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Monday, September 23

Christian Science Monitor Peru's never-ending quest for the perfect Constitution: "Two weeks ago, Congress began formal deliberations on Peru's third major constitutional overhaul since 1979. The result could be the 13th different Constitution in the Andean nation's 181-year history, on average one every 14 years. The head of the constitutional commission, Rep. Henry Pease, said that change is needed 'in order to give the country a text that will help us move forward.'" I covered the Constiturent Assembly back in 1978-9 so I know of Peru's urge to write the ultimate charter. So much work to produce a supreme law that nobody respects -- even the government.

Saturday, September 21

Forbes/ Reuters Peru economy minister hails Peru as Latam's star: "The minister said impoverished Peru was outshining regional peers despite a Latin American economic outlook clouded by Argentina and Brazil. Officials say the economy will grow from 3.5 to 4 percent this year, accelerating beyond most of its neighbors. Gross domestic product growth was just 0.2 percent in 2001."

iWon / Reuters Peru maintains 2002 growth goal: "The economy grew for the 12th straight month in July with an expansion of 3.8 percent, while first semester growth was 4.2 percent."

Wednesday, September 18

BBC Coffee slump fuels Peru's coca bonanza: "Yet because most of its 125,000 coffee growers are smallholders - with little marketing muscle - they have suffered a disproportionately large amount of pain from the slump in world coffee prices."

Tuesday, September 17

Reuters Fujimori says reelection bid 'panics' Peru president: "Congressional sources said Fujimori had also been barred from politics indefinitely. But experts said it was not yet clear whether the law would bar him from running in 2006, especially because doubts have been raised about whether Fujimori was born in Peru, as he said, or in Japan." Fujimori stirs the pot.

Miami Herald Leader warns of discontent with democracy: "In a plaintive appeal, Toledo said his government has followed responsible economic policies but cannot push Peru toward progress without significant outside help and investment." Palintive? Whining would be the more appropriate term. Toledo missed a great opportunity to kick off a productive dialogue.

CNN / Reuters Fujimori still has base of support in Peru: "One poll showed that seven percent rated Fujimori as their favorite politician. That may not seem like much, but it beats President Alejandro Toledo's five percent and is nearly half what the most popular politicians received. Support could be even higher in Peru's rural areas where Fujimori remains popular." Latin American history is full of examples of former strongmen making a come-back. / AP Peru's president warns of dangers to democracy in Latin America: "Speaking before the Organization of American States, Toledo cited signs of discontent with democratic rule among 'less-favored segments of the population that see how their demands go unnoticed and feel excluded and deprived.'" Toledo speaks from experience.

Sunday, September 15

Guardian /AP Toldeo: Peru Not Making U.S. Base: "The Peruvian Congress has authorized the Marine operation at the Peruvian navy's Nanay base on the banks of the Amazon near Iquitos, 650 miles northeast of Lima. Previous significant U.S.-Peruvian operations have been in the Pacific and not inland."

Forbes / Reuters Peru president says U.S. aid meetings 'fruitful': "Near the end of a five-day trip that included meetings with the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank, Toledo said he was trying to cobble together $800 million in financing for social programs to aid the half of his Andean country that lives on less than $1.25 per day." Toledo is in the middle of an extended visit to Washington and New York, trying to collect on promised made by international organizations. He will speak at the Organization of American States on Monday, commemorating the first anniversary of the signing of the Democratic Charter of the Americas. Also see the article about a World Bank loan: Peru Signs $50m Loan Agreement.

Friday, September 13

Miami Herald Susana Baca: Diplomatic diva: "fro-Peruvian diva Susana Baca sings from deep inside the unique culture she has exposed to the world. As a girl growing up in a village on the northwestern coast of Peru, Susana swayed to the syncopated music of local residents descended from a 500-year mix of African slaves, Spanish colonials and Andean natives. She learned the songs and dances that surrounded her, but soon noticed that they were not reflected in the larger popular culture. Radio and television programmers seemed determined to ignore the music of the black Peruvians." / AP Peru marks capture of Shining Path leader : "Retired police general Antonio Ketin Vidal told El Comercio newspaper that the Maoist guerrilla group lost direction after his elite police unit nabbed Guzman. 'The Shining Path has been defeated strategically in military terms, but that does not rule out the possibility that it could progressively regain strength and increase its number of members,' he said." 10 years -- it's seems like yesterday! / AP Rights court to review case of American jailed in Peru : "The Costa Rica-based Inter-American Court, part of the Organization of American States, can legally bind member countries, including Peru, to comply with its rulings. Laura Furst, of the Washington-based Committee to Free Lori Berenson, said Thursday that the court decided Sept. 6 to review Berenson's claim that she didn't receive due process last year when she was sentenced to 20 years in prison." Rather face a ruling against the government, I think that Toledo might concede a pardon. Peru does not want to open the door to appeals of all its terrorist convictions.

Thursday, September 12

MSNBC / Reuters Peru truth board chief slams Fujimori for snub: "As part of its investigation, the board has interviewed ex-presidents Alan Garcia and the late Fernando Belaunde. Fujimori is the only leader from the board's 1980-2000 scope who has not been quizzed. Lerner said he was sceptical that Fujimori would change his mind and agree to be interviewed before the commission hands in its final report next July, but said the commission would find other sources to complete its investigation."

Peru girl, lawmaker argue Toledo DNA paternity test "She [Lucrecia Orozco, girl's mother] says she had a relationship with Toledo in the 1980s when he was separated from his Belgian wife, with whom he has a 20-year-old daughter."

Saturday, September 7

Reuters Peru's Cardinal Testifies in Massacres Case: "Cipriani had been due to testify on Sept. 12. He was summoned because another witness in the case said Fujimori's spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, told him Cipriani had been consulted by a military official about what to do with the bodies of victims from the massacres."

NY Times Once Hopeful Family Gathers in Sorrow for Son Who Died in the Andes: "By questioning local residents, the search teams tracked Mr. Demas and Ms. Paredes to the Peruvian city of Cajatambo, Ms. Cronin said. The couple was last reported there on July 26 or 27, during a festival, she said. 'We don't know what happened after Cajatambo,' Ms. Cronin said. 'The presumption is they took a ride with somebody and these people did them harm.'" Cajatambo is a rough neck of the Andes, and not on the most traveled hiker routes of Huaraz. It's actually located in the department of Lima, far away from the usual attractions that draw tourists.

Friday, September 6

Chicago Tribune / AP Shining Path leaders jailed in embassy blast: "Gen. Marco Miyashiro, the head of Peru's counterterrorism police, identified Wilbert Elki Meza Majino, 31, as the leader of the Lima-based cell and Giovanna Anaya, 23, and Pilar Sulema, 27, as key lieutenants. The three were arrested Aug. 22, he said" More details about the arrests.

Tuscaloosa / AP Experts Say Peru Rebels Will Revamp: "[Raul] Gonzalez said the attack, which killed 10 Peruvians near the U.S. Embassy just three days before a visit by President Bush in March, demonstrates the passage of leadership. He said it contradicts imprisoned Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman's vow to seek a political solution to the 22-year conflict." It's nice to see that my fellow Senderologists are still available for snappy quotes and expert opinion.

Poughkeepsie Journal Artists celebrate Hispanic heritage: "Now the City of Poughkeepsie resident makes a living as an artist, bringing life to walls by painting murals on buildings throughout the streets of Poughkeepsie. [Nestor] Madalengoitia teaches local middle and high school students how to create their own murals through the Mill Street Loft, a nonprofit group which focuses on arts education. He also has his own studio on Main Street." A Peruvian in New York is making his mark.

Miami Herald In her latest CD, Baca `outsings the birds' -- and some of the pain: "Baca first came to the attention of many outside Peru through ex-Talking Head and world-music honcho David Byrne. The story goes that, while taking Spanish lessons six years ago, Bowie [should read Byrne] heard a tape of hers and was so moved that he booked a flight to Lima and signed her to his Luaka Bop label. She first appeared on the label's Soul of Black Peru compilation and later released her own discs, Susana Baca and Eco de Sombras (Echo of Shadows). Baca realizes that, without Byrne, she might never have reached the audience she does now -- not that she would have let that stop her."

Thursday, September 5

Miami Herald / Reuters Peru General Close to Montesinos Shoots Himself: "Retired Gen. Oscar Villanueva, under house arrest on embezzlement and conspiracy charges, also faced allegations he used $20,000 in state funds to buy jewels for Montesinos to give to top Latin American television personality Laura Bozzo."

Reuters Peru Snares Shining Path Chief Behind Car Bomb: "Peru has captured the Shining Path leader who planned a March car bomb attack that killed 10 people near Lima's U.S. Embassy, the government said Thursday."

Tuesday, September 3

Miami Herald Plundered Peru struggles to find missing treasure: [Special prosecutor Astrid] "Leigh said Peru has solicited bids from several prominent firms with a global reach and expertise in asset recovery -- including Kroll Associates, Decision Strategies and Control Risks Group -- to see if they may want the contract to trace missing funds." Compares Peru's attempt to recovered illicit assets abroad with those of other governments that got rid of dictators.

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