Peruvian Graffiti flag image
Click to purchase at Amazon Kindle store

Thursday, November 30

We got lots of info on earthquakes in the Andes. Full title is "Seismological and Tectonic Deformation Studies in the Central Andes and Seismic Hazard Evaluation in the Peru-Chile Border Region." CERESIS is the South American earthquake organization.

Fujimori has been giving interviews to tell the world that his escape to Japan was all part of a carefully laid plan: "I am pursuing a strategy. It may take some time. It may bring more criticism. I don't mind," he said in the Washington Post. Capulin Colorado! "No contaban con mi astucia!" In the New York Times, he was more subdued.

Hubert Lanssiers is an example of the memorable individuals drawn to Peru. They are quixotic figures who take on tasks that normal mortals would run away from. Lanssiers's work for prisoner rights, the release of innocents falsely convicted of crimes, and other travesties of justice stretch back more than 25 years.

Wednesday, November 29

Recently, faced with the boredom of re-entering names, phone numbers and addresses into a new agenda/address book, I gave into the temptation of buying a PDA, a Handspring Visor. I immediately felt guilty about spending several times over the price of a new agenda. But the more I use it, the more I'm enjoying it. I also discovered Memoware as a source of content for the handheld medium. The length is just right for my attention span. The other appealing aspect is that software for the Palm OS seems to be cheap (limited functions) so it's less painful to add features.

Tuesday, November 28

I chanced across the website of James Q. Jacobs, a man after my own heart. He was in the Peace Corp in 1969 when the Agrarian Reform changed some of the worst abuses in the countryside. He has good photographs and supplemented his own knowledge with diligent reading (see his bibliography). Look at the rest of his site and it becomes evident that he has a weakness for archeology and pre-Colombian culture. He will soon be included in La Lista.

Monday, November 27

The LA Times publishes Fujimori: Study in Solitude of Power at the Top by Sebastian Rotella. It tries to take a deeper look at the contradictions in Fujimori as he changed from darkhorse candidate to authoritarian strongman. I think that we still need to dig deeper. Rotella implied that Fujimori did not show signs of enrichment. Well, he put at least a daughter through four-years of Boston University and has two other kids in college in the States. You can't do that on a Peruvian president's salary, though you might not considered it wealth. Keiko Sofia Fujimori has her own explanation.

Sunday, November 26

I went to Google and did a search on "Peru + Montesinos." It turned up 16,300 hits. Most of these were multiple repeats of news stories that are mirrored around the Web. I have pulled together the best links about Montesinos. I will try to keep looking for interesting links.

I have added two new resource pages, Online Reference Resources and Web Design. These pages draw on work that I did for the FAS, but the information is no longer being updated so I am assuming those duties.

Saturday, November 25

I added a page of recommended reading on Peru, as well as updating La Lista.

Wednesday, November 22

Peru has a new President, Valentin Paniagua, and he has appointed former UN secretary general Javier Perez de Cuellar as the prime minister. The day before, Congress rejected Fujimori's resignation and removed him as "morally unfit." The government will have good-name recognition internationally, and a chance to insure a fair transition domestically. Now comes the hard part - bridging the next eight months and coalescing at leat one viable political formula for durable government. Yahoo News.

Meanwhile, the National Security Archive, a posted on its website a collection of declassified U.S. documents on Vladimiro Montesinos, Fujimori's discredited security advisor. The information is disappointing. The seven documents mainly repeat charges made in the Peruvian media. Anything that might represent US comments has been blacked out. It is reassuring to know that U.S. intelligence does read the Lima newspapers. The CIA must have had very good reasons for sticking with their friend. The most damning report about CIA tolerance appeared in the Washington Post shortly after Fujimori announced he was leaving office. You will have to locate the story in the archive.

Otherwise, read Ghosts of Fujimori Stalk Peru in the LA Times.

Monday, November 20

This week in Lima, the powers that want to be are trying to decide who will be the interim president, legislative president Valentin Paniagua or second vice president Ricardo Marquez. The situation is in flux, to say the least. Meanwhile, all the people who put their faith in Fujimori are feeling betrayed. Fujimori must really be going through some mind-games because his cut-and-run is so out of character.

Sunday, November 19

How quickly Peru changes! News out of Japan says that the visiting President Alberto Fujimori will present his resignation within 24-48 hours. News out of Lima says that the cabinet presents its resignation in block. Now everyone will turn on Fujimori and we will see all kinds of stories coming out.

The question is how the country will make it to April elections and a new, stable government in July without major upheavals. The vice president Ricaro Marquez is a novice politician and will be in way over his head.

Saturday, November 18

Looking over my past entries, I've concluded that I am abusing the weblog format by making my entries too long. I'm going to keep remarks short and link to longer comments.

I have added a directory for Peru-related sites. It's mainly for my own use because I find myself having to hunt down sites. So if I'm going to put together a list for myself, I might as well make it available to everyone. I'm going to make it select, removing sites that don't contribute much and adding others.

Friday, November 17

A great article at about Peruvian spy chief Vladimir Montesinos and his flight from Panama. Montesinos did not know what he was going getting into when he accepted an asylum offer in Panama. He ran into the arms of his worst enemy, Gustavo Gurriti, a Peruvian journalist who has devoted most of the past decade to fighting President Alberto Fujimori and Montesinos as the incarnation of evil.

I can remember sitting in Gustavo's garden in 1990 and listening to him tell other foreign journalists about a shady former army officer who had finagled his way into Fujimori's inner circle. He was convinced from the start that Montesinos presence would soil the entire government. Gustavo began a crusade in the Caretas weekly magazine that culminated when Gustavo was forced out of the country by Montesinos's goons after the Fujimori auto-golpe in 1992.

Eight later, Gustavo in effect drove Montesinos out of town (Panama), and back to Peru, with his intense campaign to let Panamanian know what they were getting. He is an editor with La Prensa. I can see Gustavo gloating now, but he won't be satisfied until Montesinos is in prison.

The author of the article added an interesting perspective by using Montesinos's homelessness as an example of human rights abusers in a new international legal environment (remember what happened to Pinochet when he left Chile for a health visit to London). Mark's article is better by several orders of magnitude than the one I reviewed.yesterday.

Thursday, November 16

News out of Lima seem to indicate that President Alberto Fujimori's hold on power may be getting more tenuous. The oppostion congressional block booted out the pro-government legislative president (Martha Hildebrandt). The New York Times reports her likely replacement may be Valentin Paniagua. Fujimori may not be able to hold to the presidency until July next year, as he has offered, and have to step down sooner. I knew Paniagua when he served in the Peruvian Congress in 1981-1985 as a member of Fernando Belaunde's Popular Action party. He was one of the few in the party that I respected as a thoroughly decent man.

Since chief spy Vladamir Montesino's downfall two months ago, Fujimori's fortunes have declined really quickly. From New Age strongman to lame duck practically overnight. Fujimori and Montesinos have been so closely intertwined over the past decade, it is really hard to see how their fates could be separated.

Political Prisoners in Peru and the US Media I also waded through a long article about US TV coverage of Lori Berensen, the American convicted of treason in Peru. Danny Schechter of was driving home his own message about the major media being prisoners of professional/cultural blindness. He could stand to get some of his facts straight. He said that "the MRTA, which hoped to become a democratic opposition, were never allowed to move in that direction and felt forced into armed struggle." MRTA scoffed at the Marxist left that participated in elections and democracy. Its leaders were firmly convinced that armed revolution -- los fierros -- was the only realistic approach and that the left wing congressmen and mayors would soon be joining them in the jungle. They were worried that Sendero was going to corner the market of reviolutionary violence in Peru.

Danny Schechter is a prisoner himself -- of a romantized image of Latin America and its downtrodden masses, basically thinking that Peru is the same as Nicaragua/El Salvador. He complained about the US media not being able to see the poverty in the country, but he was unable to understand the undercurrents that made Peru take a tough approach to guerrilla/terrorist violence and led the populace and the government to turn their back on due process and human rights. He should check out my web page on Peruvian politics and violence.

Wednesday, November 15

I stumbled across a rich vein of Peruvian cultural material on the Centro Cultural Peru Virtual. Museums, libraries, literature, art and chess. My friends from the Instituto de Estudio Peruanos (IEP), who published my book on political violence, have a site. The Galeria Virtual has an exhibit of five contmeprary photographers. I have a predilection of photography. It's going to take some time for me to explore everything available.

The portal is all done very professionally, and is obviously a PR effort by Telefonica del Peru. After all, if you take a monopoly off the hands of the government, you have to give something back to the community. Telefonica (the Spanish owner) knows that it's a small price to pay on its way to dominating telecommunications in South America.

Tuesday, November 14

An Old Friend: Imagine my surprise to come across El Diario Internacional. This left-wing newspaper was hijacked by Sendero sympathizers in the late 1980s. The staff went underground after the Peruvian government cracked down on it in 1989. Then, it resurfaced in Belgium. I had not seen a website for the rag until now. In Spanish, you can see nine issues. In English, there are only two and 10 in French. I always thought that the Peruvian government should never have shut down El Diario. You learned so much about the militants' mental makeup.

Friday, November 10

I've given in to the urge. No self-respecting web-head can be without a weblog. No big deal. It's just a glorified "What's New" page.

I've spent a lot of time recently whipping this site into shape. You only get better by working at it. You only learn how to use the Web by wrestling with it and living it. Part of the fight is to raise the level beyond I saw these sites today and I liked them. There are lots of observers who have noted that many weblogs end up quoting other sites of similar ilk. We'll see if I can get beyond that. For that matter, look at the rest of the site to see if it's got its own slant.

Now that I've got that over, I can get on to more important things.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?