Sunday, April 29
New York Times Missionaries: On a Frontier of Danger
: "Today, the byword for American missionaries in the region appears to be 'cultural sensitivity,' said Mr. Coote. Particularly among Protestants, 'Christian anthropology' has developed, aimed at making proselytizing less intrusive — and more effective." I've met some really interesting missionaries in Peru, but it can also be a mixed bag because you can find all kinds of motivation.
Washington Post U.S. Took Risks In Aiding Peru's Anti-Drug Patrols
: "The Central Intelligence Agency, for instance, operates the Citation surveillance jets that flag suspicious planes for Peru's fighter jets. But U.S. officials have had virtually no involvement in on-site investigations of nearly 20 deaths resulting from the 38 incidents in which planes have been shot down or forced to land under Peru's policy of shooting drug planes out of the sky unless they surrender." Another excellent Post
article that explains some of the operational complications of US-Peruvian collaboration in the War against Drugs, including negotiations with Vladimiro Montesinos.
Saturday, April 28
The Guardian / AP Peru Drug Fight Scrutinized
: "But some drug policy analysts say that as long as Colombian traffickers can get enough coca from their country, there is little incentive to import more from Peru. U.S. officials estimate that less than 10 percent of Colombian cocaine is made from Peruvian coca." There are arguments for not reinstating the shootdown tactics in Peru.
Science News Online Peru Holds Oldest New World City
: "For radiocarbon dating, the researchers focused mainly on reed fibers from woven bags they found at the site. Caral's workers used the bags to carry rocks for building the mounds, the researchers say. The reeds, which live for about 1 year, provide highly specific age estimates of when the workers built the platforms." How the archaeologists were able to date the Caral settlements.
New York Times Inquiry on Peru Looks at a C.I.A. Contract
: "It is not clear whether Aviation Development, whose employees on the surveillance plane first identified the missionaries' plane as a potential drug flight, worked exclusively for the C.I.A. Phone calls to the company's office at Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery went unanswered this week, and calls to the home of its president, Lex Thistlethwaite, were not returned. The authorities at Maxwell have allowed the company to operate out of a remote hangar at the base since 1997. But even the officials responsible for handling private contractors said they knew almost nothing about Aviation Development or its activities." No comment.
New York Times Iquitos Journal: Simple, Devoted Lives on the Amazon
: "The tragedy has been a major embarrassment for the Peruvian military and has led to the suspension of United States-Peruvian antidrug operations. But it does not appear to have weakened the ardor of the five remaining American missionary families who troll the Amazon around Iquitos on their houseboats for weeks at a time, playing gospel music from loudspeakers like pied pipers playing for souls." The story shows what a special kind of world these missionaries are living in. There are others that are pursuing a different approach.
UMBRO.com Peru eye last World Cup spot
: "Chances to see Peru fighting for one of the four direct spots to go to Korea/Japan 2002 are minimal, though, as they sit seven points behind Colombia, the fifth-place holders. Considering that there are six games left in the road to the next World Cup, Peru might squeeze their way through to that fifth place, which provides a berth to a play-off with Oceania’s winner." Even the mere idea of Peru qualifying for the World Cup is a real stretch, but that's why the sport whips up such hope.
Friday, April 27
Miami Herald Peruvian colonel ordered plane attack
: "Valladares, the Peruvian colonel who reportedly ordered the shoot-down, was in command of the Sixth Territorial Region, based in Juanjuí, 350 miles northeast of Lima, in the absence of Lt. Gen. Juan Zuñiga, who was in Lima on official duties, the Peruvian officer briefed on the incident said." The media is starting to put names on the Peruvian personnel involved in the decision-making of the missionary plane shootdown.
Los Angeles Times Site in Peru Marks Oldest City in Americas
: "The city was built before corn was domesticated or pottery to store it in was developed--both of which were thought to be crucial to the development of civilizations." This early culture would have been vulnerable to climate shifts, like El Niño, because it relied on fishing. The investigators say that it was abandoned by 1500 B.C.
Yahoo / Reuters Peru Site Birthplace of Civilization in Americas
: "The site, still only partially excavated, and others in the Supe valley point to a remarkably advanced civilization for the time period, despite the fact that pottery had not yet been developed and no grains were grown for food." All these archaeology stories awaken old memories. Thirty years ago, I participated in a dig in Fundo Pando as part of my college studies.
Washington Post Peru May Harbor Americas' First City
: "Creamer explained that monumental architecture by its very nature indicates the presence of a large population and a hierarchical division of labor -- many people carry stones, while others supervise. Furthermore, the team found evidence that the people of Caral cultivated cotton and irrigated it with a canal dug from the Supe River. The proliferation of fish bones -- anchovies and sardines, for the most part -- suggests a barter economy with fishermen from the Pacific coast 14 miles away." More great info about this anciet city that no one could believe existed nearly five thousand years ago.
New York Times News Analysis: Intelligence Fallouts For Bush
: "Now, however, the threats to American national security are more varied than a monolithic Soviet threat, and so such programs face greater scrutiny. Both the surveillance flights off the Chinese coast and the air interdiction operations to fight drug traffickers have been suspended in the wake of the two incidents." The article discusses the policy implications of modern intelligence activities. Congress is going to weigh in.
Thursday, April 26
New York Times Archaeological Site in Peru Is Called Oldest City in Americas
: "'This site just consumed labor,' Dr. Haas said, and obviously had a lot to consume. Caral and nearby sites represented a flourishing, well- developed society, with enough food, other resources and organization to build these great mounds. 'There's a surplus at these sites,' Dr. Haas said, 'and it's not going into storage of foodstuffs. It's going into construction.'" An excellent article that explores some of the ramifications of this archaeological breakthrough. It's not gold or mummies, but it makes us rethink how human kind inhabited the Andes.
Washington Post Pilots Decry Missionary Downing
: "Many pilots associations pointed out that in the mid-1980s a United Nations agency, the International Civil Aviation Organization, made the shooting down of any civilian aircraft a violation of international law. It allowed just one exception: if a civilian plane is engaged in a military attack, such as an attempt to crash into a government facility." It's clear that in 1994 the Clinton Administration introduced an aberration of long-standing policy.
The Guardian / Associated Press Peruvian Candidate Pledges Revival
: "He (Alejandro Toledo) said he told a meeting of business executives in New York that guarantees are needed to ensure investors look upon Peru as a hospitable place to do business. Otherwise, he said, they will take their money elsewhere." One of Toledo's campaign strategies will be to convince the electorate that only he can keep open the financial flows. Garcia would cause an investor panic.
The Guardian Plane Raised From Amazon in Peru
: "A report by the private agenciaperu.com, broadcast Thursday on cable news station Canal N, cited unnamed Peruvian officials saying that a Peruvian air force colonel on the ground authorized the shoot-down even though the missionaries' plane was not flying a typical drug- smuggling route. The report also contended that a Peruvian fighter jet should have observed that the Cessna was carrying several people instead of just one as is typical of drug-smuggling flights." More pieces of the puzzle.
The Times Peru's first city thrived as Egypt built pyramids
: "New radio-carbon dating of plant fibres found at Caral, 120 miles north of Lima, has revealed that the ancient city was built as early as 2600BC, making it by far the oldest urban settlement yet identified in the Americas." Wow!
This discovery is going to shake up the whole time frame for human inhabitance in the Americas.
BBC Rebels in Peru end hunger strike
: "The jailed Peruvian rebel leader, Abimael Guzman, has ended a hunger strike he launched a week ago callng for a civilian retrial and better living conditions." Prison authorities did not touch on the issue of a new trial for the leader of the Shining Path movement.
Yahoo / Associated Press Witness Out in Berenson Trial
: "The wife of a top guerrilla leader refused to testify Tuesday during the trial of Lori Berenson, an American accused of collaborating with leftist rebels to raid Peru's Congress." Nancy Gilvonio did not want to testify from behind bar and without her lawyer present.
New York Times Tape Said to Show That U.S. Jet Tried to Warn Peruvians of Error
: "Still, officials caution that some of the facts surrounding the incident still must be clarified, including any attempt to reconcile the tapes with other reports that the survivors were strafed after they landed. An investigation of the incident by the government is expected, although it is still not clear who will lead that inquiry." It's official
- for the record, the NY Times
prints the chronology of the events according to the flight tape of the surveillance plane.
Washington Post Senate Committee Looking Into Drug Interdiction Pact With Peru (washingtonpost.com)
: "What the committee inquiry will discover, however, according to former CIA surveillance pilots who flew missions in Peru, as well as former and current U.S. officials involved with the policy, is that there is no such guidance, and that the agreement intentionally gives the Americans no authority over Peruvian shootdown decisions. 'We didn't want to be part of a decision process because we didn't want to assume responsibility when somebody made a decision to shoot down an airplane," one official said.'" More digging by the Post
's Karen de Young into the political recupercussions of the amazon shootdown.
iWon / Reuters Peru currency faces choppy ride amid regional woes
: "Also weighing on Peru's currency is the prospect of a second round runoff vote between centrist Alejandro Toledo and leftist ex-President Alan Garcia, now expected on June 3. Investors fear Toledo, a free market economist with leftist rhetoric, is impulsive and may not be able to meet his electoral promises. The prospect of a return of Garcia, whose 1985-90 government saddled Peru with a debt crisis, hyperinflation and daily food lines, rattles them too." More wringing of hands about what can come in the next couple of months.
The Guardian Peru Official Subject of Inquiry
: ""He (Congressman Waisman) said Hermoza was careful not to implicate anyone else, fueling speculation that he is angling to negotiate a lighter sentence in return for testimony, taking advantage of a new anti-corruption law. Waisman declined to give further details." Peruvian authorities are going to need an insider to spill the beans to get enough proof against the Montesinos mafia.
Philadelphia Inquirer Pilot talks about ordeal in Peru
: "Donaldson said he asked the tower why the fighter was there but did not get a response. He said he had been flying in the area for 12 years and was aware of drug interdiction programs there." A first hand account of being shot down in the Amazon.
Wednesday, April 25
New York Times U.S. Contends Peru Military Did Not Check Plane Number
: "But there has been disagreement between Peru and the United States over the precise sequence of events. Gen. Pedro Olazábal, spokesman for the Peruvian Air Force, would not answer questions about the operation today, saying, 'No one has all the information now of what really happened and no one can judge yet.'" The Peruvians had better start leaking information -- like the Americans are -- or else they're going to lose the PR war.
Los Angeles Times 'You Fly, You Die' Approach to Drug War Faces Scrutiny
: "And success in Peru came at a cost. As the regime of President Alberto Fujimori and his spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, drifted into authoritarianism in the 1990s, it retained U.S. support largely because of its anti-drug performance. That weakened Peruvian institutions, leading inevitably to the crisis that toppled both men, critics say. And the priorities of the drug war turned the U.S. national security apparatus into a shadow that hovers over most important events in Peru--including Friday's tragedy. " Collateral damage.
Washington Post Behind U.S.-Peru Pact, a History of Division
: "Anti-drug experts blame the "balloon effect" -- squeeze drug crops and exports in one place, and they simply pop up somewhere else. McCaffrey and others cite success in Peru and Bolivia as the primary reason for the massive increase in coca cultivation in Colombia -- nearly triple since 1995, to more than 360,000 acres. Peruvian production has decreased by two-thirds to about 90,000 acres over the same period." The broader issues of how air interdictions fits into the War on Drugs strategy are up for debate.
'Washington Post CIA Warning To Peruvian Jet Was Late
: "Despite the CIA crew's doubts, they did not attempt to approach the suspect plane so they could check its identity by reading its registration number themselves. Though formal procedures leave it to the Peruvian air force to verify the registration, U.S. officials said it has been standard practice during hundreds of surveillance missions for CIA personnel to try to obtain the number before an attack is launched." Congress starts to second-guess the actions of the CIA crew and Peruvian politics in the missionary plane incident.
Tuesday, April 24
Seattle Times Military corruption dogs U.S. drug-fighting efforts in Peru
: "Roger Rumrill, a Peruvian expert on the drug trade, called Friday's downing of the Cessna the 'most absurd accident in the world,' because more than 70 percent of the drug trade between Peru and Colombia now moves by sea along the Pacific Coast." The missionary plane incident may open up a broader debate about how effective the War on Drugs is.
Chicago Tribune Many in Peru Hold Little Sympathy in American's Retrial
: "Everyone sees this as a case of raw U.S. pressure and have paid little attention to whether due procedures have taken place," he said. "Most people hate the MRTA and also feel the lady is sufficiently wrapped up with the MRTA that the case is sufficiently clear--she is guilty." Words of Mirko Lauer, Peruvian journalist, columnist, poet and friend. The article deals with the harsh environment on Lori Berenson's court proceedings.
iWon / Reuters Peru economy "enviously" stable, forex no concern
: "The sol has hit historic lows since last week when it fell to 3.59 per dollar. The Central Bank says the unit has depreciated 1.6 percent so far this year." Finance Minister Silva Ruete explains the rise in Peru's country risk due to the general malaise in Latin America.
New York Times Peru Anti-Drug Patrol Reassessed After Downing of U.S. Plane
: "American and Peruvian officials said that they were planning a joint investigation and that investigators from the State Department, the American military and the C.I.A. would arrive in Lima in the next few days. 'Everyone who has responsibility will be at the table, and we'll take the necessary actions,' a State Department official said."
: Undecideds Key in Peru Vote
: "The national survey, conducted by independent pollsters Apoyo, showed Toledo with 39 percent, compared to 32 percent for Garcia. But 29 percent of voters are either undecided or plan to cast blank or spoiled ballots, the poll showed." Get ready to say "President Alan Garcia II." Apoyo is considered by many to be the most reliable poll.
Washington Post CIA Failed to Identify Plane Downed in Peru (washingtonpost.com)
: "The decision of the crew on the CIA's Citation surveillance plane not to approach the missionary aircraft and observe its registration number underscores one of the main challenges facing the anti-narcotics missions. While more than 30 smuggling flights have been intercepted in the last six years, far more suspicious planes have escaped over neighboring borders to Colombian and Brazilian airspace, where neither Peruvians nor Americans can follow." The blame gauge swings back the other way because the Americans did not check the missionaries' plane registration.
Monday, April 23
OneWorld Troubled Waters for US Mining Giant in Peru
: "But local authorities and organisations warned that this would divert water away from farms and three towns in the area. The diverted river water may also be contaminated by mine wastes and by the naturally acidic rocks and soil in the area, they said." Southern Peru Copper Corp. (SPCC) has long been the cash cow of the local economy of southern Peru so environmental issues are also part of a perennial negotiation to make SPCC leave more capital behind in the region. On the other hand, water rights on the Peruvian coast have always been a zero-sum game: if you get more water, it means less for me. It can be real touchy.
Washington Post U.S. Says CIA Crew Urged Against Attack on Plane (washingtonpost.com)
: "Although the American crew aboard the surveillance tracking plane tried to persuade the Peruvian liaison officer to intervene to slow the confrontation, they did not contact the fighter pilot directly, the U.S. official said. He said American personnel, by agreement, are not in the Peruvian chain of command and have no authority to direct Peruvian operations." The Post
taps its sources in the CIA to flesh out the account of the incident. Also see 'We're Being Shot At!' - Peruvian Jet Fired Without Warning, Missionary Survivors Told Friends
, which gives the missionaries' version.
New York Times U.S. Crew Says It Tried to Block Attack in Peru
: "The tracking aircraft, one of many United States planes that are used in a longstanding program to help Peru and Colombia choke off the cocaine trade, played a crucial role in spotting the missionaries' plane and raising suspicions about its flight, according to the American officials. But they insisted that Peru's military was in command and control of drug interceptions, despite considerable support from the American military, anti-drug and intelligence agencies." U.S. sources are starting to point a finger at the Peruvian military officer flying in the surveillance plane for not calling off the attack.
Sunday, April 22
Yahoo / Reuters CIA tried to stop Peru plane downing-official
: "The American crew asked Peruvian authorities to determine if the aircraft was on a proper flight plan, and the Peruvians on the ground said they were unable to locate the flight plan, the official said on condition of anonymity. Peruvian authorities decided to launch an intercept flight to investigate. The Peruvian officer on board the U.S. aircraft tried to communicate with the suspect plane in Spanish on three different frequencies, the intelligence official said." According to this version, the Peruvian air force jumped the gun.
Yahoo / Associated Press Relatives: Peru Plane Had Clearance
: "One plane, he said, kept firing as the survivors clung to the wreckage in the water. 'We've got hundreds of witnesses from the shore, Peruvians who were watching from the village of Huanta,' he said. The U.S. surveillance plane also witnessed the air attack, he added." There was apparently no radio contact between the Peruvian jet and the missionary pilot.
The Guardian / Associated Press Bush Discusses Peru Plane Crash
: "The Peruvian government has said the plane entered Peruvian air space from Brazil without filing a flight plan. Airport officials have said the plane did not have a flight plan when it set out from Islandia, next to Brazil's border, Friday morning, but one was established when the pilot made radio contact with Iquitos' airport control tower." The key question is whether the missionary plane had a flight plan registered with the Iquitos airport. It appears that some non-standard step were taken. But why couldn't the Peruvian jet establish radio contact with the missionary plane?
Saturday, April 21
Washington Post U.S. Notified Peru Of Suspect Plane (washingtonpost.com)
: "A former U.S. official with close knowledge of the agreement and how it has operated in recent years said the Peruvians have observed those procedures meticulously in the more than two-dozen shootdowns since 1995, most of which were recorded on a sophisticated version of video tape by the U.S. surveillance planes. The Peruvian A-37s, he said, have no air-to-air radar and thus are "flying blind" until the U.S. surveillance aircraft directs them to the exact location of a suspect plane." More details come out about the tragedy.
The Guardian Peru Relied on U.S. in War on Drugs
: "Under the current agreement, Peru cannot use U.S. data to attack a plane unless it is flying without a flight plan in a no-fly zone. The rules of engagement say Peruvian fighters must try to make radio contact and visually signal a suspect aircraft to land for inspection before opening fire." We are going to have three versions of this incident -- the missionary pilot's, the Peruvian air force's and the US surveillance plane crew's.
Los Angeles Times 2 Killed as Missionary Plane Is Shot Down in Peru
: "The family's nightmare came near the end of a journey with a mundane bureaucratic motive, Southwell said. The Bowers had flown to the northwestern Peru-Brazil border, taken a boat across the Amazon and entered Brazil to get a visa for Charity. The infant had a temporary visa in Peru but needed to leave the country and re-enter to get a permanent one, Southwell said." A good wrapup of the story so far.
ABCNews / Reuters Downed U.S. Pilot Stranded in Peru Jungle
: "'It's so frustrating. They won't tell me what is happening. What is going on?' the pilot's wife, Bobbi Donaldson, told Reuters by telephone from Iquitos. 'The plane supposed to go and get him has not even left.'" Tough times for those caught in the incident.
The Guardian / Associated Press Bush Saddened by Peru Deaths
: "President Bush expressed his sorrow on Saturday for the American missionary and her infant daughter who were killed when the Peruvian air force downed their plane." What else could he say?
The Guardian U.S. Watched Peru Shoot Down Plane
: "Peru's air force issued a statement early Saturday confirming that the missionaries' plane was shot down after it was detected at 10:05 a.m. local time by 'an air space surveillance and control system' run jointly by Peru and the United States." The incident is starting to look very sticky.
Washington Post Americans Shot Down Over Peru
: "A source familiar with the situation said the Peruvian air force pilot tried repeatedly to raise the private plane on radio, then attempted to signal the plane to land by tipping its wings and finally by rapidly flying in front of it. After failing to provoke the plane to move into a landing position, the Peruvian pilot apparently fired on the plane." More details emerge on the fatal incident. 27 plane were shot down between 1994 and 1997, with US support. Also look at Association of Baptists for World Evangelism
with pictures of all Americans involved, including Roni and Charity Bowers, the two killed in the incident. The posting also explains that the plane was returning from the Peru-Brazil border where the Bowers were dealing with the baby's visa. Thanks to Peru veteran Jim Wesberry
for the pointer.
Discovering Archaeology Secrets of the Alpaca Mummies - Did the ancient Inca make the finest woolen cloth the world has ever known?
: "The ancient fibers of the alpacas' fleece were as soft as a baby's hair compared with that produced by the alpacas that are ubiquitous in modern Peru. If only Peruvians could resurrect these lost breeds, she mused, they could produce textiles rivaling cashmere and, in the process, lift themselves out of poverty." A fascinating article that shows how archaelogy can lead to the recovery of ancient technology still useful today. It also focuses on Jane Wheeler, a U.S. archaeozoologist who has focused her science on extracting crucial traits of ancient breeds.
Friday, April 20
BBC Peru rebels stage hunger strike
: "Prison officials said Guzman, who is serving a life sentence, begun fasting on Monday, while rebels at three other jails joined in on Wednesday. Rebels from Shining Path and the Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) are demanding new civilian and prisoner rights." The question is does Peru want to retry all the terrorism cases, given the uncivil nature of the trails. There are 2,800 people convicted of terrorism in Peruvian jails.
Chicago Tribune Japan Shuns Ex-diplomat's Expose on Peru Raid
: "Ogura had to sacrifice his career and resign from Japan's Foreign Ministry to make his allegations public in the book 'Broken Dialogue.' The book details his experience as a hostage and witness to what he believes was murder and a gross violation of human rights." The story is just as damning of the Japanese government as it is of Fujimori and the Peruvian military.
Financial Times Peru military backs democracy
: "The ceremony may well have been the death knell for the military as a breed apart. The sacking of three armed forces commanders this week by the interim government has highlighted a new appetite for change, even within the military itself." The writer of this article may be overreaching a bit, but the Peruvian military has reached a new low.
CNN Two Americans killed when private plane shot down in Peru
: "Babbi Donaldson, whose husband, Kevin, was flying the plane, said the Cessna hydroplane carrying a family of four Americans was on the frontier of Brazil and Peru when it was intercepted by a Peruvian military plane." Missionaries rely on light planes to ferry them around the Amazon, but the area is a favorite route for traffickers. In 1992, a US surveillance plane used in the War against Drugs was also shot at over Peru.
Yahoo / Associated Press Berenson Lawyer: Witness Coerced
: "But the judges, who under Peruvian law can cross-examine witnesses, and two prosecutors repeated the same questions several times, reminding Diaz that he was under oath and asking if he felt nervous." Luis Diaz, a congressional employee, said he saw Berenson three or four times in the gallery.
Yahoo / Associated Press Toledo Leading in Peru Poll
: "Toledo had 56 percent support of respondents in the first poll published since first-round elections on April 8. Garcia, whose 1985-90 populist government was overshadowed by corruption charges, guerrilla violence and economic chaos, had 44 percent support." This is still closer than anyone would have thought four months ago. Garcia has to swing five percent of the electoratge in order to be within the margin of error of this survey.
Yahoo / Associated Press Peruvian Rebel Backs Berenson
: "Rincon said Thursday that he and Castrellon set up an elaborate scheme to trick Berenson into renting him part of the house. He said she did not know his true identity and that more than a dozen other rebels did not move in until after she moved into a separate apartment. Three months later, police raided the house." This testimony is the strongest material backing up Berenson's version of her involvement in the MRTA safehouse. The only question is whether the panel of judges will believe Rincon.
Garica has a past
Although Alan Garcia
would like to avoid stirring up memories about his first term in office, we have our news coverage from those catastrophic times. Leader of Peruvian opposition sets sights on a higher target
, originally published in The Globe and Mail
, March 14, 1983, describes when he took over APRA. Comparatively speaking, that was painless.
Thursday, April 19
Washington Post Literary Lightning
: "In the fall, the novelist (Mario Vargas Llosa) will be the first occupant of the Ibero-American Literature and Culture Chair, endowed with about $2 million from various friends of the university. He will be a writer in residence, and will teach two courses a semester -- the normal load for a Georgetown professor." Mario is an engaging public speaker, a knowledgeable reader of Latin American literature and a hot property on the prestige market. Washington, DC and Georgetown University goes up a couple of notches.
Christian Science Monitor Coping with violence by writing
: "His writing career illustrates what can come from violence - a lesson sorely needed in a country on the verge of appointing a government commission to sort through more than a decade of ruthless terrorism and brutal repression. 'Writing is an act of purification,' Gutierrez says. 'A character invented to bring revenge can cleanse.'" There's a whole generation of writers who are dealing with the violence.
NJ.com / Associated Press Peru witness says military uniforms in Berenson apartment
: "But Nelson Rojas, the doorman of Lori Berenson's former apartment building, said he saw the uniforms folded on top of a chair, contradicting a 1995 signed statement in which he said the uniforms were found in a black bag." Having what appeared to be military uniforms should not be considered incriminating evidence. I can remember in Ayacucho that the police thought that having a compass was being equipped for guerrilla activity or having a red-covered book was possessing terrorist propaganda.
Yahoo / Reuters Peru sees 2001 mine export revs level at $3.2 bln
: "The Antamina mine is expected to be the world's seventh largest copper producer and third largest zinc producer, with combined reserves estimated at around 560 million tonnes." About 20 years I remember hearing about Antamina but under the nationalistic military government it was reserved for state exploitation. The next two civilian governments could never convince private investors to take it over. Now it's got big money underwriting it.
Herald (UK) From Bo'ness to Peru with cargo of hope
: "When the ship arrives in Iquitos, Peru, later this year it will be put to work carrying 100 passengers and 35 tons of cargo on the busy thoroughfare between Peru, Brazil, and Columbia. If it achieves its target of a £40,000 profit a year for the next 20 years, 60 youngsters will have a proper education and hundreds more will be trained to work in a marine environment." A feature film will be made of the effort to rescue street kids.
Tax-news.com Peruvian Investigators Visit Panama To Track Down Ill-Gotten Gains Of Fujimori And Montesinos
: "Peruvian Congressmen Pedro Morales and Manuel Darment Egoaguirre and Congresswoman Julia Hernández allege that the money belongs to Peru because it was cash spirited away out of the proceeds of privatisations that took place during the Fujimori administration. Mr Morales claims the funds have ended up in Panama, having been placed there via two dubious companies, Treves Intora, which was incorporated in the Bahamas, and W21." This will probably not be the last visit.
Wednesday, April 18
Los Angeles Times U.S. Aiding Hunt for Peru's Ex-Spymaster
: "In addition to aiding the Peruvian operation, the FBI has opened two investigations of alleged violations of U.S. law linked to the former spymaster, who is believed to be hiding in Venezuela." The story provides details about the two probes, gun-runnning and money laundering.
Financial Times Peruvian military chiefs resign
: "Nick Panes, Americas analyst for Control Risks Group, a business risk consultancy, said the resignations were part of government efforts to purge the military of any association with Mr Fujimori and Vladimiro Montesinos, the fugitive former spy chief." The government may have to go even deeper into the chain of command to remove all association with Fujimori and Montesinos.
Tuesday, April 17
I have just added the National Democratic Institute's statement
about the Peruvian elections to my special page
. The Peruvian election authorities still have to count 1.8% of the presidential vote and 3.0% of the congressional vote.
The International Telecommunication Union has produced an interesting case study about Internet Protocol Telphony and the Internet
in Peru. It shows some of the tensions created by the Web explosion in the developing world.Somebody noticed
I have also received a "piropo" from another blogger, Superchango
, who just happens to be Peruvian. I must say that he's got an edge on me design-wise. His site has gone through three skins. The site is in Spanish.
High Times CIA Coup in Peru Opens Door To Plan Colombia
: "In truth, Fujimori was forced from office by the CIA in a coup so smoothly arranged that no major Western press outlet has even hinted at it being such. The reason was because Fujimori was vocal in his dislike of the military components in US President Bill Clinton's Plan Colombia, and refused to let the US use Peru as a staging post for the US troops needed to make Plan Colombia work." I like a conspiracy story as much as anyone, especially when you mix in the CIA, but our friends at High Times
must have smoked a couple of pipe fulls before they wrote this one.
Miami Herald Reports say Montesinos hiding in Venezuela
: "In a recent interview with Globovisión television station, plastic surgeon Lorenzo DiCecilia said he performed an eyelid lifting and nose job on a patient named Manuel Antonio Rodríguez Pérez on Dec. 13. The patient abruptly left the clinic on Dec. 14 without medical leave and without paying his $14,000 bill." Four months to find out these details. It looks like the Venezuelan government was not exercising due diligence. Or an outright coverup.
Washington Post Peru's Bad Memory
: "Mr. Garcia also claims to have learned from the past -- but he hasn't. He's still promising to withhold $400 million in payments to foreign creditors if he is elected in next month's runoff; still promising to use government power to force down prices; still boasting of the cheap money he will hand out to farmers. His formula has been tried over and over in Latin America during the past half-century, always with disastrous results; but the free market solutions of the past decade have not spread enough wealth to make them invulnerable to such demagoguery." An editorial from WP
, and I bet it was written by Jackson Diehl who coverede Peru in the mid-1980s. Jackson is now one of the op-ed editors.
Monday, April 16
Yahoo / Associated Press Peru's Top Military, Police Resign
: "'The current commanding generals are committed to democracy and are openly cooperating in the government transition,' said military analyst Enrique Obando. 'It would be a great waste if the government pushes them into retirement.'''
Obando is an experienced observer of the Peruvian military.
Christian Science Monitor A window on Peru's "dark" days
: "But many commission advocates fear that if a transition government that leaves office in July doesn't act, the truth may never be revealed." Win or lose, Garcia would have a big stay in the authority of a Truth Comssion if its creation is put off until the next government takes office.
Yahoo / Reuters Peru Military Chiefs Offer to Resign Amid Scandal
: "Officially tendering their resignations in a joint televised statement after the video was aired in Congress before Easter, the four said they were intimidated into endorsing Fujimori's dissolution of Congress, or 'self-coup,' in 1992." If this trend continues, we may end up with junior officers as the commanders of the armed forces.
Sunday, April 15
Los Angeles Times A Blast From the Past Riles Presidential Politics
: "The most urgent and critical challenge of all will be to instill a sense of public confidence and credibility in Peruvian political life. That will not be easy for a political novice like Toledo, and may prove exceedingly difficult for such a polarizing figure as Garcia. But after one decade of unparalleled economic and political disorder and another of corruption and autocratic rule, Peruvians hope their next president will focus on reconstruction and unity. Peru needs to build stable and orderly institutions and to deal more effectively with its acute social and economic problems. Until it does, there is little reason to expect anything but the unexpected." Op-ed piece by Michael Shifter
, vice president of the Inter-American Dialogue.
Washington Times Garcia dodges blame for '80s crisis
: "His mesmerizing oratory has led many Peruvians to forgive his past performance and catapult him from an overwhelming 80 percent negative rating to 70 percent approval in a few weeks." This is the first time that I have heard about Garcia's dropping negatives. I'd like to see the opinion polls that confirm this trend.
Bergen County Record 2 guilty of assaulting police in '97 riot
: "The riot broke out July 27, 1997, at the 12th annual parade celebrating Peru's independence. Thousands were packed into a fenced-in area near Memorial Drive, but something caused police to rush into the fray. In the end, bottles were thrown at police, who used Mace to control the crowd. Scores were arrested." Patterson, New Jersey reportedly has the largest concentration of Peruvians outside Peru.
The Washington Times Public support growing for U.S. student on trial in Peru
: "However, neither Castrelion [sic] nor the prosecutor has ever accused Miss Berenson of taking part in any violence, handling weapons or any direct involvement in terrorism." Imagine, Washington's conservative daily rooting for a progressive political prisoner.
Friday, April 13
eMarketer Online in the Andes
: "Ecuador and Peru's ICT infrastructures present barriers to wider internet adoption and e-commerce. According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the countries have among the fewest telephone lines and personal computers (PCs) per 100 inhabitants in the region." The message is that the Internet is still not a mature business market. It still has a tremendous social impact. Also see Internet Power to the People
about the Peruvian Scientific Network.
Economist Intelligence Unit Peru: Garcia is back
: "Mr. Toledo may now enjoy a numerical lead, but Mr Garcia has the momentum as campaigning begins for the second round, which must take place within 30 days of the official first-round results being announced." Nothing new, but it will influence views abroad.
New York Times In Peru Trial, Ex-Associate Contradicts New Yorker
: "He says he then met Ms. Berenson, who traveled with him to Quito, Ecuador, and introduced him to a man who called himself Carlos but was actually Néstor Cerpa Cartolini, the top Túpac Amaru military commander." Pacifico Castrellón's testimony is key in the government's case.
Thursday, April 12
Philadephia Inquirer / Reuters Activist's attorney claims Peruvian lies
: "Castrellon said some 18 or 19 people lived on the top floor of the house and a mutual acquaintance paid the rent. Berenson says she gave Castrellon $6,000 to pay it and never noticed whether anyone had moved in upstairs." He said, she said.
San Jose Mercury News American's trial in Peru isn't fair, advocates say
: "Through their lawyer, José Luis Sandoval, the Berensons are attacking the quality of Peruvian justice. Several international human rights groups -- and a recent State Department human rights report -- support their claims." Attacking the Peruvian judicial system at this juncture in the court proceedings -- and risking alienating the judges -- does not seem to be the best tactic, unless you already think you have lost.
: According to Radio Programas del Peru
, the following are the unofficial results of the parliamentary races by political party. These could vary once the ONPE announced the final count.Perú Posible
: 46 legisladores
Adolfo La Torre.
Víctor Váldez.Partido Aprista Peruano
: 27 legisladores
Jorge Del Castillo.
Luis Alva Castro.
Judith de la Mata.
Elvira De la Puente.
Luis Santa María.
Roger Santa María.Unidad Nacional
: 17 legisladores
José Barba Caballero.
Antero Flores Aráoz.
Tito Chocano.Frente Independiente Moralizador
: 11 legisladores
Elmer Rodríguez.Somos Perú-Causa Democrática
: 4 legisladores
Eduardo Carhuarinca.Cambio 90-Nueva Mayoría
: 3 legisladores
Martha ChávezAcción Popular
: 3 legisladores
Manuel Merino.Solución Popular
: 1 legislador
: 6 legisladores
Javier Diez Canseco.Renacimiento Andino
: 1 legislador
Eduardo Salhuana.Todos por la Victoria
: 1 legislador
Wednesday, April 11
Passaic County Record Peruvian-Americans make their voices heard in Paterson
: "Most of the 16,000 Peruvian-Americans registered to vote in New Jersey consider it a privilege to play a role in their homeland's elections. Those who voted Sunday came from as far away as Pennsylvania and waited in long lines in the rain to cast their ballots." Strong support for Lourdes Flores in New Jersey.
Boston Globe / Reuters Trial witness contradicts Berenson
: "The whole court laughed when Castrellon testified that he and Berenson had shared a hotel room soon after meeting by saying it was normal practice in Panama. Judge Ibazeta shot back: 'Unless your wife sees you.''' One of the fewer light moments at the trial.
iWon / Reuters Peru's Silva seeks to soothe markets, mum on Garcia
: "Garcia's opponents have been playing on the ex-president's credibility problem, but (Hernando) de Soto defended him. 'The Russians have changed. Why wouldn't Alan Garcia?' he said." Silva Ruete and De Soto play down the prospects of Garcia shaking the financial boat.
The Economist Peru contemplates a return to a troubled future
: "For many of them, the second round is a Hobson’s choice between two wild cards: the only difference is that one has failed in government but claims he has changed while the other is untried." Another wrapup with a pessimistic perspective.
Financial Times Pressure grows on Caracas over Peru spy chief
: "Mr Montesinos is said to have developed close ties with members of the Venezuelan military in 1992, when 93 rebel soldiers involved in a coup attempt escaped to Peru and were granted political asylum." Rumors persist that Montesinos is still in Venezuela under the protection of President Hugo Chávez
Business Week Choosing Between the Past and the Future
: "International observers hailed the results. 'This is a whole different story from last year,' said Eduardo Stein, head of a monitoring team from the Organization of American States. Last year, Stein's team refused to monitor part of the Peruvian election because of extensive irregularities. But there remains a long way between a clean election and a clean break with past mistakes." More wrapup and look ahead. Good quotes.
Yahoo / Reuters Peru's Garcia pledges market-friendly team
: "Sitting in his office beneath a photograph of him wearing the red and white presidential sash, Garcia, 51, said he knew he had a credibility problem, but there had also been 'disinformation' about what he represented and his plans to revive an economy that fell 2.5 percent in the first quarter." Garcia did some name-dropping (Javier Silva Ruete, Hernando de Soto, Richard Webb) as possible members of a future economic team. No word from these economists if they wanted to work with Garcia.
Financial Times Peru poll worries investors
: "But many impoverished Peruvians have grown impatient with the economic austerity of the last decade. They have been persuaded by the infectious smile and persuasive oratory of the former president that he could do something to improve their harsh living standards. Mr García promises to lower utility bills, create new jobs, help struggling farmers and to renegotiate the country's onerous debt payments." An election wrapup from that "pink" (not pinko) newspaper in London.
Tuesday, April 10
Orange County Regiters / Scripps Howard Waters are warming, but it's not El Niño
: "Kousky said water temperatures off South America's equatorial coast are typically at their warmest during March and April. So, while water temperatures in the region have recently risen above normal, subsurface ocean temperatures remain near or below normal." An update on major weather trends for Peru and the rest of the world.
CNN / Rueters Peru's Garcia: Fiendish seducer or voters
: "Appearing in rock concerts and in television spots directed at university students and the Internet-age public, pollsters say he may have succeeded in winning over voters who were too young to remember his first government." The other candidates made Garcia look good.
CNN / Reuters Peru's Garcia has Wall Street scampering for cover
: "Moreover, despite Toledo's left-leaning campaign rhetoric, his key advisor -- banker Pedro Pablo Kuczynski -- is considered extremely orthodox, according to Merrill Lynch." If the Peruvian electorate were as easy to convince as Wall Street bankers, Garcia could start packing his bag for Pizarro's Palace.
CNN / Associated Press Peru attorney seeks charges against Fujimori
: "A state's attorney has asked Congress to pursue charges against disgraced former President Alberto Fujimori for suspending the constitution and seizing dictatorial powers in 1992." Another plank in the platform to accuse Fujimori and get him out of politics forever.
Boston Globe American woman facing terrorism charges claims police used her as ''human shield''
: "Berenson said heavily armed police whisked her to the house shortly after her 1995 arrest and tried to force her to open the front door, but she refused, while more than a dozen heavily armed officers crouched behind a police car out front." Pretty brazen police tactics since they had not gained her cooperation to help them get inside.
BBC Market nerves at Peru run-off
: "The Lima stock exchange closed more than 2% down on Monday, one of its biggest drops since the corruption scandal which finally brought down Alberto Fujimori's government erupted last year." Given the election results, many of Lima's elite would prefer that the curtain caretaker government stay in power for the next five years.
Guardian Late surge puts left into second round of Peru's presidential election
: "Mr Garcia's vastly superior skills as an orator worked in his favour against the politically inexperienced Mr Toledo, the former shoe-shine boy and US-educated economist who was a symbol of resistance against the authoritarian regime of President Alberto Fujimori." Part of the problem is that much of Toledo's message was anti-Fujimori, but the formerr president is no longer a player in electoral politics. Two percent for former Fujimori finance minister Carlos Boloña in the presidential race and six seats combined in Congress. This same block "won" the presidential elections last year.
Monday, April 9
Washington Post Ex-Leader's Showing In Peru Vote Signals New Life for the Left
"As information surfaces about the massive corruption and lies of the Fujimori era -- including falsified growth figures during the "economic miracle" brought about by Fujimori's embrace of free market reforms -- many Peruvians today see Garcia in a new light. Not only has corruption during the Fujimori era rivaled that of Garcia's time, but many here are seriously questioning the economic model that Fujimori imported." More examination of why Garcia now looks good to Peruvians.
New York Times Leftist Ex-President Makes Surprising Comeback in Peru
: "But Mr. García's seductive speaking style and Mr. Toledo's personal peccadilloes make the outcome unpredictable, according to pollsters." Given what has happen so far, you can't rule out Garcia winning. If enough people boycott the elections or invalidate their vote in protest, Garcia could overtake Toledo.
Yahoo / Reuters Peru wonders, could Garcia be the next president?
: "Indeed many Peruvians who voted for Garcia in the first round are too young to remember his first term. Nor are they bothered much about it." The vibes on the street -- at least, the Haiti café in Miraflores.
Yahoo / Associated Press Berenson Trial in Peru Continues
: "Lori Berenson said she asked to be moved last September to escape constant noise from psychologically troubled inmates where she was being held in Lima's Santa Monica women's prison." Prosecutors said that Berenson's move to the MRTA wing at her prison was a sign of her allegiance.
Yahoo / Reuters Surprise Peru Vote Heralds Toledo-Garcia Showdown
: "But economists braced for trouble. `Peru's country risk has gone up 50 basis points,' Carlos Janada, vice president of investment bank Morgan Stanley in New York told CPN radio. More risk is likely to discourage much-needed foreign investment." Wall Street pounds in its message.
Yahoo / Reuters Surprise Peru Vote Heralds Toledo-Garcia Showdown
: "But economists braced for trouble. `Peru's country risk has gone up 50 basis points,' Carlos Janada, vice president of investment bank Morgan Stanley in New York told CPN radio. More risk is likely to discourage much-needed foreign investment." Wall Street pounds in its message.
Yahoo / Reuters Toledo Ahead in Peru Polls, Run-Off Seen -Monitors
: "Transparencia's survey of 196,958 actual ballots, with a margin of error of plus or minus 0.99 percentage points, gave the centrist Toledo 36.61 percent against Garcia's 25.85 percent. It put Lourdes Flores, a right-of-center ex-congresswoman, close behind on 24.2 percent." Toledo's lead looks as if it's slipping so he may need to reach out to other groups.
Excite / Reuters Wall St. watching for post-election bond selloff in Peru
"At some point, Peru will be a buying opportunity. But we are about to see a month of very heated populist rhetoric from Toledo and Garcia," she said. "No one knows what the outcome of that is going to be." There is a price to be paid for democracy -- and Wall Street extracts it.
Sunday, April 8
New York Times Toledo Leads in Peru Election, but May Still Face Runoff
: "Whatever the final results, the clear-cut victor in the balloting appeared to be Mr. García, who fled the country nine years ago to escape prosecution on corruption charges after a five-year presidency marked by hyperinflation, a default on the foreign debt, terrorism attacks and widespread human rights violations by the army." Garcia, Garcia, Garcia -- if it weren't for the results, you'd think that he was the winner.
Washington Post Peruvian Voting Headed for Runoff
: "There were minor reports of 'isolated irregularities' – including two small bombs this morning at Toledo and Garcia campaign offices in the highland city of Ayacucho that wounded one person and caused minor damages – but no reports of fraud on the scale of last year."
Chicago Tribune Ex-Peru President Creeps Up In Polls
: "While his attempt to win the position he held from 1985 to 1990 is viewed as a long shot, Garcia's resurrection from the political scrap heap is directly linked to the loss of confidence in Peru's political institutions." Garcia and his resurrection continue to scare outsiders.
Financial Times Toledo appears to be heading for victory
: "A probable run-off win for Mr Toledo would be cautiously welcomed by investors. They hope he will press on with market reforms and strengthening democratic institutions. Mixing pro-market and leftist rhetoric, he has promised 500,000 new jobs a year and to boost a feeble economy with tax cuts, sell-offs and exports." Also see the FT's special report
on the elections, though most of the other stories have already appeared in this weblog.
Exit poll estimates of the congressional vote puts Peru Possible in a relative majority. It would need 16 additional votes to have a working majority, assuming that it's able to count on its own legislators. These results may change with the actual vote count.
45 Peru Posible
15 Unidad Nacional
11 Frente Independente Moralizador
9 Unión por el Peru
4 Somos Peru
3 Cambio 90
2 Acción Popular
1 Proyecto País
1 Renacimiento Andino
Newsweek Holy Toledo!
: "But like Clinton, the resilient Toledo has survived the barrage of damaging revelations about his private life, and many voters seem quite prepared to overlook his peccadilloes. 'He’s acquired the skin of a rhinoceros,' says Lima pollster Manuel Torrado, 'and the bullets no longer penetrate him.'” My former colleague, Joe Contreras, writes this piece and also interviews Toledo
. There is also an update on Fujimori
Yahoo / AP Toledo Ahead in Peru Elections
: "Toledo received 40.1 percent of the votes, falling short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff, according to Apoyo, Peru's most prestigious polling firm. Two other polling firms gave similar results." Exit polls point to a race between Toledo and Garcia.
Yahoo / Reuters Peru's Toledo Faces Run-Off with Garcia-Exit Polls
: "The polls gave Toledo, a centrist who backs free markets, between 40 and 43 percent while Garcia scored 24 to 26 percent. Right-of-center ex-congresswoman Lourdes Flores lagged with 21 to 23 percent, the polls said." It may be premature to pick the runnerup, but Garcia is bound to have more support in provinces than Flores. As mentioned before, Garcia has the highest negatives of all the four leading presidential candidates.
Los Angeles Times 3 in Close Race for Peru Presidency
: "... The candidates promise to rebuild political institutions and an economy left in ruins by the fall of President Alberto Fujimori last year. Nonetheless, the electoral debate has often recalled the fractious, messy politics that brought Fujimori, a populist anti-politician, to power 11 years ago." A scene-setter that highlights the disillusionment of the Peruvian electorate.
"This is a society that is more fragmented, more disorganized than ever," said Lima sociologist Julio Cotler, a leading political analyst. "There are many demands that have surged, many promises that can't be met."
Still, Cotler and others find encouraging trends. "There is a lot of pressure to end corruption and a lot of demands for accountability," Cotler said. "There are public institutions that function. There is an understanding among the political leaders that the system must be protected. No one wants either inflation or terrorism. This is not a desperate situation," he said. Cotler has been watching the Peruvian scene for forty years.
Saturday, April 7
The Irish Times Voters look for 'new Peru' as campaign ends
: "While Peruvian law prohibited further campaigning this weekend, along with the sale of alcohol, the winds of change were already evident within Peru's judiciary, which now dares to detain those responsible for abuses during Mr Alberto Fujimori's presidency." The story is more about the Fujimori scandals than the elections.
Mainichi Autopsies pile up evidence of Lima crisis executions
: "The autopsies on two Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) guerillas that seized the residence show they were almost certainly restrained and shot in the backs of their heads." Confirms what many had suspected about the Japanese Embassy rescue operation. This will serve to press charges against Fujimori and pressure Japan for his extradiction.
Yahoo / AP Peru Prepares To Elect President
: "Apoyo, a respected polling firm, last week gave Toledo 35 percent support among voters, Flores 20 percent and Garcia 17 percent. The margin of error was 2.3 percentage points. Most polling firms say as many as 25 percent of voters are still undecided." Yet another scene-setter. The author, Monte Hayes, is a veteran wireman who covered Peru in the early 1980s. He must have been brought in to reinforce the AP bureau this week.
Yahoo / Reuters Scandal Looms Over Peruvian Election
: "Peru's 14.9 million voters must seal their ballot with a fingerprint in indelible ink -- and by tradition must hold off toasting their candidate until after the vote, amid an alcohol ban. Failure to vote incurs a $34 fine." Another scene-setter with a glance at the latest Vladivideo.
New York Times In a Colorful Campaign in Peru, 3 Points of View Emerge
: "But even if the three leading candidates have sometimes looked more like entertainers than politicians, their very different messages have reflected a heated battle of ideas in Latin America, between free market trends and populist traditions." A scene-setter with nothing to add to previous coverage.
Virtual New York / UPI Peru gambles all Sunday
: "Peru needs much from its next president. The economy is on a knife edge. With sensible management it could leap forward. But an unwise presidency now could impoverish the country and lead to instability, leaving economic prospects dismal." Another scenesetter for Sunday.
Excite Researchers Cite Flaws in Report; Machu Picchu to Endure
: "However, (Professor Kyoji) Sassa did not fully understand the Inca genius for slope stabilization, nor their ability to design with nature. While the general area is relatively unstable, Machu Picchu itself is sound." Counterarguments against Japanese/UNESCO report that Machu Picchu will face landslides soon.
Friday, April 6
ABC News / Reuters Peru PM endorses military heads amid video scandal
: "Congress released videos late on Thursday of the military's current top three generals signing a document in 1999 supporting Fujimori in a move political analysts said had been designed to help the former president's 2000 reelection." Expect more purges in the armed forces once the next president takes office. The fear that Montesinos still has a hook into military commanders grips all the candidates.
New York Times Carter Endorses Peru Vote Conditions
"'The process has now been completely cleansed and has all aspects of a very accurate and truthful and transparent election,' he (Jimmy Carter) said." Another kudo for the election process.
Christian Science Monitor Candidate battles machismo - in women
: "The past few weeks have taught Flores about the harsh attitudes that female candidates for president in other Latin countries have confronted in recent years. Though Flores is herself right-of-center politically, most conservative women oppose a female president as subverting a woman's traditional place in the home. At the other end of the spectrum, many liberal-thinking women are against Flores's conservatism." The gender issue is more complicated than it looks for Flores's prospects.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Winning presidency just first hurdle in Peru
: "So while Peruvians have celebrated getting rid of a corrupt ruler peacefully, their future is cloudy. The sense of unease grows when many consider that the front-runner --- Toledo --- has no experience at running a government." The story tapes into the state of angst about what comes after the votes are cast.
San Jose Mercury News Jaded by political turmoil, Peruvians prepare to vote
: "For the first time in Peruvian elections, voter education material was printed in five indigenous languages, accommodations are being made for people with disabilities and an office was established to investigate complaints from voters. All 57 voter-tabulation centers have monitoring areas for campaigns to watch the votes entered into a computer. The closed-door operations of the ONPE last year were criticized as one of the avenues for fraud." My friend, Fernando Tuesta, scores high points for cleaning up the act of the election apparatus. This article cites this achievement as the one bright spot in the process.
BBC Peru general faces drugs charges
: "Chavez said he paid protection money to both Mr Montesinos and the general amounting to about $50,000 each for every plane laden with drugs that they allowed to leave the main cocaine producing area in the Huallaga Valley." General Nicolas Hermoza was the top cheese in the army for most of Fujimori's term in office.
Washington Post Peru Campaign Turns 'So Ugly'
: "A poll by Lima-based research firm Datum Internacional showed that 75 percent of voters here feel the presidential candidates have placed their personal ambitions ahead of what is best for the nation. Twenty percent said they would stay away from voting booths if casting ballots were not mandatory." There is also a campaign to cast null votes in protest for the current state of the political class.
Thursday, April 5
Three Days and Counting
I have added a US GAO report
on assistance for the Peruvian elections to the Elections 2001 page
. The US government has provided US$7 million while other sources gave US$6.6 million. Today, Thursday, is the last day for active campaigning. Lots of rallies by the candidates to get the final push. Since last Sunday no new voter polls were to be made available in Peru by law, but most opinion agencies do a last-minute sampling and give it to the international media. We will be on the watch. Exit polls will be available by 4:00 PM, Lima time, Sunday. The ONPE will start announcing results as of 9:00 PM.
Yahoo / Reuters Berenson Briefly Faces Key Witness at Peru Retrial
: "Berenson's gaze flickered over to the man she says she met in a gallery in Quito, Ecuador, and with whom she says she struck up a friendship and went on to rent a large house in a smart Lima suburb. She denies they were lovers." Actually nothing happened during Thursday court session. Castrellon will testify on Monday, but the judge wanted to apologize to him for keeping him waitng all morning.
Nola.com / AP U.S. woman denies her handwriting was on Peruvian rebels' document
: "Manrique asked Berenson to explain statements from a hostage during that siege who said he heard Rolly Rojas, an MRTA leader, say Berenson was a member of the group."
The Village Voice Cannibal Lector
: "That same year, the 34-year-old painter took off on a Fulbright for Peru and disappeared into the jungle, where he lived for seven months with the Harakumbut (formerly known as the Amarakaire), a remote Amazonian tribe, and participated in all the rituals of their gender-segregated society, including sex with men. One day the Harakumbut went to a neighboring village, killed people, and ate them. Schneebaum swallowed a mouthful; the memory still haunts him." Only peripherally about Peru, the article has some insights into living in a strange land.
New York Times In a Campaign Replay, a Peruvian Is Wooing Indians
: "Mr. Toledo's core support comes from those whom Peruvians call Cholos — dark-skinned, mostly urban lower- and middle-class people whose ancestors gradually gave up their Indian ways over the last century. They joined a major migration to the cities over the last three generations to escape the poverty of the countryside, especially after the failure of a land reform initiated by a left-wing military government in the late 1960's." I missed this article from March 25 because I was traveling to Brazil. It's a profile of Toledo.
Excite/ Reuters Flores to help Peru with tax cuts, Church
: "Flores is a practicing Roman Catholic. Opponents say some of her key Unidad Nacional (National Unity) coalition members have links with the conservative Roman Catholic Opus Dei lay organization -- leading to allegations from her opponents that she has a right wing 'secret agenda'." Faith-based social relief -- sounds like Duyba.
Miami Herald Democracy aided by OAS' role in Peru crisis
: "... the OAS has become a more-effective instrument in providing help to fragile democracies in the region. Since the historic 1990 Nicaragua election, the OAS has dispatched more than 50 electoral-observation missions and has mounted numerous programs to facilitate free elections, election reform, the modernization of civil registries and conflict resolution." An op-ed piece by Luis Lauredo, the US Ambassador to the OAS. May it be known that I am an employee of the much maligned and budget-hobbled OAS.
just-style.com Crisis Predicted within the Alpaca Industry
: "Cold weather earlier in the year has apparently created a crisis among Peruvian alpaca farmers. Reports now coming in suggest that some 3000 beasts have been lost as a result of an unexpected cold snap in the Altiplano region." It seems odd that cold weather should have affect the alpaca herds. There has been flooding in Puno, that might be a more serious threat.
New York Times American Tells Peru Court She Lacked Details on Rebels
: "She spoke of guerrilla movements rising throughout Latin America in recent years 'to give preferential treatment to the poor.' Using the rebel group's initials, she added, 'From what I have read, the M.R.T.A. fits that mold.'" A rather naive, simplistic view of the harsh realities of Latin America.
Wednesday, April 4
I have added a different news feed to La Lista
. There will be duplication with the Moreover
feed, but I've found that it taps into different newspapers. Give it a try.
Boston.com / AP American woman concedes 'unintentional' role in Peruvian guerrilla plot
: ''Nobody told me to go to Congress or to rent another site or to do this or that,'' she said. ''There was no reason to doubt ... the people I knew, who in the end turned out to be MRTA members.'' Berensen declines the judge's invitation to condemn MRT.
Yahoo / Reuters W.R. Grace files for Ch. 11 protection
: "Started in Peru in 1854 by William Russell Grace, a two-term New York City mayor who accepted the Statue of Liberty from France, Grace had its roots in the merchant steamer industry. It later bought chemical companies, introduced a slew of silica, specialty chemical and packaging products, and now does business in nearly 40 countries." For anyone who has gone up the PanAmerican highway from Lima and passed the Paramonga sugar plantation and chemcial plant went past a piece of history. Up here in the States, the continuation of that story may have hit the wall.
Yahoo / Reuters Southern Peru gets $400 mln credit for expansion
: "The company, which is one of Peru's biggest and is 54.2 percent owned by Grupo Mexico , said the funds from international financial institutions would go toward expanding its Cuajone and Toquepala mines as well as improvingits Ilo smelter." SPCC has stuck it out through worse times than these so it must think that it's safe to sink more money into its Peruvian operations.
Yahoo / Reuters Bad Boy, Good Girl, 'Mr. Charisma' Woo Peru
: "(Jaime)Bayly says Toledo is like Zelig, the chameleon hero of the Woody Allen movie of the same name who becomes a star by being able to look and act just like those around him. But there is also more than a whiff of sleazy sex-and-drugs scandals about a man who says he was kidnapped in 1998 when he was reportedly seen with three women in seedy Lima hotels." A good scene setter for the elections, with great sketches of the three leading candidates.
Yahoo / AFP In unpredictable Peru, Garcia comeback cannot be ruled out
: "Opinion polls place Garcia three to seven points behind Flores, but analysts say his popularity is growing steadily, while hers is not moving." The media types are covering all their angles so they don't get surprised as they did in 1990 when Fujimori came out of the blue to surprise frontrunner Mario Vargas Llosa.
Excite / U-Wire Missing Texas Christian U. artifacts could bring high prices at shops
: "The 112 artifacts stolen, valued approximately at $267,700, were specifically from northern parts of Peru and made from mold and clay. The artifact pieces were originally made as containers for storage. They were created to symbolize animal and human imagery." Though still bad news for Peru's legacy, it's a change of pace from the political stuff coming out of Lima.
The Irish Times Insults dominate over issues in Peruvian election
: "That kind image faltered last month when Ms Flores's father, Cesar, called Toledo a 'llama from Harvard'. Days later, in the northern jungle of Iquitos, Ms Flores's campaign rally was cancelled when she was pelted with stones, reminding candidates that the race card in Peru is a dangerous instrument to play with." Expect more of the same in the last days of campaigning.
Excite / Reuters Hard times ahead for Peru after Sunday vote: "Whoever wins, political analysts say a likely post-election scenario is a president leading a cash-strapped government trying to live up to campaign promises of jobs in a stagnant economy marked by social protests and a squabbling Congress." Another depressing view of the election aftermath. I hope my friend, Mirko Lauer, is getting lots of free lunch for all the political analysis he is dishing out to visiting journos.
CNN Venezuela says police let Peru's spy master escape
: "(Interior Minister) Miquilena has been following the case since he took over as interior minister in February, and said he suspected members of the criminal investigation unit PTJ colluded with Montesinos behind the government's back." Vladimiro has friends all over the world. Only a day before Venezuela denied that it knew anything about Montesinos
Financial Times Peruvian poll heads for unhappy ending
: "Despite promises of a new beginning since then, mud-slinging, cheap racial jibes and a lack of serious debate have distinguished this year's electioneering. None of the leading candidates has disclosed where campaign funds have come from. And after 10 years of military-backed rule, Peru's political parties remain little more than marriages of convenience, packed with opportunists of often opposing political beliefs." A pretty scathing endictment of the campaign and the parties -- and Peru's prospects.
The Guardian / AP N.Y. Woman in Peru Denies Notes
: "In the toughest cross-examination yet by the presiding magistrate, Lori Berenson also was instructed to write a series of numbers for comparison with a seating chart of Congress that she allegedly sketched to help plan a thwarted takeover of the legislature." Let's hope there is a competenet handwriting expert in Lima.
Tuesday, April 3
San Jose Mercury News Ex-leader winning over voters in Peru
: "Speaking to reporters Friday, García toned down his old rhetoric. For example, he no longer speaks of state-owned companies. Nonetheless, his leftist leanings are still evident when he says the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and other lenders should renegotiate lending terms with Peru and other Latin American countries." Garcia will make the final runup to the elections interesting -- and maybe even the runoff. See my Garcia portrait
The Guardian Sleazy shadow over Peruvian poll
: "Peruvians go to the polls at the weekend for the first time since the disgraced president Alberto Fujimori fled to Japan five months ago. But despite the desire for a fresh start, the sleazy shadow of the old regime still hangs over the country." An article that confirms what most observers already know.
Monday, April 2
BBC News Fujimori pursued by ex-wife over debts
: "The court ruled in favour of an appeal by Susana Higuchi, who is now a member of Congress, against previous judicial decisions that prevented her from pursuing the debt." More bad news for Fujimori.
iWon / Reuters Support for Garcia discomfits Peruvian investors
: "The surveys showed that Garcia -- a bete noir of investors, who remember the free spending and hyperinflation of his government from 1985 to 1990 -- could scrape past right-of-center Lourdes Flores, currently running second, and make the runoff." Garcia has the highest negatives of all the candidates and would get stomped in a runoff.
Guardian Peru Ex-Leader's Popularity Falls
: "At the time of the commando raid, Fujimori denied unconfirmed reports that several rebels might have been killed while trying to surrender. But he admitted in an interview with The Associated Press that he gave an order to ``neutralize'' all the rebels." The article reviews the re-examination of the Japanese Embassy siege and assault and how it impact's on Fujimori's legacy.
Mea Culpa... Mea Culpa
I have made corrections and additions to the Lori Berneson Case
. A visitor called my attention to the fact that I had not correctly described Berenson's appearance before the news media in 1996, an event that tainted the following coverage of her case. This fact-checking led to a longer reflection about the anti-terrorist police's ritual of parading detainees before the news media. It was part of the psychological warfare against Sendero and MRTA, not specifically created for Berenson.
USAToday Peru benefits from Internet innovation
: "Jose Soriano, founder of the Peruvian Scientific Network, envisions a world where an Indian child in the Andes Mountains can check the greatest university libraries for information not available in her village." RCP attracts attention for its approach to cybercafes.
Sunday, April 1
Star-Tribune Peru ponders whether American is activist or terrorist
: "As an anthropology student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the late 1980s, Berenson took two trips to El Salvador, then embroiled in a civil war. In Boston, she worked with a student group committed to solidarity with Central America's poor." A general piece on the Berenson case.
Yahoo / AP Berenson Lawyer Makes Request
: "Retired police Gen. Juan Gonzales told local radio and television stations this week that authorities secretly videotaped a conversation between Berenson and her then-lawyer, Grimaldo Achahui, hours after her 1995 arrest." Bereson's defense team hopes that this violation will cause the court to through out the case.
CNN Mudslinging helps Garcia gains ground in Peru
: "Pollsters Datum International released a simulated vote Tuesday showing Garcia as the only candidate of the top three to gain support since a similar survey in early March. A simulated vote takes into account blank and invalid ballots." Garcia picks up three percentage point and now has 19 percent. Plus, he is really building for the future so he is thinking strategically.
Human Rights Watch Arrest of Former Army Intelligence Chiefs
: "The arrests followed a historic March 20 decision of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights declaring two 1995 amnesty laws incompatible with the American Convention on Human Rights, and hence without legal effect." More details on the army generals implicated in the La Colina massacre.
- Cheers and jeers for Toledo, Peru's leading candidate
: "Toledo has promised poor cholos everything from highways and universities to an agriculture bank and crop insurance - despite the fact that Peru has been in an economic rut for two years. The appeal seems to be working." Toledo's claim to racial precedent setter is overblown. Luis Miguel Sanchez Cerro (1931-33) was just as dark-skinned as Toledo and came from a humble background. He was also nicknamed "El Cholo." Of course, it was a different context. At that time, Indians did not have the right to vote.