Friday, December 27
Miami Herald / Reuters Peru court to scrap Fujimori anti-terror laws
: "Francisco Soberon, head of Peru's human rights coordinator, told Reuters he expected some 700 or 800 retrials. That could prove costly for a justice system already under strain, but he said: 'The state has an obligation to rectify this situation.'" Wow! This is a major reversal of policy, but a recognition that international law and Peruvian judicial tradition is running against the old anti-terrorism laws.
Thursday, December 26
Reuters Peru cocaine booming despite clampdown
: "But only around 11 percent of the 2002 eradication had been voluntary, the U.S. official said. Peruvian farmers, disillusioned by low world prices for legal crops like coffee and fruit compared to $3.50 to $4 a kilo (2.2 lb) for coca leaf, are reluctant to abandon their cash crop."
Planet Ark / Reuters Project to free 'Paddington' bears in Peru
: "The spectacled bear is the only breed of the world's eight species of bears that inhabits tropical regions of the Andes. While its habitat stretches from Venezuela to Bolivia, experts say the bulk of the rare species' population - some 2,000 animals - lives in Peru. But aggressive logging and the expansion of farm lands have encroached on the habitat of these solitary, nocturnal animals, which are primarily herbivores."
Yahoo / Reuters Peru Opens Bids For Camisea Natural Gas Contract
: "The Ministry of Energy and Mines said that bids will be accepted Friday, April 25, 2003, at which time the contract will be awarded. Government officials have said the investment would be worth about $200 million. The winner of the contract will be obliged to build an electricity-generating plant to use the natural gas."
Wednesday, December 25
A simple wish for all who visit these pages -- and all my friends who have better things to do than surf the Web on the holidays -- that the blessings of this day fall upon your heads.
Sunday, December 22
NY Times Layoff Upsets Quest for the Good Life
: "Five years ago, Mr. Requejo, his wife, Lidia, and their daughter Lily lived in Lima, Peru. Their older daughter, Gladys, had moved to New York in 1988 and found a steady job. In Lima, the Requejos were troubled by a constant stream of news reports about kidnappings, guerrilla warfare and terrorist attacks. Knowing of their daughter's success in New York, Mr. and Mrs. Requejo decided to follow her there in 1998." The charity mentioned in this article is funded by the newspaper. It's a story about a Peruvian family making ends meet in NY City. Typical of the saga of enterprising immigrants.
Saturday, December 21
Forbes / Reuters Trade deal boosts Peru's Nov U.S. exports 11 pct
: "The chamber said sales to the U.S., which make up 24.1 percent of Peru's total exports, were $1.75 billion from January to November, 9.2 percent more than in the same 2001 period." New markets in the U.S. boost Peruvian exports.
Washington Post In Peru, Who Knew? - Grand architecture, ancient culture, inventive cuisine . . . Arequipa may be the most inviting city you've never heard of
: "Unwittingly, I had stumbled into one of those untrammeled corners of the globe that travelers dream of discovering. During my week in this dazzling city, I sampled soup made of river shrimp and other local delicacies; stared into the eyes of a 500-year-old mummy; toured a magnificent 16th-century convent sprawling over five acres; walked beneath portals decorated with antique brass lamps crafted by Spaniards in the mid-1500s; and journeyed across the mountains to watch condors swoop into a gorge deeper than the Grand Canyon and every bit as breathtaking."
Reuters AlertNet Carpet of coffins as Peru honors massacre victims
: "Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which exhumed the bodies from their rough graves earlier this year for identification and autopsies, handed the remains back to grieving relatives in a ceremony designed to return dignity to victims of Peru's two decades of rebel wars."
Reuters AlertNet Peru to build court for Montesinos trial
: "His trials -- expected to be explosive if the man who greased palms across Peru tells his tales -- were originally slated to begin just months after he was captured in June 2001 in Venezuela. But the size and number of proceedings has slowed the process, as had legal maneuvering from Montesinos." It will be the biggest show in Peruvian judicial history -- bigger than the Banchero case back in the early 1970s. Of course, the Abimael Guzman trial was not public.
NY Times Peru's Former President Plots His Return to Power
: "During the Fujimori decade, Japan funneled $3 billion in foreign aid to Peru. The Japanese public was captivated by the ethnic Japanese success story, forcing a succession of governments to make Peru one of Japan's largest aid recipients. With Mr. Fujimori's departure from Peru, and angry demonstrators outside the Japanese Embassy demanding his extradition, Japanese officials allowed aid contracts to expire. The Toledo government is far more interested in having aid restored than in having Mr. Fujimori returned." Long story -- and important since it's in the Grey Lady.
Saturday, December 14
The Telegraph (UK) Dogs die to teach Peru's soldiers how to kill
: "The mongrel can move its head but is otherwise utterly defenceless. It can only scream as the knives rip through its skin. Worse, the dog is a camp pet that belongs to the soldiers, an extra detail to ensure that these killers are rendered truly heartless, unhindered by emotion or sentiment. Once the animal is dead and the soldiers have completed the test, they put their hands into the open wounds, pull out the innards and heart, tear them up and eat them." Excuse the juxtaposition of this grotesque story with the following one, but it just goes to show how two opposed sensibilities can co-exist in the same country. This story got a lot of play on Peruvian TV several weeks ago.
Felix and Liliane Oliva Wish the World A Smiling Christmas
My good friends, Felix and Liliane, sent us a Christmas card by e-mail, which I am reproducing here. When I was in Peru in October, they had Teresa and me for dinner and showed me all the work that Felix has been doing, painintg and sculpting. We thoroughly enjoyed the evening. Felix taught Teresa painting and drawing briefly in Lima back in the 1990s and our friendship has continued until now. I plan on showing some of Felix's work here on the website soon. The last I knew, Felix and Liliane were spending time in Paris, France, where they have a second home.
MSNBC / AP Judicial reforms in Peru may lead to retrial for Shining Path rebel leader
: "According to Alcides Chamorro, head of a congressional commission preparing new anti-terrorist legislation, Guzman could be among at least 900 imprisoned guerrillas eligible for new trials in civilian courts in response to international pressure for judicial reforms. All 900 were tried in secret military courts, and thereby denied due process by international standards. Nearly 2000 rebels are behind bars." I saw this coming.
Thursday, December 12
oneworld.net / Oxfam America Mining Communities on the March
: "To address these problems, a network of communities affected by mining was formed, the Coordinadora Nacional de Comunidades Afectadas por la Minería (the National Coordinator of Communities Affected by Mining,) known by its Spanish acronym CONACAMI. In 1999 CONACAMI established a national network of 16 regional groups to document illegal dumping of mining waste on communal lands and the expropriation of lands from indigenous groups, and to teach regional representatives to advocate on their own behalf. Indigenous communities in particular have special rights to be consulted about mining projects, which are protected under international law."
Reuters AlertNet CNN cameraman among four dead in Peru plane crash
: "The plane went down on Saturday but heavy rain and rough terrain prevented rescuers from reaching the wreck until Wednesday. The cause of the crash was not known." Flying in small aircraft in Peru is one of the most dangerous things you can do.
Forbes / Reuters Barrick to invest $372 mln in Alto Chicama - Peru
: "The ministry said Barrick, due to sign an extraction option on the deal on Thursday with the government of President Alejandro Toledo, would pay 2.5 percent of sales as royalties, which are estimated at $3.5 million per year." There's more gold in them thar hills.
Wednesday, December 11
Forbes / Reuters New mayor stands firm against Peru Tambogrande mine
: "[Mayor-elect Francisco] Ojeda, who also heads a local pressure group called the Tambogrande Defense Front, was elected mayor on an independent, pro-agriculture ticket. On behalf of the mine's opponents, he was awarded an environmental defense prize on Tuesday by Peru's human rights umbrella group, which helped organize the June popular vote on the mine plan."
Yahoo / AP Peru's Truth Commission delivers first report
: "Salomon Lerner, who heads the commission, said it was up to the Attorney General's office, which received the report Saturday, to identify those who were responsible for the deaths in the village of Chusch to bring them to trial. According to witnesses, soldiers detained the victims while they were working in the fields and loaded them into a military truck. That was the last time they were seen alive. Relatives of the victims believe they were taken to a nearby anti-terrorist base where they were tortured and killed." Chuschi was the starting point of Sendero's war against the civiled world.
Sunday, December 8
Forbes / Reuters Forbes.com: Burlington oil upbeat on 'diamond in rough' Peru
: "Contract terms Erlich called 'some of the best you find in Latin America these days' are one reason Burlington will stick around, he said, pointing to an attractive sliding-scale system for royalties, which are separate for oil, gas and condensates. He also cheered as a roll-back for exploration taxes."
ECGD Peru signs debt conversion deal with ECGD
: "Under the MOU, ECGD can sell debt owed by the Government of Peru on to investors, on the condition that the funds are used for investment
in projects or initiatives in Peru. These projects must meet strict criteria to prove that they generate benefits of a social, economic or environmental nature." This is probably one of the reasons that President Toledo went to Europe.
MSNBC / Reuters Peru to free Shining Path rebel, author's widow
: "Peru will free Sybila Arredondo, the Chilean widow of acclaimed Peruvian author Jose Maria Arguedas, jailed 14 years ago as a member of leftist rebel group Shining Path, her lawyer said on Friday." Arredondo was actively involved with Sendero, though the police could never get good enough evidence to convict her. She was finally sent to prison by a military court.
Miami Herald Hidden economy's strength a mixed blessing for region
: "De Soto, who is helping these countries find ways to integrate informal economy workers into the formal sector, says this should be the top priority of the region, much more so than passing tax reforms, privatization packages or most other improvements favored by economists. When you have more than half of the work force outside the legal system, the economy is paralyzed, he said." Andres Oppenheimer repeats Hernando de Soto's message about legal reform to get informal workers out of the black market.
Miami Herald Magical Heights
: "No matter how many pictures you see, no matter how much you read about it, nothing can prepare you for the sight of the legendary Lost City of the Incas: mazelike ruins, separated by a series of plazas, stretch amid green fields where llamas roam and wild orchids and bromeliad flourish." A personal account of a visit to Cusco and Machu Picchu.
Friday, December 6
NY Times At 14, the Girl's Indomitable (Just Ask Her Father)
: "Despite the attention, Zarai appears mature beyond her years in an interview. Indeed, it was with a cool, almost-detached sense of purpose that she met Mr. Toledo, in the late hours of Oct. 17, at a Lima church — her mother, uncle and lawyer on one side, the president and his lawyer on the other. The president, in the presence of a notary, signed a contract that acknowledged fatherhood and promised $100,000 and a Lima apartment for Zarai to use when she visits the capital, ostensibly to see her father." It's easy to understand why this young woman has become popular in Peru.
Miami HeraldPeru's Fujimori case languishes in language
: "Justice Minister Fausto H. Alvarado told The Herald that several Japanese translators certified by both Peru and Japan to translate Spanish documents have turned down the $70,000 job of translating some 300 pages of the Peruvian government's extradition request."
Thursday, December 5
UC Newswire Humans Brought Dogs to New World
: "Although New and Old World dogs are descended from the same Old World wolf ancestor, the DNA sequences from ancient American dogs are slightly different from their modern counterparts. 'Consequently, these data suggest Native American dogs have not genetically contributed to modern dog breeds,' Wayne said. 'DNA sequences from hundreds of dogs from dozens of modern breeds from throughout the world do not show traces of American ancestry. Native dogs may still have living descendants in some unsampled New World population, but their absence for a large sample of modern dogs reinforces the dramatic impact that the arrival of Europeans had on native cultures.'” More about this fascinating story about the relationship between man and dog. Europeans wiped out Native American dog species after they came to the New World.
Yahoo! / AP Peru's Toledo urges EU to open markets, fight poverty in Latin America
: "Poorer Latin American countries have been frustrated with the EU's hesitance to forging closer political and economic ties, especially in the face of EU eagerness to sign free-trade pacts with their richer neighbors such as Mexico and Chile. " Toledo makes a sales pitch to the European Union.
Boston Globe Farmer unrest imperils US drug fight in Peru
: "During an interview earlier this month, Palomino, who is of indigenous Quechua descent, explained that he supports the cultivation of coca for traditional uses permitted by Peruvian law, such as tea and medicine, but that he also supports the war on narcotrafficking - as long as government officials deliver on their promises of social development for farmers and viable, profitable alternatives to coca." A new wave of grower unrest is being headed by a new leader, whom observers are comparing to Bolivia's Evo Morales.
Reuters Peru still searching for national coach
: "Julio Velasquez, president of the national team committee, admitted that Peru -- who reached the last eight of the 1970 and 1978 World Cups but have not qualified for the tournament since 1982 -- were running out of time."
Wednesday, December 4
MSNBC / Reuters Peru's Toledo flies commercial after jet snafu
: "Toledo, who is traveling with first lady Eliane Karp and Defense Minister Aurelio Loret de Mola, is due to visit Italy, the Vatican, Belgium and Britain on the nine-day tour. "
Editor and Publisher Latin America Remains Dangerous For Journalists
: "But Michael L. Smith, a stringer at the time for The Washington Post, said Peru in the late 1980s was 'really, really rough going for a journalist' and that the Tribune reporter's destination was the most dangerous place there." I got quoted in article about the recent arrest of a thug accused of killing a U.S. journalist in Peru in 1989. The phone interview with Mark Fitzgerald brought back a lot of memories of the old -- and sometimes dangerous -- days.
Tuesday, December 3
PlanetArk / Retuers Peru's Camisea - Economic boon or environmental bane?
: "Both the government and Pluspetrol have issued scathing responses to activist criticism, saying no such formal reserve exists. They also say environmentalists are rabble-rousers who ignore Camisea's positive relationship with local communities." More on the running story of Peru's natural gas project in the Amazon.
Forbes/ Reuters Peru Camisea gas project gets environment monitoring funds
: "The Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) will provide Peru with a $5 million loan to monitor the Camisea natural gas project being developed in the Amazon jungle, Energy and Mines Minister Jaime Quijandria said on Tuesday."
A Little Bit of Media History
I discovered a rich vein of archived news files and other articles on the Peruvian media and the closing days of the Fujimori regime at the Freedom Forum. It makes for an interesting chronology -- some AP stories, other written by Freedom Forum staff. I have placed all the links in the sidebar on the News Media page. Anyone who would like to do a quick research paper has all the material that they need here. Also see the document Press, Power and Politics: Peru 2000 (234 kb in Adobe Acrobat format). It was written by my friend Corinne Schmidt, who was a freelancer in Peru.
The Freedom Forum held a conference in which they examined the state of the media in Peru in March 2000. It sponsors a library at the Instituto Prensa y Sociedad (IPYS).
It's nice that I made this discovery and had the time to put together the links. Usually, I would not have been able to put aside two hours for the work.