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Friday, October 31

Resources from the National Security Archive

Here are some reports from the National Security Archive: I don't think I have linked to them before.
The Search for Truth: The Declassified Record on Human Rights Abuses in Peru (August 28, 2003)
Montesinos' Blind Ambition: The Peruvian Townsend Commission Report and Declassified U.S. Documentation (June 26, 2002 )
The Shoot Down in Peru: The Secret U.S. Debate Over Intelligence Sharing with Peru and Colombia (April 23, 2001)
Peru in "The Eye of the Storm": Declassified U.S. Documentation on Human Rights Abuses and Political Violence (January 22, 2002)
Fujimori's Rasputin: The Declassified Files on Peru's Former Intelligence Chief, Vladimiro Montesinos (November 22, 2000) and update from November 21, 2001.

The National Security Archive does a lot of work with FOIA requests to get the U.S. government to open up its records. Some times it's just cable traffic between the U.S. Embassy and the State Department regurgitating newspaper reports and cocktail circuit rumors. Other times, the declassified information can throw fresh lights on distant events.

Word from Lori

These are older links from a DemocrayNow radio interveiw with Lori Berenson from prison. Breaking the Sound Barrier: Exclusive Interview with Jailedactivist Lori Berenson, From Her Prison Cell in Lima, Peru - Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. Each segment is about 48 minutes long. You will need RealOne Player. This interview took place when Alejandro Toledo was coming to office so I suspect that it is flavored by the hope that he might pardon her. She is now awaiting an appeal to the Inter-American Human Rights Court, having been convicted in a second trial to 20 years. Also see my Berenson page. The questions were sent to Berenson in writing and she answered them on tape. The quality is not the best, but it's still understandable.

Thursday, October 23

Eliane griping about journalists

Peru's First Lady Upsets Establishment: "She said journalists treated her husband poorly from his first day in office and traded in rumors instead of focusing on social problems. 'I don't see you making any attempt to be professional, to understand the topics that are really important in Peru,' she said. She also chastised them for not attacking Peru's leading opposition politician, former President Alan Garcia, who served from 1985-90. " Newsday / AP First Lady Eliane Karp things reporters are picking on her husband. As a journalist who was in Lima during Garcia's term in office, I can assure Eliane that Garcia got dumped on real hard. He was hammered from the right and left.

Monday, October 20

Peru gets to query Swiss banking system about Fujimori

Peru says Swiss lift bank secrecy in Fujimori case: "Calderon said Peru had requested cooperation from several countries to investigate corruption charges against Fujimori, but so far only Switzerland had responded. " MSNBC / Reuters There is no guarantee that this will dig up more dirt on Fujimori. If Fujimori did spirit away a "retirement fund," he has been meticulous about covering his tracks.

Thursday, October 16

Peru goes after Fujimori's banking records

Peru seeks access to Fujimori's bank information: "In recent days, the Peruvian newspaper La Republica has run a series of articles in which it alleges that the former president siphoned off hundreds of thousands of dollars from donations made by Japanese benefactors to private aid organizations run by Fujimori family members. The newspaper published copies of checks that it said were deposited into the personal accounts of Fujimori's sister, brother-in-law and mother. The reports alleged that the family" CNN / AP The Peruvian government has yet been able to track down any dubious funds that enriched Fujimori illegally.

Changes in the wind

I have made some changes in the navigation menu, switching from a JavaScript rollover scheme to a simple list with special cascading style sheet formating, thanks to Listmania. The changes are for simplicity's sake and to reduce the download time. It's not a major upgrade in esthetics.

I have also made changes to the menu options, reflecting the move of most of my technology and web-related material to The pages are still on this site, but I am not maintaining them. There is a link on each page to its corresponding page on the new site. Eventually, I will remove the content, but leave the page pointing to the new page.

Wednesday, October 15

Peru takes independent course on trade with European Union

Germany backs Peru on EU free-trade pact: "While in Berlin, Toledo signed a cooperation agreement under which the German government will give Peru 33 million euros (38 million dollars) over the next two years for rural development and water supply projects." EU Business / AFP Peru starts exercising its independence with regard to trade deals, after WTO talks break down.

Garbage dumped near the Nasca lines

Sunday Gazette-Mail - APNews: "Nazca Mayor Daniel Mantilla explained that the town decided to use the area as a dump in frustration after failing to get the Peru's National Institute of Culture to approve a site. He said that the town stopped using the dump -- which has refuse reaching about knee high and spread across an area 200 yards long and 60 yard wide -- a week ago and is now using another one on the outskirts of town." Sunday Gazette-Mail / AP

Tuesday, October 14

August international trade figures are in Peru posts $98.8 mln August trade surplus: "In 2002, Peru registered a trade surplus of $261 million. Central Bank officials have said Peru expects a trade surplus of $500 million this year." Forbes / Reuters

Cross-border activity with Brazil pinned on Sendero

Shining Path rebels 'tax' logging in Brazil jungle: "Peruvian loggers pay poor Brazilians to cut down precious tropical timbers. The wood is then hauled into Peru where Shining Path taxes the loggers in return for free passage to markets. The fee helps the group finance its activities, Sposito said." Reuters AlertNet Either Sendero has become a very enterprising venture in other areas besides politics or else someone is taking Sendero's name to cover for their criminal activities. There are, at most, two or three guerrilla columns on the eastern slopes of the Andes, and they do not traditionally reach as far as the Brazilian border. Even in Sendero's heyday, they could not have pulled this off. I have serious doubts about the authenticity of this story.

Saturday, October 11

Old Peru colleague drops me a line

Greg Smith, no relation, I swear, used to work with me on Newsweek assignments as my photographer. We went to places like Cusco and Macchu Pichu, on the presidential campaign trail with Alan Garcia and Alfonso Barrantes, to Huarochiri in the Andes above Lima and other assignments. I remember that he also spent a lot of time in the Philippines during the popular revolt against Marcos. Looks like he's been around the world a couple of times since then.

Greg has a personal photo website on which he has a few Peru shots. He is affiliated with Corbis. He's working out of Houston, Texas, now.

Thursday, October 9

BBC NEWS | Americas | Melting glaciers threaten Peru

Melting glaciers threaten Peru: "A recent report by US space agency Nasa suggested that a large chunk of ice in the area could break off and fall into one of these lakes, triggering a devastating flood.
Satellites had detected a crack in the glacier overlooking Lake Palcacocha. One city under threat would be Huaraz, with a population of 100,000. The news from Nasa came as a very worrying shock to many in the city. " BBC Global warming will strike at spiritual rituals of Andean communities because people makes pilgrimages to the glaciers to bring ice. The article explains this in more detail.

Profile of Elaine Karp

Peru's Outspoken First Lady Redefines a Traditional Role: "While Karp admits that the last two years have been 'very difficult' and that the president has lost some support, she claims he is more popular than polls show. She claims that the polling institutes and the press are linked to the 'mafia' and the Fujimori 'dictatorship,' two words she used repeatedly during an hour-long interview." Forward This interview took place in New York while Alejandro Toledo was attending the United Nations General Assembly. If Toledo has disappointed by underachieving, Karp has provoked outrage among a lot of people, especially the Lima elites.

Online Resources

I wanted to mention two resources that might be useful for researchers: Development Gateway Country Profile and World Bank Country Profile. You will find a lot of reports, articles and even entire books in Adobe Acrobat format -- if you can download a 300-page, 25 megabyte file! Some material may be constrained by its nature of being an international bureaucracy and ideologically slanted, but it's also rigorous. Banks and other international organizations love figures, statistics and other hard facts.

I have added them to La Lista.

Wednesday, October 8

Long-distance romance

True love or legal maneuver? Jailed American, rebel marry: "Apari says they were alone at Yanamayo [prison in Puno] only a few times, and even then it was under a guard's watchful eye. Have they even kissed? Apari notes that prison rules prohibited physical contact between inmates, but adds with a smile, 'There are ways to do things.'" Miami Herald I guess after you've waited 12 years to get out of prison, waiting a few more to see your bride may not seem that bad.

Saturday, October 4

Peru doctors oppose insurance proposal: "Public opinion appears to side with [legislation sponsor Natale] Amprimo. A survey by the Apoyo polling firm last month found 85 percent of Lima residents approve of mandatory malpractice insurance, and 59 percent said they would still back the idea even if it meant higher medical fees. Jaime Delgado, president of the Peruvian Association of Consumers and Users, argues the mandatory insurance would serve to protect low-paid physicians as much as their patients." Boston Globe / AP

Thursday, October 2 - Your Kansas City Everything Guide

American Berenson Married in Peru Prison: "Anibal Apari confirmed his marriage to Berenson, 33, after receiving a phone call from his bride. His father stood in for him during the nuptials in the Andean town of Cajamarca, 350 miles north of Lima." Kansas City Star / AP A strange love relationship -- almost platonic. Apari has not seen Berenson since 1998; they've just exchanged letters. If Berenson gets releases (either after serving out her prison term or winning an appeal to the Inter-American Human Rights Court), she would be wisked out of the country very quickly. It would be hard to Apari to get a U.S. visa. But maybe love can conquer all.

Bugs proliferate in Peru's political hothouse

Peru Spying: Hysteria, or History Repeating Itself?: "La Republica's Edmundo Cruz, one of Peru's top investigative reporters, told Reuters more than half of the SIN's estimated 5,000 staff had been fired. With Montesinos loyalists in possession of the listening devices they stole, 'there's a liberalization of bugging,' Cruz said." Reuters Everyone's listening for the tell-tale static on the phone line.

A viewpoint on the Truth Commission Report

Establishing the Truth, Fighting the Apathy: The Truth Commission Report in Peru is by Julio Carrion, who teaches political science at the University of Delaware. and examines the Truth Commission's report. The article documents the reaction of Peruvian politicians and public figures. Focal Point is the monthly newsletter of the Canadian Foundation for the Americas.

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