Wednesday, February 15, 2006
HUMALA QUESTIONED: BBC Monitoring picks up an interview Ollanta Humala had with "a Spanish daily" where he "shrugged off accusations of human rights violations against him." The Sunday interview with ABC was titled ‘Somos nacionalistas porque mi país se ha convertido en una neocolonia.’ A separate piece by the BBC Monitoring Serivce reports on Ollanta Humala in Piura "demanding that Defence Minister Marciano Rengifo allow the army to pass judgment" on the alleged human rights violations of which he is accused.
ECONOMIC GROWTH: Bloomberg (Alex Emery) and Reuters report on Peru's economy growing "at its fastest rate in eight years in 2005 as gross domestic product expanded 6.67%, led by strong mining and construction activity," according to the government. NOTE: "The 2005 growth rate surpasses analysts' forecast of 6.3% in a Reuters poll this week and is the highest since 1997, when the economy grew 6.84%." Bloomberg credits a Credicorp report for the information, specifically CFO Walter Bayly. Perhaps it is because Bloomberg has an interview with him in which he states, "Growth of 5% to 6% this year will help the company boost its lending by one-fifth and beat its 2005 earnings, which rose 39% to US$182 million."
ECONOMIC GROWTH & POLITICS: An updated Bloomberg (Alex Emery) story added financial and political news. It reported that the Bank of Nova Scotia, Canada's third-biggest bank, "will take over Peru's Banco Wiese Sudameris in June, while London-based HSBC Holdings plc, Europe's biggest bank by market value, has applied to open a subsidiary in Lima, according to Peru's Banking & Insurance Superintendency." It also cited Credicorp Bayly suggesting that "the prospect of change in the political environment after April presidential elections hasn't slowed lending," presumably thinking of Humala. Standard and Poors' Marta Castelli stated that "There's a disconnection between politics and the economy. The banking sector is pretty efficient and has brought down past due loan ratios.''
- BNAmericas and Dow Jones (Rebecca Howard) reported that ProInversion is "calling for bids for a concession to operate a new wireless fixed-line telephone concession in the capital city of Lima and Callao." BNAmericas follows the report in Gestion while Dow Jones bases its story on El Peruano. NOTE: Dow Jones says, "according to the latest figures from Peru's telephone regulator Osiptel, fixed-line telephone density was 7.77 per 100 residents." BNAmericas reports that "the winning bidder will have a 20-year monopoly on the spectrum, which will be awarded jointly. ... The tender will be supervised by Peru's transportation and communications ministry and telecoms regulator Osiptel. The minimum bid amount will be announced on March 17."
- BNAmericas reports that the Peruvian unit of Mexican mobile operator América Móvil "plans to invest US$100 million in the country during 2006," according to an interview with AMX Perú president Humberto Chávez in Gestión. NOTE: "The plans follow the US$98mn AMX invested in Peru in 2005 to expand coverage and improve network quality, in addition to the US$503mn spent to acquire mobile operator TIM."
- Dow Jones reports that Telefonica del Peru "swung to a profit in the fourth quarter from a loss a year earlier," according to the company.
TRAFFIC DEATHS: Xinhua News reports that "two traffic accidents in Peru have killed 44 people and injured 68 others," according to police. "The first accident occurred in Matucana, 80 km from capital Lima, when a public bus fell into the Rimac River." The second bus "was traveling in the ‘seven turns’ area in Aymaraes province, in the southern Andean department of Abancay."
INDIGENOUS CONGRESS IN QOSQO: Prensa Latina (Cuba) publishes an essay on the V Indigenous Consultative Authority venue in the Peruvian city of Cusco, "the old imperial capital of the Incas gathering the native leaders of 20 Latina American and the Caribbean countries." CITED: Luis Evelis Andrade, President of the Colombia Indigenous National Organization and the V Indigenous Consultative Authority; Vicente Rojas, the presiding Peruvian officer; and Enrique Riveros, Indigenous Adviser of Peru.
ASPARAGUS WARS, CONT: University of California, Riverside offered a press release announcing that their researchers have "released a new variety of asparagus that offers a higher yield than previous varieties of the vegetable and boasts an excellent spear quality, marked by a high percentage of marketable spears." NOTE: It was named "DePaoli" after William P. DePaoli, the first manager of the California Asparagus Commission. Mikeal Roose, a professor of genetics in the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences and the leader of the asparagus breeding project, stated, "particularly now, the asparagus industry in this country needs new varieties of the vegetable – varieties that can compete with those produced in other countries where labor cost is low, such as Peru and Mexico." SEE ALSO: Peruvia’s archive on ‘Asparagus Wars’ particularly on June 30, 2004.
- Gitennes Explorations offered a press release to "provide additional results for a recently completed core drilling programme at the Tucumachay Project in central Peru. A Nevada-style carbonate-hosted zone of gold mineralization is being delineated within the La Nariz portion of the property."
- BNAmericas reports on the sales volume which negatively affected Minsur’s 2005 earnings with net profits dropping 16.2% to 486mn soles (US$148mn).
- BNAmericas reports that Lima-based iron ore miner Shougang Hierro's net profit soared 252% to 230mn soles (US$69.8mn) last year.
- Finally, Reuters from Sydney profiles the world’s larges miner, BHP Billiton, which reported "a 48% jump in first-half net profit on strong demand for commodities." NOTE: "With vast holdings in the far western Australian outback, BHP Billiton, ranks third worldwide in iron ore mining behind Brazil's CVRD and Rio Tinto. It also churns out more than 1 million tonnes of copper a year, much of it from its ore-rich mines in Chile, Peru and Australia."
- World Screen reports that the Argentine Telemedia InteractiveTV Group’s game show Llama y Gana is set to air on America TV in Peru. "The show will be produced and broadcast from Telemedia Latin America’s new studios in Buenos Aires, using Peruvian anchors. It will air daily at midnight."
- BNAmericas (Jorge Porter) reports that Credicorp "expects to achieve a 20% ROE by 2007 thanks to its newly created pension fund manager AFP Prima," according to the company’s CFO Walter Bayly in a conference call. "Last year the holding reported an ROE of 16.4%." NOTE: "Credicorp entered the pension fund business with Prima AFP last August offering the lowest commission of 1.5%. Initial expenses were lower than expected and growth exceeded expectations with 50,000 customers and US$250mn in assets under management," according to Bayly.
- BNAmericas reports that Internexa, the fiber optic services company, has invested US$770 expanding into the Andean countries and Central America including establishing ISA Peru.
- Dow Jones rerports that Union de Cervecerias Peruanas Backus & Johnston said Tuesday that "fourth-quarter net income totaled 14 million soles ($4.26 million) compared with PEN93.6 million ($28.4 million) in the previous year quarter. Improved sales helped lift full-year 2005 net income to $84.3 million."
- PENNET reports that Voith Siemens Power Generation is "to supply equipment to a new hydropower project in Peru after it was awarded a €25m ($29.8m) contract from the plant's developer, Peruvian Cementos Lima." NOTE: "Voith Siemens will supply The El Platanal plant with two vertical Pelton turbines, each with an output of 110 MW and operating with a net head of over 600 metres."
LA ELECTORAL ANALYSES: Several new essays appeared that surveyed the Latin American electoral map.
- The American Spectator (David Griswold; Cato’s Center for Trade Policy Studies) writes that "if the United States successfully concludes ongoing FTA talks with Panama and the Andean countries of Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, it will have achieved FTAA-style free trade with countries that already account for 88% of our two-way trade. At this point, concluding an FTAA would be merely a mopping-up operation for the United States."
- National Catholic Reporter (Barbara Fraser) offers ‘Revolution at the polls: Latin American voter disenchantment provokes leftward shift’, reported from Lima. NOTE: "A quiet revolution appears to be under way in Latin America, as changes that guerrillas failed to achieve -- or achieved only partially -- in the 1970s and 1980s are coming about at the ballot box." CITED: Farid Kahhat (Pontifical Catholic University of Peru) saying, "There has never been a left in Latin America that has had the electoral success that various leftist forces are having today. ... If they don’t achieve both economic improvement and a redistribution of wealth -- and not just [economic] growth, as in Peru in recent years -- they’ll probably just create a new sense of disenchantment, which could be dangerous, because it could create support for more radical or even violent antisystem options." [IN SPANISH: Kahhat wrote an op-ed this week in El Comercio on Hamas.] Lisa Haugaard (Latin America Working Group) says, "It’s important to look at the different kinds of leftist presidents [in Latin America] and not just see them as one unit. The United States typically misunderstands leftist movements in Latin America, and the danger is that it will see them as a threat and overreact."
- The Council On Hemispheric Affairs offers an essay by Michael Lettieri on ‘Electoral Courts and Councils Take on the Challenge of Guaranteeing a Free and Fair Vote Throughout Latin America’ and focuses on Venezuela, Honduras, and Mexico. NOTE: "It’s voting season in Latin America, and as controversy in Venezuela and strife in Haiti has revealed, managing the elections is a complex challenge that has rarely been met by regional governments. ... As issues of disenfranchisement, as well as poverty, come to the political forefront in, for example, Peru and Ecuador, the strength of Latin American democracies will be tested." ALSO: "Latin American political systems face a myriad of challenges as they transition from an authoritarian past towards a hopefully democratic future. With new social movements leading to a widespread expansion of electoral participation, the stakes in modern political campaigns are now greater than perhaps ever in history, and the newfound significance of elections has made campaign competition into an intense, winner-take-all scenario."
NAVAL EXCERCISES IN PACIFIC: Agence France Press reports that "amid persistent warnings about China's growing military clout, the US military has said it is to hold one of its biggest naval exercises in the Asia Pacific this summer." One of the three exercises wll involve "navies from at least eight countries, including Australia, Chile, Japan, South Korea and Peru, would occur near the Hawaiian Islands." The San Diego Union Tribune (Otto Kreisher, Copley News Service) also covers the story as does Kyodo which reports on the event through an interview with US Pacific Flet Commander Admiral Gary Roughead who spoke at the Asia Society.
COCA EXCERCISES IN BOLIVIA: Swiss Info runs a Reuters (Bernd Debusmann) story on coca legalization titled, ‘Bolivia's coca: From cottage industry to mass export?’ from La Paz on Bolivian President Evo Morales’ initiatives. "His moves as president are being followed closely, not only by his core constituency in Bolivia but also in Colombia and Peru, where there are fledgling coca-based legal industries. ... A Peruvian company makes a coca-based energy drink called Vortex, and there is a line of packaged coca cookies." (For Peruvia coverage on Vortex, see ‘Coke in a Bottle’ Feb 10, 2004; ‘Have Some New Coke’ April 17, 2004; and ‘Coca Rising’ in May 6, 2004.)
FREE TRADE EXCERCISES IN COLOMBIA: The Financial Times (Andy Webb-Vidal) includes Peru in an article about Colombia’s president Alvaro Uribe, his visit to Washington, and his quest for a free trade agreement, "to avoid being left behind as other countries in the region strike trade deals with Washington. Peru signed a free trade deal with the US in December."
- The Harvard Crimson (Anne Kendrick) reports on the announcement of the the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowships For New Americans which award funding for two years of graduate study in three United States to immigrants or children of immigrants. One of the thirty is Peruvian Alvaro Bedoya. Bedoya is the author of a paper titled, ‘The plight of Peruvian sheepherders illuminates broader exploitation of immigrant workers in U.S. agriculture which was highlighted in the Seattle Times last year.
- The Times notes the naming of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellowships which includes a grant, usually for a stay of four to eight weeks, covering living and travel expenses. This year’s recipients include two with Peruvian interests: Mr David Esplin, Edinburgh, assistant Scottish secretary, British Medical Association, Alternative methods of dispute resolution; and Miss Mairee Vincent, Rochester, assistant bird keeper, Leeds Castle, The nutritional study of wild Toco Toucans.
- The Newham Recorder (UK) reports that "youth worker Meggie Nyabango is gearing up for a spectacular challenge - a trail that will see her trekking across the Peruvian valleys and venturing into the sacred lost city of the Incas. The 25-year-old from Gibbins Road, Stratford, is appealing to Recorder readers to help raise sponsorship for the Peru Inca Trail Challenge in aid of Weston Spirit."
- The Children’s Trust (UK) will run the ‘Peruvian Andes Challenge’ next September.
SAN VALENTIN: The Herald News (Karen Keller; New Jersey) offers a Valentine’s Day themed story titled, ‘Courtroom Bliss’ included Peruvian couples being married in Paterson on February 14. NOTE: "Peruvian-born bride Luz Lenti, 45, wept under the trellised arch as she married Julio Coloma, 47, who was also born in the Andean nation. It was the second marriage for each. The Paterson couple had lived together for four years, so "there won't be any surprises," Lenti said." The Herald-News (Brian Spadora; New Jersey) and the Denver Post (Douglas Brown) include Peruvian takes on Valentine Day aphrodisiacs. The Herald News is more descriptive describing a variety of cultural offerings in ethnically diverse Passaic County. "For Peruvians, passion can be found in the mix of ingredients that make up ceviche, a popular seafood dish. ... When these elements are brought together, they form something called ‘leche de tigre,’ [and] a particular effect on people, though Josue Galdos, manager of El Fogon,a Peruvian restaurant on Main Avenue in Clifton, was too polite to say exactly what that effect is. ‘People say it just gives them more...’ he paused, trying to summon the words. ‘Especially to guys. You know what I mean, right?’ Jully Tapia, 22, who was eating lunch at El Fogon on Monday, said the effect of ceviche is simple. ‘It's really hot and spicy. It makes you crazy.’ Aldo Guevara, 18, was more straightforward. ‘You feel like you want to kiss the girl.’ " The Denver Post has a different take on the same subject and includes "Peruvian maca root and horny goat weed -- are among the most common prescribed by naturopaths and used in supplements."
- The Associated Press reports on the debut in the Copa Libertadores.
INCA TRAIL CLOSED: Europe Travel News reports that "on February of every year, the National Institute of Culture in Cusco closes the World Heritage site of the Inca Trail for maintenance." NOTE: "The shut down begins close to the archeological site of Piscacucho, where tourists start their trek to the citadel. February is chosen as there is a natural lull in the tourism that also coincides with the rainy season in the Andes."