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Tuesday, January 30

Miami Herald - Accused aide of Peru spy master held in Miami: "The FBI was first alerted to Venero earlier this month when Venero's $15 million account showed up on a routine check of required bank reports, said Frank Figliuzzi, assistant special agent in charge for the FBI in Miami." Also see an NaplesNews / AP story,

Financial Times - Peru set to show 2001 surplus
: "Peru is expected to show its first trade surplus in a decade this year, an achievement which the central bank on Monday attributed to lower imports amid dwindling domestic demand for goods." More good/bad news on the economic front. Another confirmation that the Peruvian economy is sputtering.

Yahoo / Associated Press - Peru Videos Show Alleged Corruption: "Many of Peru's powerful who had dealings with Montesinos are reported to be frantically maneuvering behind the scenes, offering top dollar, to retrieve incriminating tapes they appear in. The tapes are now under review in the courts." The number of tapes has apparently gone up to 2,400 from 700, guaranteeing that this soap opera will last for years.

Monday, January 29

I've watched all the episodes of Jazz, except for the finale (this Wednesday). It's amazing, moving. Ken Burns benefited from having a phenomenal sound track (naturally) and eloquent interlocutors, Wynton Marsalis to name just one, who can open the door to the intimacy of the music.

I had never realized how jazz had penetrated my persona, how it evoked so much memory and feelings. How the music had intertwined with my life without even realizing it, without ever considering myself a jazz fan.

Over the past few years, I had come to realize that I had become completely alienated by most pop and rock and roll. What I've liked about rock is when it is infected with jazz. Jazz is so much more multi-dimensional. It resonates in the mind, the body and the soul. It goes beyond these flimsy words that I'm wasting. - Ex-President Garcia, Who Made Mess of Peru, Returns: "He will run against as many as 16 other presidential candidates and is not expected to win. But Garcia's real goal is to reestablish himself politically in Peru, an unthinkable prospect just a few months ago. Garcia will soon be able to lead the opposition against the next government and, very likely, run for the presidency the next time around." An eyewitness account of Garcia's presidency and a view of his current prospects.

Guardian Unlimited - Exile wants to lead Peru, again: "He promised there would be cheap credit for farmers, railed against the excessive phone and electricity bills ordinary people have to pay to the privatised utility companies, and called the tax authority, the Sunat, a "Nazi police"." For the record, Garcia also used the Peruvian IRS to harasss and intimidate his opponents. It's a "right" of all incumbent governments.

Christian Science Monitor - Look beyond Mexico, Mr. Bush: "Obviously, the regional challenges are gigantic. Even if the US wants to play Big Brother with the countries in its "backyard," Latin American problems deserve - and need - Latin American solutions." A first inquiry about what the Bush Admiunistration will mean to Latin America. The author, Ernesto García Calderón, is a Peruvian journalist.

Christian Science Monitor - Peru's riveting candid camera of corruption: "The picture emerging confirms what many here long suspected: that Montesinos effectively ran the country, doling out judgeships and other government posts and controlling the courts, the military, and much of the media." A portrayal of the broader implications of the videotape scandal.

Sunday, January 28

New Jersey Online - Peru's interim president urges release of ex-spy chief's videos: "Releasing all the videotapes would dispel rumors that the government is withholding information as it prepares for April 8 elections, acting President Valentin Paniagua told reporters Saturday." On the other hand, it will just create more chaos in the already upside-down political arena.

Yahoo / Reuters Montesinos Associate Arrested in Miami: "The FBI said Venero-Garido, 54, deposited about $15 million into a Miami bank account several weeks ago and recently withdrew portions of it. The account has been frozen by order of a U.S. court." A break in the search for Montesinos.

Saturday, January 27

TelecomClick / Reuters- Peru vows prudence but seeks IMF loan just in case: "Peru's interim government on Saturday promised prudent fiscal management this year and said it was confident it could raise cash to service its debt -- but asked the IMF for a $166 million stand-by loan just in case." Details on the IMF targets and performance.

ABCNews / Reuters - Peru Awaits 'Comeback Candidate' Garcia: "Election candidate Lourdes Flores recalled that bread cost 3.74 intis, Peru"s old currency, in 1985 but soared to 288,540 intis in 1990. She thew down the gauntlet to her rival." Alan is expected back in Peru this evening.

EurekAlert - Core samples reveal evidence for a wet Ice-Age South America: "Using all this evidence, the researchers found that Titicaca's environs were wet not only during the last glacial age, which began 25,000 years ago and lasted until 15,000 years ago, but also during later cold periods in the North Atlantic Ocean region. Conversely, warm spells in the North Atlantic were marked by drought on the Altiplano." This is highly significant research about climate in the Andes. Weather has so much impact on living standards there because it leads to cycles of impoverishment for the campesinos.

Friday, January 26

Excite / Reuters - Courts move against top Peru banker in spy video: No quote here because it's the same story that we've been seeing these past few weeks, but with a different face. Dionisio Romero, head of Peru's largest private bank, Banco de Credito and the Romero Group conglomerate, is linked to Montesinos.

Yahoo / Reuters - France Bitter Over Peru Spy Pressure in Mine Case: "On Wednesday, courts released a video secretly filmed by former head of intelligence Vladimiro Montesinos in 1998 showing the now-fugitive telling Supreme Court judge Jaime Beltran that a vote in favor of Newmont Mining was needed due to U.S. diplomatic pressure." More spillover - this time into international and corporate affairs.

News.Com.Au / AFP -Fujimori's ex wife to sue him: "We have privileged information and very precise details about the existence of those accounts, which amount to $US40 million to $US50 million ($A74.03 million to $A92.54 million)," Bautista (Susana Higuchi's lawyer) said. The family feud continues to spill over into the political fray. She wants a cool million dollars from Fujimori's "secret" accounts.

Thursday, January 25

Los Angeles Times - Ex-Spy Chief's Family Is Feeling the Heat of Peru's Investigation: "Becerra's description of her marriage could be seen as either disingenuous or poignant. She said her husband moved into the headquarters of the National Intelligence Service, or SIN, 10 years ago and saw his family only a few times a year." A look into the troubles of Montesinos's family.

Tuesday, January 23

Yahoo/Reuters - Peru Lawmaker Probing Montesinos Quits After Video: "Judge Saul Pena... said... the video showed congressman Ernesto Gamarra accepting money from an unidentified person." Many other politicians must be concerned about what other videos will show up. Gamarra, formerly of Accion Popular, always seemed to be an opportunist. Press - Pope names 37 cardinals: "The Peruvian archbishop (Lima's Archbishop Juan Luis Cipriani Thorne) is a member of Opus Dei, a secretive, conservative order favored by the pope." Already big news in Lima, the move confirms the rightward shift of the Catholic church in Peru.

Freedom Forum/Associated Press - 2 Peruvian news execs sought in suspected bribery scheme: "Calmell del Solar Diaz also said... that no Peruvian newspaper was neutral, and none was objective. "All take stands," he said. "Everyone backs someone."" The quote was from a a Freedom Forum's conference in Lima last year. Ironic that it would come back to haunt Calmell del Solar who is accused of being bought off by Montesinos during the campaign.

FoxNews/Associated Press - Coca output falls again in Peru: "Cultivation fell 12 percent last year, according to statistics released by the White House drug policy office." Another victory for the War on Drugs. Certainly, the coca-growing expansion in Colombia means that Peru and Bolivia are less attractive as suppliers -- why fly hundreds of miles when you have a stable, protected crop at home.

Sunday, January 21

Chicago Sun Times - Attack on drug crops a failure for centuries: "A 1994 report commissioned by the U.S. government from RAND, the American public-policy institution, found that in reducing cocaine use, treatment of heavy cocaine users is 10 times more cost-efficient than interdicting smuggled drugs and 23 times more cost-efficient than crop eradication." Another installment from the Ottawa Citizen critical of US anti-drug policy.

CNN - Peru arrests relatives and generals close to fugitive former spy chief: "Since the investigation was launched on Montesinos' activities, 65 people have arrested and indicted on a variety of corruption charges, according to prosecutor Jose Ugaz." What is surprising is that the generals are going to jail. Normally, a ranking officer will be under special military custody and confined to a base. If convicted, he usually ended up serving his term in a special prison (on a military base) with many privileges not received by ordinary convicts. The Montesinos gang is not receiving special treatment.

Saturday, January 20 - How Can the Law Aid the Poor?: "After all, he argues, the people involved know who owns what and where the borders are. To demonstrate, he recounts a story of a walk through an Indonesian town. As he passed from one piece of apparently unmarked property to another, a different dog would bark. If the dogs know who owns what, local bureaucrats shouldn't be able to argue that such knowledge is beyond them." The Hernando de Soto PR rolls on worldwide. Meanwhile, his presidential campaign in Peru seems to be stumbling since he does not appear to have mustered enough "formal" signatures to qualify.

New Jersey Online/Associated Press - Warrants issued for newspaper, TV chiefs linked to Peru's ex-spy chief : "Until a few years ago, Expreso enjoyed a reputation for serious reporting. But last year, during Fujimori's re-election bid, Expreso and Channel 10 led smear campaigns against his opposition." Montesinos's videotapes are opening a window on the corruption of Peruvian political system.

iWon/Reuters - Cleanliness Is Next to Godliness: "Lima's seven million inhabitants are renowned for their capacity to treat the city's streets as an open garbage dump. It is not uncommon to see Peruvians sometimes openly urinating on a sidewalk." Paintings of Jesus and the Virgin Mary on walls are unlikely to change sanitary habits. People will just find another corner to pee. Maybe they should paint some urinals or require all public establishments to provide free access to their restrooms.

Thursday, January 18

I spent a lot of time this evening clearning up the hidden parts of my web pages. I've now learned that it's better to get it right the first time. My advice is to learn about how to write meta tags for the description and keywords and the page title, especially page title. Be careful about using the same titles and metatags on several pages because they may look as if the pages look the same to a dumb compputer. Otherwise, you can get blackballed by some search engines.

San Francisco Chronicle - A Rebirth in Peru/Ex-President Garcia takes another crack at the nation's leadership: "The kickback Garcia is accused of taking looks like child's play to many Peruvians compared with the nearly $100 million already discovered in overseas bank accounts held by Montesinos and Fujimori's closest collaborators."

A former client, the Federation of American Scientists, decided to take the CyberStrategy site offline. That's their perrogative, but I still feel that much of the material is still useful to a broader public so I am posting it on my site. Web Tips and Technologies is where you will find the material. It covers a lot of things that I have learned over the past two years and may help those who want to get serious about the Web.

Wednesday, January 17

Yahoo News/Reuters Clinton Urges Peru to Close Berenson Case: "President Clinton spoke by telephone with Peru's interim leader Valentin Paniagua to urge the government to bring an end to the case of Lori Berenson..." Bill scores some brownie points in the States for a humanitarian initiative. Valentin responds that he can't meddle with the courts.

Outside Online - The Teachings of Gerineldo "Moises" Chavez (or The Rainforest Is a Great Place to Save, But I Wouldn't Want to Live There): "My survival ordeal was an offering of Amazonia Expeditions' Tahuayo Lodge, a remote outpost on the Tahuayo River, an Amazon tributary about 60 water miles south of Iquitos." An extended article. A quick search of Outside Online found 16 articles about Peru so it is definitely worth exploring if you're interested in outdoors adventures. - Peru gives support to U.S.-backed Plan Colombia: "But interim Prime Minister Javier Perez de Cuellar said Peru was worried an upsurge in violence between security forces and leftist rebels could spill into Peru, which shares a porous 1,000 mile-long (1,600 km) Amazon River border with Colombia." Drug-related violence has been "spilling over" in the Andean Region for over 20 years.

Tuesday, January 16

Colombia collapsing under drug war fiasco: "Victory over the cartels did not stop the illegal trafficking of drugs. Nor did it stop the corruption and violence drug trafficking breeds. It only made these plagues worse." Although not about Peru, this article is part of a growing crop of news items and oped pieces that challenge the validity of the U.S. War on Drugs. The article originally appeared in the Ottawa Citizen. Those Canadians, they sure know how to be heretics.

Monday, January 15

Official: Montesinos Planned Coup: "Peru's jailed former armed forces commander has confirmed that fugitive ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos tried to persuade top military commanders last September to overthrow then-President Alberto Fujimori and install Peru's finance minister in his place." Confirmation that things were pretty hairy when Fujimori resigned from the presidency in September.

Whirlwind sweeps parents of U.S. prisoner in Peru: Update on the Lori Berensen case from the parent's point of view.

Sunday, January 14

Fujimori Invites Investigators to Question Him: A televised interview in Tokyo gives Fujimori a chance repeat his innocence and threaten to come back. Not much new.

Alan Garcia Re-Enters Peru Politics: ``Alan Garcia is a snake charmer,'' political scientist Fernando Rospigliosi said. ``One has to look not at his words, what he says, what he promises, but at what he did. What he did was form a corrupt and incompetent government and make a disaster of the country. Garcia cannot change those facts.'' A weekend feature that reworks news from the week, but has good quotes and background.

Saturday, January 13

Garcia Plans To Seek Peru Presidency: "Instead of espousing socialist theories and direct intervention by the state, he speaks of trickle-down economics and investment in education. Gone are his calls for unilateral freezes on foreign debt payments. " Has Garcia changed his ways?

Q&A: Mario Vargas Llosa: "This [Fujimori-Montesinos partnership] is the first, let’s say, postmodern, very sophisticated, technological dictatorship, a dictatorship that has used technology in a way that had not been seen before in Latin America." The novelist looks back on the decade since he ran for the presidency against Fujimori. He avoids an "I told you so" tone. Made me want to read one of his novels, which is something I haven't done in 15 years.

Solving an Amazon Mystery: "These are human feelings, and here we were supported by human technology--a connection of two worlds, the natural world and the technological. And the product was a map," said Andrew Pietowski. An interesting feature story about searching for the source of the Amazon river. The expedition leaders were two Polish explorers who first came to Peru in 1981 to go down the Colca River. It was an important breakthrough for turning the Colca Canyon into a tourist attraction.

Friday, January 12

Peru to Recognize Human Rights Court: "The 40 -35 vote, with four abstentions, came shortly after midnight following nearly four hours of debate. Past members of former President Alberto Fujimori's ruling bloc opposed the legislation." Returning to the fold.

Two Ministers Quit to Show Neutrality in Peru Poll: "In normal circumstances, it would not be sufficient to justify my resignation if this was about a normal electoral process in a country with a record of organizing clean elections,'' Inchaustegui said. He had been a minister under Belaunde and still belongs to Accion Popular.

Has Peru produced the next Pavarotti?: "When Juan Diego Florez finished his solo recital at St John's Smith Square, something akin to pandemonium broke out, as everyone rose to their feet clamouring for more." Wow! This artilce is gushing with praise about a young Peruvian talent now singing in Great Britain.

Thursday, January 11

Putumayo World Music specializes in Third World Music, including Afro-Peruvian singers Susana Baca and Eva Ayllón.

I found an interesting service, IncaBook/Biblioteca Inca - Instituto de Cultura Andina. They say that they have 70,000 books and 2,500 magazines from the Andean region and can do bibliographic research for you.You may subscribe to the service for $10 a year. They have offices in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Peru. They also offer research in Chile.

Wednesday, January 10

Third World pioneers use Net to promote business: "Panduro's family-owned company sells tropical fish and other products from the Amazon jungle. His Web connections already have netted him a $5,000 contract with a German buyer for wild pigskin to make gloves." The example of a Peruvian businessman complements others from elsewhere in the Third World.

Montesinos identified as plastic surgery patient, reports Caracas newspaper : "Despite official denials that Montesinos entered the country, photographer Hugo Ramos positively identified the man wanted for torture and money laundering in Peru from a picture issued by Peru's Interior Ministry." A Montesinos sighting.

Tuesday, January 9

Last night I watched the first part of Ken Burn's Jazz on public television. It was breath-taking. What's really going to be interesting is how he can sustain it over 10 episodes.

Just as I mentioned in a previous post, former president Alan Garcia is headed back to Peru and will be running for the presidency for his party, the American Popular Revolutionary Alliance or APRA. The other noteworthy name is that Hernando de Soto, the underground economy guru, who will also be running. The only Fujimori ally that is running is former finance minister Carlos Bolona. There are 17 candidate slates in all. Ten were from political groups that were already registered with the National Elections Board (JNE) while seven will have to wait to see if their signature lists pass inspection. The next deadline is for legislative candidate lists, which is January 23.

Garcia's probable candidacy has got me going. I have started a special section on the Garcia presidency (1985-90). least anyone forget the mess that he made of Peru. Garcia to stand in Peru election: "Promising to decentralise the political system and create jobs, the former president is planning to return to Peru for the first time in eight years." This man is dangerous because he is so politically astute, heads above anyone else on the Peruvina politcal scene. This election campaign will probably serve to strip away the external layers of distrust. Then, when the new governmnet starts bumbling, Garcia can work his magic again.

Monday, January 8

TIM to Launch Lima Cell Phone Service in Jan. : This Italian company will have to fight hard to even come close to Telefonica del Peru. For a more detailed look at Peru's telephone and Internet structure, look at this special report on the International Telecommunications Union site. The article is about IP Telephony and the Internet (For those not in the know, it means voice over the Internet). There is also a Word version of the article. Note: you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the file.

Sunday, January 7

I have brought together about six Peru-related links to articles in Discovering Archaeology. I have also done a major update of the 4DOS/Take Command page. Handmade Gifts & Folk Art provides Peruvian craft items, like Sarhua tablet paintings, arpilleras (patchwork tapestries) and retablo mirrors. I really like the site and its approach. I don't endorse commercial products, but the site is worth exploring for the information about the crafts and communities that make them.

Saturday, January 6

A Little Bodega Beyond Beltway: "Born in Peru, he was sent by his father to the United States about 20 years ago to live with relatives and find better work. "I'm glad I left," he said." Specialty stores serving the Latin community on the outskirts of Washington.

Scientists urge preparing for El Niño: "Glantz cited Peru — where El Niño can mean inundating rains — as a good example of what was done right. The government formed a task force to coordinate activities and obtained money from the World Bank to take actions such as cleaning up rivers and canals and shoring up bridges and roads." This article is from October, 2000, but it points to a UN report on El Nino. You should also check out the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's El Nino site. Its links page and educational page are full of resources. I will be adding this info to La Lista and the Geography pages.

Fixing the World, One Roof at a Time (int'l edition): "Today, the original pilot project has expanded into a self-supporting network of 40 privately run for-profit companies that provide direct employment for more than 500 people and indirect jobs to an additional 1,000. They have roofed more than 8,000 houses and around 100 schools and churches, as well as luxury beach houses along the Pacific coast." This story is part of a larger special on fighting poverty in Latin America.

Friday, January 5

Urgency of US Support for Peru's Elections: "It is important for Peru to have all the logistical, political and moral support needed to make this transition," said a Republican aide in the House of Representatives who asked not to be identified. The aide acknowledged that the current transition in Washington has left many things "up in the air," but added that aid to Peru cannot wait. (Comment - We're talking about $11 million. The problem is not just that Peru is slow in preparing for the voting. The US has been slow in providing promised funding, probably because of the States's own voting troubles.

Peru examines misappropriation of privatisation funds
: "Peru is to investigate the possible misappropriation of $265mn that the country's privatisation commission paid out to advisors during former president Alberto Fujimori's 10 years in power." The article points out that a small share of these funds might have gotten into the hands of Montesinos and friends.

Peru examines misappropriation of privatisation funds
: "Peru is to investigate the possible misappropriation of $265mn that the country's privatisation commission paid out to advisors during former president Alberto Fujimori's 10 years in power." The article points out that a small share of these funds might have gotten into the hands of Montesinos and friends.

Peru's growing social activism: "We gradually realized we were being manipulated with a kilo of lentils," says the activist Vilma Ortega, a former supporter of Fujimori in Ayacucho. What this story missed was that the current renewal of activism is actually building on decades (centuries) of legacy that Sendero/Fujimori/military forced into hybernation.

Wednesday, January 3

I'm having problems posting via Blogger because their service is swamped. I'd like to donate to their equipment fund but my daughter crashed the car so I can't spare a dime.

Tuesday, January 2

Women making history today | - "With plans moving forward with help from a US-Peru Internet venture for the home-baked-cake business to move into other countries, ovens across Latin America could soon be baking cakes ordered a continent away over the Internet." Check out the website for TortasPeru. This is an eye-opener.

As Machu Picchu Gets Trashed...A Town Fights to Save Its Heritage - "The incident brought to a head growing concern about how mismanagement and the race for dollars threaten to damage the mountain citadel and the fragile, 32,000-hectare natural reserve around it." An old story, but I thought it was worth bookmarking.

The Incas got good at brain surgery - "They used local plants as hemostatic agents, or antiseptics. Other drugs, such as quinine, were used for fever and malaria. To cover the opening in the patients' skulls, they used gold and silver."

Monday, January 1

I have made a major upgrade to the Sendero page, with many more links to outside sources. I also cleaned up Rural Development Caught in the Crossfire.

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