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Tuesday, July 31

The Guardian / AP US, Peru to Fault for Plane: "Peruvian officials also declined to comment on the report. A member of the joint investigative team, Abraham Ramirez, said the two Peruvian pilots from the A-37 fighter jet that shot down the missionary's Cessna have been grounded until resolution of the case." Followup on the Washington Post article earlier today.

Financial Times Toledo builds on ties with Chile leader: "'Chile and Argentina have created a system of defence co-operation that has allowed great advances in the area of mutual confidence and the ability to live together,' Mr Lagos said. Officials said he would seek the same accords with Peru, another historic enemy which only recently formally resolved a 100-year-old border dispute with its southern neighbour."

Financial Times Peru in plan for tax reforms: "Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, economy minister, previously a fund manager in Miami, will present a bill to reduce the general value added tax, known as IGV, to 17 per cent from 18 per cent.
During the election campaign, Mr Toledo's economic advisers proposed cutting the IGV by as much as 2 percentage points, but such a cut was considered too drastic. The bill should take effect in January." Tax codes have a habit of changing every two or three years, at best, and sometimes day to day.

Washington Post U.S. Shares Fault In Peru Incident: "But the situation became more complicated after investigators interviewed U.S. and Peruvian program participants and discovered correspondence, training information, memos and other documents from the last six years that made it more difficult to dismiss Peru's insistence that it had not done anything the United States had not agreed to." The shooting down of the missionary plane in April will increase pressure to reexamine the air interdiction policy. It also already resulted in holding up $65 million in military and development assistance to Peru.

Monday, July 30

AFXpress / AFP Peru to raise corporate taxes; advance privatisation - economy minister: "The Peruvian government plans to raise corporate taxes from current levels of 20 pct and give tax relief to wage earners, as well as push ahead with privatisations, newly-appointed Economy Minister Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski said." Tweaking the tax code to rekindle the economy.

iWon / Reuters Peru leader, wary of arms deals, reviews the troops: "The appointment of a civilian to the job was a break with tradition in a country that had a coup in 1968 and was under military rule until 1980. In his inaugural speech, Toledo also announced a top-to-bottom review of the armed forces." The rituals of Fiestas Patrias -- listen to the President's state of the nation speech before Congress, go to mass at the Cathedral and review the troops.

Yahoo / Reuters Steamy Film Spoof Attacks Peru's Montesinos: "The movie features three dancers, who according to Lima's rumor mills are reminiscent of the intelligence agent's numerous real-life female fans.
'In the movie we are Montesinos' 'spy girls' and we search heaven and earth for a video that was stolen by a businessman,' said Tula Rodriguez, who plays one of Montesinos' henchwomen." Quirky pop culture in Lima in the post-Fujimori era.

NY Times Peru's New President Replays Inauguration In Ancestral Andes: "Analysts say Mr. Toledo must deliver fast on promises to turn around a stalled economy and ease the poverty gripping more than half of Peru's 26 million people or face protests. He pleased markets with vows of rigid fiscal discipline and by appointing an economy minister and a prime minister who are friendly to big business." I think this is wire copy, but since it appears in the Gray Lady, it's important.

BBC Peru's Toledo embraces Inca roots: "Enrique Zileri, owner of top political magazine Caretas, says that the 'picture postcard effect' will wear off rapidly. According to Mr Zileri, whilst Toledo may have the perfect Indian features to fulfil the role of the modern-day Inca emperor, his ability to produce concrete results has yet to be proven. President Toledo appeared tired but exhilarated after his first full day in office." Basically, the exercise in Machu Picchu was photo-ops -- certainly one of the most evocative backgrounds in the world.

Sunday, July 29

Yahoo / Reuters Peru's Toledo Honors Roots in Machu Picchu Rite: "Toledo will be invested with a golden necklace bearing the Inca cross, or 'chakana,' and handed the scepter that symbolized the power of Inca emperors during the colorful rite, which comes a day after he was inaugurated in Lima, promising to be the president of Peru's poor and to honor his roots." Cute, but pretty meaningless.

Washington Post Pledging Reforms, Toledo Is Sworn in as Peru's President: "Mindful of the military's ties to the widely discredited Fujimori government, Toledo proposed a reorganization of the armed forces that will place civilians at the head of each service 'to recover your dignity.' In what he termed a 'special note,' Toledo called on the assembled South American leaders to agree to an immediate freeze on the purchase of offensive military weapons. 'Our fight,' he said, 'should be against poverty and misery.'"

Saturday, July 28

Yahoo / Reuters Peru Spy Chief Gives Fujimori Ex-Wife Bank 'Clues': "Judges say Montesinos, who sparked a massive corruption scandal last year that felled Fujimori and is widely expected to be imprisoned for life, has sought to lay the blame on his old boss, and investigators warn his 'revelations' may not be true." Montesinos is an innate liar. / Reuters Peru's Toledo Urges No Arms Deals in South America: "The remarks from Toledo, a 55-year-old economist, were particularly pointed with Chilean President Ricardo Lagos, whose government is set to buy a fleet of fighter planes from the United States in a $714 million deal, in the audience. Lagos, in the front row of a group of regional leaders including Argentina's Fernando de la Rua and Colombia's Andres Pastrana, did not at first join in the vigorous applause. He simply nodded his head, then clapped moments later." The US arms industry is looking for new clients for its hardware.

The Guardian / AP Toledo Assumes Peru's Presidency: "To loud applause, Toledo also promised to continue investigations of corruption left behind by Fujimori's administration. Three lawmakers, representing Fujimori's only remaining support in Congress, raised signs reading, 'No to political persecution.'" We are now back on track with a legitimately elected government in Peru.

MSNBC / AP Peru’s new president is ready to govern: "He says his preparation for the job started when he was 8, shining shoes in the streets of the northern coast city of Chimbote. 'It was at that age that I earned my first doctorate in economy,' he told reporters Friday." Maybe Peru would be a different place if we sent all shoeshine boys to Stanford.

Miami Herald Peru's New Chance: "Under such circumstances, simply holding the country together would have been quite a feat. Mr. Paniagua, however, did far more. He presided over impeccably clean presidential elections. He began to rebuild trust in government by rooting out the most corrupt public officials. Now more than 50 of them, including Mr. Montesinos, are charged and behind bars. The interim president also went a long way toward ridding the military of corrupt generals. Peruvians owe Mr. Paniagua a debt of gratitude for his quiet grace and strong leadership during turbulent times. He is an example that Mr. Toledo would do well to emulate." This editorial highlights the commendable work of interim president Valentin Paniagua.

Miami Herald Untested Toledo faces huge hurdles: "But Toledo may soon discover that, while bringing down a corrupt government was difficult, building a new Peru is likely to be harder. The economy has stagnated for four years, almost half the country lives in poverty and nearly every government institution suffers from serious corruption." A curtain-raiser for the Toledo inauguration and challenge.

Friday, July 27

Yahoo / Reuters Peru's Toledo Bounds From Protester to President: "There is also controversy. Fernando Olivera, who has dogged ex-President Alan Garcia on corruption charges, becomes justice minister, upsetting Garcia's American Popular Revolutionary Alliance with which Toledo must work in a hung Congress." Is that all the Garcia has to get upset about?

New Haven Register Peabody to show palace artifacts: "Although (Hiram) Bingham's findings were brought to the Peabody from Peru in 1912, Burger said they have remained in storage. But thanks to the grant, the Peabody will open its Machu Picchu exhibit in the fall of 2002 and then mount a traveling exhibit that will visit large museums across America." I wonder if these pieces were known outside the expedition.

Financial Times Tough balancing act for Peru's new president: "Peru's $54bn economy - dominated by mining and fishing - remains dependent on attracting foreign capital to achieve growth. But to survive politically, analysts say, no leader can ignore the problems posed by high poverty levels, which have risen 20 per cent in three years. Nearly 13m Peruvians survive on around a dollar a day." Who do you make happy -- foreign investors or Peruvians? It's not just either/or choice. Peru's Kuczynski Says Regulator Wrong on Telefonica, Paper Says: "Peruvian telephone regulator Osiptel said earlier this week that it had approved a new formula that will force Telefonica to drop rates starting in September and lead to a 17 percent drop in telephone calls prices in three years. Telefonica contended that it was going to appeal the decision, which it charged violated its concession contract and was politically motivated." It's easy to score political points by forcing producers to lower their rates. Peru's news media survived era of corruption, ambassador says: "Maria Luisa Rossel, Washington correspondent for Radio Programas del Peru, the nation’s largest private national radio network, acknowledged that the news media were 'corrupted' during the presidency of Alberto Fujimori. Executives from major broadcasting companies and newspapers in Peru have been implicated in a bribery scheme run by former Fujimori confidante and ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos." Some would like to portray Montesinos's exploits as an outbreak, but the media have shown a chronic weakness towards whatever government was in power.

Thursday, July 26

Washington Post Hometown Hopes High for Toledo: "This unlovely seaside city in northern Peru where Toledo grew up offers a vivid view of the seemingly intractable social problems the new president will inherit when he takes office on Saturday. Perhaps just as daunting are the high expectations that await this son of poor rural migrants, who helped bring down a corrupt administration that robbed the country of billions of dollars and left many here deeply disillusioned about the political system." Ugly town, dark future.

Washongton Post Peruvians Bulldoze Embassy Barriers: "Francisca Izquierdo, mayor of Jesus Maria, the municipal district in Lima where Japan's embassy is located, said the embassy never obtained permission to erect the slabs in 1993 and that for years residents had complained the barriers obstructed the sidewalk." From being the savior of Peru in 1990, Japan is now seen as a pariah.

Financial Times Toledo picks lawyer as Peru's prime minister: "While applauding much of the new cabinet, some analysts called the appointment of the Harvard-educated Mr Dañino a shift to the right, saying it put too much emphasis on the need for good links with the International Monetary Fund and Wall Street at the risk of the needs of Peru's poor." What has years of watching Beltway politics taught Bobby?

President Alejandro Toledo has announced the makeup of his first cabinet:

President of the Council of Ministers: Robert Dañino
Foreign Affairs: Diego García Sayán
Economía y Finanzas: Pedro Pablo Kuczynski
Defense: David Waisman
Interior: Fernando Rospigliosi
Education: Nicolás Lynch
Justice: Fernando Olivera
Industry, Turism, Integration and Internacionales Comercial Negociaciones: Raúl Diez Canseco
Energy and Mining: Jaime Quijandría
Presidency: Carlos Bruce
Agriculture: Alvaro Quijandría
Health: Luis Solari
Labor and Social Promotion : Fernando Villarán
Transport, Communication, Housing and Construction: Luis Chang
Fisheries: Javier Reátegui
Promotion of Women and Human Development: Doris Sánchez

El Chino
Alberto Fujimori has started a website where he writes about his first six months in Japan and the the accusations from Lima. The content is in Spanish. Also see Yahoo/ Reuter's Peru's Fujimori sings his own praises on the Web.

Yahoo / Reuters Ex-Attorney General Jailed in Peru Corruption Probe: "A former Peruvian attorney general, seen as a supporter of disgraced ex-president Alberto Fujimori, was arrested and jailed on Wednesday on charges of covering up a web of corruption by the former regime." Besides Blanca Nelida Colan, the former head of the National Office of Election Processes (ONPE), Jose Portillo, was arrested.

Excite / Reuters Peru's Toledo confronts economy, corruption "'Corruption has become a cultural norm here and while Montesinos might be ousted, that culture remains,' said Rafael Roncagliolo of watchdog agency Transparency.
But analysts say that after a year of larger-than-life corruption tales, the desire to rid Peru of corruption is high and that could ensure the commitment to reform remains." Toledo's inauguration is just two days away.

Wednesday, July 25

Washington Post No Doubts for Peru's Next Prime Minister : "In one week, the silver-haired lawyer (Bobby Danino) essentially liquidated his life here, giving up his partnership in Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering as head of its Latin American practice group as well as the chairmanship of the Inter-American Development Bank's external review group for private sector activities. He sold his sprawling property, bedecked with ivy and multi-hued flower bushes, and four fancy cars." Danino won out over PPK for the prime minister's post. He was part of Manuel Ulloa's team of wiz kids recruited in 1980 to liberalize the economy.

Tuesday, July 24

Houston Chronicle "(Peruvian Ambassador Carlos) Alzamora said there is evidence that the Colombian cartels are moving into the Andean valleys of Peru to grow opium poppies, which are used in the production of heroin." Colombians have been active in in eastern Peru for more than two decades, pushing coca early on and later diversifying into opium poppies/heroin when market forces dictates a change in consumer pattersn and enforcements.

National Geographic Fall of Ancient Peruvian Societies Linked With El Niño: "Indigenous people who lived on the coast of northern Peru began building large temple complexes about 5,800 years ago. The development of their culture, as seen in the elaborate temple building and public art discovered in the area, occurred even before the pyramids in Egypt were built. The Peruvians continued building the complexes for nearly 3,000 years. But evidence indicates that around 2800 B.C., the sites were abandoned. Scientists working in Peru think they know why." We previously pointed to another story about this research.

iWon / Reuters Peru's Aero Continente will go to WTO in Chile row: "'No trial has begun and we haven't been able to defend ourselves. But the intervening administrator -- who by chance is the nephew of LanChile's owner, our competition -- has already liquidated the company. Is that fair?' Zevallos asked. Hermann Chadwick, who was named by Chilean courts as the intervening authority to administrate seized Aero Continente assets, is the nephew of LanChile's owner Sebastian Pinera." According to this interview, Chilean courts did a no-no.

Monday, July 23

Herald News No Issue Too Large For PICO Director: "Oña is probably best known, however, for his involvement in the Paterson Interfaith Communities Organization. As executive director of PICO, Oña has been instrumental in organizing residents to fight for a better city." Another story about a New Jersey resident from Peru, community activist Luis Oña.

The Record A plea for Peru: "In North Jersey, a thriving Peruvian community responded with a series of fundraisers -- everything from a Mass to a soccer game. More than 60,000 people from Peru live in New Jersey, with at least half of those in Passaic County, particularly Paterson." The article focuses on Rev. Victor Alpaca, a Catholic priest from Arequipa.

SoccerAge Colombia Into Semifinals With 3-0 Win Over Peru: "The Peruvians still had nothing to offer up front save for a few innocuous Chemo del Solar shots from distance, and Colombia could have made it 5-0 as the match wound down." Peru came to Colombia with a reserve team and was reduced further by injuries and expulsions. They were simply outmanned.

Yahoo / Reuters Yahoo - PSEG Global submits top bid for Peru's Electroandes: "Providing six percent of Peru's power supply, Electroandes' main assets include four hydroelectric facilities with 183 megawatts of capacity and 460 miles of transmission lines located in the Central Andean region, northeast of the capital city of Lima, PSEG said." It's actually surprising that an interim government could procede with a sale of state assets.

Sunday, July 22

QuejasPeru is a new site that accepts complaints about abuses by state organizations and private organizations, as well as individuals. The site does not explain what organization is behind it or what happens after the complaint is issued.

APEP I have just found the new site of the Foreign Press Association, which disappeared from being hosted RCP and got its own domain, being hosted by Telefonica. Unforuntately, the site is no longer in English. I had to remove the old link from my site about a year ago because it was no longer working.

Financial Times Venezuela-Peru ties still under a cloud: "The situation has not improved in recent days. First, Venezuelan interior minister Luis Miquilena said opposition parliamentarians investigating the Montesinos case were 'mercenaries' paid by the Peruvian government. Then Luis Alfonso Davila, foreign minister, announced he had been invited to a meeting by his Peruvian opposite number, Javier Perez de Cuellar, only for the latter to deny the suggestion."

Washington Post Captive Parents: "From the first, Lori Berenson has refused to admit and repent of the charges made against her. 'She has such integrity," says Rep. Maloney. 'She will not admit to committing a crime she did not commit.' Secretary of State Colin Powell, who also met with Toledo, told him that the Berenson case would be a number one priority, an expression that thrilled the parents." Columnist Mary McGrory gives the family version of Lori Berenson's plight. I wonder if Bush or Powell will be as receptive to outside appeals about capital punishment.

Dallas Morning News The Dallas Morning News: Science: "Striking evidence of mudslides caused by El Niño's prehistoric presence is seen at a site called Manchay Bajo. Here, a wall was built in an attempt to mitigate mudslides, says Richard Burger, an archaeologist on the research team and director of the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven, Conn. The wall was apparently intended to protect the temple from mudslides that would travel down nearby ravines during heavy rainfall. "The wall runs for almost a kilometer [about 5/8 mile]. Most of it is about 20 feet high,' he says. 'It's a huge amount of labor. So that suggests that they took the El Niño problem very seriously.'" More evidence about of the impact of the Andes's complex environment over the ages.

Janes The military in crisis - Jane's International Security News: "The Montesinos scandals have revealed a deep crisis in the Peruvian military establishment and the reshuffle of the highest ranks has not purged the institution completely. Peruvians are now considering a truth commission to deal with crimes and human rights abuses committed by the military. While such procedure has become common in the post Cold War era, a collective reconciliation process for corruption crimes is new." More than the crisis itself, what matters is how the crisis is handled.

CNET / Reuters Italy's TIM one hot number in Peru's mobile market: "'This is a country with low cellular usage and that means the ability to advance is huge. The penetration rate could rise to 11 percent over three years and we could get 35-40 percent of that,' said TIM's Cisco." Despite the years of recession, some companies want to expand in the Peruvian market.

Houston Chronicle / AP Citing a copy of a sworn deposition to anti-corruption Judge Saul Pena Farfan, El Comercio quoted Montesinos as saying he doled out tens of thousands of dollars, 'following orders from President Fujimori to obtain a congressional majority.'" What else is Montesinos going to say.

Friday, July 20

Yahoo / Reuters Chile drug "Operation Icarus" halts Aero Continente: "Judge Juan Urrutia told Reuters he ordered the suspension based on evidence presented by Chilean public prosecutors that the company was involved in laundering money from drug trafficking." This is strange. One day, Aero Continente is bidding for Aerolineas Argentinas and the next day, it's slammed with a money laundering charge in Chile. There will have to be more information before making a firm judgment.

Thursday, July 19

Yahoo / Reuters Peru museum finds all that glitters may not be gold: "Asked how many of the glittering ceremonial daggers, pieces of jewellery and ritual ornaments may be replicas, Maguina told Reuters: 'It could be that 15 percent are original and 85 percent copies. But we are checking. These figures have to be treated with great caution.'" It's easy to imagine how original items were replaced by copies over time as they were shipped for exhibits outside Peru. There is a huge blackmarket for Pre-Columbian artefacts.

SoccerAge News: Peru Make Copa America QFs With 1-0 Win Over Mexico: "Holsen’s strike was the only worthwhile moment of a poor match, but it secured third place in the group for Peru while breaking Mexican coach Javier Aguirre’s three-match winning streak. Mexico nevertheless go on to the quarterfinals as the second-placed team in the group behind Brazil." This kind of victory is what keeps a county's fixation with soccer alive - even though the team may not have excelled, it still squeaks through into the next round.

Yahoo / Reuters Peru Blasts Japan Over Fujimori Brother-In-Law: "The dispute over Fujimori and his brother-in-law puts Japan in an awkward position because Tokyo feels beholden to the former president for his rescue of hostages held by leftist guerrillas at the Japanese ambassador's residence in 1997. Peru under Fujimori was one of the biggest recipients of Japanese aid, and one of 14 countries that received loans from Japan on an annual basis. But if Peru pushes for Fujimori's extradition too hard, it could risk losing badly needed aid for its struggling economy, analysts say." Japan's position seems opportunistic, especially with Fujimori's popularity among certain political circles in Tokyo.

Tuesday, July 17

Kay Graham Changed My Life
Today the former publisher of the Washington Post, Katharine Graham, died. It suddenly dawned on me that I could divide my life in a pre- and post-Katharine Graham eras. I met her in 1985 when I was freelancing for the Post and Newsweek in Lima. She came through Lima on one of her infamous overseas tours. I was in charge of putting together her seven-day itinerary in the country. She was accompanied by Meg Greenfield, the editorial page editor and her close friend. Graham was nothing what you might expect. She was shrewd, inquisitive and tough. She took her journalism role seriously. She caught all our guests and interviewees by surprise because they were expecting a figurehead publisher from an elite power family.

We survived the experience (Graham was 70 years old at the time), and Post and Newsweek editors then paid more attention to my story ideas -- though having Alan Garcia and Sendero as running stories didn't hurt. Meg Greenfield was one of my reference for a MacArthur Foundation Writing Grant. For the next five years, I was living off the professional and creative energy that the encounter generated.

I am working on a longer piece about this episode for Confessions of a Stringer Special g c i 275 feature. There may also be a separate piece about how Alan Garcia, then the leading presidential candidate, intentionally stood up Graham.

Yahoo / Reuters Kowabunga! Peru Dog on Surfing Safari: "Ultimately it was this stubborn desire to keep his paws dry of water that spurred the boxer to develop the perfect balance on the board." How's this for a change of pace?

CNN Report blames Peruvian air force for missionary shoot-down: "But as the investigators went through the chronology of the accident, 'they found the procedures had been adjusted,' one senior official said. This official said that over time, the number of steps which the Peruvians had to take before firing disabling shots was shortened. Officials further found that even the new, abridged version of procedures was not followed by the Peruvian air force on the day the accident took place." According to the report, there was plenty of blame to go around to all the parties involved.

Sunday, July 15

Asian Week Inouye to Introduce JLA Redress Bill: "The bill also grants redress equity for Japanese Latin Americans who were uprooted from their homes in Peru and 12 other Latin American countries, incarcerated with Japanese Americans during the war, and used as pawns in a hostage exchange program for United States civilian prisoners held by Japan." Peru deported at least a thousand Japanese immigrants to the States during WWII, and confiscated their property in Peru.

Miami Herald Chávez allies helped ex-spy chief, sources say: "Venezuelan security sources and journalists said that Montesinos, the power behind former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori's 10-year rule, was protected by top officials of the secret police and wealthy businessmen close to Chávez. And a senior Bush administration official said Montesinos was not captured the way Chávez said." The stories coming out of Caracas always seem so byzantine. No wonder Venezuela is such a headache for regional politics.

Saturday, July 14

I have done linkchecking on La Lista, as well as add some new sites, especially under Tourism. It's no good to have a web directory if there are broken links. I've noticed that La Lista is getting a good share of the traffic. When combined with DMoz, you have a great resource to Peru-related sites.

NY Times Indignities Mount for Peru's Ex-Spy Chief After Long Manhunt: "He (Montesinos) requested a meeting with two of those terrorist leaders, Abimael Guzmán and Víctor Polay, in the Callao prison courtyard, an effort, prosecutors surmise, to form an alliance to cause mischief. Prosecutors said that they had no intention to grant the request, but that when the two terrorists heard about the proposal they said they had no interest in the meeting anyway, prison officials said." Lots of turns and twists lies ahead.

Friday, July 13

Yahoo / AP Nearly $1M Needed for Montesinos Cell: "Authorities are evaluating where to construct the new facility, which will take five to eight months to build and cost an estimated $900,000, Justice Minister Diego Garcia Sayan told a congressional commission Thursday." For that price may there will be lids on the johns, instead of holes in the floor. / Knight Rider Peruvian Farmers at War with Canadian Company Manhattan Minerals over Mining: "The fight in northern Peru is not just about mining and agriculture, but over globalization and the rights of local communities when their governments turn to international investors in search of foreign currency earnings. Many versions of this struggle are playing out in poor countries around the world, and the fight in Tambogrande shows why free trade and globalization have become such a hard sell in some places." An exceptional article about complex issues.

BBC Garay stuns plucky Peru: "An injury-time equaliser from Silvio Garay saw Paraguay scrape a draw against Peru in a heated Copa America clash in Colombia on Thursday. Paraguay, one of South America's form teams, earned a point after Garay pounced in the first minute of added time. The striker's goal provided a dramatic end to an incident-packed match at the Pascual Guerrero Stadium which saw both sides finish with 10 men." Another heartbreaking game for Peru. The team now goes up against Brazil, which was stung by Mexico the same day.

The Guardian / AP Ex-Peru President's Case Won't Reopen: "On Thursday, the five-judge court unanimously denied a final appeal by special State's Attorney Jorge Melo Vega to reopen the corruption charges, ruling that time had run out to pursue the case." Alan Garcia's escape from judgment is in part due to Fujimori's failure to prosecute him when he was in power. But with the way that Fujimori and Montesinos had the judiciary under their thumb, a guilty verdict would always have been suspect.

The Guardian / AP Peru to Probe Political Violence: "The commission, led by Salomon Lerner, dean of Lima's Catholic University, will try to clarify the causes and responsibilities for political violence that left 30,000 people dead and at least 4,000 missing since 1980." Lerner was a solid source for me when I was working in Lima. He has his work cut out for him.

Disaster Assistance
ReliefWeb: Peru The Latest An excellent resource about relief efforts and background information. The site is a project of the United Nations in support of the humanitarian relief community. I have also beefed up the Arequipa quake page, something that I should have done days ago but just have not had the time.

NY Times / Reuters Peru's Truth Commission Faces Shaky Start Amid Row: "The inclusion of Beatriz Alva, a former ally of ex-President Alberto Fujimori, has offended some lawmakers, rights groups and relatives of 30,000 people who died and 4,000 who disappeared in the state-sponsored and rebel violence from 1980-2000 that the commission will put under the microscope."

Thursday, July 12

Bell towers tumble
Check out an amazing picture, probably taken by a tourist, of the Arequipa Cathedral being shaken by the June 25 earthquake. It captures the moment when the quake had undermined the belltowers. You can also see the Plaza de Armas pigeons taking flight and clouds of dust rising from the ground. I would like to acknolwedge the author, but the picture reached me by e-mail without any credits. Inca Roads: "We were seven riders at the end of a two-week cross-country motorbike tour of Peru that had taken us from Lima to the seaside Paracas National Reserve, across virgin beaches, into the mountain-high sand dunes of the Great Ica Desert, and finally up to the lost city of Machu Picchu." Unconventional travels through Peru. Nice to know that this kind of story is still published.

Financial Times Venezuelan police hid Peruvian spy chief: "Ms Flores, a member of Mr Chávez's Fifth Republic Movement (MVR), said the most senior official so far implicated was Enoe Vasquez, head of investigations for the Disip and the number three man in the secret police. Mr Vasquez has already been removed from his post, but his alleged involvement in the cover-up casts doubt on the president's claim that it was opposition groups and former presidents of Venezuela who conspired to 'plant' the ex-spy chief here in order to discredit his government." Lots of details are coming out about Montesinos's stay in Caracas and his ties to the Chavez administration.

Miami Herald Peruvians say Japan is blocking efforts to locate Fujimori bank accounts: "Peru's Justice minister, Diego Garcia Sayan, said in a telephone interview this week that 'Japanese authorities have not provided any collaboration' in Peru's efforts to find Fujimori bank accounts in Japan, where the former Peruvian president is living in exile." We have two options for viewing Fujimori: either he had a share of Montesinos's plunder ($204 million at last count) or he was completely duped by his top advisor.

Tuesday, July 10

Reuters AlertNet
Reuters has a non-profit initiative that focuses on disasters like Peru's Earthquake with references to news items, field reports and other sites. There is also a page with general information about the country. You can also make cash donations online. For relief organizations, AlertNet provides additional online resources.

Reuters AlertNet Nerves on edge in Peruvian earthquake zone: "Carlos Lima, president of a Caravelí residents' committee, was in Lima to pick up contributions collected from his countrymen. He originally reported that 303 homes had been destroyed and another 325 were at risk, but all of these had fallen down in the latest tremors. In his town, 750 families were left homeless, he said, and irrigation channels had also broken again." Sometimes the worst effects of the disaster surface some time after the earthquake happened.

Yahoo / Reuters Peru's Montesinos Ends Hunger Strike, Loses Lawyer: "Justice Minister Diego Garcia Sayan told CPN radio on Monday that one of Montesinos' state-appointed lawyers, Patricia Hurtado, had been taken off the case 'since (Montesinos) now has his own professional advice.''' Ya, but all his assets have been seized or frozen so how is he going to pay for his defense team.

Monday, July 9

Washington Post Warming Shrinks Peruvian Glaciers: "Whatever the cause, Peru, home to eight of every 10 glaciers that lie within the tropics, is living with the consequences of a warming climate. Scientists say the country is an ideal venue for studying climate change because of the abundance of tropical glaciers; Morales calls them 'the world's most sensitive thermometers,' because they react to the smallest change in temperature. With 723 glaciers, the Cordillera Blanca has the most of any of Peru's 18 ranges." Another manifestation of Peru's unique climatic conditions.

Sunday, July 8

Environment and Gender
Ana de la Torre was an anthopologist who taught me a lot about the Andean world when I was working in Peru. I had the fortune to meet her several times in Cajamarca, which she called home. I have just found out that she died a few years ago. I am putting a study, Women, Farmers and Andean Seeds, which she wrote with another friend of mine, Mario Tapia. The publication was originally brought out by FAO and IPGRI in 1997. It is a big Adobe Acrobat file (1.12 Mb) so be forewarned.

Writing on a PDA
I have started a page chronicling my experience of writing on my Handspring Visor. It's actually a revisit to the whole computing experience on a new platform, but since writing is a predominant activity for me, it will focus mainly on the creative process and instruments. This page will be far more modest in scope that Writing on your Palm, which is an exception resource in that area.

Yahoo / AP Peru's Fujimori Denies $12M Scandal: "Former President Alberto Fujimori has denied his ex-wife's allegation that he deposited some $12.5 million from Japanese donors meant for Peruvian children into a personal bank account." Higuchi has long been Fujimori's harshest critic.

LA Times The CIA Owes One to Peru: "This sort of link between Washington and the former spy chief (Montesinos) should move the U.S. Senate to ensure the cooperation of the CIA with Peru. Together, the authorities in both countries may be capable of untangling the web of corruption, harassment and intimidation that this man is charged with building." This editorial in the LA Times hits on a key point.

The Guardian Another Earthquake Strikes S. Peru: "The quake's epicenter was near the town of Ocona, 385 miles southeast of the capital, Lima, Peru's Geophysical Institute said. The temblor had a preliminary magnitude of 5.5, the Geophysical Institute said, but the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colo., reported it at 7.2." I can't figure out why there is this discrepancy between the Geophysical Institute and the Geological Survey.

Saturday, July 7

Lima Post / AP Peru PM: Fujimori Had Hidden Accounts: "Prime Minister Javier Perez de Cuellar said Friday that investigators 'practically have proof' that Victor Aritomi, Peru's former ambassador to Japan and husband to Fujimori's sister, Rosa, had committed 'grave irregularities' to 'hide bank deposits for his brother-in-law, Fujimori.'" The government keeps on trying to implicate Fujimori in financial irregularities.

iWon / Reuters Peru's Toledo says snared $1.2 bln on foreign tour : "Toledo, who takes office on July 28, is in Germany on the final leg of the 12-day foreign tour to rally funding and support for a social safety net until Peru's struggling $54 billion economy, which shrank for the sixth straight month in May, grows again. The emergency program aims in part to create temporary jobs with infrastructure initiatives like the construction of rural roads. About 54 percent of Peru's 26 million people are poor." The offers are not yet money in the pocket.

Yahoo / AP Another Earthquake Strikes Peru: "The earthquake was the third to hit the area in as many days and came two weeks after an 8.1-magnitude temblor devastated parts of the Andean nation, killing at least 75 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless." Sounds like something has shaken loose in the continental plates.

Friday, July 6

Donations for Earthquake Victims
If anyone would like to contribute to relief efforts, I suggest that you contact Oxfam, which has a long history of doing this kind of thing. This is the kind of effort that's going to require support for a long time.

Oxfam America
Peru Earthquake Response
PO Box 1745
Boston, MA 02105-1745

LA Times Montesinos' New Life in a Prison of His Own Making: "The cells had neither heat nor light. Toilets were holes in the ground. Prisoners were let out of their gloomy cells for one hour a day. It has only been in recent years, after vehement protests from human rights groups, that inmates have been given a mattress, television and four hours of exercise per day." Even by Peruvian standards, these cells were austere.

BBC New prison planned for Montesinos: "The Peruvian Government has announced plans to build a new maximum security prison to house Vladimiro Montesinos. The ex-spymaster, who was captured in Venezuela nearly two weeks ago, is currently on hunger strike in protest at his incarceration in a tough military jail. Peruvian authorities have acknowledged that, as a civilian, Mr Montesinos should not remain for long in a military prison."

LA Times Montesinos' New Life in a Prison of His Own Making: "First is the prison itself. Montesinos had it built on Callao naval base in the early 1990s as a final "resting place" for members of the leftist Shining Path, a terrorist band responsible for 30,000 deaths in a decade of struggle. As a result, Montesinos spared no privation. The cells had neither heat nor light. Toilets were holes in the ground. Prisoners were let out of their gloomy cells for one hour a day. It has only been in recent years, after vehement protests from human rights groups, that inmates have been given a mattress, television and four hours of exercise per day."

Wednesday, July 4

Lycos / Reuters Peruvians Yearn for Swift End to Montesinos Saga: "Peruvian Justice Minister Diego Garcia Sayan has said the long search for Montesinos, his imprisonment and trial would likely cost taxpayers about $15 million." That's not counting the $5 million reward that was offered.

Top 10,000 Companies
My colleague and long-time friend Jonathan Cavanagh and his team of associates have brought out Peru: Top 10,000 Companies, a complendium of business and economic information. Additional information Special feature. It's as good as it is heavy -- all 1,500 pages. This year it also comes on a CD. CIA Gave $10 Million to Peru's Ex-Spymaster: "The U.S. Embassy has provided Peru's anti-corruption prosecutor with detailed information about the CIA's payments to Montesinos in response to the Peruvian government's wide-ranging investigations into Montesinos' malfeasance. The prosecutor, Ana Cecilia Magallanes, has told U.S. officials that she has documents showing the diversion of SIN money, including the CIA payments, toward illegal activities. Sources would not elaborate on what those activities included, but the prosecutor said it did not appear that those monies were diverted into Montesinos' personal accounts." Peruivian journalist Angel Paez breaks this story on the partnership between Montesinos and the CIA. Paez is working with the Center for Public Integrity's International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.

Miami Herald / AP Peru spy chief ends hunger strike: "A spokesman for Gino Costa, head of the national prison board, confirmed that anti-corruption Judge Saul Pena Farfan gave authorization on Tuesday for Montesinos to receive food from the outside." Montesinos was afraid of being poisoned by the prison food. Intentionally or bad cooking?

IWon / Reuters Peru tax revenues up 2.6 pct in first half 2001: "Tax income is seen as a key sign of economic activity in Peru, where political uncertainty has warded off investors and new projects amid the fall of disgraced ex-president Alberto Fujimori last November and the run-up to new presidential elections." Tax evasion is a top sport in Peru.

Tuesday, July 3

Lycos / AP Peru Lowers June Quake Toll Figure: "The death toll from an 8.1-magnitude earthquake that rocked southern Peru on June 23 has been lowered from 115 people to 77, Peru's Civil Defense Institute said Tuesday. 'The early reports were sent by district mayors,' Civil Defense spokesman Juan Carlos Portocarrero told The Associated Press. 'What happened is the mayors had included missing people with the dead.''' I guess this should be good news.

The Independent Peru quake victims still trapped as workers battle in remote areas: "In this vast, Andean mountain region, breaking through to scores of scattered, mountain villages is the biggest challenge for aid workers. Rescue teams have still not reached about 20 per cent of the population, according to estimates from the International Federation of the Red Cross. With roads blocked, telephone lines down and electricity cut, many of these tiny hamlets can be reached only by helicopter or on foot." Tough times. Remains of 100 People Found in Peru: "Monday's Liberacion newspaper says the remains turned up in mountain caves in Peru's Huancasancos region, 500 kilometers southeast of Lima. The paper also says the remains were mixed with piles of clothing and rope and appeared to have been burned." The Truth Commission is going to have its hands full with cases like this.

ABC News / Reuters Peru Says Montesinos Leaking Lies to Media "'I don't think it's a campaign of manipulation run by Montesinos directly from jail. That would be very difficult in practice,' said Francisco Sagasti, a political analyst. 'But what's happening is that there are a lot of people that were associated with him for many years, and they have an ability to generate misinformation. And they're worried by the threat that Montesinos could reveal a series of things," he said'" This is just the start.

Monday, July 2

Yahoo / Reuters Peru's Montesinos May Keep Quiet in Court Probe: "Peru's prison chief, Gino Costa, said on Monday the country was mulling the construction of a new super-secure prison to house top criminals. The lack of a high-security civilian facility forces Peru's most dangerous prisoners to be housed at the naval base." After all the post-Fujimori trials are over, Peruvian prisons may be even more overcrowded than ever.

iWon / Reuters Peru's Toledo ups foreign support bid to $1 bln: "'The results here have exceeded our expectations. We had aimed to bring in $300 to $400 million but now the goal is $1 billion from donors and bilateral contributions,' Toledo told Panamerica television from France." Toledo probably should not put too much stock into these offers flowing immediately into the economy.

eWorcester / Telegram Albanian group expands mission: "Just as NEARO in the past appealed to the public for help in aiding the poor in Albania, it now is hoping people will support its efforts to lend a helping hand to the quake victims in Peru." The organization wants to sned clothing, footwear and bedding already packed in containers but does not have the cash to pay for shipping.

NY Times Magazine The Poor Man's Capitalist: Hernando de Soto: "While economists call him simplistic, third world leaders just call him. Back when Mexico's president, Vicente Fox, was governor of the state of Guanajuato, he sought out de Soto for advice. President Hosni Mubarak's son Gamal is his reform partner in Egypt. President Joseph Estrada of the Philippines brought de Soto in, and his successor, Gloria Arroyo, wants de Soto to press on. All this came before the publication last fall of de Soto's latest book, The Mystery of Capital." I used to scoff at Hernando de Soto as a snake oil salesman who was underwritten by the U.S. A.I.D., but now I respect him for his persistence and capacity to condense a lot of thinking into a few simple ideas, that he repeats again and again until it starts to sink in.

Miami Herald Finally, Swiss banks are coming out of hiding: "' ...Swiss authorities, without any previous request from Peru, gave Peru the first warning about the Montesinos accounts in Swiss banks. Later, they followed the money trail to accounts in other countries, which we would have never been able to find on our own.'
To my surprise, other Peruvian officials and prosecutors told me the same thing. Around September last year, Swiss authorities told then-president Alberto Fujimori that they had found Montesinos accounts in Swiss banks. They gave the Peruvian government 48 hours to take the initiative and file a request for information, or Switzerland would make a public announcement on its own." Columnist Andres Oppenheimerr tells about his converstation with Justice Minister Diego Garcia Sayan about Swiss banks' initiative in cracking Montesinos's secret accounts.

LA Times Latin Justice Systems Come of Age?: "Yet another issue is that Montesinos, a former lawyer who has defended some of the world's most dangerous drug dealers, seems to have been laying the groundwork for his defense all along, based on chain of command. He has reportedly told a panel of anti-corruption judges interviewing him that he made illegal payments but that everything he did was done under the orders of ousted President Alberto Fujimori, now in self-imposed exile in Japan."

BBC Montesinos angers jailed rebels: "The six current inmates said they feared that special arrangements made for Mr Montesinos would result in even less space available for them. There are only eight cells at the prison." Maybe they just don't like the smell.

Sunday, July 1

Newsweek Exclusive: Jail House Interview with Lori Berenson: "By not backing down on what I believe. Although what I can do is limited, by not cowering to the system of injustice I continue to be a headache to those who promote injustice." This interview came out a week ago and is rather vague, but I'm putting it up for the record. There is also a link to her parents interview with Matt Lauer on NBC.

Newsweek What the Spy Chief Knows: "The unfolding corruption cases will strengthen calls to reform Peru’s intelligence services. At a minimum, says one key Toledo aide, the Ministries of Defense and Interior, along with Montesinos’s National Intelligence Service, must be brought under direct civilian control to avoid a repeat of past abuses. 'That change is indispensable,' argues Fernando Rospigliosi, a prominent journalist who is advising the president-elect. 'The intelligence services have always been controlled by the armed forces, and now that the military finds itself in a state of complete impotence Toledo has to choose between the status quo and a radical change that creates a civilian-led intelligence service.'" A risk in the reorganization process is that you sweep up the good elements within the military along with the Montesinos mafia. Other kinds of scores get settled in these disputes. Civilians tend to be color blind about military politics.

Yahoo / AP U.S. Backed Peru's Decision on Spy: "Peru hadn't told Venezuela about its plan to capture Montesinos, apparently wary that Montesinos would be tipped off. The United States agreed with the strategy. 'We did not challenge or did not disagree with the assessment of Peru that the most reliable method to deliver Vladimiro Montesinos to their custody was to deliver him directly to the embassy of Peru,' [deputy assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs] Brownfield said." Sounds like he's mumbling in true State Department fashion.

The Guardian Caution urged after Peru quake: "Tim Murray-Walker said tourist casualties in the area could have been higher had it not been for the Inta Raymi Inca sun festival which attracted thousands of tourists to Cuzco on the same weekend." The right timing makes a difference.

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