Wednesday, October 31
iWon / Reuters Lax CIA Management Led to Peru Air Shooting
: "The Senate Intelligence Committee recommended the CIA be relieved of management of the air counter-drug program in light of the incident, which led to the deaths of missionary Veronica Bowers and her infant daughter when a Peruvian Air Force fighter hunting for drug traffickers fired at their flight." Rather than spread the blame around to all the parties involved in the tragedy, the Senate committee zaps the CIA.
iWon / Reuters Political discord worries Peru's economy minister
: "Kuczynski, a respected former banker and fund manager who is liked on Wall Street but who has already clashed publicly with some members of the ruling Peru Posible party, told RPP radio he feared that if established accords could be overruled without arbitration, the poor Andean nation would find it harder to attract much-needed foreign investment." PPK explains why he's worried.
iWon / Reuters Political snares endanger growth for Peru
: "A host of congressional commissions, meanwhile, have opened probes into how the government has managed privatizations, foreign debt and electricity companies. Amid what has been dubbed 'commission-itis,' Economy Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has said Congress should legislate, not attack." Most analysis pieces seem to ask the same questions and have few answers.
Saturday, October 27
NY Times Peru's Ex-Spymaster Exercises Power From His Jail Cell
: "No serious analyst here talks of a coup, given the sharp blows that the security forces have received after revelations of their corruption in the last two years. But many believe that Mr. Montesinos and his allies may be stirring opposition to the new president to resist change and sabotage their prosecution. While Mr. Montesinos may be behind bars and is unable to pull all the strings, officials say, the vast network of corruption that he honed is proving so deeply entrenched in all of the society's major power centers that it has become nearly impossible to root out completely." A chilling story about Montesinos's continuing reach into Peruvian power structures. But unless the government wants to purge hundreds of military officers, it will still have to watch its back.
Washington Times New York attack hits Indian weavers' trade
: "Mrs. Fernandez established S&S Colecciones Artesenales four years ago to coordinate the work of about 80 local women who knit export-quality alpaca, wool and cotton sweaters. The lucrative American market had just begun to open when the Sept. 11 attack occurred." Fortunately, for these Huancavelica women, the handcrafts trade is so dispersed that other operators can easily pick up the slack. The economic downturn, however, may hurt sales this year.
Thursday, October 25
CNN / Reuters Peru air executive says Montesinos link 'absurd'
: "[AeroContinente founder Fernando] Zevallos said he was drawn into that case because a suspected drug trafficker had testified that he had seen a plane belonging to Zevallos loaded with some 600 kilos (1,320 pounds) of drugs in Peru's northern jungle in 1990."
CNN / AP Peru congressman alleges Fujimori misused donations
: "Marina Collado, the widow of Army Col. Juan Valer who died in the raid, said Monday that she only received $43,687 from the donations rather than the $100,000 Fujimori publicly promised for each victim's family." Fujimori has been dogged by accusations that he mismanaged -- at best -- donations from Japan throughout his 10-year rule.
Tuesday, October 23
CNN / Reuters Peru's grand canyon lures with condors, culture - October 23, 2001
: "The entire canyon, whose name means 'granary' or 'depositary' in the native Quechua language, is packed with Inca lore and indigenous traditions that also attract tourists. The canyon is home to some 14 tiny, isolated villages -- some of which boast ornate, Baroque churches -- 138 species of birds, and 300 kinds of plants. It also houses extensive farming terraces predating the Inca empire where locals tend potato, corn, bean and wheat fields." One of my favorite spots in Peru. It's breath-taking.
Independent Here's to Cuzco
: "Among the shadier characters was a particularly deranged Vietnam vet known as 'Doc.' When drunk he would throw his arm around your shoulder and conspiratorially offer to do away with anyone you might name for $500. This kept everyone on friendly terms with each other, especially when they heard the infrequent but hair-raising thud of his Luger falling on the floor. It's said he died in Bolivia like Butch Cassidy." Beware of the well-meaning cliche in this article.
Saturday, October 20
Miami Herald Peru's new president pressed on promises
: "Nearly every day during the past two weeks, groups have taken to the streets in Lima and in other major cities throughout Peru to press demands in the face of the country's continued economic problems." Another pessimstic evaluation of Toledo's first three months in power.
Financial Times Peru's revamped secret service aims for reforms
: "As part of the reforms started by the interim government and carried on by new President Alejandro Toledo, the once-feared National Intelligence Service (SIN) has been scrapped. The new administration hopes that its replacement, the CNI, will underline Peru's democratic credentials and maintain security in the impoverished country, torn apart by the Maoist Shining Path rebel uprising of the 1980s and early 1990s."
Thursday, October 18
Yahoo / Reuters Peru Probe Puts Ex-Soccer Star Under House Arrest
: "Chumpitaz, 57, who has been confined to his home since Wednesday, was named in a video secretly taped by Montesinos as having accepted $10,000 a month to be a candidate for a Lima council job in 1998. He has denied the charge." I don't see why accepting money to be a candidate is a crime.
Wednesday, October 17
Financial Times Peru's president sees support slipping in polls
: "But the government's aim of rapidly improving conditions for the 13m or more Peruvians - nearly half the population - who live on $2 or less a day has so far proved a monumental task that analysts believe will take years - not months - to accomplish. Current global economic uncertainty, sparked by the US terrorist attacks, has damaged the prospects for Peru's economic recovery, with analysts now expecting an upturn no sooner than mid-2002." A pessimisstic outlook for the Toledo Administration, especially when tracking public opinion.
The Guardian / AP Peru President to Court Japanese Trade
"Analysts say Toledo is hedging his bets, recognizing that Peru does not have the international clout to force Japan's hand on Fujimori's return." Peru needs Japanese investment, loans and trade more than getting Fujimori back.
CNN / AP Peru military court nullifies amnesty law - October 16, 2001
: "The court made its decision in compliance with a September 3 ruling by the Inter-American Court on Human Rights, a statement from the Supreme Military Justice Tribunal said." A military court accepting the jurisdiction of an international tribunal is a reversal of precedent in Peru. I can't remember this ever happening before. It will also mean that many cases will be subject to review. It also opens another hole in Fujimori's defense against charges for his handling of the war against Sendero and MRTA.
Monday, October 15
Foster's Daily Democrat
(New Hampshire, USA) Peruvian-born artist to be honored by U.N. for lifes work
: "[Peruko]Ccopacatty (pronounced KO-pa-CAH-tee) will join playwright Arthur Miller and actress Vanessa Redgrave when he is given the United Nations Society of Writers and Artists Award of Excellence. The medal will be presented to Ccopacatty by Secretary General Kofi Annan at the U.N. in New York City later this month. The award is given each year to two writers or artists. Previous winners have included Norman Mailer, Gloria Steinem and Carl Bernstein."
NY Times The Constituency of Terror
: "The long-term fight against terrorism needs to offer millions of potential warriors a formal stake in the economic system they are striving to join. Any campaign that does not drive a political and economic wedge between terrorists and the poor is likely to be short-lived." Hernando de Soto shows that his heart is in the right place, and he knows an opportunity to sell his message on the Op-Ed page. You will need to register to access the story, but it's free and well worth it.
Sunday, October 14
Financial Times Protests put Toledo under pressure
: "Mr Toledo's first two months have proved a brutal wake-up call. His cabinet of mixed ideologies has found it difficult to balance the demands of millions who expect it to meet its promises, and those of business which insists on fiscal discipline, warning that foreign investment will be scared off by an expanding deficit, too much state intervention or any reluctance to press ahead with privatisation." I missed this story a little over a week ago. The Toledo administration has not been able to get out of the gate fast.
Thursday, October 11
The Guardian Terrorists Use Peru, Official Says
: "'What we have been able to prove is that our territory is being used for transit, as a corridor, and nothing else,' said Adm. Alfonso Panizo, head of the National Intelligence Council, during a meeting with foreign correspondents."
Wednesday, October 10
Financial Times Peru's economic recovery set back by US attacks
: "Mr Kuczynski had hoped to raise economic contingency funds in the New York bond market this year. But he said that in light of the terrorist attacks, Peru would wait for the markets to calm down. Peru had been expected to issue a $500m bond in the international markets - its first international bond for decades - but the state has yet to confirm the issue - originally mooted for launch by the end of 2001." The fallout from September events is going to hit Peru from a variety of angles.
Financial Times Peru hunts for former finance minister
: "The move followed the recent discovery of documents and a tape that appeared to show that Mr Boloņa was being lined up by former intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos and military chiefs to replace Mr Fujimori in mid-2000, as part of a coup plot that was never carried out." More details about Carlos Bolaņa's problems.
European Union Peru, Presidential and Congressional Elections 2001
: "The 2001 Peruvian general elections fully conformed to international electoral standards. The electoral administration generally proved itself capable of handling the preparation and management of the electoral system, while the government is to be commended for maintaining a strict position of neutrality." A final report of the EU observer mission is contained in an Adobe Acrobat (pdf) file. It is 56 pages and almost 800 kilobytes.
Tuesday, October 9
MSNBC / Reuters Peru ex-minister sought in probe
: "[Former Finance Minister Carlos] Boloņa, seen as a key player in bringing liberal economic reform to the Andean nation while he twice served ousted President Alberto Fujimori as economy chief, was accused of involvement in a plot to topple Fujimori in March 2000." The article does not give enough information to know key issues -- like was this with Montesinos's blessing or against Montesinos. The idea of a coup before 2000 general elections just does not make sense.
Financial Times Spurned 'prophet' could bring Nobel prize to Peru
: "But within Peru, his critics, mainly on the Left, see the pro-market Mr de Soto as an arrogant intellectual who has sniped at them from the sidelines. His success, his perceived aloofness and even his brush with Peruvian politics in the early 1990s have meant he is sometimes given a cool reception in Peru, bearing out the axiom that 'no man is a prophet in his own land'." Boy, has FT been memorizing De Soto's PR! De Soto has had two swings at working with Peruvian governments (Fujimori and Garcia). So he is not an unheard prophet -- neither wanted to buy into Hernando's policies completely, despite US AID giving substantial funding and political endorsement. A Miami Herald article
on the same rumor. Update
Hernando did not win the Nobel Prize for Economics, as this article said he might. This year has been rough -- no Nobel Prize and no Peruvian presidency (he was unable to get enough valid signatures to register his candidacy in February).
Yahoo / Reuters Peru's Rainforest Natives Pin Future on Ecotourism
: "Members of the local 400-strong community, comprising some 80 surviving families of the Ese'eja tribe and ``colonos'' like Cesar, the descendants of settlers who moved to the area from the slopes of the towering Andes, now have a major stake in one of the jungle lodges dotted along the Tambopata. They help run and manage the lodge, to which tourists and avid bird watchers alike flock to see the myriad-colored Macaws and parrots that inhabit their 24,700 acres area of verdant rain forest. They also take a sizable slice of the profits." I have been surprised at the number of ecotourism ventures that have sprung up in the Amazon.
Monday, October 8
iWon / Reuters Peru negotiating 1.8 pct 2002 budget deficit with IMF
: "The government of President Alejandro Toledo, which took office in July, said in its $10.5 billion 2002 draft budget the poor nation would aim next year for a budget deficit of 1.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)."
Wednesday, October 3
The Guardian / AP Peruvian TV Station Head Arrested
: "A Peruvian judge had issued an arrest warrant for Schutz on Tuesday after an undated videotape aired in Congress showing the television executive apparently accepting $350,000 in cash from Montesinos." More indications of how corrupt the Peruvian media has been, with a few exceptions.
Miami Herald Miami judge orders extradition of Peruvian spy chief's aide
: "Magistrate Judge Barry L. Garber said there is sufficient evidence showing former Peruvian national police Col. Manuel Aybar Marca orchestrated Vladimiro Montesinos' escape from Peru as the government of then-President Alberto Fujimori crumbled amid scandal last year. Aybar could be returned to Peru this month, but Bernardo Lopez, Aybar's attorney, said his client could ask the U.S. District Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals to review Garber's ruling. That could delay Aybar's extradition by a year or more."
just-food.com / Reuters Peru judge says no arrest order in Chile pasta case
: "A Peruvian judge said on Tuesday that prosecutors would examine influence-peddling charges against executives of Chilean pasta maker Lucchetti but said an arrest warrant had not been issued." A correction of the story that cam out yesterday about Lucchetti managers being sought by police.
Tuesday, October 2
First Day of School
I attended my first session at the University of Maryland University College
(UMUC) Graduate School. I went to College Park where the staff, professors and student partook of light lunch. Then, the student found out what they were in for. Real classes begin on Saturday. The reading list is overwhelming. I'm excited and a bit intimidated. Bring it on.
Yahoo / Reuters Peru's Toledo says will revise faulty economic figures
: "Toledo said that under Fujimori the economy had not expanded as much as official figures reported. 'The economy didn't grow by (an annual average of) 3.9 percent but by 1.9 percent,' he said. Toledo said the allegedly manipulated figures distorted social spending and made the poor Andean nation ineligible for some international financing tools like some bond swaps because its reported income was inflated." It would not be the first time that Fujimori/Montesinos fudged on figures.
CNet Investor / Reuters Peru economy minister to woo NY ratings agencies
: "Peru's Economy Minister Pedro Pablo Kuczynski is meeting with ratings agencies and foreign investors in New York this week to convince them the Andean nation was on track to pull out of an economic slump, a government source said on Tuesday." Sounds like PPK is trying to call on some favors from his old friends. Unfortunately or Peru, the prevailing attitude is to be pervasively pessimistic.
Just Food PERU: Peru orders arrest of Chilean Lucchetti executives
: "According to judicial sources, Judge Jorge Barreto ordered the arrest of Lucchetti owner Andronico Luksic and other executives after company officials were seen in a tape with Peru's jailed ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos." Pasta and videotapes make a spicy diet for many Peruvians.
Guardian / AP Fujimori Urged to Return to Peru
: "Justice Minister Fernando Olivera accused Montesinos's lawyer, Estela Valdivia, of having taped his comments secretly and then turning them over to the U.S.-based, Spanish-language television channel, Telemundo." Montesinos finds a way to influence the media and wag his finger at his former boss.
Monday, October 1
CNN / AP Peru's president announces job programs
: "Toledo said Sunday he would initiate a short-term emergency program, dubbed 'To Work,' to generate 49,000 temporary jobs with 200 million soles, or about $57 million, in government funds." A modest start to providing 2.5 million jobs promised in the campaign.