Friday, February 17, 2006

HUMALA CHARGED: The Associated Press (Carla Salazar) reports that "human rights activists have formally accused [Ollanta Humala] of atrocities during his 1992 command of a jungle counterinsurgency base." NOTE: "Three criminal complaints accusing retired Lt. Col. Ollanta Humala of forced disappearance, torture and attempted murder were filed Tuesday with a prosecutor in the northern jungle town of Tocache, Alejandro Silva, of the National Coordinator for Human Rights in Peru, told reporters." (The Houston Chronicle version of the story has a file photo; the Miami Herald includes a summary in their ‘Latin American Briefs’ column.) SEE ALSO: 'Humala Questioned' in Wednesday's Peruvia.

NEW APOYO #s, IV: Dow Jones (Robert Kozak) analyzes his earlier reporting on the APOYO poll suggesting that "less than two months before the April general elections, support for the various candidates running for president could still shift sharply, [according to political analysts." Martín Tanaka: "I think that voter opinion is very volatile. There can still be important movements. What Peruvian voters have, to a large degree, is the ability of being unable to be pigeonholed on what they will do." Nelson Manrique Galvez: "We don't have the structure of having a multi-party system, so there is no long-term tradition of party adhesion. There isn't any consistency of programs either. In 15 days everything can change radically." The piece cites Mirko Lauer’s La Republica column from Wednesday that "said that voter indecision could be tied to disappointment with the candidates or to other factors. In either case, a possible reaction before this indecision is to look for a different option. In this stage that could mean a widening of the number of real competitors that could enter into a second round."

ALVAREZ VITA TO JAKARTA: The Jakarta Post notes that "Peru has appointed one of its top diplomats -- Juan Alvarez Vita -- as its new ambassador to Indonesia," according to the Peruvian embassy in Jakarta. NOTE: "Ambassador-designate Juan Alvarez Vita has already arrived in Jakarta. He will submit his letter of credence to President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono soon," said Carlos Javier Castillo Morales, head of the consular and commercial section. Alvarez has a short bio here; he is an author and has been Ambassador to Cuba and former Vice President of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of the United Nations.

USA MILITARY AID: Television station KVOA (David Marino; Arizona) reports that last year, "the U.S. spent almost a billion dollars training foreign military and police in Latin American countries. … U.S. aid to Colombia was more than $640 million, and Peru saw $54 million in anti-drug money. Another $52 million went to Bolivia, and Mexico received $58 million."



MINING: Panamerican Silver offered a press release on "several developments in anticipation of its 2005 year-end results due to be announced on February 23, 2006."


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

NEW APOYO #s, III: Angus Reid reports on the new APOYO poll on presidential candidates, as it appeared in El Comercio. Lourdes Flores Nano is the choice of 35% (the web site refers to her Popular Christian Party, and not her alliance, Union Nacional). Ollanta Humala is at 25%; Alan García is at 17%; Valentín Paniagua 8%; Martha Chávez at 6%. NOTE: "In two run-off scenarios, more than 60 per cent of respondents would vote for Flores Nano in contests against Humala and García." Prensa Latina reports on the APOYO poll but focuses on President Toledo’s popularity: "75% of the population disagree with the current dignitary, while only the 17% said to be in favor." SEE ALSO: ‘New Apoyo Numbers’ in Monday’s and Tuesday’s Peruvia.

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.''


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.



LA ELECTORAL ANALYSES: Several new essays appeared that surveyed the Latin American electoral map.

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."


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."


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."

RABBI ARRIVES: Jewish Telegraphic Agency reprints yesterday’s Arutz Sheva story on the Jewish community in Tarapoto. SEE ALSO: ‘Rabbi Arrives’ in yesterday’s Peruvia.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

NEW APOYO #s, II: Dow Jones (Robert Kozak) and the Washington Times highlight the new APOYO opinion poll. Dow Jones focuse on the congressional candidates which has Lourdes Flores’ National Union Party polling at 27% which would form the largest block in Congress. APRA polls at 21%, coming in second; Union Para el Peru, led by Ollanta Humala polls is at 15%. NOTE: "The survey from Apoyo on support in Congress broadly mirrors voter intentions for the presidential candidates" released on Sunday. ALSO: "Widely-watched television program Panorama on Sunday broadcast the accusations of a man who said he had been tortured by Humala. Humala said late Sunday that the accusations are attempts to distract attention." The article suggests that the race is most intense between Humala and Alan Garcia, "a skilled campaigner who still faces questions, however, about his disastrous term as president from 1985 to 1990." What those questions may be were not detailed. The Washington Times ran what seems to be a summary of yesterday's AP wire on their Americas Page though it seems like there were additions. It adds color particularly to the Flores candidacy whom they clearly favour: "The 46-year-old lawyer, favored by Wall Street to continue healthy economic growth, has the most support in the upper and middle classes. She came from a family of Mexican migrants to Peru, and she and an older sister were the first in the family to attend college. She earned a bachelor's degree at Stanford University in California and went on to Syracuse University, where she received a master's degree." SEE ALSO: ‘New APOYO #s’ in yesterday’s Peruvia.

PERUPETRO TO PETROPERU: Dow Jones (Rebecca Howard) opines that "investors may be scared off by a new proposal from Congress that folds government agency Perupetro, which signs energy sector contracts, into state-owned fuel refiner and distributor Petroleos del Peru S.A. or Petroperu," according to an interview with Perupetro’s chief Antonio Cueto. NOTE: "Perupetro has made a concerted effort to drum up interest in Peru's flagging oil sector in recent years and has managed to attract significant investment after making contracts more flexible and attractive." ALSO: "President Alejandro Toledo has 15 days to propose changes to the bill or to veto it, although Congress can overturn that veto."

PROTESTANT FREED FROM PRISON: BosNewsLife (Stefan J. Bos) carries a story about Walter Wilmer Cubas Baltas, a Peruvian Protestant, who was freed from prison "after serving 13 years in prison for terrorist crimes he did not commit, human rights groups confirmed." NOTE: "Amnesty International and Christian Solidarity Worldwide said Walter Cubas, a former labor union leader, was released from Lima's maximum security prison Miguel Castro Castro jail on February 1." ALSO: "CSW said it is believed that his participation in union activities at the factory where he worked, played a major role in the detention."

RABBI ARRIVES IN TARAPOTO: Arutz Sheva reports from Tarapoto about Shavei Israel receiving their first rabbi. "Comprising several hundred people, the Tarapoto community consists of descendants of Moroccan Jews who migrated to the area in the late 19th century. Settling in towns in Peru's Amazon basin such as Iquitos in the 1880s, many became involved in local trade and commerce."

JAPANESE-PERUVIANS HONORED: Asahi Shinbum reports on the Japanese Overseas Migration Museum in Yokohama whose collection includes photos and artifacts of emigrants to Peru and Brazil among other places. "Themes include the expanding emigrant presence, the spread of Japanese descendants, anti-Japanese sentiment in wartime and the daily life of emigrants."



SPORTS: Reuters continues their updates on the Peruvian football championship fixtures.


PERU JOINS UN: The Associated Press notes in its ‘Today in History’ post that on February 14, 1945, Peru joined the United Nations.


Monday, February 13, 2006

NEW APOYO #s: The Associated Press (Monte Hayes) and Bloomberg (Alex Emery) report on APOYO’s latest poll on presidential candidates which puts Flores Nano with 35%; Ollanta Humala at 25%. (Download the poll here; the Miami Herald also offers a summary of the AP piece.) Bloomberg has the better, more detailed version. The AP version lets opinion seep in several times, noting that Ollanta’s “surge in voter support in recent months had rattled Peru's financial markets and its political establishment.” Numbers of other candidates include: Alan Garcia (17%); Valentin Paniagua (8%); Martha Chavez (6%). ALSO: “The poll did not survey potential voters in Peru's most remote rural area representing 19% of the electorate.”

LURCHING LEFT? Without explicit Humala undertones, the Christian Science Monitor offers an oped by Christopher Sabatini (Americas Society) and Eric Farnsworth (Council of the Americas) titled ‘Latin America’s Lurch to the Left.’ NOTE: “Indeed, with 12 presidential elections in 14 months, 2006 could well be a watershed for the region, recasting US policy toward its neighbors. Yet, characterizing the region as hopelessly drifting away from US interests or as uniformly jettisoning the market economy "model" underestimates the complexity of both US relations and democracy in the region.” SEE ALSO: The Los Angeles Times reprints yesterday's Telegraph opinion piece by Niall Ferguson on ‘Who Lost Latin America’ (see yesterday's Peruvia).

AT SEA IN CHINA: Xinhua News reports that the Peruvian navy training vessel Mollendo “arrived in east China's Shanghai on Monday for a four-day goodwill visit ... with 397 officers and soldiers aboard.” The Captain is identified as “Zuazo Del Asuila Percy Dany.” The Captain’s name is Percy Dany Zuazo Del Aguila. In January, the Mollendo docked at Pearl Harbor, according to this US Navy report before continuing toward Korea, according to the Korea Times.

AT SEA AT HOME: BNAmericas reports that ProInversión has “pushed back the date to award the 30-year concession contract to build and operate the Muelle Sur terminal at Callao port.”

CABLE CAR IN AREQUIPA: BNAmericas reported that the regional government of Arequipa has “approved the launch of the bidding process to build a cable car system to attract more tourists to Arequipa,” according to El Peruano. NOTE: “The cable car system would lead from the city to El Misti.” ALSO: The project will require an investment of US$12 million and tickets are expected to cost US$42-50 each. This project has been developing over many years; see this 2003 story.

TRANS-AMAZON HIGHWAY: BNAmericas reports that “several companies have expressed interest in the concession to upgrade and operate stretches 1 and 5 of Peru's Interoceánica highway and have until June 5 to present documents,” according to ProInversión’s Guillermo Rebagliati Escala, the coordinator of the project. NOTE: “Stretch 1 involves upgrading and repaving the 763km San Juan de Marcona-Urcos route while stretch 5 involves paving 62km and upgrading another 752km on the road from the port of Ilo to Juliaca and the Matarani-Azángaro link further inland.” ALSO: See here for more background information; progress in Sections 2, 3, and 4 are already under way. AND: 'Trans Amazon Highway' in Aug 27, 2005's Peruvia and 'Trans Amazon Cooperation' in Sept 16, 2004's Peruvia.

PERUVIAN JAZZ: The Jazz Police (Minn) reports on an upcoming concert by Peruvian musicians Andrés Prado and Enrique Luna. Prado’s sets “range from Coltrane to Peruvian folk themes … with his wide-ranging repertoire rooted in the Andes and Amazon, from Creole waltzes to Afro-Peruvian grooves.” NOTE: Prado, a guitarist, recently released 'Chinchano' on the RPM Records label— and along with bassist/composer Enrique Luna, the co-founder of the jazz-fusion band Peru Jazz, they relased 'Jazz Imagery' on the same label.

AFRO-PERUVIAN PHOTOGRAPHY: The Battalion (Texas A&M University) reports that in honor of Black History Month, Cushing Memorial Library and Archives “is displaying 23 prints by Peruvian photographer, Lorry Salcedo-Mitrani. From his portfolio, "Africa's Legacy: Photographs in Brazil and Peru," the prints on display are drawn from a larger portfolio of nearly 100 prints recently acquired to support the study of Afro-Latino culture.”

JOURNALISTS UNDER SEIGE: The Guardian (Dan Glaister) reports on Latin American journalists who “face increasingly violent intimidation from drug gangs who do not want to see their activities in print.” NOTE: “In Peru 40 journalists were attacked last year.”






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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