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Sunday, September 30

LA Times Strengths of Ruthless Spy, Bookish Cop: "Fujimori and Montesinos fought terror with terror. They unleashed the military and intelligence service, created draconian special courts, locked terrorists in medieval prisons in the oxygen-deprived heights of the Andes. But that is not the whole story. Peru also had the services of talented detectives with a far different philosophy, sleuths who were restrained, humane, intellectual--and who feuded with Montesinos." The article is tinged with the US events of this past month. It raises issues about how you fight terrorism and build democratic institutions.

iWon / Reuters Peru minister sees 2002 growth missing goal-paper : "'Low mineral prices, the recession in the United States and other factors make quick economic recovery difficult,' Economy Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski said, according to the Correo daily newspaper." GDP may grow by 4.0 percent, instead of 5.5 percent as originally forecast by the government. In these troubled days, it's going to be hard to make predictions.

Wednesday, September 26

CNET / Reuters Tractebel, Promigas compete for Peru gas rights: "The reserve, discovered in 1982, is seen as Peru's chance to seize on a new source of export revenue which could ease the burden of foreign debt payments. Camisea group leaders met on Tuesday with President Alejandro Toledo to insist on their intent to continue with the project despite economic uncertainty after recent attacks on the United States, the government said." We've been hearing how Camisea will save Peru for two decades.

CNET / Reuters Water supplies alleged contaminated by Peru gold mine: "Hundreds of protesters blocked a major highway in northern Peru on Wednesday, alleging local water supplies had been contaminated by toxic mercury from Latin America's largest gold mine Yanacocha, but officials denied the report." The Yanacocha mine in Cajamarca is big bucks. Even if it was polluting the river water, the government would be hard pressed to shut it down.

Sunday, September 23

Thanks to the purchase of a scanner, I am copying TAFOS photographs and adding them to the site. I've also purchased a Dell computer, which has made my development work pleasureable. Unfortunatley, my mind has been on the tragic events of September 11 and impending events.

I might also add that I've scored a couple of points with my work at the Organization of American States. This past week, I figured out an arrangement that would allow the OAS to get Microsoft software licensing at non-profit prices. The savings will allow us to upgrade desktop and server software, as well as prepare ourselves to take full advantage of new technology. We had been buying our software out of discount catalogues for years, without getting any benefit for volumen purchases. The rest of the IT staff was afraid of dealing directly with Microsoft. I started making pitches to the local MS rep for striking a deal and then saw the possibility of using the Trust for the Americas as an umbrella organization.

Saturday, September 22

iWon / Reuters Peru aims to cut annual debt service by $300-$400 mln: "Economy Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski told a business conference that Peru's annual debt servicing -- which includes interest, principal and amortizations -- would fall to between $1.7 billion and $1.8 billion from the $2.1 billion now paid each year." Peru will be going against the worldwide current of economic downturn.

Friday, September 21

Reuters AlertNet Peruvian survivors organise on post polio syndrome: "Montero is now president of the Peruvian Polo Survivors Association. The vice-president and committee members are also survivors of childhood polio.
The association has permission from the Peruvian Social Security Institution to carry out an awareness campaign among health staff to increase detection and appropriate treatment for post polio syndrome patients." Several friends in Peru suffered from polio as children.

IWon / Reuters Peru Congress names final Central Bank directors: "Industrial engineer Gonzalo Garcia and economists Juan Jose Marthans and Kurt Burneo were approved in a congressional vote. Three out of six Bank governors are chosen by Congress in Peru, while the other three and the president are selected by the executive branch. The government of Toledo, who took office in July, had already named Oscar Dancourt, Carlos Castro, and Julio Velarde to the board of directors."

Sunday, September 16

Sunday Times Peru's lost kingdom rises from the desert: "Treasures recovered from a ruined citadel on the outskirts of the city of Trujillo in northern Peru reveal that the community of fishermen, craftsmen and farmers played a role in the development of the Americas comparable in cultural importance to that of the Greeks in the Mediterranean." More revelations about the pre-Colombian Moche culture being unearthed on the northern coast.

From the Twin Towers to Peru
According to one weblog, there are five Peruvians missing in the Twin Towers catastrophe. No names. Perhaps, some Peruvian media are following this more closing. From the webpage mentioned above, it's clear that the shockwaves of the attack spread around the world. It is not only the United States that is grieving.

Times of London Peru issues an arrest warrant for Fujimori: "The arrest order is part of an effort to force Japan to extradite Señor Fujimori, who fled there in November last year when his Government of ten years collapsed over corruption allegations. The Japanese Foreign Ministry has yet to respond to the international warrant, but has rejected Peru’s previous extradition requests." This news is a little stale but I -- like most people -- have had other things on my mind recently.

Thursday, September 13

I have been too overwhelmed by the events of World Trade Towners and the Pentagon to do my routine with Peruvian news. I lived through something on a much smaller scale when I lived in Peru during the crescendo of Sendero activity in the late 1980s. I should be jaded by senseless violence and brutality, motivated by fundamentalist faith and hatred, but I'm not. I've caught myself crying several times over the past 48 hours when watching or reading the news. It's a turning point in too many ways for me to explore right now.

Tuesday, September 11

Financial Times Dogfight over Peru airline goes to heart of Andean industry: "The case has meant a moral victory for the Peruvian airline - with its sights set now on Argentina; an embarrassment for the independent Chilean probe that brought the charges; renewed calls for anti-competition authorities to look at Chilean carrier Lan Chile's domestic dominance; and a re-awakening of old grudges between the neighbouring Andean countries, analysts say."

Monday, September 10

Financial Times Peru to press US to resume anti-drug flights: "Sceptics such as Hugo Cabieses, an adviser to coca farmers, say the anti-drug patrols now have only a negligible impact in the regional fight against trafficking, as 'cocaine has been leaving the country by a number of routes other than by light aircraft'."

Sunday, September 9

Yahoo / Reuters Coca keeps Peru farmers hooked -- to survive: "While it would be an exaggeration to say farmers everywhere are ripping up fields to replant with coca, the crop is an everyday necessity. In the village of Sivia, even the Lima government's representative, Vidal Saavedra, is a coca farmer. Although only 1/10th of his land is planted with coca, that yields far more in cash terms than other crops. As well as the higher price, coca can be harvested every three months." This is really an old story line -- I've been hearing the same questions about crop profitability since the late 1970s. Peruvian farmers are pragmatists -- they calculate risks and prices and plant what may give them the surest payoff.

Friday, September 7

CNN / AP Peru to press Powell to restart drug interdiction flights: "Ramirez said Beers, head of the State Department's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, would accompany Powell, and that a brief meeting to discuss improved procedures for the aerial drug interdiction program had been scheduled." It must be gratifying to the State Department and the DEAS to have South American governments begging for increased interdiction efforts.

Thursday, September 6

Forbes / Reuters Peru could struggle to deliver on job pledge: "Some 51 percent of Peru's 12 million work force is either unemployed or underemployed. Each year, 360,000 youths enter that tight job market -- many of whom end up driving taxis or heading abroad in search of employment opportunities." The crux of Peru's problem. Raising alpacas for fun and profit -- mostly for profit: "Alpaca profits today lie in breeding. Investors who want a quick return buy a pregnant female for $20,000, then sell her baby for $10,000 to other newcomers to the industry. Those building more slowly hold female babies until they, too, are pregnant and worth their initial purchase price. The return on investment ranges from Stewart's 50 percent annually to 10 percent for those unfortunates with scrubby stock." Insight into the alpaca business in the United States.

Wednesday, September 5

Miami Herald Peru recovery plan encourages business: "'All the ingredients are there for a strong resumption of growth,' said Luis Oganes, J.P. Morgan's director of Latin American emerging markets." An optimisitic analysis of Peru's economic prospects.

Remembering TAFOS
I have scanned a bunch of "new" TAFOS photos that I will be adding to the site in the next couple of days (weeks). I also uploaded a TAFOS presentation from 1989 that lays out its philosophy. It has disappeared from the site where I found it so I am preserving it as a historical reference. The TAFOS introduction has also been expanded.

iWon / Reuters Peru presents "austere" budget; deficit seen growing: "He [Prime Minister Roberto Danino] said the government's 36.37 billion soles ($10.5 billion) draft budget assigned more cash to education, health, justice and agriculture and would cut defense spending. He gave no figures in a brief speech before handing over to Economy Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski." Rituals in politics -- Prime Minister with budget draft before Congress.

Yahoo / AP Homicide Charges Filed vs. Fujimori: "Prosecutors allege that the now-exiled Fujimori 'co-authored' the killings and 'knew in detail the operations' of the death squad known as the Colina group, the attorney general's office statement said." One more step towards trying to corner Fujimori in a web of accusations. Can a murder run for the presidency?

Tuesday, September 4

ITN ITN - Peru's amazing vegetarian 'Viagra': "For Peru - which gave the world potatoes and the malaria treatment quinine - maca is a unique and little-touted treasure that could prove a big moneyspinner in a growing world trend for natural remedies and alternative medicines." Maca is one of the remanents of the pre-Colombian agricultural system. See my page of plant diversity.

The Guardian / AP Peru's Montesinos Denies Rigging Ruling: "On Monday, he was referring to a television report aired Sunday by the television show 'Between the Lines' that cited supposed testimony in which Montesinos admits he orchestrated a January Supreme Court decision to clear Garcia of corruption charges."

Monday, September 3

Miami Herald Work is valued here: "A Peruvian man in his early 30s, married, with three children and a good job as an accountant with an international company saw the bottom drop out last year. His employer could see the handwriting on the wall. Peru, with increasing political and economic turmoil, was in free fall. The company decided to pull up stakes. Seeing the worsening job situation, the man reluctantly decided to do the same. Leaving his family behind, he came to Miami, where he found shelter with relatives. But he found no work as an accountant." An editorial that uses the blight of a Peruvian immigrant to highlight the U.S. attitude towards labor.

International Herald Tribune Fujimori Is Safe and Cozy in Tokyo: "A sense of obligation colors some of the sympathetic feeling in Japan toward Mr. Fujimori. 'He was an immigrant who in the past was considered a citizen abandoned' by Japan, Mr. Tokuda said. 'My honest feeling is that because everyone left him, somebody has to take care of him, and that has to be done by us who understand Fujimori.'" This is the same piece that appeared in the Washington Post a few days ago. I am posting it again because it signals global interests.

Kyodo News U.S. will not intervene in Fujimori's extradition: '''We will leave it to them and not interfere,' State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said." Surprise.

Forbes Peru budget seen too optimistic: "Giant projects like the Camisea natural gas reserve due to bring gas to Lima by 2003 and the zinc and copper mine Antamina, with operations set to reach full capacity next year, are key in helping Peru recover, analysts say. Antamina alone could account for 1.8 percent of GDP in 2002." The government is banking on 5 percent GDP growth next year. Though a definite possibility due to pent-up opportunities and goodwill, much more will depend on building toward long-term growth fundamentals. Peru does not need another boom-bust cycle of two-three years. The danger is that this "retro" economic team may not be around long enough to lock in all the variables, and there is no replacement crew waiting in the wings.

Sunday, September 2

St. Petersberg Times Floridian: Word for Word: Run again? Who, me?: "Therefore, for all those reasons, I thought about making my own web page, where I could communicate my feelings, point of views as well as my ideas on a regular basis. When entering this page, still in construction, with a click on the mouse, the images of 10 years of changes will be seen on your screen. Ten years in office that changed the history of Peru. Big changes, whose profits are being hidden at all costs and even erased from some government Websites." Excerpts from Alberto Fujimori's site.

CNN Peru ex-president denies Montesinos link: "[Journalist Cecilia] Valenzuela said in the "Hour N" program that Garcia, who had been living in France and Colombia, coordinated with Montesinos to make sure embezzlement charges against him would expire on a statute of limitations so he could return to Peru to run for another term." The question that arises is why Garcia would deal with Montesinos after the spy chief had fled the country and his power was diminished.

Washington Post / AP Peru Plans to Reopen Dozens of Bases: "La Republica newspaper reported that 25 counterinsurgency bases and 88 police stations will be reopened, mainly in the Ene and Huallaga River valleys east and northeast of Lima. More than 1,500 soldiers and police officers will man the bases, the newspaper said." Sendero -- and armed thugs calling themselves guerrillas -- is going to continue to be a threat for years to come.

Washington Post Defiant Fujimori Finds Safe Haven Among Japanese: "He [Alberto Fujimori] meets regularly with wealthy benefactors who are making it possible for him to live, as he put it, "in the manner of an ex-president" in this expensive city. A Society to Support Fujimori, with membership in three levels -- roughly $800, $4,000 and $8,000 -- has met in exclusive restaurants more than 20 times this year to introduce him to potential patrons. They easily passed their initial target of $175,000 for the support fund, and some reports say the total is close to $1 million." Maybe, he will set up his re-election fund for 2011. By then, Peruvians may look back nostalgically, like some do now about Belaunde and Garcia.

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