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Wednesday, June 26

Miami Herald On run, ex-spy chief faced threats: "What little money he had he doled out to her to buy toiletries and clothes as well as beef and bread, because he did not like the corn arepas and stews that she served. He almost never left his room and never received visitors other than José and Otoniel Guevara and Venezuelan businessman Julio Ayala -- identified by government investigators as a Montesinos partner in many weapons deals in the 1990s." Interesting account into the time that Vladimiro Montesinos spent in Caracas on the sly.

Friday, June 21

The Economist The politics of privatisation: "To the average Peruvian, privatisation means not just corruption but higher utility tariffs and job losses. That is partly because governments have failed to communicate its benefits. Take electricity, which began to be privatised in 1993. Tariffs initially rose as subsidies were removed, but have since fallen. And the privatised companies say that because of increased investment, jobs in the industry have increased. Similarly, the number of telephone lines has tripled since privatisation in 1994; then, it took 33 months to get a phone, while now it takes days."

Wednesday, June 19

Washington Post / AP Peru's President Cancels U.S. Trip: "Rioting in Peru's second largest city of Arequipa, 465 miles southeast of Lima, entered its sixth day Wednesday, while a general strike in Tacna, 615 miles southeast of Lima, went into its third day. Civic groups on Wednesday also launched solidarity strikes in historic Cusco, Moquegua, the port of Ilo, and Puno – all in the south."

Washington Post Support for Toledo Wanes As Peru's Poor Get Poorer: "An estimated 54 percent of Peru's 27 million residents live in poverty, defined by an income of $2 or less a day. That figure has remained steady throughout Toledo's 11 months in office. But over the past year, 2 million Peruvians have joined the ranks of the "extremely poor" -- those trying to survive on a dollar a day -- even as Toledo has shifted resources toward anti-poverty programs and the economy has begun growing at a projected 3.7 percent annual rate for 2002. That would place it with the Dominican Republic at 3.5 percent as the best performing in Latin America." In other words, Peru is doing great compared to the rest of the region, but that's small consolation for the millions of unemployed.

Tuesday, June 18

BBC Andes conservation goes cross-border: "Charity Conservation International (CI) and Peru´s National Institute of Natural Resources (Inrena) have taken agreed to work together to convince local authorities and people about the importance of the project. They hope to persuade local and national governments to crack down on damaging industries and development within the region. The corridor, which includes 15 protected areas, covers the transition zone from the Andes to Amazonia, spanning altitudes from 6000m to 300m above sea level." Innovative thinking to recognize the fact that the environment does not respect national borders.

Amnesty International Alberto Fujimori Must Face Justice for Human Rights Violations: "The Japanese authorities must cooperate in ensuring that justice is done for the gross human rights violations - including crimes against humanity - committed during Alberto Fujimori's presidency, Amnesty International said today as the Peruvian government announced its decision to request the extradition of the former President, currently exiled in Japan."

NY Times Peruvians Riot Over Planned Sale of 2 Regional Power Plants: "The standoff, which was unusually violent, underscores the deep frustration across Latin America with government efforts to privatize state industries. Officials contend that privatization saves money and improves services. But many Latin Americans, frustrated by rising poverty and stagnant economies, say auctioning off government assets benefits only a few."

Saturday, June 15

Work Load
I've not been able to post too frequently because work and studies are keeping me tied down. I've spent some time working on a redesign of the site, but it's far more work than I anticipated. I may start implementing it piecemeal.

Washington Post Morale Crisis in Peru's Army Could Let Guerrillas Regroup: "At its heart, the military's anger toward Toledo is rooted in the armed forces' diminished stature under his rule. Toledo won election last year promising a more open, responsive democracy after the quasi-dictatorship of President Alberto Fujimori, who after fending off an attempted military coup early in his administration gave military leaders a central place in his government." For the past two years, the post-Fujimori governments have taken turns purging the military of Montesino allies and cutting budgets. Even though the moves might have been justified, they take a toll on morale.

BBC Peru spy chief faces murder charge: "A judge in Peru has order former spy chief Vladimiro Montesino to stand trial on charges of murdering three rebels during the Japanese embassy siege in 1997." One more stripe to the tiger.

Washington Post / AP Peru Cabinet Approves Extradition: "Peru's Cabinet has approved a request seeking the extradition of former President Alberto Fujimori from Japan to face trial for two state-sponsored massacres in the early 1990s, the justice minister said. Japan is unlikely to hand him over." Going through the steps.

Forbes / Reuters Belgian Tractebel wins prickly Peru privatization: "With Friday's sale, Peru has raised more than $560 million through privatizations and concessions this year -- well on its way toward a goal of up to $800 million, to be spent on infrastructure projects and plugging the budget deficit." The root of the demonstrations in southern Peru.

Washington Post / AP Peru Protests Sale of Electric Cos.: "It was the second day of protests in Arequipa, an Andean city of 1 million people 465 miles southeast of Lima, against Friday's sale of the companies, which are based in the region. The protesters say the sale will lead to layoffs and higher electricity bills, and accuse President Alejandro Toledo of breaking a campaign promise not to auction them off." Careful, Arequipa may declare its independence if this keeps up.

Thursday, June 13

NYT Fernando Belaunde Terry, 89, Former Peruvian Leader, Dies: "Mr. Belaúnde campaigned carrying a shovel to symbolize his pledge to create a million new jobs through agricultural projects.
But while he embraced more liberal policies, he made little impression on the country's deep economic problems, which included an annual inflation rate surpassing 100 percent, a growing burden of foreign debt payment and high unemployment." There are a few factual errors in the obituary, and it fails to grasp the political significance of Belaunde within Peruvian history.

NY Times / AP Peru Arrests 3 in Car Bombing That Killed 10 Near Embassy: "The suspects were arrested May 25 in the coastal city of Chiclayo, 410 miles northwest of the capital, Lima, and witnesses later identified the man and one of the women as participants in the bombing, said Interior Minister Fernando Rospigliosi." I don't think Rospigliosi would let the news out unless he had firm evidence.

Sunday, June 9

Washington Post A Life Worth More Than Gold: "A leader of the anti-mine movement, Godofredo Garcia, was killed in his lime grove last year by two hooded men, a month after a mob torched the first section of "model homes" that Manhattan Minerals planned to give to 1,600 families displaced by the first phase of its project. The Vancouver-based company, with its sole interests in Peru, saw $16 million in property burn." This dispute has reached the point at which there are going to be no winners.

Saturday, June 8

Telegraph Tintin and the finder of lost cities: "It is fair to say that Inca studies, compared to Egyptology say, are still in their infancy, which makes it an even more exciting area to be working in. There are also some colourful and charismatic explorers working in the field, like the American Gene Savoy, who discovered Espiritu Pampa (the last refuge of the rump Inca court after the Spanish conquest) 35 years ago. He is still leading expeditions to Peru - that is when he's not at home in Nevada being worshipped by the cult he has set up, who think of him as a living God." The account by Hugh Thomson, an Englishman who has explored the Andean foothills for two decades. / Retuers Terraces, Rubbish Dump Found at Peru's Machu Picchu: "'We hope to open up this zone (to visitors) very soon and then to continue investigating -- we've got our sights on the zone between Machu Picchu and the nearby mountain of Huaina Picchu, which is covered by weeds. We think there are more Inca trails and new structures,' Astete said.Huaina Picchu is an imposing mountain which rises behind the citadel in the classic photographs of Machu Picchu." Whenever Machu Picchu's staff feels as if they are being pushed out of the news, they can go out and uncover more ruins on the outskirts to draw attention back.

MSNBC / Reuters Inca town found in Peruvian jungle: "The team’s report said a preliminary survey showed that Cota Coca contained at least 30 stone-built structures, including a 75-foot-long (23-meter-long) meeting hall, grouped around a great central plaza." Another pre-Columbian settlement discovered in the Amazon jungle.

NZZ Online Peru's Great Disenchantment - President Toledo Lacks Authority: "But Sagasti is also quick to leap to Toledo's defense. After 10 years of authoritarian rule and 12 years without any real economic growth, the task of governing Peru is titanic, he notes. Half the Peruvians live below the poverty line, 20 percent in critical poverty with chronic undernourishment. Peru, says the think tank head, has not experienced such a precarious social situation in its recent history. And a suddenly unleashed democracy, with a parliament shooting from the hip in all directions and media newly released from their muzzle, does not make Toledo's job any easier. Sagasti terms the peaceful transition from authoritarianism to democracy as a true 'civic miracle.'" This article is by Richard Bauer, a long-time correspondent in Lima. It's a good overview of the Toledo administration's plight.

Thursday, June 6

Washington Post Peru Goes Public on 20 Years Of Guerrilla and Army Violence: "For the third public hearing -- May 22-23 in the central highland city of Huancayo, the regional capital 60 miles south of here, the commission received testimony from more than 800 people affected by the violence. Salvador Pea, head of the commission's office for the central highlands, said the 30 cases chosen for the hearing were representative of the patterns of violence that plagued Peru for two decades."

Wednesday, June 5

Guardian / AP Former Peruvian President Dies: "During his 10 years in exile, Belaunde earned his living as a university professor, teaching at Harvard, Columbia, Johns Hopkins and George Washington universities. The experience left him with great admiration for America's democracy." I met a couple of professors at GWU who were thinking of inviting him back.

Miami Herald / Retuers Former Peru President Belaunde Dead at 89: "His election in 1980 was a triumph over the military rulers who had ousted him in 1968. His 1985 handover to Alan Garcia was the first time since the year of his birth, 1912, that a freely elected Peruvian president had transferred power to a democratically elected successor." The old gentleman finally takes a rest. Belaunde was a pivotal figure in Peruvian politics for more than 50 years.

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