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Thursday, August 29

Reuters AlertNet Dig at Peru grave breaks ground on painful past: "The exhumation of several common graves in Totos, due to last this week, could be the last coordinated by the truth board, which was created last year to help this poor Andean nation come to terms with the violence that killed some 30,000 people and turned countless more into widows and orphans."

VOA Chile Destroys More Than 76,000 Landmines: "At the ceremony, Defense Minister Michelle Bachelet said Chile also plans to destroy more than 330,000 other mines that have either been stockpiled or planted along borders with other neighboring countries." Makes sense.

Wednesday, August 28

Washington Post / Reuters Peru Potato Proliferation: Prize or Plague?: "Peruvian production of the potato -- the world's fourth-biggest food staple after rice, wheat and corn -- has tripled in the last decade to 3.3 million tons in 2000 from 1.1 million tons in 1990. According to the agriculture ministry, production has soared because farmers haven't coordinated when they will plant and because potato yields have increased from 7.8 tons per 2.5 acres to 11.4 tons per 2.5 acres last year." Even good things bring about bad results in Peru.

Washington Post Behind the Peruvian Shootdown: "'Recognition by any of the Peruvian officials of Mr. Donaldson's flight profile and route alone would have precluded the precipitous rush to authorize use of lethal force," the committee's report states. 'Instead, the Peruvian host nation rider and his chain-of-command never questioned their initial presumption that Mr. Donaldson's plan was a narcotics trafficker.'" The US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence is not very diplomatic -- it puts all the blame for the shootdown of the missionary plane last year on the Peruvian air force pilots. The report is online as a pdf file.

Tuesday, August 27 / AP Peru commandos to face military justice in deaths of rebel hostage-takers: "But the court said four other men -- ex-spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos, former armed forces chief Gen. Nicolas Hermoza and colonels Roberto Huaman y Jesus Zamudio -- were considered to have been 'outside' of the military operation. Human rights lawyers called the ruling vague."

Monday, August 26

Tallahassee Democrat / AP Peru museum showcases more than a rack of brains: "The brain Rivas showed is one of 2,786 at the Neurological Sciences Institute's brain museum, a resource for generations of Peruvian medical students and a popular stop for foreign physicians since brain collecting began in 1947." I was going to employ a pun here, but I just leave the story on its own merits.

Wednesday, August 21

Guardian / AP Charges Filed in Peru Disco Fire: "The unlicensed club, located in a shopping mall in the upscale Surco district, was popular among Lima's elite. The dead included the daughter of a former congressman and nieces of two top government officials." Two co-owners and a bartender faces charges for the 29 deaths in the July fire.

Seattle Times / Miami Herald Intrigue growing after new orchid discovered in Peru: "Peru has asked the U.S. government to seize any of the orchids it finds, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has opened an investigation, and the Peruvian Orchid Society is complaining that scientists at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota endorsed an illegal plant by giving it an official name: Phragmipedium kovachii." The second installment of the purple orchid story is seeded with international disputes.

Tuesday, August 20

Christian Science Monitor Peruvians look to the fuzzy vicuna as answer to poverty: "A cousin of the llama and alpaca, the vicuña has one of the finest wools in the world. Recent changes in US law now make it possible for vicuña products to be sold in the US. With unprocessed vicuña wool selling at nearly $200 a pound, Peru's peasant communities see dollar signs when they look at the 140,000 vicuñas roaming the high Andean plains." / AP Civilian court orders release of Peruvian air force pilots jailed for missionary plane downing: "Defense lawyer Jorge Power said his clients' right to be charged within nine months of incarceration had been violated. They had been in prison for more than 10 months. Peruvian Air Force Maj. Jose Antonio Redhead and Lt. Richard Hercilla should be released this week, Power said. He said the court made its decision Thursday. The release order followed a successful appeal to the Constitutional Tribunal, Peru's highest court for constitutional matters, Power said."

BBC Montesinos hoard returned to Peru: "The BBC's Emma Jane Kirby says it is now clear that Montesinos had been receiving commissions on arms deliveries to Peru since the beginning of President Fujimori's regime in 1990, and had spirited away his bribe money to accounts in Luxembourg, the US and Switzerland."

Monday, August 19

MSNBC Peru's first lady cancels controversial consulting contract: "In a letter to Banco Wiese Sudameris Thursday, Eliane Karp resigned as an adviser on agricultural projects. She maintained that the contract was legal but that she wanted to defuse 'ill-intentioned political motives about the transparency, honesty and legality' of the position." The first lady gives in to pulbic pressure.

World Press Review Peru and Privatization: 'Just Say No': Toledo's Broken Promises: "According to the National Household Survey on living conditions and poverty carried out last year by the National Statistics and Information Institute (INEI), 24.4 percent of Peruvians live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1 a day. The survey found that poverty increased by 1.4 percent between 2000 and last year and by 7.1 percent since 1997, while extreme poverty rose by 4.5 percent in the last two years." The figures speak for themselves. This is a reprint of an article that appeared in Latinamerica Press last month.

Saturday, August 17

Reuters Minister: Fujimori Return to Politics 'Ridiculous': "Peru's foreign minister said on Wednesday fugitive former President Alberto Fujimori's ambitions to return to politics were "ridiculous" and that the disgraced leader should only end his self-exile in Japan to face charges of corruption and murder." In order to run for the presidency, Fujimori would have to clear up his dual nationality, which keeps him from facing Peruvian courts. The fact that his birth certificate might be forged would be re-examined.

Friday, August 16

MSNBC / Reuters Peru first lady should quit consultancy-bank chief: "The government and lawyers stress Karp is not breaking the law -- she is not paid for her duties as first lady and has paid taxes arising from the job she took in 2000 and which was due to run until September or October."

Thursday, August 15

Boston Phoenix Global Lima: "[Gian] Marco may represent what Arguedas vowed never to become — an export of acculturated Peru — but [Susan Baca's] A Tiempo chips away at Peru’s national walls in its own way, from the top down, bringing the many colors of the gray city to a world that has never heard it before." A strange article -- the author was knowledgeable about both singers and their styles, and could even quote the Peruvian novelist Jose Maria Arguedas -- but he did not know that Barranco and Chorillos were two Lima neighborhoods that border each other. It's still worth the read.

Tuesday, August 13 / AP Peru's president defends wife as political storm erupts over her consultant job: "Eugenio Bertini, general manager of Banco Wiese Sudameris, confirmed Friday that Karp has made $10,000 a month as a consultant at the bank since January 2001. A spokesman for a private banking association said the salary was normal for a high-level executive or adviser." Toledo and his people don't know how to keep from stepping in deep do-do. Eliane Karp has turned into a liability. Also see Reuters piece, Peru First Lady Unrepentant Amid Job Scandal.

Independent (UK) Arequipa in Peru: A place where the past is not another country: "Arequipa is a city to savour at leisure. There are plenty of quiet places to escape the heat of the day: I sat drinking pisco sours at pavement cafés, read in the cool of shaded cloisters, and looked out across the terraced fields of the Chili Valley towards El Misti from hills on the fringe of the city. There's a lot to do at night, too: bars and restaurants ranging from disco pubs to traditional penas with wandering folk musicians playing Andean music."

A watercolor of the Phragmipedium kovachii orchid by Stig Dalstrom. NY Times New Orchid Species Leaves Admirers Amazed: "Described as the most spectacular orchid find in the last 100 years, the new species has led to jaw-dropping effects throughout the world of orchid fanciers as word of the find has spread among the already breathless and excitable group." It was found in Moyobamba, but no one has found another one.

Monday, August 12

Miami Herald Ousted Peruvian spy chief linked to drugs: "Several of those traffickers say that by the mid-1990s - when Montesinos was on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency payroll coordinating many counter-drug activities - he had actually moved from protecting a handful of gangs to a direct role in setting up cocaine-processing operations that smuggled loads of cocaine to Europe and to the Tijuana Cartel in Mexico." A long piece about Montesinos's involvement in the drug trade.

Tuesday, August 6

Chicago Tribune / AP Peru may fight tech woes with Microsoft ban: "Villanueva says the Peruvian state owes about $30 million in overdue software license fees. A government study last year estimated Peru would have to pay $18 million in licensing fees to cover pirated software it uses. The same study painted a stark picture of Peru's overall IT situation. Many government PCs still run Windows 95 and about a third still use the outdated Pentium II processor--or earlier versions." Bill G is going to be fighting either piracy or open source in Peru and many other developing countries.

Sunday, August 4

Why they come

I have added a list of the most popular pages of this website to the Site Map page for those curious about what people are looking for when they come to this site. I am sure that a large portion come because they think that it will contain info about graffiti (wall drawings) in Peru. This site used to have a graffiti theme - lots of graphics with hand-writing fonts in vivid colors. But the idea ran counter to me desire to make the site more orderly and emphasize content. It was also damn ugly.

Reuters 'Naked' Natives Block Illegal Loggers in Peru: "Peru established a reserve in Madre de Dios for uncontacted peoples in April, which should be off-limits to the loggers. But activists say hundreds of loggers are in the area near the reserve, working on commission for big timber companies, at least one of which they say in based in the United States. The area is the largest remaining mahogany stand in Peru and it is illegal to cut down mahogany there. The hard, reddish-brown wood is highly prized and fetches big prices on international markets. Nature groups say more than 4 million cubic feet of mahogany from Latin America reach global markets every year, mostly from Brazil, Bolivia and Peru, and that much of that is illegal logged."

Guardian / AP Fujimori Future Sparks Speculation: "Though dual nationality is generally banned in Japan, the law is full of loopholes. Japanese officials say Fujimori and anyone else with dual nationality is expected to renounce one, but they have not yet forced him to do so. Observers say the law is largely beside the point. 'The Japanese government has never searched for an interpretation of the law that didn't favor Fujimori. They've chosen what is most convenient to protect him,' said Kazuo Ohgushi, a professor of comparative politics in Tokyo University's Faculty of Law." It's not sure whether Fujimori is scheming for a comeback in Peruvian politics or a new career in the Japanese parliament.

Saturday, August 3

Miami Herald / Reuters Ex-Interior Minister Named Peru Intelligence Chief: "Fernando Rospigliosi, who quit as interior minister in June after fatal protests in southern Peru against the government's unpopular privatization program, was named in a notice in the official gazette as head of the National Intelligence Council." Strange -- I hope Fernando knows what he's doing.

Friday, August 2

Rocky Mountain News Peru ruling will be appealed: "In their motion to reconsider filed in June, plaintiff lawyers argued that Denver-based Newmont had corrupted the Peruvian justice system to the point where their clients couldn't get a fair trial there." There are several reasons to prefer filing suit in the US rather than Peru. For one, the settlement would be larger. Second, the jurisprudence would be much clearer.

UPI Peru - From Garcia to Garcia?: "This is a tale of three presidents, from three different ethnic groups, and a country. Where is the country heading?" An analytical piece that looks at the Peruvian presidents of the past 20-some years and wonders if Alan may not be headed back to the presidency.

Thursday, August 1

Yahoo / AP Peru leaders sign 20-year political pact: "Peru's normally quarrelsome political parties and civic groups have sealed an agreement that lays out several broad policies for economic and political development over the next 20 years." This article only gives enough detail to raise my curiosity, not provide answers about how this agreement will affect Peruvian politics.

Hoover's / EFE At least 100 injured in riots in Peruvian jungle region: "The striking farmers are pressing the government into buying 20,000 tons of rice from them and extending the benefits of the financial farming rescue package to them to surmount the deep crisis of regional agriculture." The rioters apparently had nothing to do with the protest strike. Jungle agriculture is a really tough issue and farms have generally gotten the shaft over the past 50 years.

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