Sunday, February 12, 2006

Coca in Chimbote: Xinhua News reports that "the coast guards of Peru and the United States seized four tons of cocaine on a fishing boat and arrested all of the seven crew members on aboard in a joint operation." NOTE: "The U.S. Coast Guard, which carried out an operation immediately after receiving the information, successfully detained the Peruvian boat which departed from the Chimbote port in west Peru carrying huge amount of drugs."

Coca In Bolivia: The New York Times (Juan Forrero) reports on the challenge of Bolivia’s President Morales: ‘No to Cocaine, but Yes to Coca.’ (The piece is accompanied by a video with a much more favourable title, ‘Bolivia Shifts the Drug War Debate.’) The piece suggests that Peru has replaced Bolivia as the world's No. 2 producer of coca. NOTE: "At a recent coca fair in La Paz, two dozen small Bolivian and Peruvian companies displayed coca-based products they said they hoped would one day be accepted worldwide. Besides the soap, shampoo and toothpaste, there were digestive potions pitched as calcium and iron supplements, or, alternatively, a cure for balding or as a diet aid. And there was a light green flour, for making bread." NOTE: "One of our most important products is granola, fortified with coca," said Marco Alarcón." The Washington Post has a short summary on Morales and his coca conundrum and repeats Peru’s status as the number two global producer of the leaf.

Peruvian Chocolate: The Boston Herald’s Valentine Day’s story leads, "Have you ever had chocolates made with Peruvian plums?" The piece features Monica’s Chocolates in Maine. "Owner Monica Elliott, a native of Peru, immigrated to Lubec in 1999, bringing with her recipes for Peruvian caramel and chocolate. She makes all her chocolates by hand in small batches."

Peru/Ecuador Battle Costs: Knight Ridder (Tyler Bridges) reports from Ecuador on the lethal after effects of the battle zones along the border with Peru (‘Land Mines a Hidden Killer in Amazon Jungle’). "Ten years after Ecuador and Peru fought a three-week border war, Ecuadorean minesweepers are still searching for and then destroying some of the 11,000 land mines that remain along the isolated border — mines like those that have killed or maimed 114 Ecuadoreans and Peruvians since the last shot of the war was fired." ALSO: "About 60 Ecuadorean soldiers are carrying out the work from Teniente Ortiz, a military outpost one mile from the Peruvian border and an arduous hourlong hike from the nearest town, Santiago. The base sits on a ridge and is about the length and width of a football field. One of its barrack walls still shows the bullet marks from Peruvian helicopter gunships a decade ago."

Will OAS Monitor Peru's Elections? The Miami Herald’s Andres Oppenheimer is sour on President Bushs’ budget cut for the OAS. "According to the 2007 budget proposal that Bush sent to Congress last week, the United States will reduce its special contributions to the OAS from $64 million in 2006 to $57 million in 2007." Oppenheimer suggests that "the OAS may be the last line of defense for representative democracy and human rights in the region. While its record has been spotty, the OAS has recently helped avoid coups in Peru, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador and Haiti." NOTE: Other nations are in arrears in their annual payments including "Argentina, which hasn't paid for three years, owes $10.7 million, while Brazil owes $3.4 million, Venezuela $2.4 million, the Dominican Republic $700,000 and Uruguay $600,000." ALSO: OAS Secretary General Jose Miguel Insulza suggests "the proposed U.S. budget cuts could affect observation missions to this year's elections in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Peru or Ecuador."

Who Lost Latin America? The Telegraph has an op-ed by the saucy Harvard Professor Niall Ferguson asking ‘Who Lost America,’ for "since the election of Hugo Chávez as President of Venezuela in December 1998, there has been an inexorable erosion of US influence south of the Rio Grande. The most recent manifestations are the election victories last month of the coca-chewing populist Evo Morales in Bolivia and the socialist Michelle Bachelet in Chile. Some opinion polls suggest victories for the militant Ollanta Humala in Peru this April and the staunchly anti-gringo Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico in July. And it's anyone's guess what will happen in Brazil and Ecuador." NOTE: "This seems to me the really big story of 2006 - and yet virtually no one is paying it any attention. And it's not as if the new populists in Latin America aren't looking for some attention." ALSO: "South and Central America account for 8.5% of the world's oil reserves (and 4% of its natural gas reserves). Besides energy, however, there's democracy; to be precise the fate of the President's project to spread democracy around the world. And besides democracy, there's immigration."

On Immigration:

Peru Negro 2006: The San Francisco Chronicle previews Peru Negro on their new tour with few new details even with a telephone interview with Ronny Campos in Lima. "The 30-member troupe that plays Zellerbach Hall on Friday has come a long way since Rolando Campos founded the group with his family in 1969." CITED: The cajón ("originally a fruit crate -- is now a carefully designed rectangular box, with a booming low end."); the quijada de burro ("a donkey jawbone with the teeth loosened") and lando ("a slow, soulful ballad form that spoke of the hardships of slavery.") The tour stops at U Cal Berkeley on Friday.

Malaria & Amazon Deforestation: The Voice of America (Jessica Berman) reports on a study that points to "a direct link between epidemic malaria and deforestation in the Amazon rainforest." NOTE: "Curious about a return of epidemic malaria in the Peru Amazon in the 1990's, investigators found there was a connection to uncontrolled deforestation. During a one-year period, they collected mosquitos at sites with varying levels of deforestation. The locations included untouched areas within the Amazon rainforest and locations that have undergone rapid development and landscape change." CITED: Lead author Jonathan Patz, University of Wisconsin. SEE ALSO: American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (Jan. 2006); National Public Radio (Jan. 5, 2006); University of Wisconsin press release (January 3, 2006).



The Penn/Peru Corridor: Pennsylvania’s Times-Leader reports that "the Rotary Clubs throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania are seeking applicants to participate in a program that will send local professionals to Peru for one month." NOTE: "The Group Exchange Program will allow a team of one Rotarian and four non-Rotarians to share vocational information and professional techniques and ideas with Peruvian professionals in similar fields."


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