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Sunday, March 31

Miami Herald Finance minister says no to spending: "Members of Congress want the government to open the money spigot. It is Kuczynski who says no. Instead, he argues, the government must regain the confidence of foreign investors, privatize enterprises, cut defense spending, reduce corporate welfare, improve tax collections and invest the extra revenue in education, health care and infrastructure." How long can PPK hang on?

Saturday, March 30

U.S. Department of State U.S., Peru Extend Agreement to Protect Peruvian Cultural Heritage: "The MOU [Memorandum of Understanding] is intended to help prevent pillage of archaeological sites, to prevent stolen cultural artifacts from being smuggled out of Peru, and to facilitate the return of such artifacts to Peruvian authorities."

NY Times Prisoners in Peru Seek a Way Out: "Many Peruvians believe that opening an avenue to freedom for the inmates would be a colossal mistake, invigorating a rebel group that, while weak, has been stirring. In recent months, small bands of Shining Path guerrillas have stepped up attacks on police officers in isolated regions. The group may have been responsible for the car bomb that killed nine Peruvians on March 20, just three days before President Bush arrived to meet with Mr. Toledo, officials here said." Probably about half of the 2,200 inmates convicted on terrorism charges may remain active members of Sendero or MRTA, but they still did not get fair trials by democratic standards.

Friday, March 29

Independent Independent Enjoyment: "Vargas Llosa, I am convinced, can tell us stories about anything and make them dance to his inventive rhythms. Perhaps because he got his hands dirty in the intractable world of Latin American politics, he returns in his latest novel to the question of power. The goat in its title is Rafael Trujillo, dictatorial head of the Dominican Republic, who ruled over his island state, bordering on Haiti, with a fist of iron, will of steel, and rampant machismo, from 1930 to 1961. Then he was finally assassinated by a small group later known as the 'executioners'." A review of Vargas Llosa's latest novel.

CNN / Reuters Peruvians to describe atrocities at truth hearings: "The commission said it would avoid sparking an onslaught of public accusations by asking those who told their stories to reveal names only in private. 'Silence doesn't help anything,' commission member Carlos Tapia said, but warned the accounts of violence the board had heard so far were shocking. 'We are opening and will open a Pandora's box.'"

Thursday, March 28

Miami Herald Ivcher fights for TV station: "Ivcher, 61, remains optimistic. He believes a higher court will reverse the judge's ruling giving control to the Winters. He also hopes Congress will vote to make Peru subject to an international court in Costa Rica. That court has ruled that he is Frecuencia Latina's majority shareholder. In the meantime, having been condemned by Peru's armed forces in a secret 1999 tribunal as an enemy of the state, he travels everywhere with six bodyguards." Thankfully, he does not live off the income of his TV station. He is an arms trader and makes a bundle.

NY Times Vargas Llosa Keeps a Latin American Literary Boom Booming: "Speaking in English with a pronounced Spanish accent, Mr. Vargas Llosa wondered why the countries of Latin America have had so many dictators — and mediocre politicians — and at the same time, so many great writers have emerged. He did not name the writers, but he could have been thinking about Gabriel García Márquez, Jorge Luis Borges and, of course, himself, among others who comprised what was called the Boom, the explosion of creativity in Latin America in the 1960's. Analyzing the proliferation of dictatorships, he said that many citizens are willing, and sometimes eager, to surrender their free will, and that the artist must challenge that authority." Actually Borges was not a member of the Boom generation -- he predated and inspired the innovative voices of the 1960s and 70s.

Wednesday, March 27

NY Times Bush Aide Denies Berenson Report: "Today the White House spokesman, Ari Fleischer, disputed the account. "The president, as you were told in Peru, raised the issue of Lori Berenson, noted that due process was afforded in her second trial, and there is currently an international commission that is reviewing the matter," Mr. Fleischer said." Washington's version of the status of Lori Berenson's case.

Tuesday, March 26

MSNBC / Reuters Peru's Toledo stumbles on promises, politics: "Kuczynski, who denies he will soon step down, is one of Toledo's most unpopular ministers, along with Prime Minister Roberto Danino, a former high-powered Washington lawyer. 'Kuczynski and Danino ... have fabulous international reputations but the poor don't like them,' said Manuel Torrado, head of Datum pollsters." Explaining why Toledo and his government is so unpopular.

Yahoo / Reuters OAS Rights Court Mulling Review of Berenson Case: "He [an OAS official] said the case had been referred to the OAS' Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court of Human Rights by its human rights commission, and that the court would announce in May if it will act on the Berenson case." One more chance.

iWon / Reuters Toledo says Peru February GDP up 4.5 pct-report: "Toledo, who took office last July promising to bring growth to this poor country after a three-year economic downturn, said the gross domestic product (GDP) had grown 4.5 percent last month but warned there would be a lag in the creation of new jobs, according to business newspaper Gestion." The government expects another 4 percent growth rate this month.

Financial Times Peru and US in united stand on terrorism: "Discussions scheduled for the 17-hour Bush visit are expected to focus on proposed renewal and extension of the Andean Trade Preference Act, ATPA, which benefits the four countries of the region with tariff-free exports to the US for more than 6,000 products. Mr Bush has thrown his personal weight behind renewal, but Mr Toledo said he and his Andean partners want to go 'beyond ATPA.' They have asked Mr Bush to consider 'a bilateral trade and investment initiative for the Andean region,' Mr Toledo said." I missed this story a few days ago.

Lycos / Environmental News Service Peru Trades Debt for Forest Conservation: "Under the agreement, Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund will contribute $1.1 million and the United States will provide $5.5 million to cancel a portion of Peru's debt to the United States. In return, the government of Peru will issue local currency obligations in which the payment streams will go to fund tropical forest conservation activities through local nongovernmental organizations in Peru. As a result of the agreement, Peru will save over $14 million in debt payments over the next 16 years." Peru follows in the footsteps of Bangladesh, Belize, El Salvador, and Thailand, which already have agreements of this kind.

Monday, March 25

MSNBC / Reuters Drugs, war, crime lurk along Peru's porous border: "The commander of a Peruvian marines base in El Estrecho on the Putumayo river -- which troops patrol in machine gun mounted boats known as 'piranhas' -- has a map on the wall of his bedroom-cum-office with flags and arrows highlighting FARC action. Nearby are mugshots of seven wanted Colombian rebels." The never-ending story -- drugs.

Christian Science Monitor For Peru's Toledo, return of Peace Corps is personal: "As a young boy in Chimbote – a fishing town on Peru's central coast – a meeting with two Peace Corps volunteers changed Mr. Toledo's life. 'My close tie to the Peace Corps is no secret,' Toledo said earlier this year. 'The volunteers helped me understand the world.'" I was in Peru when the Peace Corps was kicked out. Peruvians had mixed emotions -- many new Peace Corps volunteers and counted them as friends. But the Peace Corps was an easy political target for the left.

iWon / Reuters Bush Discussed Cuba Censure with Peru: "U.S. Ambassador John Hamilton told RPP radio that the fact that Peru had promoted a region-wide democracy charter last year put it 'in a special position to take a leadership role.' 'The United States is looking for a U.N. Human Rights Commission resolution condemning Cuba,' [Foreign Affairs Minister Diego] Garcia Sayan told RPP." Opportunism or principles?

CBS News / AP Berenson Case Is Closed: "According to [Vice President Raul] Diez Canseco, Mr. Bush as 'respectful' of the court decision and said the trial was fair. But he also uggested 'something about clemency' for Berenson, the vice president said. Toledo replied that 'for us, that issue is totally closed,' Diez Canseco told cable news station Channel N." In any case, it's doubtful that Toledo would act so soon after Bush's visit -- it would look as if he was caving in to U.S. demands. The dates to watch are July 28 (Independence Day) and Christmas when the Peruvian president usually exerices his power to grant pardons.

Sunday, March 24

Washington Post / AP US Offers $8M to Peru Plane Victims: "The Bush administration has proposed paying $8 million to the survivors of a missionary plane that was misidentified as a possible drug-smuggling flight and shot down last year by a Peruvian jet."

NY Times Bush Vows to Keep Andes Region Stable: "The Peruvian press has speculated in recent days about a possible American military operation on the Peru side of the border with Colombia, a subject that neither leader addressed in the news conference, and which Mr. Bush sidestepped during an interview at the White House last week with Latin American journalists. Asked if the United States had plans for a military base in the Amazon jungle on Peru's border to fight drug trafficking, Mr. Bush replied, 'I can't get too specific about placements. Let me just put it to you this way: We're willing to cooperate to do as effective a job as we can on interdicting.'"

Miami Herald U.S., Peru pledge to fight terror together: "Bush also said the U.S. Aid for International Development will work to create centers to improve teacher training in Peru and Colombia. Also, the president said he has directed the Commerce Department to start 'E-Business' fellowships for Peruvians." Does that mean that import tariffs will not be applied to goods purchased over the Internet, just as surfers don't pay state sales taxes?

LA Times President Discusses Trade in Tense Peru: The measure exempting a number of Andean products from U.S. tariffs was enacted initially as part of a U.S. anti-drug effort designed to help turn Andean economies away from the production and export of cocaine to the U.S. market. An expanded version of the act passed the House last fall, but a watered-down one has stalled in the Senate. As a result, duties have been reimposed on all Andean products. According to a Bush administration official, the president of one Latin American country said: 'The Senate is mañana-ing this to death.'" Bush's trip in the context of U.S. politics.

NY Times Peru Support of Free Trade Draws Praise in Bush Visit: "Indeed, while the United States often focuses on drug trafficking and security issues, particularly now that Mr. Bush has declared a world-wide war on terrorism, the Andean countries prefer to talk of trade and economic aid, analysts say. 'The Peruvians care more about alpaca than Al Qaeda,' said Michael Shifter, who tracks the region for the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington policy analysis group."

Washington Post Bush, Toledo Vow Regional Cooperation: "Toledo also planned today to ask Bush for faster action on a Peruvian appeal to declassify U.S. government documents related to Fujimori and his former security chief, Vladimiro Montesinos. Montesinos, once a close CIA ally, is now jailed on corruption and human rights charges. U.S. sources said that the two leaders discussed the matter, but they gave no indication of progress."

Too Much News
I have followed the Bush visit to Peru pretty closely over the past three days, and put up most of the breaking news. But right now there's just too much wire copy being published on newspaper websites to sort out the repeats from the original stuff. In addition, I have a case study paper due this weekend to my graduate class and I have to given priority to that work. I will trying a dig up some quality links over the next couple of days. If there is any remaining really important news, it will probably come out in follow-up stories during the coming week.

Guardian / AP First Lady Touts Reading in Peru: "[Laura] Bush said the Andean Center of Excellence for Teacher Training, which will include institutions in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia, is expected to open by the end of this year. The United States has committed $20 million to funding the center and two others in Central America and the Caribbean, she said."

San Antonio Express-News / AP Text of President Bush and Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo news conference: "Earlier today our two governments signed an agreement that will reintroduce the Peace Corps to Peru after an absence of nearly 30 years. The first volunteers will arrive in August, a symbol of the stronger ties between our people and the stronger relationship between our nations." All the words. Also available at the New York Times site.

Saturday, March 23

MSNBC / AP In talks with Peruvian president, Bush raises issue of imprisoned American woman: "Bush's post-Sept. 11 campaign against terrorism has made the case tricky, however, and McCormack played down the brief discussion of Lori Berenson's case as routine. 'It is certainly the case that any time U.S. citizens are held overseas and in judicial processes overseas, we always make representations to the host country that we expect our citizens to be treated well and humanely — and that they receive all due process in the context of that country's judicial system,' McCormack said." No news on Toledo's response.

CNN Parents of U.S. woman jailed in Peru see hope in Bush visit: "Well, public agenda differs from a private agenda. And we didn't expect this issue to be a public issue because of the kind of problem it is. But, certainly, we believe and expect that President Bush and President Toledo will address a wrong. Justice must be served always, and Lori has been denied justice now for over six years." The Berensons could not have had a bigger break than Bush's visit. After exhausting almost all legal options, there is a chance that Bush and Toledo might make a gesture -- for what?.

ABCNews / Reuters Bush Arrives in Peru; Police Arrest 18: "Bush and Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, accompanied by their wives who were both dressed in red suits, embraced warmly after the American leader arrived from Monterrey, Mexico, where he attended a U.N. development summit." At last, on the ground.

Christian Science Monitor Dormant terror groups awaken: "In a confidential report last December, the Interior Ministry warned that Shining Path was seeking to establish a presence in Lima, blaming members of the group for anti-American graffiti such as "Yanquis out of Afghanistan." The report also detailed the arrest of two Shining Path militants in possession of maps and drawings of the US embassy. Peruvian officials say Shining Path now has no more than 400 members, most of them hiding deep in the jungle. But the US State Department said in its annual human rights report that the group carried out 103 acts of violence last year, killing 31 people. That continued activityshows how elusive complete military victory is, say experts." This is a broader look at terrorism trends in the wake of September 11.

Philladelphia Inquirer / AP Bush Making Historic Visit to Peru But political columnist Mirko Lauer disagreed, saying Peru was now bidding to rebuild democratic institutions eroded by former President Alberto Fujimori's iron-grip on power. Lauer said Peru was being singled out as a good neighbor in an increasingly troubled hemisphere. 'The United States needs allies in the war on terrorism. The United States needs friends in its own backyard,' Lauer said."

ABCNews / Reuters Peru Riot Police Mobilized for Bush Arrival: "The government was hailing Bush's visit as a triumph for Peru's new respectability after the repressive 10-year regime of President Alberto Fujimori collapsed in a mammoth corruption scandal in November 2000, but some Peruvians were planning demonstrations against a man they branded a 'devil.'" It's ironic that the most pro-American Peruvian president, Fernando Belaunde, never got a visit from a sitting U.S. president. I don't think that Fujimori really counts as pro-American, though he toed the line on the Drug War and other matters. He was purely an opportunist in that respect.

Yahoo / Reuters Bush vows to help Peru: "'We're going to analyse all options available to help Peru,' Bush told reporters when asked if he was prepared to offer Peru new military assistance to combat terrorism. He urged the U.S. Congress to revive the Andean Trade Preference Act, which offers trade benefits for the Andean nations of Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. 'I'd like to see it renewed as quickly as possible,' he said." What a few bombs can do to focus concentration.

MSNBC / Reuters Peru lawmker convicted in Montesinos scandal: "Alberto Kouri was sentenced to six years in jail after being found guilty of taking thousands of dollars in bribes from Montesinos, whose extensive web of political deal-making and corruption was exposed by a secretly taped video of Kouri." Thanks to Kouri, the whole Montesinos-Fujimori scandal started.

Miami Herald Shining Path rebels suspected in Peru blast: "Alejandro Ayala, mayor tiny town San Miguel de Ene, along the Ene River, spoke out about that narco-terror link and says he is now marked by the Shining Path for execution. He slipped out of town, and in an interview in San Francisco, the largest town in the isolated region, he said the Maoist rebels are equipped with small two-way Motorola radios and mobile solar panels and are heavily armed." Interesting details about Sendero's latest activities.

LA Times Peru to Tighten Security for Bush: "No one claimed responsibility for the bombing. Thirty minutes before the explosion, an anonymous caller phoned in a tip to Peruvian security officials, according to press reports. Three officers of a unit assigned to protect diplomats were inspecting the car--smoke was drifting from its interior, apparently from a burning fuse--when it exploded." Standard coverage of the car bombing.

NY Times Reeling From Blast, Peru Prepares for a Visit From Bush: "'It is hard to overstate how Peru was torn apart and traumatized by Shining Path,' said Michael Shifter, a senior fellow who follows Peru for the Inter-American Dialogue, a policy analysis group based in Washington. 'Precisely for that reason, Peruvians are perhaps more sympathetic than other Latin Americans to the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism.'" Mike knows about Peru because he worked there for several years with the Ford foundation.

Washington Post Lima Under Strict Security for Bush Visit: "The extraordinary precautions presented a sobering reality for Peru and the United States in the new global war on terrorism. Saturday's stop will be Bush's first official trip to South America and the first ever by a sitting U.S. president to Peru. Yet even here, far from Afghanistan, the issues of security, anti-Americanism and terrorism rose to the forefront of a visit in which the administration had hoped to spotlight its agenda of free trade and democracy-building in Latin America." Curtain-raiser.

Friday, March 22

Yahoo / Reuters Peru bomb turns into whodunnit: "American intelligence suspects Peru's Shining Path leftist rebels planted a deadly car bomb in Lima days before U.S. President George W. Bush's visit, but experts in Peru say they are not so sure." The multiple interpretations remind me of the early days of Sendero's insurrection -- nobody could believe that a political organization could engage in such counterproductive acts as hanging dogs from lampost and throwing dynamite sticks.

Guardian Bush Will Visit a Troubled Peru: "The whirlwind trip will be Bush's first as president to South America, a distinction that has many pessimistic Peruvians asking: Why Peru? 'Because Peru has gone through a historic transition. It has peacefully recovered its democracy,' U.S. Ambassador John Hamilton answered recently.
'Peru stands out in South America today for that achievement,' he said. 'It merits a visit - an endorsement - from my country.'" At least someone appreciates what Peru has gone through.

MSNBC / AP Bush may raise Berenson case in meeting with Peruvian president: "A meeting agenda drawn up by White House puts the case of Lori Berenson — and U.S. concerns about her treatment in the justice system — on the list, but ''low on the list,'' an administration official said Friday on condition of anonymity." I have been contacted by Mark Berenson and we have exchanged messages about his daughter's status. He has also allowed me to include his comments on my Berneson page. Although we may differ on the interpretation of Lori's acts, conviction and the quality of the Peruvian justice system, we both want the best possible outcome for both her and Peru.

Thursday, March 21

MSNBC / Reuters Peru minister says Shining Path no powerhouse: '''Can Shining Path grow like the FARC? No, no way, because it's got no way of recruiting thousands ... . There's no reason for it to grow in the future given its status now,'" he [Interior Minister Fernando Raspigliosi] said. 'Besides, even at its height, Shining Path never attained the power the FARC has,' Rospigliosi added." The government has not ruled out any group as the culprit for the bombing.

Washington Post Peruvian Attack Raises Fears of Rebel Resurgence: "Sources close to the investigation said they are not yet ruling out other possible links to foreign terror networks – including radical Islamic groups or the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the leftist insurgents linked to narco-traffickers in neighboring Colombia and who have threatened to begin attacking U.S. targets. But the type of explosive used – 100 pounds of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, known commonly as ANFO--closely mimicked past attacks by the Shining Path, as did the lack of an official claim of responsibility." This seems to contradict other stories that speak of "100 pounds of dynamite."

MSNBC / Reuters EU condemns Peru bomb attack: "It voiced solidarity with relatives of the victims, the Peruvian people and government 'faced with this bloody crime,' which it said was aimed at undermining Peruvians' ability to live together in peace and freedom. 'At this difficult time, the presidency of the EU gives its full support to the Peruvian government in its fight against terrorism,' it said."

Forbes / Reuters Peru's Toledo condemns bomb, vows Bush safety: "Toledo excused himself from the Monterrey summit and said he was returning to Peru to deal with the aftermath of the bomb that exploded outside a bank across a wide street from the fortress-style U.S. Embassy in an upscale Lima district." The car bomb upstages Toledo in Mexico.

White House Statement on Air Interdiction Program: "We are approaching the anniversary of a terrible tragedy, the accidental shootdown of a U.S. missionary plane in Peru on April 20, 2001. The United States Government and the Government of Peru deeply regret this tragic event and the resulting deaths of Veronica and Charity Bowers and injuries to Jim and Cory Bowers, and their pilot, Kevin Donaldson." Apologies extended.

iWon / Reuters U.S. deal make-or-break for Peru apparel industry: "With Vega and thousands of others like her in mind, President Alejandro Toledo's government has dispatched a flurry of officials to Washington, D.C. Their objective: to lobby Washington to pass an expanded free trade deal that would scrap an average 21-percent duty on clothing imports." The trade agreement may be more important than anything else discussed between the heads of state.

The Economist The pressure on Toledo: "Mr Toledo's hopes are pinned on wide-ranging talks with opposition parties aimed at seeking broad policy consensus. These are buying the government some time, but are unlikely to survive the local election campaign. None of the main opposition leaders wants to see Mr Toledo's term cut short. But nor do they seem to have much interest in helping make it a success. For Peru's democracy, that looks like a missed opportunity—especially if bombings are set to return." This feature article appraises the Toledo administration on the eve of Bush's visit.

The Nation (Thailand) / AFP We didn't do it: Peru's Shining Path, Tupac Amaru rebels: "'This attack does not benefit us; on the contrary, prison conditions will be even tougher now,' said a rebel spokesman identified as 'Comrade Arturo,' speaking from the Castro Castro maximum security prison." Arturo is an SL spokesperson. However, there are more militant, rival wings of both groups on the outside.

Yahoo / AP Peru Rebel Group Continues Fighting: "He [former president Alan Garcia] said he had received reports last year that Shining Path guerrillas had begun robbing dynamite from mines in the central Andes, much as they did they when they launched their war on the state in 1980. Wednesday's car bomb was packed with 110 pounds of dynamite." An update of what's been happening with Sendero Luminoso. For my focus, check out my resource page.

Yahoo / Reuters 'Two-Bit Terrorists' Won't Stop Peru Visit - Bush: "Bush, who is scheduled to arrive in Lima on Saturday after attending a U.N. development summit in Monterrey, Mexico, hinted that U.S. intelligence had suspects in mind. 'We might have an idea, they've been around before,' he said. 'You know, no two-bit terrorists are going to prevent me from doing what we need to do and that is promote our friendship in the hemisphere.'" International macho politics from a Texan who knows his cojones.

Yahoo / Reuters US Intelligence Suspects Shining Path of Peru Bomb: "Peru swiftly announced a security clampdown, putting police on "red alert" and sealing off a historic center usually clogged with traffic, in response to Wednesday night's blast, which also injured 30 people. 'Everybody thinks it was Sendero, but we don't have any evidence yet. Nobody has taken credit for it,' a State Department official told Reuters." Nine dead and 30 injured.

Human Rights Watch Human Rights After Fujimori: "A Fujimori legacy that the government so far has not tackled is the country's draconian and much criticized anti-terrorism legislation. Nor has it yet remedied the situation of some 2,500 prisoners convicted by anti-terrorism courts without due process or the right to a defense." A backgrounder on Peru's performance over the past 18 months. Do you think Bush will read it before landing in Peru?

Yahoo / AP Ex-Salvadoran guerrilla says Bush should discuss Berenson case with Peru's president: "Sanchez Coren said that while in El Salvador, Berenson 'was the head of the diplomatic fight for the peace process,' adding that 'in no moment did she have any kind of military or combat experience.'" This is not the best endorsement for Lori, at least, to convince Bush to intervene.

Yahoo / AP Berensons Hopeful of Bush-Peru Trip: "Through their Web site, Berenson's parents, Mark and Rhoda, have urged supporters to call the White House this week to urge that Bush 'do all in his power to secure Lori's release on humanitarian grounds.' Mark Berenson said he did not know if support for their 'Free Lori' campaign has dropped following the Sept. 11 attacks against the United States, but that linking his daughter to terrorism would be a mistake." Bush may have other things on his mind than getting a convicted terrorist pardoned.

iWon U.S. to Pay Family of Missionary Killed by Peru: "U.S. National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack said that the U.S. plan to pay compensation to the Bowers and Donaldson families did not constitute any admission of U.S. liability for the incident." No mention of how much the U.S. is paying or when the interdiction flights are going to begin again.

Washington Post 4 Die in Blast Near U.S. Embassy in Peru: "A State Department official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said no American citizens were hurt in the explosion. The official declined to comment further." Somebody wants to deliver a message.

Wednesday, March 20

Boston Globe How Lori Berenson lost her chance for freedom in Peru: '''I don't even think President Bush would raise the issue because of Sept. 11,' said Dennis Jett, who was US ambassador to Peru in 1996-99. 'If Lori Berenson had kept her mouth shut she'd be up for parole right now. But she's done everything to remind people she's sympathetic' to Tupac Amaru." 9/11 has changed the way that many Americans view the Berenson case -- gringos getting mixed up in radical politics abroad, no matter how injust the conditions, are viewed as troublemakers.

Tuesday, March 19

Japan Today / Reuters 30% of Peruvians see political future for Fujimori: "According to the survey by Peru's most respected pollsters, Apoyo, 36% of respondents believed Fujimori could still return to politics, although 57% thought his career was over. Fujimori was fired after he fled in late 2000." Judging from history, no Peruvian politician should consider his career done until in the tomb.

LA Times Possible Last Refuge of Incas Found: "The settlement, which locals call Corihuayrachina, is only about 24 miles from Machu Picchu, the Inca city that is the most popular tourist destination in Peru. It is even closer to another sacred site called Choquiquirao." Mention Machu Picchu is a press release and you are guaranteed tons of media coverage.

NY Times High in Andes, a Place That May Have Been Incas' Last Refuge: "The explorers said they found pottery from two distinct periods. Some ceramics were in the style of the Incan formative period. The first Inca emerged in about 1200 in southern Peru, and their empire flourished in the 15th century, only to collapse before Spanish invaders in 1532. Other pieces of pottery are thought to be from the time of the last-ditch rebellion against Spanish rule." More coverage of the Vilcabamba Inca site.

Washington Post New Inca Ruins Are Found In Peru: "Although Frost described the site as 'completely unidentified and unknown before,' several archaeologists with experience studying pre-Columbian Peru and the Incas said the same description could fit many sites in the Vilcabamba region, whose remoteness makes it one of the least studied areas of Peru. Even though Cerro Victoria is only a short distance from Machu Picchu, it takes days to get there overland through the region's gorges and cliffs." More info on the Inca settlement being spotlighted by National Geographic.

Monday, March 18

Washington Post Potato Blight's Origins Could Enable Its Demise: "In many ways, the pathogen called Phytophthora infestans, or potato late blight fungus, is even more dangerous now than it was the year it made its apocalyptic debut. Thumbing its nose at modern science, it remains today the most pernicious and persistent plant disease on Earth. In the developing world alone, the blight causes $2.75 billion in crop losses a year." I worked for three years at the lead institution in fight potato blight, the International Potato Center, in Lima, Peru.

Los Angeles Times Peru Under a New Dark Cloud: "Cotler believes that Toledo has made important gains in restoring respect to Peru's battered democratic institutions, especially to its court system. At the same time, he thinks that the new president's inexperience has come into play in the first few months of the new administration, as Toledo quickly became known for making contradictory promises and public gaffes." The first of a host of articles yet to appear that raise the curtian on President Bush's visit this week. It helps tip off the readers that Peru is in South America.

Newsday Coca Crops Flourishing in Peru -- Production soars despite efforts to stop growth: "Many crop substitution plans call for farmers to plant cocoa or coffee. But people here said prices for those crops have fallen to record lows of about $1 per kilogram, while coca leaf prices, fueled by tightening supply and rising demand in new cocaine markets such as Eastern Europe and Latin America, are reaching a record high of $4 per kilo." Coca farmers are getting ready to protest President Bush's visit to Peru.

National Geogrpahic City From Early Inca Period Found in Peru: "Some Inca experts say the settlement at Cerro Victoria could be the most important Inca site discovered since explorers confirmed the location of the last Inca capital more than three decades ago. Johan Reinhard, a National Geographic explorer-in-residence who specializes in archaeological research at high altitudes, said the settlement at Cerro Victoria '"promises to provide new insights into Inca occupation of this remote area.'" National Geographic promises a TV special on this find in May.

Saturday, March 16

Miami Herald U.S. may resume shoot-down policy: "'We have been informed by the administration that this matter is in a very advanced state of consideration,' Peru's ambassador to Washington, Allan Wagner, said Friday. 'We hope that this will be accomplished by the time President Bush is in Lima.'" Washington has been giving advance notice about this decision for months.

BBC Aid case study: Peru's Yanacocha gold mine: "The IFC says the project was the first new mine development involving foreign investors in the country for 20 years, and that its 'successful implementation lead to reforms in the Peruvian economy, including privatisation, and resulted in other new mining ventures by the international mining community.'" An examination of the International Finance Corporation (read World Bank) should be financing private ventures.

CNN / Reuters - Peru to vote in regional polls on November 17: "The measure, which became law on Friday when it was published in the official gazette, said elections in Peru's 24 departments and one constitutional province would be held every four years to elect regional presidents, vice-presidents and councilsmembers." It's been 10 years since Peru had regional governments. It's hard to see if the departmental formula will be viable.

Friday, March 15

CNN / Reuters Peru prepares 7,000 police for Bush visit: "The U.S. leader is due to arrive in Lima for his first official visit to South America on the afternoon of March 23 before heading to El Salvador the next day." Mark that date on your calendar.

Wednesday, March 13

Guardian / AP Thriving Peru Coca Hampers Drug War: "U.S. officials say satellite photos of coca fields show new acreage last year was offset by the Peruvian government's forced eradication of coca plants. But satellite maps, aerial surveillance and ground assessment work by the U.N. Drug Control Program reveal the coca crop has expanded to cover 114,000 acres in 2001, from 107,000 acres in 2000." Anyone who is surprised, please raise your hand.

MSNBC / Reuters Peru's Toledo denies rift with economy minister: "'The economy minister has my absolute support. ... There is no conflict,' Toledo told reporters following reports this week that the U.S.-trained president, who took office last year vowing to fight poverty in the Andean nation, was feuding with his fiscally conservative economic chief." Toledo needs to find a way to boost his political standing that does not rely on economic performance, which is always going to lag behind expectations. Dumping his finance minister might win him a few points, but they would soon be lost if the new economic managers can't get quick results.

MSNBC / AP Skidding Peruvian bus crashes into gas station, 35 killed in fire: "The bus was coming from Ayacucho, a city in the Andes 200 miles southeast of Lima, when it crashed before dawn at the entrance to the coastal town of Chincha, Emilio Merino, a policeman in the town, said. He said a spark from the bus engine apparently caused the fire. He said fuel in the bus burst into flames, but 4,000 gallons of gasoline stored in underground tanks at the station did not burn." Another highway accident.

Tuesday, March 12

Newsweek Turning the Clock Back To Chaos?: "The dozens of Shining Path fighters based in the jungles downriver from the valley are raking in a share of the newly thriving drug trade’s profits. Under the leadership of a thirtyish native of the Ayacucho region named Raul, the guerrillas charge traffickers a fee to move shipments of processed coca paste through rebel-controlled territory. The revenue is used to buy modern assault rifles and pay local farmers for food crops in hard cash. The system represents a sea change in tactics for a rebel movement that in its heyday slaughtered peasants, torched farms and stole livestock. 'Shining Path is radically changing its modus operandi,' says Capt. Edward Lopez Torres, the head of the police force in San Francisco. 'Instead of killing or kidnapping people, they enter a community, talk with the farmers and buy their produce.'”

Saturday, March 9

Japan Today Fujimori sees himself as role model in terror fight: "Because Fujimori himself wrote the book, we have to expect large dollops of self-praise. He has been severely criticized for his iron-fisted approach but he was successful in weakening the terrorist influence in Peru." See the reader comments after the article.

Forbes / Reuters Peru allows extra month for utility bids: "The companies, which operate in northern and central Peru, are Electro Norte, Electro Norte Medio (Hidrandina), Electro Centro and Electro Noroeste (Enosa) and are being dealt with as a package. The previous date for offers was April 30." The Toledo government is expecting to get a lot of cash out of the sale of state companies this year.

Forbes / Reuters Peru's Inca Kola eyes bottling merger with CocaCola: "Lindley sold half of Peru's banner Inca Kola, the neon yellow soda that is one of the few national drinks to top Coca-Cola, to the world's No. 1 soft-drink maker in 1999. Coca Cola also bought 20 percent of Lindley in the deal, which had a $200 million price tag." This article actually contains a lot of interesting things about soft drink consumption in Peru. I did not know that Inca Cola was in Coca-Cola's mits. Will eating chifa ever be the same? The other thing that surprised me is that Cola Real is from Ayacucho and holds down 15 percent of the soft drink market. That is probably due to lower transport costs in the Andes.

Friday, March 8

MSNBC / AP Peruvian rebel refuses to repent: "Victor Polay, head of the largely defeated Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, or MRTA, made the comments in an interview published Thursday in Caretas, Peru's leading news weekly. 'The MRTA did not initiate the violence in Peru. Our country suffered social violence and structural crisis since the beginning of the republic, and periodic political violence,' Polay said." Didn't Lori Berenson say something like this in her recent trail? Isn't this argument the Marxist equivalent of the devil made me do it?

MSNBC El Niño is back, weather agency says: "The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, said Thursday that all the telltale signs were there that El Niño, which means 'the boy' in Spanish, had returned. 'We have temperature records that indicate that the temperature is now 4 degrees above what we would normally expect,' Conrad Lautenbacher, NOAA’s new administrator, said in the agency’s monthly report on the phenomenon." It's confirmed what we had all been suspecting.

Thursday, March 7

Space Daily El Nino Is Yawning: "Today, using satellite Earth observation data, scientists are detecting the early warning signs of a new El Nino event and predicting that it will develop over the next 3 to 6 months, bringing climate changes to countries thousands of miles from the western Pacific, birthplace of the event itself." This same article appeared on a European site last week, but this version has some way cool graphics, including an animation of El Nino breezing across the Pacific in the past couple of months.

Monday, March 4

Lycos / Reuters Peru Torture Victims Said Buried in Secret Graves: "La Republica newspaper said the Grupo Colina member, who was also an army intelligence agent and is now collaborating with magistrates, made the allegations to a congressional panel investigating jailed ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos, the Fujimori top aide who ran Peru's feared intelligence services. Quoting from his testimony to the commission, the paper cited the man dubbed 'Witness One' as saying alleged leftist rebels were killed after being interrogated. Peru was wracked by 15 years of war involving the Shining Path and Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA) groups and the armed forces."

Washington Times The other American Taliban: "When captured and presented to the media in 1995, she rabidly pretended that there are no terrorists in Peru, that MRTA are not terrorists, and that the problem is 'injustice.' The problem is that no Peruvian, or indeed anyone who knows anything about Peru (that excludes some 43 senators and half the House, who signed petitions to then-President Clinton demanding 'fair' treatment for Berenson) believed her — or should have. As a 'journalist,' she should have known — and certainly did, hence the very reason for joining them." Michael Radu writes a rightwing critique of Lori Berenson's case and throws her into the same bag as John Walker Lindh. This article appeared on the op-ed page.

Saturday, March 2

MSNBC / Reuters Peru gold museum says gleaming again after scandal: "But Victoria Mujica stressed that the Gold Museum -- which its founder called his 'tribute to wise, age-old Andean culture' in his will -- had put the scandal behind it and was on its way not only to regaining lost face but modernizing its presentation and launching a new round of international tours." At least the museum displays are not going to be as cramped as they used to be since all the forfeits have been disposed of.

iWon / Reuters Peru February CPI down 0.04 pct: "Peru's consumer prices fell 0.04 percent in February 2002 with lower food and drink and transportation prices, the National Statistics Institute (INEI) said on Friday."

Reuters Panel Probes if People Incinerated at Army HQ: "'The intelligence services usually have incinerators to burn secret documents,' the spokesman said. 'What raises questions is whether this incinerator below the basement was used for the same purpose, and if so, why it was so far down.' The army intelligence service gained particular notoriety for two grisly incidents in 1997: the murder of agent Mariella Barreto, whose decapitated body was dumped on a roadside after she tipped off the press about the buried La Cantuta victims; and the torture of agent Leonor La Rosa by her colleagues who suspected her of leaking secrets."

Friday, March 1

Japan Today / Reuters Jailed Shining Path chiefs tell rebels: quit: "Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi said this week that Shining Path was still a headache for Peru, although he said it had switched tactics away from the violence that earned it a reputation as one of Latin America's bloodiest insurgencies. He said it now only counted 300 to 450 active members compared with some 10,000 militants at its peak." Guzman is apparently offering to broker a peace deal with the Sendero columns operating in Ayacucho and Huallaga if the government will give the inmates new trials. Sendero and MRTA inmates are currently on a hunger strike.

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