Thursday, August 19, 2004

Petrol a Priority: Reuters reports that Petroleos del Peru “warned on Wednesday that high world oil prices could cripple its refinery operations unless the government stepped in to offset the price surge,” according to company president Alejandro Narvaez. He repeated his calls “to make the fuel sector a high government priority, increase crude inventories, cut fuel taxes and place a levy on companies that export Peruvian crude or risk a shortfall in fuel in Peru.” ALSO: “He also called for a 15% tax on companies that export Peruvian crude because producers had the most to gain from high oil prices.” NOTE: “PetroPeru is expected to refine an average of 79,500 barrels per day this year, rising to 115,000 bpd by 2007.”

Sol at 3.379 per Dollar: Reuters reports that the Peruvian sol “hit its highest level since August 1999, breaking the psychological barrier of 3.40 soles to the U.S. dollar, as the currency reacted to comments from the Central Bank.” Central Bank President Javier Silva Ruete said “he was not worried by the gradual appreciation of the currency against the dollar.” Minister of Economy and Finances Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski also declared that “3.30 soles and below would be ‘a dangerous level’.” CITED: Elio Soto (BBVA Banco Continental). NOTE: “Peru is flush with dollars thanks to an export boom, as strong demand for agricultural goods, metals and textiles boosts the country's $60 billion economy.” ALSO: “Many companies are changing dollars into soles to pay their taxes due in August, boosting the sol, economists say.”

Anglo Gold and Aruntani: Reuters reports that “AngloGold Ashanti has awarded its Rescatada gold project in Peru to local gold miner Aruntani after the world's No. 2 bullion producer decided the project was too small to develop,” according to Aruntani's General Manager Guido del Castillo. It will be a 50-50 joint venture with AngloGold.

ADC Loans $280 Million: Reuters reports that the Andean Development Corp. “signed a $280 million loan to improve Peru's fragile infrastructure and finance social projects in the poor Andean nation. … CAF President Enrique Garcia signed the loan in Peru's government palace flanked by Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, who said $80 million would be earmarked for education, water and health care projects.”

Puno University Students Protest: The Associated Press has two photographs of students from Puno’s National University of the Altiplano (Universidad Nacional Del Altiplano) “during a protest in front of Peru's Congress in Lima … demanding that the government spend more money on public universities.”

TGP Offers Bonds: Dow Jones reports that Transportadora de Gas del Peru said it will “place two long-term bond issues worth up to a total of $270 million.” NOTE: “TGP has the 33-year downstream concession to distribute natural gas from the Camisea project to Peru's coastal regions.”

Goldmarca Agrees: Goldmarca Limited announced in a press release that they have Extended agreements for the completion of the vital feasibility studies with joint venture partners at Condor Gold in Ecuador and San Nicolas in Peru.

Peru, Chile - Less Firearms: Latinamerica Press reports on a recent report by the Institute for International Studies in Geneva which found that “between 73,000 and 90,000 people are killed each year by firearms in Latin America and the Caribbean.” NOTE: “Chile and Peru are among the countries listed with the lowest number of firearm deaths, with less than one person out of 100,000 inhabitants killed with firearms.”

Olympians: Maryland's Connection profiles Juan Valdivieso who "swam in the 200-meter butterfly on Aug. 16 and will swim the 100-meter butterfly on Aug. 19 on behalf of Peru." NOTE: "The 2 1/2-hour swimming workout sessions, nine or 10 times every week, took up most of his time in the weeks preceding the games. Each workout, he swims 7,000-9,000 meters and he also has three 1-hour lifting sessions every week." Says Valdivieso: "I continue to represent Peru because of my strong ties to the country. I speak Spanish at home with my family,” he said. Also, his grandfather influenced his decision to represent Peru because he played soccer in the 1936 Olympics for Peru."


Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Chachapoyas Discovery: Agence France Press, the Associated Press, Reuters and Sky report that U.S. and Peruvian explorers uncovered "a stone city, made up of five citadels at 9,186 feet above sea level, stretches over around 39 square miles and contains walls covered in carvings and figure paintings," according to exploration leader Sean Savoy Ontaneda. He also declared that "it is a tremendous city ... containing areas with stone etchings and 10-meter (33-foot) high walls." ALSO: "Replete with stone agricultural terraces and water canals, the city complex is thought to have been home to the little-known Chachapoyas culture." NOTE: "Savoy, a Peruvian-American, accompanied on the expedition by his U.S. father, Gene Savoy, named the site Gran Saposoa." Reuters has several photos in situ through Savoy's Andean Explorers Foundation; Sky has a mummy and an edifice; the AP offers only a dated photograph of Manuel Cornejo.

War of the Pacific, cont.: Merco Press reports that General Jose Antonio Graham Ayllon, Commander in Chief of the Peruvian Army was this week the guest of his Chilean counterpart General Juan Emilio Cheyre Espinoza who was bestowed with the highest honour medal for foreign officials "Victory Cross." (See photograph.) Graham said that "this must be remembered so as not to repeat errors of the past; never again war between Chile and Peru…never again. No war ever, because wars are no good for nobody." CITED: Both the Latinobarómetro and Apoyo polls. ALSO: "The latest public opinion poll in Peru shows 64% of interviews supporting a diplomatic solution to the border dispute with Chile, 30% taking the matter to an international tribunal and only 4% favoring the use of force."

Toledo's Numbers Inch Up: Bloomberg and the Center for Public Opinion and Democracy reviews the Apoyo poll released earlier this week which shows President Toledo "regaining public backing in Peru. ... 10% of respondents approve of the president’s performance, a 2% increase since June." NOTE: "Methodology: Interviews to 1,590 Peruvian adults in 15 Peruvian cities, conducted on Aug. 12 and Aug. 13, 2004." SEE ALSO: ‘Toledo’s Numbers’ in August 16’s Peruvia.

Government Budget/Spending: Bloomberg reports that "Peru plans to reduce the budget deficit to 1% of gross domestic product in 2005, from 1.4% this year as tax revenue climbs," according to Minister of Economics and Finance Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski. NOTE: "The government, which will present next year's budget draft to congress by Aug. 31, expects to meet this year's target, Kuczynski said in a telephone interview in Lima. ALSO: "Peru's $61 billion economy grew for a 36th month in June, setting a record for the longest expansion, as increasing consumer demand helped drive growth beyond the mining and gas industries." SEE ALSO: ‘Gov’t Budget/Spending’ in August 17’s Peruvia.

Mining: Bloomberg (last item) reports that Southern Peru Copper Corp. "company will spend about $94 million in facilities to allow a contractor to build a $306 million upgrade of its copper smelter located in the southern town of Ilo," according to spokesman Guillermo Vidalon del Pino. ALSO: Minsur SA "may rise after the price of tin for three-month delivery on the London Metal Exchange rose 3.7% to $9,175 a metric ton, its steepest rise in one month."

Slower Growth: Bloomberg reports that "Credicorp Ltd., the holding company for Peru's biggest bank, expects profit growth to slow to 4% in 2005 after an almost 50 percent surge this year," according to the company’s Chief Financial Officer Walter Bayly Llona. Banco de Crédito has 206 bank branches in Peru and two offices overseas and "controls Peru's El Pacifico-Peruano Suiza SA insurance company and Colombia's Banco Tequendama." CITED: Mariano Paz Soldan, the chief executive of Profuturo AFP pension fund.

Shell Sells to Chileans: The Financial Times reports that Royal Dutch/Shell "has continued its cull of underperforming assets with the sale of its fuels business in Peru to Chile's Empresa Nacional del Petroleo (ENAP)." See Also: Shell Peru Sells to Chileans' in Peruvia.

Protect the Inca Trail: National Geographic News reports that the the World Conservation Union "is heading an initiative to restore and revitalize sections of the Gran Ruta Inca. The project aims to provide unique resource for tourism and to promote the sustainable development of the high Andean corridor." The article cites Karin Muller (who produced a National Geographic documentary and and a book, Along the Inca Road: A Woman's Journey into an Ancient Empire) who says that "the network functioned like a nervous system, allowing Inca rulers to keep tabs on their people and keep their empire running smoothly."

Understanding Alianza/U Rivalry: The Guardian (last item) offers a humorous take on in their ‘What I Did On Holiday’ series on El Classico: "the Lima derby between Alianza Lima and Universitario, in the notoriously dodgy district of La Victoria" including "we had to pass the Alianza fans, who spat a juicy mixture of abuse and saliva at us. ... During the game I was treated to the sight of the Universtario fans directing a Braveheartesque mass moonie to the Alianza fans. ... Many of the La Victoria locals were also milling around, looking for some post-match action. We edged though a crowd of the local youth, which included young teenagers scraping machetes across the ground in front of the taxi and banging on the windows."

Truth Commissions Are Deeper: Michael Schifter and Vinay Jawahar (both from InterAmerican Dialogue) publish Reconciliation in Latin America: A Fine Balance in the new Brown Journal of World Affairs (Fall 2004; XI: 1) that argues that truth commissions "are now widely viewed as central to the broader task of constructing durable and high-quality democracies."

Bishops Against Morning-After Pill: Zenit reports that "the Peruvian bishops' conference has published a scientific report on the abortifacient effect of the ‘morning-after’ pill. NOTE: "The report was prepared by the bishops' Bioethics Commission and surveys the research of the last 30 years done on the effects of levonorgestrel, the component of so-called emergency contraception." ALSO: "According to the research, the morning-after pill causes modifications in the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus, which impedes the implantation or nesting of the human embryo."

Presbyterians Against Toxic Pollution: Worldwide Faith News reports on the 2004 Presbyterian Peace and Justice Conference where "Presbyterians Emily Krause and Patti Nussle recounted meeting residents in a remote mountain town outside Lima, Peru, who the two claim are being poisoned by toxic emissions from an American-owned plant there. "The children in La Oroya, Peru, had levels of lead in their bloodstream four, five and six times the safe limit," said Krause.
Agence France Press runs this headline in Nepal: "Nepal's Maoists follow Peru's Shining Path game plan."

Nobby and Solano: The Evening Mail reports that Nolberto Solano has warned his Villa team-mates that they cannot afford to drop points against Albion if they want to bring European football to Villa Park next season. The Peruvian international is in line to replace Lee Hendrie (shoulder) on Sunday after completing a three-match ban. Australia's SBS reports that Claudio Pizarro "is still some time away from returning to the field as he recovers from surgery on a fractured skull - suffered during the Copa America last month. "

Business Venture: The Miami Herald and Hispanic Business run identical profiles of Peruvian American Mónica Ramírez and her new business, Zalia Cosmetics with "a line of 110 products is being rolled out Wednesday in Miami, one of four major Hispanic markets across the country where it will be available in Victoria's Secret Beauty shops. Until now, it's only been sold in New York and New Jersey at three shops dubbed Zalia BeautiLounges."

Dirty Water: Georgia’s Gainesville Times reports on Allen Savage who is "legally blind, is working as a Spanish translator with Amazon Medical Missions." NOTE: Savage states that, "In Peru, the water is filthy. They drink, bathe, and wash clothes and dishes in the same river."

Food In SanFran: The San Francisco Examiner runs a review of Mochica, a Peruvian restaurant owned by Carlos Altamirano. "You haven't tasted ceviche until you've eaten Mochica's. Altamirano offers five variations. Ceviche, raw fish marinated in lime and salt. ... What I particularly admire about Mochica is its committment to indigenous Peruvian ingredients."


Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Economic Growth: Reuters reports that “Peru's economy grew 3.02% in June compared with June 2003, led by strong output in fishing, manufacturing and construction,” according to the National Statistics Institute, or INEI. NOTE: “Latin America's No. 7 economy expanded 4.2% in the January-to-June period." IN SPANISH: Read the INEI report.

Government Budget/Spending: Dow Jones reports that Minister of Economics and Finance Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said “his cabinet will examine the 2005 budget proposal next week, which will then be presented to Congress,” according to CPN radio. NOTE: “Although the Finance Ministry wants to reduce the fiscal deficit next year … Kuczynski also said that the executive branch is studying how to create a special fund to modernize the military.”

Cement/Construction Growth: Dow Jones reports that Peru's overall cement sales “rose in July 14.9% to 377,939 metric tons from the same month a year before, with Cementos Lima SA leading the way,” according to the Asociación de Productores de Cemento, or ASOCEM. NOTE: Cementos Pacasmayo SAA, the second largest cement producer, had sales of 58, 019 tons in July.” ALSO: “Peru's construction sector expanded by 5.65% in the January to June period this year compared with the same period last year,” according to a separate report by INEI. IN SPANISH: Read INEI’s construction report.

Mining One: Canada’s Andresmin Gold Corporation announced in a press release that they have “mobilized an exploration team to commence preliminary exploration in the Huarangayoc and Pira properties near Huaraz.” NOTE: “The Huarangayoc property is located within the Calipuy Volcanics in the Cordillera Negra and represents a silver polymetallic project.”

Mining Two: Canada’s Sultan Minerals announced in a press release that they have started “exploration on its Coripampa 1 and 2 silver and gold properties in southern Peru. Having recognized the potential of these Peruvian properties, the Company has engaged the services of South American Management S.A., a Chilean geological consulting practice, whose principals have specific experience with epithermal ore bodies.”

Mining Three: Geologix Explorations announced in a press release an update regarding its reconnaissance activities in Huancavelica and Junin. “Geologix Peru has been actively conducting reconnaissance in central Peru targeting primarily volcanic-hosted, precious-metal systems. Four properties of merit have been acquired by concession application: Huacullo, Patacorral, Sura, and San Felipe."

Shell Peru Sells Assets to Chileans: Merco Press reports that “Chile’s government oil company ENAP has acquired Shell Peru assets.” NOTE: "Shell Peru assets include 165 gasoline stations, 12% of the Peruvian market; wholesale fuel distribution mainly to the fisheries, mining and manufacturing industries, and lubricants retail distribution.” ALSO: “In Peru, ENAP has joined Romero Trading, one of Peru’s main economic groups with ramifications in finance, industry, distribution and services, which will enable them to a 20% share of the country’s fuel market.”

Farfán Debut: Soccer Times notes Jefferson Farfán played his debut match with PSV Eindhoven.

Alianza 1 – Universitario 0: Reuters notes that Alianza Lima “won the first stage of the Peruvian championship with a 1-0 victory over Universitario, who had three players sent off on a chaotic weekend in the country that hosted last month's Copa America.”


Monday, August 16, 2004

On Selling Coffee: Reuters reports on the travails of Peru's coffee industry through the travails of the Marin family, coffee growers since the 1940s, who have "survived near financial ruin and even terrorism to win acclaim for their coffee." In June, they won Europe's World Coffees competition, (at the World Ethnic and Specialty Food Show); earlier this year, "they began selling their beans to U.S. coffee chain Starbucks Corp." ALSO: Peru, South America's No. 3 coffee producer, is gradually improving the overall quality of its key agricultural export, but still only a handful of growers sell to gourmet buyers rather than to Lima-based exporters." CITED: the Villa Rica Highland cooperative; Dagoberto Marin Ludeña; and Justo Marin Ludeña (president of Peru's specialty coffee association, Asociación Peruana de Cafés Especiales) who admits that "Our coffee still has some minor defects, such as dry or slightly damaged beans." NOTE: "Some Peruvian coffee farmers do not even receive the market price because they lack equipment to process their beans and can only sell to local intermediary buyers." SEE ALSO: This list of other Peruvian coffee exporters; a 2002 story on coffee by Lucien Chauvin; and articles on the Chanchamayo Coffee Cooperative here and here in the Coffee Contact. Order your Villa Rica coffee here or here.

Toledo’s Numbers Double: Bloomberg and Dow Jones report on Sunday’s Apoyo Opinion y Mercado SA poll that had Toledo’s popular support at 10% support in August compared with 8% in July. Dow Jones adds Friday’s University of Lima poll which shows Toledo with 15.2% support in August, compared with just 7.1% in July. NOTE: Bloomberg and Dow Jones both quote Apoyo's Alfredo Torres saying “that Camisea project is an ‘energetic shock’ that raises the people's confidence in authority.” Dow Jones offers a slice of a separate Apoyo poll on the 2006 presidential contenders, noting only that “Alan Garcia has weakened, with his disapproval rating rising to 62% in August from 54% the month before.” (See next item for more on this poll.) SEE ALSO: 'Polls & Polls' in August 14's Peruvia.

Polling 2006: Canada’s Centre for Public Opinion and Democracy reports on the Apoyo Opinion y Mercado SA poll that appeared in El Comercio which showed “24% of respondents would vote for Valentín Paniagua, while 20% would support Alan García. … Lourdes Flores Nano is third with 20%, followed by Lima mayor Luis Castañeda with 9%.” While the poll did not include Fujimori’s name, it did include the names of Antauro Humala, Alex Kouri, Jaime Salinas, Yehude Simon, and Fernando Olivera. CPOD also highlights the annual Latinobarómetro poll on the popularity of Latin American states which shows President Alejandro Toledo with 8%, “the lowest rating in the 18 countries surveyed.” SEE ALSO: For more information on the Latinobarómetro poll, see ‘Polls & Polls’ in August 14’s Peruvia.

Tragedy Near Cuzco, cont.: Washington States’ Columbian reports that “three Vancouver residents who were injured in a bus accident in Peru last week will be coming home today.” SEE ALSO: ‘Tragedy Near Cuzco’ in August 13’s Peruvia.

Peruvian Jockeys: Kentucky’s Herald-Leader has an article on Peruvian jockey Rafael Bejarano, “the hottest item in Kentucky racing” who “in time he might also become the most sought-after rider in the nation. Bejarano, 22, is steadily working his way toward that level: His stated goal always was to become the next Edgar Prado, his Peruvian countryman and hero.

Calling Peru: BEA Systems, Inc. announced in a press release that TIM Peru, a wholly owned subsidiary of Telecom Italia Mobile, has built and deployed its new One Call call-center solution on BEA WebLogic Platform(TM) 8.1.”

Copa America Reviewed: South Africa's News 24 offers a full review of Copa America which "reinforced all the classic perceptions of South American football; breath-taking individual skill, athleticism and the use of some rather sinister defensive techniques, which combined to treat fans to a fiesta of attacking football." NOTE: At the close of the final match between Brazil and Argentina, "with darkness spreading across the arena, deafening chants of 'Brasil, Brasil' were slowly replaced by 'Obregado, Peru; Obregado Peru' [sic] as the Brazilian fans danced in delight."

Travel Through 7 Countries: The Guardian has a rambunctious travel piece about a road trip with 20 other people, organized by Exodus. The journey (which runs four times a year, and either starts in Quito travelling anticlockwise to Rio or starts in Rio and ends in Quito) is all on a "13-year-old, beige coloured Mercedes 1620" and goes through seven countries (Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil), with "300 litres of purified water, cooking equipment, 15 tents and many other apparently useless bits and pieces that suddenly become essential when you break down in the middle of the Atacama desert." NOTE: "The first night's camping, which came after four days at Punta Sal in northern Peru, was always going to be an unusual experience." Other highlights: Machu Picchu on Christmas Day; Colca Canyon, the floating Uros islands of Lake Titicaca.

Free Trade? The Miami Herald, in an article that focuses on trade disputes between the USA and Ecuador, cites a parallel situation in Peru. "Former Florida Secretary of Commerce Charles Dusseau was on the board of Telinfor, which was involved in a similar trade dispute with the Peruvian phone company, Telefónica de Peru. The heavy lobbying to write conditions into the 2002 Andean Trade Preference Act put Ecuador and Peru on notice, Dusseau said. But it did not change the situation overnight. 'We got a pittance of what we thought they owed us,' Dusseau said. Hearing that another Miami company and the Ecuadorean phone giant were locked in a dispute, Dusseau had some advice: 'Our dispute went on for five years. Tell them to pack a lunch'."

Free Trade? II: The Voice of America offers an editorial on the USA’s economic policy, particularly on free trade, which includes Peru in a list of countries named. The article’s preface states that it “reflect[s] the views of the United States Government” and cites President George W. Bush who says free trade "is not just an economic opportunity, it is a moral imperative.”


Sunday, August 15, 2004

MPicchu In Opulence: The New York Times offers a travel story on riding PeruRail's Hiram Bingham, "its new, opulent train that runs between Cuzco and Aguas Calientes, the town from which buses ascend a zigzag nine-mile road to the ruins." Written by Robin Cembalest (editor of ARTnews) on her first trip to Machu Picchu, compares the cost of the Hiram Bingham ("a whopping $416.50 per person, round trip") to the Vistadome ($89.25 roundtrip), "and the aptly named Backpacker is just $59.50." However, while the Vistadome leaves Cuzco at 6 a.m., and the Backpacker at 6:15, "the Hiram Bingham departs at the civil hour of 9 a.m. It also leaves [Machu Picchu] several hours later than the other two." She takes note of her boyfriend accompanying her, the Peruvian artist, Moico Yaker, who saw a Myiotheretes striaticollis. ALSO: The Times includes a correction on their story (the Travel section is printed several days earlier than the rest of the paper): "Because of editing errors, [the] article ... gives an incorrect location for the nearby rail station and refers incorrectly to a scene above a hotel. The station is Aguas Calientes, not Machu Picchu. The writer said she saw trails above the hotel, not trains."

Nuevo Continente Still Banned? Several newspapers in California, including the Mercury News and the San Luis Obispo Tribune include this in their Travel sections today: "Peru's largest airline remains off-limits to U.S. citizens. ... More recently, the airline re-emerged as Nuevo Continente, and some travel agents are booking U.S. citizens on its flights. But they and their clients are risking fines and even jail time. Violations of the Kingpin Act carry penalties of up to $10 million and 30 years imprisonment, although penalties would likely be a lot less."

Fliming the Continent: The Arizona Republic profiles documentary filmmaker Cristofer Pereyra who, with his cousin, Andres Rodriguez, will be conducting " 'man on the street' interviews with the people of Latin America" for the next several months. The social and cultural profiles will focus on their daily lives, beliefs and worries." NOTE: According to Pereyra, a Peruvian American and former reporter with Univsion channel KTVW, "the project is titled Pacha Mama." Travelling through 14 countries in Pereyra's 1994 Toyota 4Runner, the film will wrap up in Machu Picchu. Sponsors include: Arizona State University's Center for Latin American Studies and the Organizacion Latinos Unidos.

Comparing Leaders: The Miami Herald's Andres Oppenheimer writes about the referendum in Venezuela in today's column and manages to compare AGarcía to FCastro. "Latin America is full of former populist presidents who destroyed their countries' economies decades ago and are still around, making fiery speeches that make their countries' front pages. Just look at Peru's Alan García, or Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, not to mention Cuba's Fidel Castro."

Food In Washington: Today's Washington Post magazine features the newly renamed La Flor de la Canela in Gaithersburg (Md) and owned by friends Juan Rodriguez and Lilian Clary. NOTE: "One element of the operation, though, has stayed the same. 'We both basically live here,' jokes Rodriguez." ALSO: "Even people who typically turn up their noses at tripe have been known to become converts to the dish -- let's be frank, it's stomach lining -- the way Clary prepares it."

Designing In Lima: The New York Times offers a fashion story on Laurinda Spear, a founder of the architectural firm Arquitectonica in Miami, and mentions her work on the Banco de Credito in Lima. The article mentiones her Peruvian husband, Bernardo Fort-Brescia, and includes a bit on a surfing trip to Peru. The piece also includes a photograph of Spear by Ana Cecilia Gonzales (El Comercio).

Star Professor: The Independent names Professor Paul Julian Smith (Cambridge University; on leave at Stanford this year) as "a star" on Peruvian literature in a review of Spanish and Latin American Studies degrees. ALSO: "How cool is it? Very. Latin American culture is where it's at these days."

Puno in Art: Florida's Sun-Sentinel profiles Boca Raton artist Patricia Boldizar who received 'Best of Show' at an exhibit in Delray Beach for her Los Turistas, "a watercolor of people browsing in the Puno Market in Peru."

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