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Saturday, January 31

Wanderlust speeds through Peru

Vagablogging latest (curiously dated as February 2, 2004) entry, "What I saw in Peru" has multiple pictures taken in Lima. There are at least 20 pictures linked off of this page. He also has another entry, I am alive and well in Peru. He is apparently part of a joint effort, Drive Round the World which is currently winding its way through the Americas.

The soap opera that is Peruvian politics contiues: Vice President resigns due to scandal

Peru Vice President Resigns Amid Scandal: "In his resignation letter Friday, Diez Canseco said he was the victim of a political attack and vowed to fight the charges without the weight of the vice presidency." Miami Herald / AP

Peruvian VP quits amid scandals for Toledo government: "Political analyst Nelson Manrique said things 'do not look good' for Toledo. 'Toledo's tenure in office should be reconsidered.'" Channel News Asia / AFP

Peru's VP quits after scandal, radio reports: "But Toledo's government has proved less than squeaky clean -- four ministers, including the prime minister, were fired or quit within three months at the end of last year and the start of this year after allegations of influence peddling." Houston Chronicle / AP

Friday, January 30

Review of Peruvian tenor singing in New York

Juan Diego Florez: Arias From Familiar Sources and a Bit of Peru: "...the sold-out recital by the Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Fl?rez. He has become a genuine operatic superstar, the new prince of the Bel Canto repertory, a dashing, though small-framed, stage presence and a wonderfully appealing artist." NY Times Also includes some cautionary notes.

Flooding in Puno, drought in Lima

Lake Titicaca waters rise, Peru fears floods: "Officials warn the rainy season has only just begun yet the water level is already only 17 inches (44 cm) below a 'critical level' of 12,503 feet (3,811 metres) above sea level. Two of the main rivers feeding the lake have already burst their banks, damaging 500 homes and 12,350 acres (5,000 hectares) of farm land, and killing about 15 percent of livestock in the area, according to official estimates." Reuters AlertNet Peru's weather seems to balance out by going to extremes.

Grim political facts inspire new feature-length film

Tales from corrupt Peru weave an entrancing web: "In Ojos que no ven (What the Eye Doesn't See), director Francisco Lombardi captures the far-reaching tentacles of government manipulation and corruption and their devastating consequences. Keeping as a background the daily viewing of tapes amid news reports of millions stashed in foreign banks, Lombardi tells six stories of ordinary people touched by the collapsing government." Miami Herald Lombardi has been Peru's leading film maker for 30 years.

Tuesday, January 27

The doomsday defense keeps Toledo from falling

Peru's unpopular leader on a knife edge in 2004: "If there are no signs of progress in the next few months, many poor Peruvians say they will carry out a repeat of violent protests and strikes undertaken in May and June by people demanding better pay and investment in roads and hospitals. At the time, Toledo -- who came to power in 2001 for a five-year term -- imposed a 30-day state of emergency and sent soldiers onto the streets to restore order. 'We will give Toledo a few months more. If we don't see change, then we want him gone,' said Martha Guzman, 40, tending her tiny house made of wood and straw matting in Pachacutec." Reuters AlertNet The issue is what could come after Toledo is forced out -- what I call the Doomsday Defense -- if I am removed from power, then chaos and mayhem will be set loose, and none of the political players want that to happen.

Montesinos's latest trial

Former Peru Spy Chief Stands Trial for Colombia Weapons Deal: "After the C.I.A. learned of the arms smuggling, Mr. Fujimori and Mr. Montesinos, trying to shield themselves, announced that they had 'uncovered' the deal and blamed Lt. José Luis Aybar and his brother and fellow officer, Luis Frank Aybar. Officials in Colombia and Jordan, however, challenged the Peruvian government and the truth was soon revealed." NY Times (Registration required, but free).

Montesinos whines about the prison that he built

Montesinos lawyer says Peru treatment is 'torture': "She [Estela Valdivia, his defense lawyer] said Montesinos -- the man who ran Peru from the shadows for a decade as ex-President Alberto Fujimori's right-hand man -- is now separated from his lawyers by mirrored glass in a tiny, windowless cubicle plagued by mosquitoes. They can only communicate across the glass by telephone. Held on a naval base in a maximum security jail of his own design, Montesinos has lodged a formal complaint demanding the court remove restrictions he calls a 'flagrant violation of my human rights.'" Reuters AlertNet Heart wrenching, poor Vladi.

Visit to Pisac in the Sacred Valley of the Inca

Magic moments among the remains of Inca Peru: "The masonry is so finely worked that a penknife blade cannot be fitted into the cracks, and windows or niches are trapezoid to counteract gravity in a quake. No wonder the Spanish were impressed, since all the stonework was done without the benefit of steel or iron. The Inca used hammer-rocks and chisels made of an alloy of copper, gold and tin to construct their architectural masterpieces and the more sacred the site, the finer the stonework." Edmonton Journal A travelogue has some nice twists to the usual tale of visiting Cusco and Inca ruins.

Monday, January 26

Gringo writer in Piura and elsewhere in Peru

Cliff Schexnayder is an American journalist who has gone off to Peru to see what adventures await him. His website has a weblog on which he will record his experiences. Cliff will be using Piura as his base of operations, which is unusual because most freelancers would pick Lima. Of course, it all depends on where your support network resides and where your interests lie. Cliff has shown that he likes to take a contrarian approach to things.

On his links page, he pays me a compliment by linking to this site. Now there are two English-language blogs on Peru.

Lame conspiracy theories link Montesinos, FARC and CIA

U.S. Denies Role in Peru Arms Case: "Rumors abound over whether the CIA played a role in sending weapons to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, the theory being that it would escalate violence and justify U.S. intervention in the neighboring nation." Miami Herald / AP This paranoia tale is clearly influenced by all the stereotypes about the CIA that has prospered over the past 40 years. Montesinos was too discredited by the time that the FARC deal took place for the CIA to get involved. It's clearly indicative of the hubris that Montesinos had near the end of his power.

Peruvian art exhibit in Denver

Peru building more inroads: "That should hearten Peru's consul general of Denver, who last year, after a review of the Meinel show, called to say 10,000 people from that country live in Colorado, most in the metro area." Rocky Mountain News This column is about an art exhibit in Denver so it would have been nice if some graphics had been included from the print edit.

Thursday, January 15

Largest Peruvian airline implicated in trafficking accusations

Peru airline chief long suspected of drug ties blocked from U.S.: "In January 2002, a leaked DEA document published in the Lima daily El Comercio described Zevallos as 'a large-scale drug trafficker since the beginning of the 1980s' and said he was the subject of more than 30 DEA investigations." Miami Herald / AP Lots of investors surge to the forefront in their business and then you ask how they got there. My first flight to Peru in 1971 was on a freight plane that allegedly took cocaine to the States.

Monday, January 12

Peruvian killed in Florida reveals hidden immigration to the States

Slaying leaves many in Peru stunned, sad: "The International Organization for Migration reports that more than 2.2 million Peruvians -- roughly 8 percent of the country's population -- now live abroad. Of these, an estimated 1.6 million do so illegally." Palm Peach Post There are 1.3 million Peruvians living in the United States. The job market is so bad in Lima that many are willing to risk the States in hopes of making a new future.

Sunday, January 11

Peruvian Times is online

My former employer and landmark, the Peruvian Times is online. Ellie Griffis de Zuñiga, who inherited the business, has fought through all the economic difficulties in Lima and seems to have some good sponsors. The Lima Survival Kit is billed as "The Foreign Resident's Guide Online." A first print edition is supposed to come out this month.

They are also offering some interesting photos from the collection of the Peruvian Times and others by Alejandro Balaguer and Derrick Frulong. It also has prints from the Central Resrve Bank of Peru's art collection.

The Peruvian Times has been such an institution for the English-speaking community in Peru that it's great to see it's surviving.

Saturday, January 10

Impressive resources on Andean culture

Steve Froemming, sociocultural anthropologist, has put together a really impressive page of resources: Andean Bibliography. Many of the articles are in Spanish, but there are lots of English pages too. His personal site also points you to his other interests and academic work.

Wednesday, January 7

Peru can play again

Two-month Peru strike finishes: "But at the start of November, the players called a nationwide stoppage after their patience ran out. Peru became the third South American country to suffer a player strike in the last two years after similar protests in Argentina and Chile." Now let's see if the clubs can live up to the promises made to the football players.

Native groups dispute who should control Amazon resources

Nahua’s quest for territory: "Peru has set aside five reserves for nomadic indigenous people. Because they are protected, they often contain the last stands of valuable mahogany. As a result, they are attractive to loggers who enter the areas illegally. As of August 2001, 16 groups of illegal loggers were reported to be working inside the land the Nahua are claiming as their territory. By June 2002, they had cut 600,000 cubic feet of mahogany and cedar, according to Shinai Serjali, a non-governmental organization that works with the Nahua of Serjali." Latinamerica Press There are no easy answers on how to deal with the native tribes in the Amazon. Even the Nahua group wants permission to start logging in their reserve.

Tuesday, January 6

Political Site of the Day - Some of the best, most interesting sites daily

Political Site of the Day has designated Peruvian Graffiti as the daily star for January 6. The PSD site has been running since 1997 so I guess my site will have a lot of good company. I have not see any uptick of traffic but it's still early in the day.

Friday, January 2

New additions to Peruvian Graffiti

While reviewing some of my weblog entries and the general content, I realized that I have been shortchanging the Amazon. I put together a quick page and hope to add more content to it in the future, and probably spin off a couple of topics. I've spent less time in the Amazon, going there only on assignment or when I had to pass through Iquitos on the way to the States. But with all the news about the Camisea natural gas pipeline and the issue of drug trafficking, there's always an interest in the region.

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