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Thursday, February 28

Alphagalileo El Niño is yawning: "'We've already created a computer model which can help us predict an El Niño event from 6 months to a year in advance,' explains [French scientist Joel] Picaut, 'but you can`t put nature into a computer. We predicted the 1997 El Niño six months before it began, but we were taken completely by surprise by how strong it was.'" Excellent details about how El Nino works from this European source.

Financial Times Political worries take their toll in Peru: "Overall the market remains modestly upbeat about the prospects for Peru's $54bn economy in the coming year. The latest round of data showed that the mining and fishing-dominated economy grew by a better-than-expected 3 per cent in the last quarter of 2001. The recent spurt in activity has heartened market watchers. But the resurgence has been restricted mainly to the mining and construction sectors, offsetting declines in fishing." This is an unusual story because it says that nothing is really happening in the Lima stock exchange and no major leaps in volume or prices are expected this year.

Wednesday, February 27

Scientific American Fish Fossils Shed Light on Origin of El Niño: "The findings illustrate the variability inherent in global climate, Andrus observes. 'Our research shows that the current El Niño cycle is significantly different from what it was five to eight thousand years ago,' he says. 'Our hope is that our data can be used to build accurate predictive models of future El Niño events.'" Another story about science research that I pointed to before.

Washington Post No Tears for Terrorists: "There will always be young Americans who go abroad and exercise monumentally bad judgment. Some will even get involved with terrorist organizations out to attack our country or anything associated with it. And there will always be parents who argue that their children are innocent regardless of the evidence. But Sept. 11 has demonstrated that we are all potential victims of terrorism, and that realization should cause us to take terrorism more seriously regardless of where it happens. It should also prompt us to provide no more sympathy and support for Lori Berenson than for John Walker Lindh." Ouch! Former U.S. Ambassador to Peru, Dennis Jett, writes a blunt op-ed piece that exposes the Lori Berenson case to the same light as Taliban sympathizers. He also states, "Given the evidence, the Peruvian court found Berenson's assertion of complete innocence and total ignorance about as plausible as an American court would if Lindh were to make the same claim."

Space Daily Gilat Continues To Connect Rural Peru Via VSAT Rollout: "When completed, Peru's satellite telephony network will be one of the world's largest. Deployment of the new 1,300-site network, based on Gilat's DialAw@y IP VSAT product, has begun and is scheduled to reach completion by the end of 2002." This kind of technology could prove to be a real breakthrough for Peru. The rugged geography makes it difficult to provide even the most basic infrastructure.

MSNBC / Reuters Journalists blackmailed Peru lawmakers-probe: "The journalists 'charged $500 a month for two interviews, a report, and an article about the legislator,' he [journalist and legislator Mauricio Mulder] said, adding that when the fee was upped to $1000 a month, some lawmakers refused to pay -- and were rewarded with negative press." Journalists sold themselves cheap to write cherries for politicians while broadcasters and publishers charged millions for favorable coverage of Fujimori under Montesinos's care.

Tuesday, February 26

21st Century Adventures Discovering Peru's Desert Coast: "We walked down onto a surf beach, where all of the dead creatures the ocean could muster up lay drying under the tropical sun. Seeking respite from the heat, we entered the Cathedral, a huge rock formation with internal caves quite capable of holding big congregations. It has a western tower, on which sits the weather-carved figure of a man wearing a poncho and a hat. He stares out at the Pacific towards Australia. Though not quite the statue of an angel, to fishermen he is a talisman. The Cathedral is a special place, bringing safe passage and ample catch." A visit to Paracas with its acuatic wildlife and archaeological wonders.

Monday, February 25

Reuters Fujimori recounts "fight vs terrorism": "In his book, Fujimori recounts his triumphs in defeating the Maoist Shining Path and Marxist MRTA, frequently drawing comparisons between the groups and Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network. Accusing his predecessors of ignoring the issue of extremist violence, Fujimori lauds his own initiative and planning that he said helped bring about unprecedented peace in the Andean nation." Another book of memoirs will come out in July or August.

Yahoo / AP Fujimori:Ex-Wife Scars From Treatment, Not Torture: "Fujimori described the marks as being left by moxibustion, a well-known form of treatment in Japan and China in which a burning mound of moxa, or a concoction of herbs, is applied externally to various parts of the body." Fujimori has his own explanation of the scars on his former wife's body.

Sunday, February 24

Luisa hits the Internet
I spent some time yesterday writing about my mother-in-law and her family. I've come across some family photograph and decided to post them. The Chavez-Carrasco family has some interesting stories, though I may not be able to give all the details.

CNN / AP Leftist guerrillas raid small town in Peruvian Andes: "About 50 members of the Mao-inspired guerrilla group descended Thursday on the hamlet of Calicanto in Ayacucho province, some 210 miles (345 kilometers) southeast of Lima, police said. Townspeople said the rebels, who were carrying automatic shotguns and wearing hoods, criticized the government's economic policies and urged the inhabitants to join their ranks." I tried to look up Calicanto in the Atlas of Peru and could not find it, nor another town mentioned, Tutumbaro. There are lots of towns in Ayacucho that are not on the map. The story also incorrectly says that these hamlets are located in the province of Ayacucho. There is no province by that name.

BBC Peru stymied in search for truth: "The next day, back in the capital Lima, I came up against another, even more recent example of how hard it is to discover the truth in a place like Peru. Almost a year and a half ago, the president Alberto Fujimori and his unofficial spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos were forced to flee the country." This article is a reflection on how elusive the truth can be in Peru. Or at least how hard it is for outsiders to recognize what has actually happened.

Washington Post / AP Ex-Peru Agent Discusses Torture Claim: "A former intelligence agent said in comments aired Saturday that she saw disgraced ex-President Alberto Fujimori's wife naked and cowering in a basement cell at army intelligence headquarters in 1995." Fujimori looks more dispicable every day -- we find out that he used goons to rough up his wife.

Saturday, February 23

ESPN / Reuters Strike threat hangs over Peruvian soccer: "Peruvian soccer is in dire financial straits and Manassero said that players at some clubs had not been paid for six months. He also accused clubs of unilaterally ending players' contracts." The problems are even affecting the top clubs like Universitario.

SunSpot Links between El Nino, disease: "In findings reported last month to the American Meteorological Society, team members say they have found evidence linking the periodic surges of bartonellosis in the Peruvian Andes to the mating habits of a lowly sand fly and to the El Nino phenomenon in the waters of the eastern Pacific. More research is needed to confirm the results. But the findings add to a lengthening list of apparent cause-and-effect links between El Nino and outbreaks of human disease. Those include surges of hantavirus infections in the U.S. Southwest, cholera in South Asia and Peru, dengue fever in Vietnam and malaria in Africa." In Peru, bartonelleosis is called verruga, or bleeding warts, but that is really the final symptom of a more complex ailment. Fascinating stuff.

IMF Request of Stand-by Agreement: This announcemnet may sound bureaucratic, but the document (Adobe's pdf format) contains 64 pages of information about economic, monetary and trade policies. This report was prepared by IMF staff. Be forewarned: this is for policy wonks.

Friday, February 22

Washington Post Millions Sought From U.S. in Plane Downing: "The loss of the plane and of "Roni" Bowers has had a 'devastating impact' on the mission in Peru, said Don Davis, the Baptist group's corporate counsel. No one has replaced the Bowerses, who taught the Bible and trained locals in church leadership, and a family that had been working with them in remote regions has left." The tragedy lingers on.

AdAge Global Armed with only creativity, shoestring Peruvian campaign pits limes against gold: "At stake is one of the country's prime agricultural areas, which sells more than $100 million a year in fruit. Farmers in Tambogrande and the neighboring San Lorenzo Valley say an open pit mine would destroy their industry. On the other side is Manhattan Minerals, which has a prospecting agreement with the government and has already invested $50 million. The project has been on hold for almost a year, when tempers flared in Tambogrande. Demonstrators set fire to Manhattan's installations, destroying offices and equipment worth more than $10 million." I think that this article will be up only a short time.

Thursday, February 21

BBC Madonna toasts star photographer: "Born in Lima, Peru, Testino did not pursue a career in photography until he moved to London to begin formal training in the early 1980s.
He originally studied Economics, Law and International Relations in Peru and California." Mario Testino is a top fashion and showbiz photographeer in London. He has an exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery starting in early February and it will last five months.

Financial Times Bad blood in Peru's political reshuffle: "The bad blood caused by the reshuffle has only accentuated an already bitterly partisan mood among Mr Toledo's party faithful, who feel the government's election manifesto is being betrayed by the Dañino-Kuczynski axis, brought in to restore Peru's economic credibility abroad, analysts said. Thus the ground has been laid for the next stage in a family feud between the Cabinet and a populist-minded ruling party, some of whom have speculated that Mr Dañino may not survive the year." Let's be clear that there are no "party faithful" in Peru Posible. It is slightly less ephemeral than a cabinet. It's also laughable that Alan Garcia is again talking about the government's support for "imperialist policies." Just look to Argentina for the consequences of unrealistic economic thinking disguised as populist slogans. Or we can look back to 1989 and 1990 when Alan unveiled his version of nationalism.

Melbourne Age / AFP Peruvian PM says repatriation for Berenson an option: "Previously the 32-year-old has refused to be transferred to the United States arguing that it would amount to an acknowledgment of guilt. Under the existing US-Peruvian accord, prisoners sentenced in one nation may be transferred to their native country to serve out their prison terms." Bobby Danino wants to get Berenson off Peru's hands, but she probably would not accept the conditions for a prisoner exchange.

Wednesday, February 20

There but for grace...
I am posting a longer piece in Confessions of a Stringer that started with Lori Berenson's conviction. It's an idea that has been gnawing away at me. I'm not entirely happy with the results but thought that the confirmation of her sentencing by the Supreme Court was an opportunity to put it out. Foreigners in a Strange Land looks at the question of when it's right for a foreigner to comment about and even participate in Peruvian politics.

NY Post Justice for Lori is jail: "It has been suggested that President Bush, who visits Lima next month, should ask Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo to pardon Lori Berenson. Bad idea. The administration has rightly and forcefully been pushing other nations to round up terrorists and 'bring them to justice.'
Peru has done just that." Another hometown paper publishes an editorial that says Berenson got what she deserved.

Newsday Peru Upholds Berenson Sentence: "The dedicated dad said he's going to begin making his own appeals: to President George W. Bush, to Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo and to the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights." Nothing really knew in this article, but it is another hometown paper for Lori's family.

iWon / Reuters 'Crucified' Peru fish workers bare their grievances: "The protesters say more than 1,600 Pesca Peru workers were laid off by disgraced ex-President Alberto Fujimori in 1992. They want compensation, new jobs for those aged under 50, early retirement pensions for those aged over 50 and health care." I am surprised sometimes by the capacity of Peruvians to remember old scores and try to settle them a decade or more later.

NY Times U.S. Woman Jailed in Peru Won't Get a Presidential Pardon: "Justice Minister Fernando Olivera said today that Ms. Berenson was now 'a proven terrorist, convicted in a new trial with all the guarantees.' Speaking on radio, Mr. Olivera said, 'The sentence must be served because the law should be applied equally to everyone. The truth is there is nothing more to talk about, and there is no presidential pardon under consideration.'" Berenson's hometown paper gives the bad news.

Tuesday, February 19

Dallas-Fort Worth Star Telegram / Knight Ridder 'Gringa terrorist' fails to win release in Peru: "Now her family hopes that the influential Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a Costa Rica-based arm of the Organization of American States, will call for her release. The commission carries moral authority, and although OAS countries are not bound by its recommendations, they traditionally follow them. The commission has pondered Berenson's case for four years and has not yet reached any decision. It has conducted three hearings and has been critical of the anti-terrorism laws on which she and thousands of Peruvians were convicted in the mid-1990s." The Commission's interest in Berenson's case was due to her being convicted by a military court in 1996. Now, with a new, public trial with proper defense and under civilian authority, it's doubtful that it would slap Peru's wrist.

Lycos / AP Pardon Ruled Out in Peru for Berenson: "Peru's Justice Minister Fernando Olivera, however, ruled out a pardon on Tuesday for New York-native Lori Berenson a day after the Supreme Court confirmed her sentence. 'She is a proven terrorist, sentenced by the Supreme Court,' Olivera said. 'There is simply nothing more to discuss about the matter ... a presidential pardon is not under consideration.'" Olivera may not be the best source as to which way the Peruvian government is leaning. He is not part of President Alejandro Toledo's inner circle and has a reputation for being headstrong and impulsive.

NY Times Berenson Loses Peruvian Appeal of Her 20-Year Prison Sentence: "Although Peruvian officials have said Ms. Berenson's case was not a priority for the government, the foreign minister, Diego García Sayán, said last week that the case might come up during Mr. Bush's visit." Of course it will come up. There are too many cheap political points to be won on Capitol Hill and in the media for Bush to ignore the case.

Lori Berenson
Lots of news articles appearing about the Peruvian Supreme Court's decision to stand fast on Berenson's conviction and sentencing. I have not had a chance to sift through all of them and separate the repeats of news agency copy from the original articles. For those who want back ground, you can check out my Berenson page, which is also crying out for an update. Needless to say, Berenson's best hope is for Toledo to pardon her before or after the Bush visit next month. Otherwise, Washington is just going to be a pest about Berenson's case. Every time that Peru and the U.S. have to deal with an issue, the Berenson case will be brought up. I am also sure that if Berenson had not been a U.S. citizen -- say, a flaky European, her case probably would have been quietly resolved.

Monday, February 18

MSNBC / Reuters Peruvians clamor for jobs, hammer Toledo in poll: "With just 27 percent approval, Toledo who has recently appointed Chilean image-makers, is one of Peru's least-loved politicians, the survey showed. More than half of those polled faulted him for failing to keep his promises. But 27 percent praised Toledo's democratic credentials after Fujimori's hard-line rule which collapsed in a corruption scandal in 2000." President Alejandro Toledo has more than an image problem.

Guardian / AP Peru compensates tortured ex-intelligence agent: "La Rosa, who was left partially paralyzed in 1997 after her superiors tortured her on suspicion she leaked government plans to attack opposition leaders, returned to Peru on Sunday after four years in exile in Sweden." Vladimiro Montesinos made sure that those who ratted on him paid the consequences. Now the Peruvian government is paying up. Another intelligence officer is dead.

NY Times Where the Bodies Are Buried in Peru: "Taking advantage of a political opening that would have been unthinkable a short time ago, the commission will collect testimony in private and hold public hearings, a first in Latin America, where victims of violence and public officials can give their accounts." Considering the 20 year history of violence in Peru, the Truth Commission has a very short mandate to collect and digest information.

Yahoo / Reuters Peru Top Court Upholds Berenson's 20-Year Sentence: "Berenson's only options now are to pursue a recourse to the Washington-based Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which can refer her case to the region's top rights court; to hope for a pardon from Peru's President Alejandro Toledo; or to ask to serve her sentence in a U.S. jail." Lori's options.

Yahoo / AP Peru Upholds U.S. Woman's Sentence: "President Supreme Court judge Guillermo Cabala announced the decision Monday. He said a panel of five judges reached its verdict last week, but held off releasing it until Monday. Cabala said that four of the five judges on the panel that oversees criminal appeals voted to uphold the 20-year sentence. One judge voted to reduce the sentence to 15 years." Lori will now have to hope that President Bush takes up her cause when he goes to Lima in March.

Saturday, February 16

CNN / Reuters Peru bus crash kills 23: "Police said the accident happened on Friday as the bus was traveling between the southern cities of Arequipa and Puno. Both cities, especially Puno, which is on the shores of Lake Titicaca, are big tourist destinations but no tourists were among the victims." Another bus accident in the mountains.

Xinhua Prisoner Hunger Strike in Peru Continues: "Some 750 inmates from different jails in Peru refused on Friday to end the hunger strike they started late Monday, calling for the suspension of their sentences, new trials and penitentiary benefits. The inmates on hunger strike are indicted or sentenced on terrorism charges, as Peruvian authorities call guerrillas anti-government activists." Looks like the hunger strike is spreading, though it's hard to know how many prisoners are participating.

Thursday, February 14

iWon / Reuters Bush Defers Duties on Andean Nation Imports 90 Days: "After Congress failed to renew the Andean Trade Preferences Act (ATPA) in 2001, exporters in the four countries have faced duties on cut flowers, asparagus and a long list of other products they had been able to ship to the United States since 1991 without paying import taxes. The trade preferences have been a key part of the U.S. strategy for fighting drug production in the region by providing incentives for other employment." The U.S. government makes a gesture to keep the Andean countries in line.

Economist Drugs in the Andes: "As troubling as the figures is the fact that there are plenty of economic incentives for Peru's coca industry. The farm-gate price for coca leaves has risen to an all-time high of around $3.50 per kilo, against 40 cents at the low point in 1995. Coca is competitive against other crops at $1 per kilo. On the other hand, the price of coffee, the most obvious coca substitute for farmers on the tropical Andean slopes, has slumped to below the cost of production." Bush is going to have a lot to talk about when he visits Lima next month.

iWon / Reuters Robust Peru GDP growth in January - ministers: "Prime Minister Roberto Danino said the economy grew an estimated 3.6 percent in January, according to a report published in Gestion newspaper. Government officials were not immediately able to explain the difference in the figures. Official January GDP statistics are due in the first week of March." Industry Minister Raul Diez Canseco said GDP growth had been 5% in Janaury. We have a case of dueling statistics. In any case, the government is earnestly trying to convince Peruvians that things are going to get better.

MSNBC / Reuters Peru coca crop going strong: "According to the figures, Peru had 84,016 acres of land devoted to coca crops in 2001, virtually no change on the 84,510 acres recorded for 2000, but nearly half of what it was four years earlier. But one senior U.S. official involved in drug eradication efforts in Peru — which involve literally ripping coca plants up by the roots, not aerial spraying — said a reduction target of 17,297 acres for this year was feasible." It's incredible how U.S. government spokespersons can come out each year and say practically the same thing for 25 years.

MSNBC / Reuters Jailed Peru rebel leaders to speak to Truth board: "The board's president, Salomon Lerner, traveled to Europe last week in a bid to bolster its coffers and raise some of the $10 million it says it needs for its work. The board is also overseeing exhumation of mass graves in the rural reaches of the central Andes, as well as taking testimonies of victims of violence." I suspect that Abimael Guzman and Victor Polay will have to give up their hunger strike in order to talk to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

NY Times Farmers in Peru Are Turning Again to Coca Crop: "The trend does not mean that antinarcotics efforts in the Andes are failing, said analysts who track American antidrug programs. But it does underscore how fleeting victories can be in a drug war where national boundaries mean nothing to traffickers who can shift their crop across remote and poorly policed regions. While the reasons for the increase in Peru are complex, most experts attribute it largely to what they call the 'balloon effect,' in which eradication in one place simply pushes coca growing to another, given the continuing demand for cocaine, principally in the United States." The other impact of the 'balloon effect' is that articles start appearing in U.S. newspapers about the global shifts in illicit crops.

Wednesday, February 13

Lycos / Reuters Peru Gets Shaky Bill of Health: "According to the latest World Health Organization figures, Peru's per capita total health expenditure remains low--under $200 a year. Carbone said Peru devotes 4% to 5% of its yearly budget to health spending, which he said was "not enough" to tackle a raft of health challenges." The figures in the story seem to indicate that health care has not improved over the past 20 years.

Lycos / AP Bush May Discuss Berenson in Peru: "As long as the process is before the courts, the Peruvian constitution says the president cannot grant a pardon, Garcia Sayan said. 'A pardon can only be approved for persons that have finished all court procedures - that is not the case of Ms. Berenson at this time,' he said. 'When that premise happens, we of course can, as we would do in any other case, analyze and consider all options.'" Lori Berenson has friends in high places.

Forbes / Reuters Peru says $1.43 billion bond deal cost $9.5 mln: "Kuczynski said Peru's public foreign debt was now $19.17 billion, or 33 percent of its $57 billion gross domestic product (GDP). According to the Central Bank, total public and private foreign debt was 52.5 percent of GDP at Sept. 2001." Lots of details.

Monday, February 11

Lycos / Reuters Peru Supreme Court Extends Berenson Appeal Review: "The five-judge panel has four options: it can confirm the 32-year-old's sentence; reduce it; throw it out and order a retrial; or free her. It cannot increase the sentence. '(The period) has been extended by 15 days,' the official said, reading from a court document." Lori Berenson's still got options, even an appeal to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

Sunday, February 10

Washington Post Conscience of Their Culture: "Sometimes such socially and politically conscious works seem too earnest to bear. When Peruvian Carlos Runcie Tanaka decries the state of the world, good intentions devolve into hand-wringing. His pair of ceramic brown spheres, almost two feet across, bear exhortations across their faces in English and in Spanish. Sentiments range from the well-intentioned ('No more fighting'; 'No more authoritarianism') to the questionably feasible ('No more unemployment'; 'No more inaccuracy') to the Huh? ('No more edges'). Tanaka's lengthy request list could use a dose of subtlety." Lika Mutal's works receives a mention in this article about an exhibit at the Inter-American Development Bank's gallery.

Mixed reaction to Peru bond issue: "By launching its Brady Bond swap and new bond issue now, analysts agreed that Peru had been able to capitalise on tighter Peruvian bond yields and lower US interest rates. According to the latest market data, Peruvian bonds are trading at their tightest levels since early 2000. They have narrowed 28 basis points since the start of the year and nearly 180 basis points since last October." This is a very detailed analysis of the transaction and the political reactions on the home front. As might be expected, Alan Garcia and APRA are poking at dealing through international banks.

Financial Times US president to visit Peru": "Diego Garcia Sayan, Peruvian foreign minister, said Mr Bush's decision to visit Peru clearly underlined the perception of the Andean state as an important US ally in the region: 'This visit has enormous significance for our country since it implies a recognition of Peru's new role in the world,' Mr Garcia Sayan said." It's really strange that Bush could find time for an excursion to Peru. What's going on behind the scene.

Saturday, February 9

Yahoo / Reuters Bush to Visit Peru, El Salvador in March: "Describing his country as Washington's best friend in Latin America, Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo said he invited the presidents of Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador to join him for talks with Bush to press for a renewed duty-free trade pact. Led by Colombia, the four Andean countries are the world's biggest cocaine producers and they have pressured Washington to renew -- and expand -- a special trade pact dating to 1991 that scrapped duties on a range of goods in a bid to spur alternative development to the lucrative drugs trade." It's surprising that this trip has been put together so quickly. The visits of U.S. presidents are usually choreographed with months of advance notice.

Wednesday, February 6

MSNBC / Reuters Americas’ oldest city in peril: "But now, even as archaeologists uncover the city’s foremost areas, including an amphitheater 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter, Shady said the site was in danger of swift deterioration due to erosion and exposure to the elements. Shady said that there already were signs that structures that have withstood centuries could collapse without buttressing, while paint that has adorned buried buildings was flaking off due to daily temperature fluctuations." This is the tradeoff that any archaeologist makes -- expose an ancient structure to discover more information but it becomes more perishable by being out in the open air.

Tuesday, February 5

Yahoo / Reuters Lawyer Says Peru Has Solid Case for Fujimori Extradition: "'We have a solid case for initiating the extradition, but we need to show the Japanese public who Alberto Fujimori was. Remind (them) about human rights crimes,' Luis Vargas, who heads a giant corruption case against Fujimori and his ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos, told El Comercio newspaper."

National Public Radio NPR : Lost Temples of Peru, Radio Expeditions: "South America's Andes Mountains, stretching for more than 5,000 miles from the southernmost tip of the continent to the Caribbean coast, are the last place on Earth humans occupied. Spreading south from North America, humans may not have reached the high peaks until as late as 18,000 years ago." This is the complement of the National Geographic series below.

National Geographic In Peru Highlands, Temple Remains Offer Window on Pre-Inca Civilization: "We met a couple living in a stone house that could have been hundreds of years old. They showed us a bowl they found at the top of the hill, which they were using as a kitchen bowl. Chip said it was Inca or pre-Inca, so it's 600, 700, or maybe even 800 years old and they are using it as a kitchen bowl. If we found a bowl like that we would put it in a museum and people would say, 'Oh my gosh, look at that!' And they are using it for cereal." National Public Radio's Alex Chadwick talks about followoing around the US archaeologist Charles Stanish. The story includes several audio feeds.

Yahoo / Reuters Rains, Mudslides and Floods Hit Peru: "Television images showed flooded streets and destroyed houses in the hilly shantytowns surrounding Lima, Peru's sprawling capital of 8 million people, as well as in Cusco, the historic tourist city some 11,550 feet above sea level in the southern Andes." It rains in Lima once in a blue moon.

iWon / Reuters U.S. Forecasters See More Evidence of Coming El Nino: "Weather experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted warmer sea surface temperatures off the coasts of Ecuador and Peru over the next few weeks. 'This warming represents an early stage of El Nino's onset,' NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher said in a statement. 'It seems likely an El Nino will develop in the tropical Pacific in the next three months.'" There are already reports of flooding in Peru.

Sunday, February 3

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Work's a joyride for rail renovation entrepreneur: "Posner, 45, is in Peru for three days for business and pleasure. He's come to check on the Central Andino's operations, which he has done several times a year since 1999, when Railroad Development won a 30-year concession from Peru's government to run it as a profit-making enterprise."

MSNBC / AP Peru newspaper says e-mail shows ex-spy chief sought to extort money from bank: "That e-mail referred ominously to a 'select team' under Montesinos' power that uses the same 'methodology' as the Shining Path, a rebel group that terrorized Peru in the 1980s and early 1990s with assassinations, car bombings and peasant massacres." Montesinos must have been pretty desperate for cash to use such heavy-handed threats without any means of backing it up in Florida.

Guardian / AP Peru Documents Fuel Anger at U.S.: "Even if [former US Ambasador Dennis] Jett had evidence, it is unclear what good it would have done. U.S. relations with Fujimori were often strained because American officials pressured him over Peru's poor human rights record. 'It was actually hard to influence Fujimori,' said Ted Piccone, who worked on Latin American policy at the State Department, the Pentagon and the National Security Council in the 1990s. 'He didn't want to hear this stuff,' he said. 'Fujimori...cut off communications at several points entirely.'" If you carefully read the released documents, you see that they are mainly recycling news reports and cocktail chat. It does not help that most sources are blacked out.

Saturday, February 2

iWon / Reuters Peru's Toledo says bond issue "enormous success": "In the Brady buy-back deal, Peru will accept its Past Due Interest bonds due 2017, Front Loaded Interest Reduction Bonds due 2017 and Fixed Rate Bonds due 2027 and its Floating Rate bonds due 2027 in exchange for the new issue." What faith that there will actually be a country in 25 years!

iWon / Reuters IMF approves $316 million Peru standby loan: "The widely expected approval of the new IMF credit capped a week of good news for Peru on the financial front. On Thursday, the Andean nation launched a 10-year global bond worth up to $500 million and a swap of up to $1 billion in Brady bonds." Consider it an advance.

iWon / Reuters Peru farmers hope trade pact brings bumper crop: "This poor Andean nation says it is counting on nontraditional farm exports like asparagus, mangoes and grapes to complement its conventional crops including coffee, cotton, sugar, potatoes, rice, and corn. Agriculture accounts for around 8 percent of Latin America's seventh largest economy's gross domestic product (GDP) -- worth $54 billion at the end of 2000 -- but has been one of the hardest hit industries in a three-year slump." Agriculture has always gotten the shaft in Peru -- it's part of the system.

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