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Tuesday, February 21

Looking down your nose at Peru

Lori Through the Looking Glass by Dr. Nicholas Birns of New School University (New York) for the Council on Hemispheric Affairs takes a US left-wing look at the Lori Berensen case and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights decision to not reverse her conviction. Birns subscribes this reversal to pressure put on the court by the Peruvian government:

"Through the middle to later part of November (2004), Peruvian politicians and the press repeatedly stirred the public, saying that a favorable ruling for Berenson would result in automatic changes in the Peruvian justice system that would then enable the release of hundreds of dangerous Shining Path and Tupac Amaru terrorists. Letters to that effect were also sent to the Inter-American Court. Yet during this same period, the court also tried the case of a pediatrician who already had served a sentence for terrorism, released, and then years later rearrested after performing hand surgery on a known terrorist. The medical doctor was again acquitted by a unanimous vote of the Court, with no demurral from the Peruvian government or media."
And for that matter, the Court also made the Peruvian government retry Sendero's founder and mastermind Abimael Guzman and hundreds of other SL and MRTA members, as well as others convicted in military tribunals -- so much for the Court buckling under pressure.

With the Peruvian situation receiving so little attention from the outside world and Lori's case being worthy of public discussion, I find it hard to lambast any publication about the country. However, the snooty, "holier-than-thou" tone of this article and its self-serving interpretation of events does poor service to Lori and Peru in general.

Experiment with Wiki

PBwiki logo
I have started an experiment with a wiki on Peru. I don't know if I will be able to sustain it, but that's the point of a wiki -- it's open to other people contributing. The PBWiki is a freeby and they seem to be actively upgrading and improving the product.

Correction: I have since changed the wiki from private to public so that anyone can now see it. Just be forewarned that there is not a lot to be seen.

Tuesday, February 14

Afro-Peruvian music hits big

SFGate PERUVIAN SOUL: "[Ronny] Campos say the give-and-take between the dancers and percussionists is the essence of Afro-Peruvian music. 'The symbiotic relationship between dancers and percussionists is clear when you see a performance. There is melody, but the dancers and percussionists lead each other. The dancers set the tempo and the percussion follows." This article picks up a San Francisco concert of Peru Negro and then goes the historical and cultural background that makes Afro-Peruvian music so distinctive. A tip of the hat to Sebastian Arana for pointing me towards this article.

Sunday, February 12

Times flies

Sorry that I have not posted any entries here for the past month. I had not even realized that it had been such along time. As a consolation, here is an interview that Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo gave the the Council on Foreign Affairs when he was up in the States in September, last year: A Conversation. Toledo gave some opening remarks and then fielded questions from the audience.

Today, Toledo has just about six months more in office. I am sure that some Peruvians will be surprised that he made it through his full term in the presidency. Within two months, they will get a chance to pick a successor -- if you want up to date news, check out the Peruvian Election Blog provided by the University of British Colombia.

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