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Sunday, December 31

I spent part of the afternoon correcting the contrast on most of the TAFOS pictures. They were originally created too dark, but I have toned them down a bit.

DEN - Directorio Electrónico de Negocios - this is an excellent business portal for Peru. It's up-to-date and loaded with information. It's going on La Lista.

Peru fishing output rises 15 percent in November: "Fishing exports -- mainly fishmeal -- should total about $1.2 billion this year compared with $792 million in 1999" A spot of good news, but overfishing has been a constant templation for Peru.

For Peru Ex-Spy Chief, on the Lam, a Trail of Intrigue: "Never mind about Carmen Sandiego and Waldo. Where in the world is Vladimiro Montesinos?" Staff correspondent Larry Rohter does not add a single new angle to the story, but if it's in the Gray Lady, it must all be true.

Saturday, December 30

I have added a new poem to my collection, A Book of Revelations. It had been pretty raw, but I felt so close to it emotionally that I wanted to get it in shape and post it.

The Role of Renewable Energies in Providing Clean Rural Energy "ILZRO RAPS Peru is executing pilot projects in two villages of Amazon region, Indiana and Padre Cocha, which, through the use of existing diesel generators, photovoltaic modules, and battery storage, will provide 24-hour electricity to villages now solely dependent on diesel generators for limited electricity." I once spent a night in Indiana in 1971. It is located downriver from Iquitos on the Amazon.

Peru Arrests Ex-Armed Forces Chief "...arrested near the border with Ecuador... Hours earlier, Villanueva had told local television stations that he was not trying to leave the country, but was merely on a family vacation." This story has gotten a lot of coverage.

Friday, December 29

Primicia I have started publishing selected chapters of The War of the Fourth Sword, an opus that I had been writing in Peru in the late 1980s. These are far from polished, finished products but I feel that I should make them available online so that others can get something out of them.

Building on Quicksand: The Collapse of the World Bank’s Judicial Reform Project in Peru - "However, Peru is an indisputably clear case of a government that actively demonstrated its disdain for some of the essential ingredients for reform: the judiciary had been a frequent target of the Fujimori administration and the executive-controlled Congress..." An extensive study of the legal apparatus in Peru under Fujimori.

New government finding much of Peru's wealth has been looted : "Silva Ruete says there is nearly $2 billion in secret presidential decrees to purchase everything from tractors to bullets." A bad news story but with lots of details about the behind-the-scene dealings of Fujimori. Expect more info in coming months.

Thursday, December 28 - Peru election body to seek 2-4 week delay in vote: "Any delay in the elections would not mean there would be a delay in the July 28 date for transferring power to a new government, ONPE has said." Ferando Tuesta had already hinted that poor organization might require putting off the elections.

The Montesinos Wanted site was picked up by scores of newspapers and websites and now the site is bogged down with traffic. Since not much else seems to be coming out of Peru, I wanted to mention a translation of a poem by Mirko Lauer that I have just put on the site. To the Dead in the Bay of Lima is a really evocative piece about Peruvian history and how it lives with us, without falling into the traps of nationalism and nostalgia. Great stuff.

Wednesday, December 27

WAMU : Public Interest With Kojo Nnamdi interviews Hernando de Soto, the "inventor" of the informal (underground) economy. I nearly choked when Hernando said that Peru was a "former Communist country." Since Hernando is once again a hot commodity because of his book The Magic of Capitalism: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else, I am going to throw out some additional links that will be added to Peruvian Graffiti Politics page. The Spanish edition of his book has been published in Lima and sold out within a week. See Caretas. He had an interview in Reason Online and a recent conference, The Missing Ingredient. A more critical view of Hernando's ideas can be found in Fine Words, Flawed Ideas by Madeleine Bunting. His center, Institute of Freedom and Democracy (ILD), is online.

Peru reaches accord with IMF over economic targets: "'With this accord reached with the IMF, it's evident we are giving signs that the economy is being managed adequately,' interim Economy Minister Javier Silva Ruete was cited as saying in Gestion newspaper Saturday." More info about the IMF deal and economic performance.

Peru prosecutor asks for pretrial extension in Lori Berenson case: "An official in the office of Judge Romel Borda, who declined to give his name, confirmed that Borda was evaluating whether to grant the extension to hear additional expert testimony."

Vladimiro Lenin Montesinos's Wanted Poster Web-Style. You can get additional information on the Montesinos page on this site.

Tuesday, December 26

I have added several translations to the Peruvian poets section, including Blanca Varela and Marco Martos.

Fujimori speaks out on resignation -- Ex-Peru president says decision to quit while in Tokyo was correct : "This [new anti-corruption legislation] is simply a revival of the Inquisition that occurred during the Middle Ages at the beginning of the new millennium." (This piece looks like an opnion column that Fujimori wrote)

Peruvians hoping for a new era: a journalistic staple -- a wrapup of the events of the past year and a look to the future. For the record, here is the Miami Herald's roundup page of Peru stories -- and the roundup page of the Washington Post.

For Peru's Montesinos, a woman at every hideaway pulls together threads from several stories to demonstrate the spymaster's sex appeal.

Sunday, December 24

The Drug Quagmire - Your basic drug story

U.S. Braces for Rise in Peru Coca - just for the record.

IMF Accords Promising for Peru - story sounds as if Peru got a break and may not have to make drastic cuts in the government budget.

Saturday, December 23

Peru's prime minister abandons hope of obtaining Fujimori's extradition - Merry Christmas, Fujimori.

Friday, December 22

Peru Congress Grants Amnesty to Military Mutineers - not the best gesture for military discipline, but these are unusual circumstances.

The National Democratic Institute/Carter Center released their Joint Final Report on Peru's 2000 Elections in Adobe Acrobat (pdf) format. 43 pages of detailed analysis. Pretty damning.

Thursday, December 21

The Year the Generals Came Back: Newsweek's Joseph Contreras warns about the military lurking on the fringes of Latin American politics.

Ayacucho Weavers Get Internet Marketing gives a clear idea about global markets. The article also deals with craftspeople in Indonesia, Cuba and Mexico.

Road Meets Ruins/Stanford team seeks compromise before Peru paves over relics highlights the threat to the Chavin de Hunatar archaeological site. My friend, Luis Lumbreras, is mentioned.

Wednesday, December 20

According to the latest Lima opinion polls by UNI, the results in the presidential race are as follows:

- Alejandro Toledo........... 28.9%
- Fernando Olivera............ 7.9%
- Jorge Santistévan........... 7.9%
- Francisco Tudela............ 6.2%
- Carlos Boloña................ 2.6%
- Ninguno........................19.9%

I assume that the remaining 26.9% are for Others or Don't Know.

You may have noticed that a news item about a school district showed up in our news sidebar. It came from Pittsburgh PA. Because the criteria for news selection is Peru, we may also get articles about Peru, Indiana and Peru, PA.

Peru Section of the Latin American Studies Association has a lot to recommend. Its links page is comprehensive; it has a selection of online academic publications; and it has started a commentary page with a note from James D. Rudolph in Lima for the Fujimori-Montesinos shakeout.

Tuesday, December 19

From Evil to the Saintly As a change of pace, Founder Consecrates Sodalitium Christianae Vitae to Virgin Mary. Luis Fernando Figari has played a key role in revitalizing the traditionalist/conservative wing of the Catholic Church. Along with Opus Dei, he challenged the Liberation Theology currents, inspired by Gustavo Gutierrez, that were so strong in Peru. Some would even say that the right wing won.

The Hunt for Montesinos Anthony Faiola reports from Lima, Where, O Where Can He Be? ( in an update of the search for Montesinos. Also look at the online chat with Gustavo Gorriti, the journalist who has specialized in uncovering Montesinos's shady past and present. For background, the Post's groundbreaking story of Montesino's connection with the CIA. Karen De Young covered Latin America for the Post in the late 1970s. She was the foreign news editor when I wrote my first stories for the Post in the mid-1980s. This piece really shows the loyalty that the CIA had for Montesinos.

Monday, December 18

For the record, this is The Lori Berenson Papers by Jonathan Levi and Liz Mineo. It's a first-class job. The CBS interview of Lori Berenson. I have heard from several sources that the Berenson case is just not neat, for either the government or Lori's defense. Ramsey Clark, The Nation editors and the authors mix it up in the aftermath. Ramsey accuses Levi and Mineo of being stooges for Fujimori.

I have decided to add the news feed to this page as well as on La Lista. It's a logical move because this page is just as news-centered. In addition, as always, I will be adding links to other news items and web pages that cross my path. I also changed the name of the page to a more Peruvian title. You can see my comments below.

Miami Herald: Peruvian exile reclaims TV station is about Baruch Ivcher, the TV station owner who was run out of the country by Fujimori. He has now returned to Peru.

Peru opposition at a loss, sans Fuji underscores the divided political forces and the proliferation of presidential candidates. Toledo is losing steam, in part due to his lacklustre performance in the past six months.

Sunday, December 17

New York Divided About Lori - In the past couple of days, NY newspapers have taken opposing views on the fate of Lori Berenson in the Peruvian justice system. The Post put out a hard-line editorial that basically said that the little leftie brat got what she deserved. The Daily News took a more sympathetic line, interviewing her parents who fear that she will get lost in Peru's political upheaval and end up with a 20-year sentence. She's already spent five years in prison.

Saturday, December 16

For those preparing for the new political era in Peru, here's some required reading, Alan Garcia's web sites. Yes, websites in plural. Alan Garcia and his latest book La Decada Infame in Spanish and an Interview by Sally Bowen that allegedly appeared in the Financial Times and the Peru Report. It's amusing that he uses freebie home page services (Geocities and WorldNet) and does not take out a domain in his name. APRA does not seem to have a website either.

And who is J. Menard? His alterego?

I've added another page of 4DOS aliases, thanks to feedback from another user.

Friday, December 15

Tracing the source of the Amazon: this seems more like a PR excursion for National Geographic. It's a story that a geographer would love.

I have a news feed about Peru on La Lista. It will show the latest 10 news stories. The service is provided by Moreover, which I have been using for nearly two years now on other sites. It's an excellent product. I also added a page on academic research. I also made several additions to other pages in Peruvian Graffiti.

Thursday, December 14

I had lunch with Peter Klaren, professor at George Washington University. His book, Peru: Society and Nationhood in the Andes (Oxford, 1999). Obviously, we talked a lot about Peru, what with 60 years of experience with the country and the society between us. We both married Peruvians. It's a great time to come out with a panoramic view of Peruvian history, because you can't understand Peru's plight without a heavy dosis of hindsight. Check out his site or go straight to Oxford and order online.

Monday, December 11

Who are these people that come to my site because they are looking for Peru porno? They keep showing up on the search logs. What is "Peru porno?" Amazon tribeswomen in grass skirts? Inca concubines? Makes you wonder.

Men with two countries The Japanese government has now acknowledged that Alberto Fujimori has Japanese citizenship. His old rival, novelist Mario Vargas Llosa, has Spanish citizenship. Is there a connection?

Disaster Will the Washington Redskins ever beat the Dallas Cowboys?

Inquisitive I am full of questions today.

Sunday, December 10

Old Latin American hand Mick Andersen, a friend from my days at the Peruvian Times in Lima, has just brought out a second edition of Dossier Secreto, El Mito de la "Guerra Sucia" in Editorial Sudamericana in Buenos Aires. Mick has updated the book, originally published as Dossier Secreto : Argentina's Desaparecidos and the Myth of the 'Dirty War' in 1979 and currently out of print in English, and reveals his primary source of information, former FBI agent Robert Scherrer, for all the scoop on the betrayal within the Montoneros and the Argentinian army's inside track on the guerrillas's plans. You can get it at the editorial website, or in the United States and Canada by e-mailing Libreria del Lobo.

Saturday, December 9

Yesterday I went to a seminar at the George Washington University (GWU) Andean Seminar on Culture and Politics, which had Jeremy Bigwood talk about "The Drug War's Fungal 'Solution' in Latin America." Really interesting stuff once we got past the opening bio-chemistry introduction. He told how a secret (CIA) program developed the use of toxic fungi -- we'll skip the Latin names here -- to attack coca plants. In the past year, the US has tried to convince Colombia to start testing the fungi to see if it's useful in the War against Drugs.

Bigwood pointed out that this use of biological warfare is opening a Pandora's Box because the fungi does not only attack coca plants, but all other flora. It is also highly toxic to human beings and little testing has been done to evaluate the environmental impact. Bigwood was very compelling in his explanation of how dangerous it is.

Bigwood also made it clear that there are commercial interests that are pushing this option, both in Congress and the Executive. The regional governments may be caught unprepared to evaluate an issue of such scientific and environmental complexity.

A few points. The world cocaine market is already destroying wide areas of the Amazon foothills in Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. It is an environmental disaster of huge proportions. Coca is not an environmentally friendly plant when grown in essentially mono-crop systems on steep slopes without tree cover. But using toxic fungi to erradicate coca (perhaps, the whole species) may worsen the situation, with unforeseeable consequences. Fungi are very robust and mutate rapidly so it could be the equivlaent on unleashing the plague.

To state the obvious, the drug issue is like a huge black hole whose gravitational pull affects practically everything in the Andean region, from plant life to high finance.

For more information, check the "WOLA’s concerns regarding use of Fusarium to fight drugs in Colombia" for one perspective on the issue. I will try to put together a set of links as an introduction to the drug war on La Lista.

Friday, December 8

I am a sucker for Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol." I will always shed a tear for Tiny Tim and glow with Scrooge waking up on Christmas morning. I can still throw any remake of the story, no matter how trite. I've never read the story; I'll have to do something about that.

Thursday, December 7

The floodgates are opening on the hidden stories of the past decade in Peru. The Washington Post published 'Superman' Meets Shining Path: Story of a CIA Success about the CIA's involvement in Abimael's capture in 1992. It also reveals the counterproductive role of Montesinos in the search for the Sendero leader. This is a delicious story because it taps U.S. State Department and CIA sources, as well as Peruvian police involved in the capture.The real surprise for me was Benedicto Jimenez, the DINCOTE operative who headed up the special team. Police Gen. Antonio Ketin Vidal, now Interior Minister and a national hero, was actually a late addition to the team.

On the economic front, Peru starts to pay the piper for Fujimori's public spending spree that was meant to influence the electorate so he could win the presidency for a third time and the collapse of investment during the political backlash. Peru aims to cut spending

Wednesday, December 6

An interesting article about the Nasca lines -- "Researchers read
between Peru’s mysterious lines: Did ancient patterns point to underground water sources?" More info about the University of Massachusetts project. There is a Discover magazine article, but it is not online. I also added two links to good sites about in Incas to La Lista

I added a bunch of links for stock photograph sites on the Web Development Resources page, mainly grabbed from Photos go a long way to giving a professional look to a site. Also see Jose Clark's Photography: Worth a Thousand?

Tuesday, December 5

I am reading Neal Stephenson's In the Beginning Was the Command Line. Facscinating reading about the evolution of computing and the cultural shift behind it. It ties in with my interest in 4DOS/Take Command. You can get a copy of the text at Stephenson's site. Expect to see more on my 4DOS page.

Monday, December 4

Alfonso Barrantes, the former mayor of Lima and left wing presidential candiate, died this weekend. He was a major political figure of the 1980s. He brought the look of a cholo serrano onto the political stage. I met him in 1978 when I used to drink expresos in the same cafe as he did, on Plaza San Martin. He was a popular mayor and implemented programs, like the Glass of Milk initiative, that have become stables of welfare/grassroots efforts in the shantytowns and provinces since then. He never recovered his bearings after Alan Garcia squashed him in the 1986 municipal elections to get Jorge del Castillo elected. His other problem was that United Left's internal contradictions had predestined it for self-destruction.

The new cabinet looks like a political flashback LA Times: aside from Paniagua and Perez del Cuellar, I know Diego Garcia Sayan (Justice - human rights lawyer and recently advisor to Alfredo Toledo), Susana Villaran (Women - worked in the Glass of Milk program under Barrantes, a follower of Liberation Theologist Gustavo Gutierrez), Javier Silva Ruete (Economy and Finance - former finance minister who was villified in 1978-80 for being a puppet of the IMF).

Sunday, December 3

The Peruvian congress has lifted the law that prohibited politicians with pending criminal charges from running for political office. That means that former president Alan Garcia is headed back to Peru and will, in all likelihood, be sitting in Congress next year. Get ready to rumble! For those with a short memory, Garcia had a catastrophic effect on Peru, leaving it in a shambles in 1990.

I added a timeline for the decade-long reign of Alberto Fujimori. It's still tentative and will be filled out soon. I have also been doing updating on other pages.

Saturday, December 2

I have updated the page on 4DOS and Take Command (JP Software products) with new links to utilties and archive sites. I have just noticed that this page is among the most popular on the site, which may not be saying a lot, but it does encourage me to keep it updated.

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