growers can export their asparagus tariff-free into the United States, but U.S. asparagus going the other way must pay." Washington State's Tri-City Herald and the Associated Press report on the newly-formed Washington Asparagus Council, led by Kevin Bouchey and their "brainstorming session to plan the industry's next move." Ideas voiced at the meeting "included trying to get tariffs imposed on imported Peruvian asparagus, pursue anti-dumping legislation, further develop a mechanical asparagus harvester, try to get asparagus exempted from foreign trade preference legislation and recruit other processors to the area." Said Alan Schreiber (Washington Asparagus Commission): "We do not have a mechanism to keep them out. But the tariff would put an economic burden on them." See Also: 'Tensions Over Asparagus' in April 25; and 'Peru #1' in January 29's Peruvia.

USA: "Please, More Peruvian Asparagus": Reuters reports on US Trade Representative Robert Zoellik's visit to Peru to promote the "free-trade deal between the United States and Peru [which] could allow for a gradual reduction in tariffs on farm goods over 20 years, but the world's largest economy is unlikely to be so flexible on intellectual property laws. Said Bush's point person on trade: "In our recent Central America agreement we put in some very long transition periods for agricultural products. Some of those run up to 18 or even 20 years. (With Peru) I expect we would use the same terms we've used in that agreement." Sugar, a subsidized product in the USA will likely not be open for free trade. The article also mentions that, "Peru is one of the world's biggest asparagus exporters to the United States and a major textile and metals exporter."

Minister of Agriculture in Sex Scandal: Reuters reports that "Peru's opposition [parties] called for Agriculture Minister Jose Leon to quit and Congress opened an investigation after reports a hotel owned by the minister's son procured teenage prostitutes for guests." The Associated Press, the BBC, Bloomberg, and the Voice of America later reported that he did resign his ministerial post. It was America Television's Cuarto Poder Sunday night program which "sent a reporter to the hotel, filming with a hidden camera, [and] who asked a hotel worker to get him teenagers. He was told they would be there in 20 minutes."

OAS In Quito, cont.: Reuters reports that former Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodriguez "was unanimously elected on Monday to head the Organization of American States as members urged the region to do more to strengthen democracy." He was the sole candidate to succeed outgoing Secretary General Cesar Gaviria. Said Peru's OAS Ambassdor Alberto Borea Odria, "Just as these years we've developed human rights, we need to start working more intensely on economic and social issues in democracy." Among the issues being discussed in the OAS assembly in Quito: "a dispute between Chile and Bolivia over landlocked Bolivia's historic claim to a Pacific ocean port."

Cerro Verde Gets A 'No': Reuters reports that "Peru has blocked an expansion plan by the country's No. 4 copper miner Cerro Verde on environmental grounds, saying it has not given enough details on the possible impact of the $450 million to $800 million project," according to the company. Said a spokesman for the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the study was rejected because "it was lacking in detail." IN SPANISH: See the rejection letter. Quotes also come from Peter Faur, the communications director at Phelps Dodge, Cerro Verde's parent company. BNAmericas reported later Phelps Dodge will Phelps Dodge will "submit new documents." Said Faur, "They are asking for more detail. We've had a conversation with the authorities and we know better what they are looking for." See Also: 'Cerro Verde Gets A 'No'' in Friday below.

More Mining:
- The World Socialist Web Site (third item) reports on the strike at Shougang Iron Peru going on since June 2. "The company stands to lose $270,000 a day from the work stoppage. Most of the iron at the mine is exported to China, the world’s leading producer of steel." The WSWS is a publication of the International Committee of the Fourth International.
- Tinka Resources announces in a press release that they have "staked 4 claims totalling 3,500 hectares, known as the Luminaria Project, located in the Huaraz mining district, in Ancash."

Alianza Lima in DC? The Washington Post (in the last sentence of the article) reports that Alianza Lima may play in Washington DC at RFK stadium in August.

Macro/Micro Econ:
- Dow Jones reports that "the Central Reserve Bank of Peru has increased its forecast for inflation for 2004 to a 3.2% rise compared with a previous forecast of a 2.5% rise."
- Dynacorp Mines announced in a press release that they have "signed an option to purchase Casaden, a gold property close to the town of Cajamarca."
- Just-Drinks and Reuters report on "a proposed share swap by the Peruvian brewer Union de Cervecerias Backus & Johnston."
- Dow Jones reports that a Congress' Consumer Defense and Regulatory Agencies Committee "recommended that the government reject renewing Telefonica del Peru contract. The recommendation now goes to the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, "which is studying the possibility of extending Telefonica del Peru's concession contract for an additional five years."

Job Skill Set: The Los Angeles Times (registration: peruvia/peruvia) runs an op-ed by someone who is perusing the job classifieds in The Economist. Among the jobs listed: Director of Operations, Clandestine Service, Central Intelligence Agency; and Deputy Director General for Research for the International Potato Center.

SMulanovich is #1, cont.: California's Orange County Register (registration: peruvia/peruvia) profiles Sonia Mulanovich and says that she was "always good, but now she's for real" and is now "the hottest surfer on the world tour." The paper obliges by offering several photographs of the 21-year old Peruvian.

VLl on Celluloid: The Associated Press notes that the film based on Vargas Llosa's novel "The Feast of the Goat" "is set to start filming in September." Director Luis Llosa said "the cast includes Isabella Rosellini and Edward James Olmos." See Also: 'Rossellini Joins The Goat' in April 30's Peruvia.

Peruvian Monkeys: The Spoof 'reports' that "Animal rights activists gathered in the country’s Capitol upon hearing that President Bush had mistaken a family of Peruvian monkeys for Osama Bin Laden and his followers."


Monday, June 07, 2004

Aero Continente/FZevallos Woes: Reuters reports that Fernando Zevallos "vowed legal action on Monday to have his name removed from a U.S. blacklist of foreign drugs 'kingpins,' in a press conference with foreign correspondents. He suggested that "he had 'every right' to seek a review of his status, because he said the blacklist did not apply to U.S. residents like himself." Reuters also has a response from a spokeswoman for the Treasury Department, who declared: "U.S. residents are not exempt." The piece explores possible ties the founder of Aero Continente has to Vladimiro Montesinos as well as the late Colombian cocaine lord Pablo Escobar. Explaining his predicament, he retorted that, "Everyone knows this is strictly business; it's a persecution by the Chilean government." ALSO: "Aero Continente has some 60% of the Peruvian market." The Associated Press and Reuters offer photographs of the news conference. See Also: 'Note To USA Travellers' in Saturday and Friday below.

AGuzmán Hunger Strike Over: The Associated Press offers a file photograph of Abimael Guzman to report that he has ended a monthlong hunger strike, according to his lawyer Manuel Fajardo. See 'Red Cross Visits AGuzmán' in Saturday's Peruvia below. NOTE: The photo used shows the man who terrorized Peru for much of the 1980s as a seemingly doddering grandfather. (Separately, the Revolutionary Worker, the news medium of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA, complains that "the U.S. government has listed the Communist Party of Peru as a 'terrorist' organization.")

Peru 0 - Venezuela 0: The Associated Press and Reuters run reports that "Peru fought visiting Venezuela to a 0-0 draw" in yesterday's World Cup qualifying match. Nolberto Solano and Jefferson Farfan [sic] opened up strong but "the Peruvian squad was unable to find Gilberto Angelucci's net and missed several chances." Reuters credits Angelucci for Venezuela's determination and has the photos to prove it. The Associated Press has photos of Walter Vilchez, Santiago Acasiete, Nolberto Solano, Jeferson Farfan, and Andres Mendoza. Reuters offers shots of Jorge Soto. ALSO: "Peru captain Claudio Pizarro missed the match after he pulled his left calf in Peru's 3-1 victory over Uruguay last week. The next match is in September when Peru hosts Argentina. The Washington Post says briefly that "Venezuela continued its impressive run at Peru, holding the hosts to a 0-0 tie." Reuters also reports that Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira "criticised the timing of the Copa America on Monday and said the world champions would rest their top players." Perhaps in frustration for their 1-1 tie to Chile, the Brazilians said neither Ronaldo nor Cafu would play in the tournament Peru is hosting next month. See Also: 'Copa America News' in Thursday's Peruvia below.

Mining for Balance: Bloomberg reports on an interview RPP radio had with Minister of Economy and Finances Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski who said, "the government will send a proposal to Congress to link the royalty levy to companies' profits instead of gross sales." The article reviews the legislative vote count (90 of 120 voted for the new levy) suggesting that Kuczynski could swing a majority to his point of view. MineWeb offers a lengthy editorial analysis by Wolfgang Glüschke Ruge on the mining royalty issue. Glüschke, a long-time mining analyst based in Peru and author of a book on copper. In a very straight forward manner, he provides a broad context of the mining levy providing substantive background information on some of the major economic and political players in this debate and offers the not so subtle difference between the large miners and the smaller operators. While he does not favour the tax, it is not for conventional reasons. In fact, "all the receipts from these royalties go to departmental, provincial and local authorities, with a tiny 5% to 'universities'." While he fairly summarizes the thrust of the argument laid by those who support the levy, Glüschke believes "the royalty legislation is unfortunate ... as its overall direct benefits most likely are irrelevant even for the largest beneficiaries, they rightly claim a damaging impact on the international image of the country and reinforce Peru's reputation of too frequently changing 'the rules of the game'."

More Mining:
- BNAmericas reports that Southern Peru Copper Corp. "is pulling out of the auction for the Las Bambas copper project because of the decision by congress to approve a royalty on mine production." However, at least thirteen other companies are lining up as bidders.
- Southwestern Resources Corp. announced in a press release that they "received regulatory acceptance to split its stock such that two shares will exist for each previously issued and outstanding share."
- Dow Jones reports on the ongoing mining strike since June 1 at Chinese-owned Shougang Hierro and will be stepped up, according to Tomas Artica, a union leader. Almost 1,000 workers are on strike seeking a 6 sol/day wage increas. The company has offered slightly less than 50% that. "Shougang Hierro Peru runs the nation's only iron mine," which is located in Ica.
- Canada's Geologix Explorations announced in a press release their current exploration activities in Peru including their Cerro Calorco gold mining in Puno.

Camisea Practices Output: The Oil and Gas Journal reports that "the $1.6 billion Camisea project began test pumping natural gas through its pipelines June 2," according to the Minister of Energy and Mines Jaime Quijandria. Commercial production is set to begin by August 9. Meanwhile, Peru LNG SRL "is still seeking additional partners for the construction of a $1 billion liquefaction plant to be built at Pampas Melchorita near Cañete." There is no mention of the recent fatal accident at the site or the land disputes. See 'Tragedy at Gas Project' in May 27's Peruvia.

Practicing Warfare: The USA Department of Defense announced that Peru would participate in the Combined Joint Task Force Exercise "culminating in its final phase from June 12 through 22, 2004."

Macro Econ: The USA State Department's Washington File details USA Trade Representative Robert Zoellick's visit to Peru today and tomorrow, including the official press release of his arrival. The primary purpose of the visit is "to discuss the U.S.-Andean free-trade talks the United States launched with Colombia, Ecuador and Peru on May 18. He will also discuss other bilateral trade and investment-related issues." See Also: 'APEC In Chile' in yesterday's Peruvia below.

Micro Econ: Just-Style reports that Textimax "has been ranked as the most prolific exporter in the Peruvian textile sector for January to April," according to ComexPeru, the exporters’ association.

Up & Down the Napo: Florida's News-Press profiles Diane Bowie and her medical mission on the Napo River and the village of Mazan, about an hour by speedboat from Iquitos. She works through Heart to Heart, "a relief organization that specializes in volunteer worldwide humanitarian assistance. Heart to Heart furnishes Bowie the medicines she needs at a discount." Bowie also established her own nonprofit, D.B. Peru, "with a mission to to improve the health and living conditions of the Peruvian villagers."

Mini Mogul: The Washington Post profiles hispanic media figures in the Washington area including paisano Ron Gordon, the "G" in ZGS Broadcasting Holdings Inc, "the largest affiliate in the country of the Spanish-language Telemundo Network Group." "As a teenager, Gordon started a newspaper that listed soccer scores. Having emigrated from his native Lima, Peru, to Washington as a child, he wanted some way to keep up with the sport."

Poverty in Southern Peru: The Miami Herald reposts Tyler Bridges story from Pampa Cangallo from a week ago Sunday. See 'Poverty Still Exists in Southern Peru' in May 30's Peruvia. (Today's post is likely the distribution to other Knight-Ridder newspapers of which the Herald is a flagship.)


Sunday, June 06, 2004

Sendero or Narcs in Aguaytia?: Reuters and the Miami Herald offer reports on the "guerrillas who ambushed and killed two policemen and a marine officer," near Aguaytia. Although the Reuters seems to focus on Shining Path and even reminds the reader of the $50,000 reward for Artemio's capture, the Herald quotes Minister of the Interior Javier Reategui: "They were terrorists protecting narcotics traffickers. But we still cannot confirm whether they are members of the Shining Path." See also yesterday's 'Red Cross Visits AGuzmán.'

APEC In Chile: Reuters reports that "Peru's economy could get a huge jolt from a free trade agreement that it and other Andean nations are negotiating with the United States, adding 3% points to annual economic growth within a decade," according to Deputy Trade Minister Pablo de la Flor during his presentation at the APEC meetings in Pucon, Chile. ALSO: Peru's "robust economy is seen as the main staying power of President Alejandro Toledo, who has a very low approval rating as his three years in power have been marked by political instability and corruption scandals." Agence France Press reports that US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick is to travel to Peru on June 7 and 8 "to discuss free trade issues at the conclusion of the APEC meetings. He plans on meeting with President Toledo as well as legislators and opinion leaders. Said Zoellick, "Peru has been "working to gain the advantages." According to Zoellick's office, the four Andean countries "collectively represent a market of over seven billion dollars for US exports, and are home to over eight billion dollars in US foreign direct investments." Agence France Press' photograph of Zoellick also notes his trip to Peru.

OAS In Quito: Xinhua Net reports that the Organization of American States "will hold its 34th general assembly here from Sunday to Tuesday and foreign ministers from its members are expected to mainly discuss corruption, regional security and cooperation." Among the issues on the agenda are Bolivia's demand for a sea outlet but "the fight against corruption will be the focus of the assembly." Citing Menem, Fujimori, and Aleman, all former Latin American presidents "who are under prosecution or international arrest warrant,they said corruption has already become a sticking point in the Americas." ALSO: This meeting will choose who will replace Colombia's Cesar Gaviria as the OAS secretary-general. "Former Costa Rican President Miguel Angel Rodriguez, the only official candidate for the post, now has the backing of all the OAS members."

Nobel for De Soto?, cont.: The London Telegraph profiles Hernando de Soto in their Money section today: "Few economists can claim to have taken on a terrorist organisation and won. But few economists are like Hernando De Soto." The article includes praise from Time magazine and The Economist, "and since last month, when De Soto won the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Award, there's been talk of a Nobel prize." And then there is his help on Iraq: "With terrorism and nation building high on the agenda at this week's G7 meeting, De Soto's views have been sought on the vexed question of Iraq. The Bush administration has been in touch, as has the United Nations and the chancellor, Gordon Brown." While the article tries to show de Soto's appeal to a broad political spectrum, ("Baroness Thatcher once described De Soto as "compulsory reading". Bill Clinton attributed to him "some of the most significant economic insights of our time"), it's focus reflects the newpaper's conservative bent. At the end of the article, the Telegraph links to an unrelated article on Peru, perhaps placed there as it was the last article the paper reported from there. Date? 13 September 2003. See Also: 'Nobel for De Soto?' in May 25's Peruvia.

Peru vs. Venezuela on June 6: The Associated Press has photographs of Team Peru during a training session in preparation for their qualifying match with Venezuela on June 6 for Germany 2006. Players photographed include Roberto Palacios, Miguel Rebossio and John Galliquio, and Nolberto Solano, among others. The AP also provides the rankings so far.

Peruvian Jockey Wins Belmont Stakes: The Washington Post reports that that Peruvian jockey Edgar Prado "who turns 37 on June 12," rode Birdstone, the winning horse at yesterday's Belmont Stakes. Prado also won the New York race in 2002. While Agence France Press does mention the jockey's nationality, neither the New York Times nor the Los Angeles Times or the Miami Herald do. Sunday's Scotsman does report that "Prado is a Peruvian who achieved his career milestone with a 5,000th success on Win Dot Comma in the Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March." ALSO: The Thoroughbred Times reports on several Peruvian horses including Pegasus and Southern Hemisphere.

"What Ever Happenned to Lori Berenson?" Counter Punch publishes an article: "President Toledo's Trophy Prisoner." The piece is written by Abigail Jones, a Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs. The article will be released tomorrow as a press release by the Washington DC-based Council.

PERUVIA EDITORIAL: Counter Punch normally publishes critical essays but the Berenson piece is an exception; it deserved to be offered as a polemic in a press release rather than a news essay. There may be an argument to be made on Ms Berenson's behalf, as apparently Ramsey Clark believes. However, Abigail Jones, in the article directly above this paragraph, provides no cogent argument but seeks only to besmirch and taunt the Peruvian military, the judicial system and Peruvian presidents, and for what end? These institutions and leaders certainly have many failures which they have demonstrated in many ways but these are not evident in this semi-screed.

Jones' argument isthat Berenson had a "patently inequitable trial" but writing so does not make it so. Examples of a few statements show their troubling nature. The piece suggests that "In December of 1994, Berenson allegedly arrived in Peru as a journalist." One has to ask, what part is the alleged part? The month of December? That she arrived under the aegis of two publications is part of her record.

The piece also writes disapprovingly that "Berenson appeared before a 'faceless' military court." However despicable a practice this is, to focus on Peru while not paralleling the practice in Guantanamo Bay is makes the argument leak like a sieve. (She tucks in Gitmo in her conclusion.) Jones then offers grade-school tactics against the military judicial system: "In a grossly contrived trial before a hooded military judge who most likely hadn't attended a day of law school, ..." This discourse is not deserving of Counter Punch.

Jones then ties Toledo's personal ethics to Berenson's case as well as well as the president's "personal psychological state." She identifies Peruvian Ambassador to the United States, Carlos Ferrerro Costa, "an appalling reprobate" whose appointment apparently "raises serious questions over Toledo's malfeasance in office for appointing an established amoralist like Ferrero Costa to Peru's highest diplomatic post abroad." Where then is the call for the Bush administration to deny his recent posting? Jones then explains that the USA "continues to give precedent to good relations with Peru in order to combat the production and exportation of narcotics over the welfare of one of its citizens."

Finally, at the end of her diatribe, she acknowledges that "as the U.S. holds Muslims in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba under the aegis of the country's anti-terror legislation [the reader?] must acknowledge that the violation of the tenets put forth in the American Convention on Human Rights is not unique to Peru" and she offers her own Consitutional understanding that "the U.S. government could potentially face lawsuits from either the Berenson family or other interested parties for not honoring this piece of legislation." These suggestions are likely to be ignored as she states quite flatly that "[w]hether Berenson was involved with the MRTA is now almost irrelevant from an international perspective, for it is Peru's legal system which far more convincingly now stands on trial."

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