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Thursday, April 29

Vladimiro Montesinos as a business case study for MBA school.

I chanced across this article How to Subvert Democracy: Montesinos in Peru by John McMillan and Pablo Zoido, and dated March 2004. It is 32 pages long and looks very thorough. "This research was supported by the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the Center for Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at the Stanford Institute for International Studies, and a 2003 John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics Summer Research Fellowship to Zoido." Another version can be found here.

Wednesday, April 28

Lunch with Eduardo

Yesterday, I had a quick lunch with Eduardo Romero, the creative force behind Peruvia, where you can tap into his conscientious monitoring of the English-language news media and its scattered reporting on Peru. Since we currently share Washington (DC) as our hometown, it's easy to compare notes about blogging and news events in Peru. Anyone who has been frequenting this blog to get hot news should check out Eduardo's site. Eduardo, a Peruvian from Pucallpa, is married to a U.S. anthropologist who's specialized in the Amazon. Before coming to the States this time, they lived in Acre (Brazil) just across the border from Peru.

For the past two weeks, I have been backing off making blog entries. I'm brainstorming about how to make a new start with this blog and also cover my other blogs and websites. I now have three of my own, plus my consulting work, so it's a handful.

Tuesday, April 20

New sponsor for Peruvian Graffiti

Last week, I was approached by Alan La Rue, the creative force behind El Sol - Escuela de Español, to place an ad for his business. I proposed that we do a three-month trial run with El Sol sponsoring the entire website. Since this is the first time for an arrangement like this, I was willing to be as flexible as possible. We agreed on a price, and today he delivered the banner ad. Now, it's up and running.

El Sol is located in Miraflores, just 15 blocks away from where I used to live. The website has snapshots of the facility and gives a good idea of the kind of people behind the company.

New site in the network

I have added a new website, Prana Journal to my mini-network -- you can see it listed in the navigation panel to the left. For now, it's just a blog that chronicles my interest in yoga, meditation and other mind-body aspects. Since I am spending a lot of time working on shaping up my body and mind, I decided that it should be reflected in my web presence. I did not think that I could fit it in easily on this site, which has been shedding some of its earlier diverse issues (my graduate studies, the Internet and technology) to focus exclusively on Peru. So I decided to purchase my own domain. Prana means breath, energy and life in Sanskrit; it's a key concept in yoga because your movement and meditation are frequently tied to the breath.

I also bought and am going to find out how I can best implement it with this site.

Saturday, April 17

New additions to Peruvian Graffiti

Today, I became an Amazon Associate. You will see an ad on each page, discreetly placed in the footer. For the time being, it links to books about Peru and the Andes, but that could change, or be tailored to the content on each page. I will also start linking to Amazon for book references. If a visitor clicks on the link and then makes a purchase, I will get a modest commission. I am also getting a modest cash flow from the Google Adense ads you see in the navigation panel. I am not going to get rich off of this business sideline -- nor am I going to cover my operating costs.

Since I've had a website since 1996, the thrill of being on the World Wide Web has worn off. What I am doing is challenging myself to put something new in this site and the others that I operate. I need to motivate myself to boost traffic -- and to do that, I need to "improve the user experience" -- add content, expose it to a broader public, get people to click on the ad links.

Feedback on the Machu Picchu mudslides

Jim Rudolph writes me: "Just saw your comment about the mid slide at MP. Also just returned from a short trip to Cusco. The mudslide was in Aguas Calientes [closest town to Machu Picchu on the railway from Cusco], across the river from MP, and had little to do with overuse of the site, but rather, with the fact that AC is built in a quebrada -- where mudslides occur frequently and naturally toward the end of the rainy season. Similar to Chosica [up the Rimac Rivery valley from Lima]. They are talking about moving the whole town of Aguas Calientes -- something that would be a good idea, I believe."

Jim married into Peru, just as I did, and has stuck it out in the country through some really hard times. Nice to know that he still keeps an eye on this site. He wrote a book about the country: Peru: The Evolution of a Crisis (Politics in Latin America).

Friday, April 16

End of an Era

I've decided to stop posting regular news items. I've been following the English-language news sites since November 2000, just after Fujimori was forced out of power. I've kept up this practice -- with some breaks -- but I've just run out of gas.

Eduardo Romero is doing a fine job over at Peruvia. If Eduardo's site does not provide a strong enough news fix, you can also try the Peruvian Messenger, a weekly summary of news events. You can get an e-mail version by sending a message to [email protected]. This publication is produced by the Peru Solidarity Forum, which is a network of missionaries and foreign residents. It also publishes an analysis section, called Conjuncture.

What's more, I just find it furstrating to populate my pages with links that I know will become inaccessible in a few weeks. I want to provide links that are going to last for a while and serve as a reference. There are other changes that are going to become evident in the coming weeks.

Saturday, April 10

Mudslides cut crucial railway

Peru mudslides hit Machu Picchu: "Cuzco's regional leader, Carlos Cuaresma, said the people were missing in the Aguas Calientes area, where one of the two mudslides occurred. The other one, at the entrance to Machu Picchu, destroyed part of the railway line that carries tourists to and from the ancient citadel, 2,400m (7,782ft) high in the Andes." BBC News It would be interesting to see what caused the mudslides because overuse of Machu Picchu has been highlighted by several critics.

Also see Peru Mudslide Hits Town Near Inca Ruins Kansas City Star / AP

Deadbeat dad, president of Peru

Peru leader told to pay child support: "The ruling came two weeks after Zarai's mother filed a claim in a provincial court seeking 60% of Mr Toledo's salary to fund her daughter's education. Lucrecia Orozco said Mr Toledo had not kept up regular payments agreed after he recognised the girl as his daughter" BBC News. Alejandro Toledo stars in this on-going soap opera.

A working holiday for Toledo

Peru's Toledo Turns Tour Guide for U.S. TV Show: "The one-hour show, to be aired from this fall to an estimated audience of 320 million worldwide, will take in tourist icons like the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu and the mysterious Nasca lines, plus lesser known marvels like one of the world's deepest canyons, the Canon de Colca, the buzzing jungle city of Iquitos and the picturesque city of Trujillo." Reuters Although you can't spite Toledo for taking advantage of this opportunity to display Peru's tourist attractions, it's typical of the kind of grandstanding that has plagued the Toledo administration over its short lifetime. The Discovery Channel will probably give great play to this show. But why should Toledo cast himself as a tour guide? I am sure that Fernando Belaunde would never have disminished his stature as a head of state to talk about the Marginal Highway for an hour.

Monday, April 5

Asphalt through the Amazon

Proposed road from Brazil to Peru edges closer: "The first major hurdle will be crossed this year when Brazil begins work on a $7 million bridge over the Acre River that will, at last, link Assis, in the Brazilian state of Acre, to Inapari in Peru. Brazil recently completed paving of the highway all the way to Assis, making the possibility of access to the Pacific all the more tantalizing to Brazilian soybean farmers, loggers and ranchers who have long wanted a more direct trade route with Asia. On the Peruvian side, along the 600 miles of rocks, dirt and mud that begins in Inapari and ends at Cuzco, 11,150 feet in the Andes, live loggers, gold miners, small-town merchants and nut farmers. All have long dreamed of a paved route out, a promise by successive Peruvian governments since the 1980s." The Seattle Times Combine this penetration highway with the Camisea natural gas pipeline, and you can snuff out species left and right.

I don't know where this NY Times piece came from -- hasn't appeared in that daily in the past couple of weeks.

Slow progress in legal battle again Montesinos and Fujimori

Slow progress in legal battle again Montesinos and Fujimori: "Even what the government considers its crowning achievement in the fight on corruption dismantling the mammoth criminal network run by Mr. Fujimori's spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos has lagged in Peru's byzantine judicial system. Trials and investigations by a special team of prosecutors and judges are moving at a glacial pace, with only 33 defendants convicted so far. Nearly 1,100 defendants remain free, including powerful politicians and newspaper owners. With their high-priced lawyers, they continue to stir up conflict and accusations against Mr. Toledo and his allies." NY Times Confirmation that these cases may end up like almost all ones under previous governments -- dumped into the trash when a new government comes in.

Sunday, April 4

La Esquina gets some competition

Peruvia, "A Synthesis of English Language News on Peru," is a site that does the same thing as this blog, only probably better. It's been up for about five months. I don't know who does the web research and writing, but they're very thorough. Although not explicity stated, it seems to be a continuation of E. Eduardo Romero P., who produced a site by the same name, but back in 2001 and 2002. We'll see if the author can keep up the pace.

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