Archive for the ‘Peru’ Category

Colombia’s FARC Profit from Illegal Gold Mining in Peru

| December 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
From In Sight

By Marguerite Cawley

A journalist in Peru has reported that Colombia‘s FARC guerrillas are profiting from the illegal gold trade inside Peru, underscoring the rebels’ cross-border activities and their deep involvement in the lucrative illegal mining business.

According to reports by Cecilia Valenzuela in El Comercio and in television program Mira Quien Habla, an alliance has existed between the 63rd Front of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and Peruvian illegal miners operating along the Putumayo River — which divides Colombia and Peru – for at least three years.

Octavio Ortiz Ramirez, alias “Wilmer El Burro,” the head of the 63rd Front of the FARC‘s Southern Bloc, charges the Peruvian miners for protection services and logistical support, she reported.

Colombian police have identified the Colombian national Jair Manrique Pedroza as the top buyer of illegal gold from this region, according to Valenzuela. El Tiempo reported that Colombian police have also identified the people who serve as go-betweens for the FARC leaders, gold miners and buyers.

Some ... Read More

Japan’s profile rises in the Americas

| December 4th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY MIMI WHITEFIELD

As Asian rival China invests billions in Latin America and snaps up strategic commodities, Japan also is looking at the region with new interest.

Shortly after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Latin American tour in July, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a 10-day, five-nation swing through Latin America and the Caribbean.

His trips to Mexico and Brazil were the first bilateral visits by a Japanese prime minister in a decade, and his trip to Chile was the first such visit by a Japanese prime minister since 1996. Abe’s stop-over in Port of Spain marked the first time that a Japanese prime minister had ever visited the twin-island nation of Trinidad and Tobago, and his trip to Colombia also was the first official visit for a Japanese prime minister.

In September, Abe also held a summit with Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela while both were attending the U.N. General Assembly and they discussed ... Read More

Latin America, Caribbean 2014 Growth Likely Reached Only 1.1%

| December 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By ROBERT KOZAK Growth in Latin America and the Caribbean likely reached only 1.1% this year, the slowest rate of expansion since 2009, but will jump back up to twice as high next year, the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean said.

The organization, known as Eclac, said Tuesday that Central America, including the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and Haiti, will post the best expansion in gross domestic product in the region next year, rising by 4.1%. The English-speaking Caribbean will lag with an expansion of 2.2%. South America will expand 1.8% next year, it added. Overall the area will expand 2.2% in 2015, it said.

A slump in demand in developed economies and the slowing of growth in emerging economies, especially China, hit Latin America and the Caribbean nations hard this year. China has become an important trading partner, especially for raw materials, for many countries in the region.

The agency said an economic deceleration became ... Read More

Drug Cartels Find Argentina Attractive Transit Way

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

By ALMUDENA CALATRAVA and DEBORA REY

The large electrical transformers bound for Mexico were the perfect place to hide cocaine. It was a matter of chemistry to dilute the drug into an oil mixture that could be concealed as coolant, a job handled by a Mexican engineer working discretely in a suburban warehouse near Buenos Aires.

The transformers carrying 2 tons of liquefied cocaine from Bolivia were loaded onto a cargo vessel at a Buenos Aires port and shipped out to sea. But investigators had been watching the operation and when the shipment arrived, an Argentine judge was on hand to insist on a test that, to the astonishment of authorities at one of Mexico’s most secure ports, revealed the drug.

The traffickers, Judge Sandra Arroyo said, had used “an ingenious and logistically novel method for the deception.”

The interception earlier this year called attention to a worrying trend in Argentina, the increasing use ... Read More

Republicans Should Signal Leadership, at Home and Abroad

| November 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Roll Call

The 2014 midterm elections were a rejection of the policies of President Barack Obama. And the Republican takeover of the Senate is a repudiation of the gridlock in Congress symbolized by the bare-knuckles tactics of outgoing Majority Leader Harry Reid.

The new Republican Senate leadership should move swiftly to seize the high ground and signal it is ready to do the peoples’ business. Quick action on several international issues — the Keystone XL pipeline, trade promotion authority and long-delayed ambassadorial nominations — are bipartisan actions that Republicans should put on the table even before they take over in January.

Although opinion polls show voters favor Republican positions on the economy, foreign policy and security, the party’s brand needs burnishing. As Obama hints at a more confrontational tone that could undermine any hope of making Washington work, Republicans can rise above Obama’s blame game by working with Democrats on tangible initiatives to bolster America’s ... Read More

Peru to Boost Spending and Cut Red Tape to Stimulate Growth

| November 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By John Quigley 

Peru approved a third round of emergency spending increases this year and measures to speed up environmental permitting to overcome a slump in economic growth.

The government authorized 1.6 billion soles ($547 million) in additional spending, including a one-time, year-end bonus for 1.7 million state workers, as well as welfare expenditure and public works, Finance Minister Alonso Segura told reporters in Lima today.

Policy makers are struggling to stimulate an economy that in the second quarter expanded at the slowest pace since 2009 after copper and gold exports dropped and private investment stalled. The central bank last month forecast zero growth in public investment this year as corruption probes and lower revenue from mining royalties damp spending by state and local governments.

The package of measures “will continue reactivating the economy in the short term” and help make Peru the fastest growing economy in the ... Read More

Las Naciones ‘Sumergidas’ de Latinoamérica

| November 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
Folha de Sao Paulo

Líderes políticos y diplomáticos de América Latina y el Caribe saben más sobre Cuba y Venezuela que incluso los observadores más astutos en Washington. Por lo tanto, deberían saber lo que le conviene más a su región ¿no?

Entonces, ¿por qué el Grupo de América Latina y el Caribe en la ONU le dio su apoyo a Venezuela para ser el próximo representante de la región ante el Consejo de Seguridad? Y, ¿por qué están determinados en invitar a el déspota cubano Raúl Castro a la Cumbre de las Américas en Panamá en la primavera?; haciendo caso omiso de las objeciones por parte de sus socios comerciales más importantes, como Estados Unidos y Canadá.

Para muchas generaciones de latinoamericanos, Cuba fue el hogar de algunas de las mejores editoriales de lengua española en el mundo, cientos de periódicos y estaciones de radio de calidad, derechos laborales progresistas, altos niveles de alfabetización y ... Read More

Latin America’s ‘submerging nations’

| November 5th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
Folha de Sao Paulo

The political leaders and diplomats of Latin America and the Caribbean know more about Cuba and Venezuela than even the keenest observers in Washington. So, they should know better, right?

Then why did the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean at the UN designate Venezuela to take the region’s non-permanent Security Council seat?

And, why are they determined to invite Cuban despot Raúl Castro to the Summit of the Americas in Panama next spring, ignoring the objections of the leaders of the consequential trade partners in the United States and Canada?

For generations of Latin Americans, Cuba was home to some of the world’s best Spanish-language publishing houses, hundreds of quality newspapers and radio stations, progressive labor rights, the region’s highest rates of literacy and nutrition, and a robust middle class.

Then came the Castro revolution. Although some may have been caught up ... Read More

Rising Dragon? The Chinese Mafia Threat in Latin America

| October 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
From In Sight

By David Gagne

Chinese mafia operations in Latin America are little understood, but a recent report on these groups in Argentina illustrates how they make their presence felt via extortion, human smuggling rings, and the occasional murder. As China deepens its economic relationship with Latin America, it’s possible these mafias may become ever more prominent.

Authorities in Argentina have attributed 31 murders over the last five years, and four in 2014 alone, to seven Chinese mafias operating in the country, reported La Nacion. These mafias reportedly earn revenue by extorting businesses within the Chinese community, and resort to violence when owners do not comply with their demands.

In at least three of the 2014 cases, the victim did not appear to have been robbed, leading authorities to believe they were killed after running afoul of criminal groups in the Chinese community. According to La Nacion, the Chinese mafias (also known ... Read More

Rebels delay finish of Peru natgas pipeline expansion until 2016

| October 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

Oct 14 (Reuters) – The expansion of Peru’s main natural gas pipeline has been delayed by nearly a year because of threats posed by insurgents and is now set to wrap up in the first quarter of 2016, the pipeline operator said on Tuesday.

Expansion work is now 55 percent complete and will cost some $475 million in total, said Ricardo Ferreiro, the general manager of Transportadora de Gas del Peru (TGP).

The pipeline now moves natural gas from Peru’s abundant Camisea gas fields in its southern jungle to the central coast.

The expansion project will more than double its carrying capacity from 610 million cubic feet per day to 1.54 billion cubic feet, Ferreiro said.

But the lingering presence of a remnant band of Shining Path rebels in a coca-growing region near the Camisea gas fields has slowed the pace of construction, Ferreiro said.

In 2012, the Shining Path kidnapped a few dozen contract ... Read More

El legado de Insulza y el futuro de la OEA

| October 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Pais

POR EZEQUIEL VÁZQUEZ-GER

Corría Febrero del año 2011. Un grupo de estudiantes en Venezuela había decidido iniciar una huelga de hambre en protesta contra el gobierno de Hugo Chávez. En Washington, junto con un grupo de estudiantes venezolanos, decidimos apoyar la protesta pidiendo un pronunciamiento de la Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA). Lo hicimos a través de decenas de cartas dirigidas a cada uno de los embajadores, notas de prensa, y una protesta frente al Edificio principal del organismo, previo a una sesión de su consejo Perrmanente.

Terminada esta sesión, el secretario general José Miguel Insulza nos otorgó una audiencia privada, en la que nos dijo: “Me compadezco con ustedes, yo también sufrí una dictadura en carne propia y tuve que refugiarme en el exterior. Pero tienen que entender, a Chávez no lo van a vencer con cartas, Chávez es un dictador, y en Venezuela hay una dictadura militar”.

Esta anécdota sirve para describir el ... Read More

Latin American Growth to Slow, World Bank Says

| October 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01 By RYAN DUBE LIMA, Peru—Latin America is on track this year to post its slowest rate of annual growth since 2009, when the global financial crisis began to be felt in the region, the World Bank said Tuesday.

The bank cut its growth forecast for the region by nearly half to 1.2%, following expansions of 2.4% and 3% in the previous two years. In its semiannual report on Latin America and the Caribbean, the World Bank said the region could grow 2.2% next year, but cautioned that it was still unclear whether the current downward cycle has bottomed out.

“We do not know if this deceleration has hit bottom, or if there is further deceleration to come,” said Augusto de la Torre, the World Bank’s chief economist for Latin America, in a telephone interview. But growth, he said, “is not going to be what it used to be in the past decade, partially because ... Read More

Summit missing a strong agenda

| October 8th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY DAN RESTREPO

With the ink not yet dry on the invitations, the April 2015 Summit of the Americas is perilously close to failure.

Failure rooted in the simple fact that a summit must be about more than its invite list.

And to date, summit host Panama and leaders across the Americas have done little to prepare other than obsessing about inviting Cuba and waiting to see how Washington responds.

That is not the basis for a mature, modern relationship, and it can’t make for anything but a missed opportunity in Panama.

This is particularly true when one considers the enormous shared opportunities and challenges that stand before the hemisphere and President Obama’s commitment to working as a good partner in the Americas.

From tackling the plague of violence in the Americas; to making good on energy and climate cooperation championed by President Obama at the ... Read More

2 governor candidates win election in Peru despite drug-related probes

| October 7th, 2014 | No Comments »
FoxNews.com

LIMA, Peru –  Two gubernatorial candidates under investigation in Peru for drug trafficking-related crimes have won election and two face runoffs after a nationwide vote for mayors, governors and municipal councils, according to unofficial results on Monday.

Hundreds of candidates suspected of ties to drug trafficking were on the ballot Sunday in what authorities called the Andean nation’s most violent campaign since 2000.

According to unofficial results compiled by the Ipsos-Apoyo polling firm, the winners included Manuel Gambini, a former coca grower in the Amazon state of Ucayali. As a mayor, Gambini promoted planting of cocoa beans and other alternatives to the crop that yields cocaine, winning praise from the U.S. Agency for International Development and a trip to Miami to showcase his efforts.

But an Aug. 29 judicial order launching an investigation of Gambini says he amassed a fortune and extensive land holdings with a small mayor’s salary. Gambini calls the allegations ... Read More

Peru seeks to revive economic miracle as supercycle slows

| September 26th, 2014 | No Comments »
Financial Times

By Andres Schipani in Cusco and Vivianne Rodrigues

During an impromptu ceremony in the ruins of Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca citadel of sun worship, investors on a recent business trip pleaded for only one thing: prosperity for Peru.

“We need to recover the greatness, beyond economic cycles. We need to recover the faith,” said a Peruvian asset manager to the gathering, following a capital markets conference in Lima.

Growth in what was Latin America’s fastest growing major economy is slowing below 5 per cent for the first time since 2009. Some are saying the Andean economic miracle is at an end.

This week President Ollanta Humala made his pilgrimage to another citadel in search of higher help: to the centre of capitalism in New York.

“We are still facing the future with optimism,” he told the Bloomberg Latin America forum. “We are preparing measures to reactivate” the economy.

Peru has made huge ... Read More

Dynamite Doesn’t Stop Peru’s Narcos

| September 23rd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Huffington Post

PICHARI, Peru (AP) – The dynamiting of clandestine airstrips by Peruvian security forces in the world’s No. 1 coca-growing valley cuts into profits but hardly discourages cocaine traffickers who net tens of thousands of dollars with each Bolivia-bound flight.

As authorities wound up a 54-airstrip “cratering” mission, Peru’s counternarcotics police chief Gen. Vicente Romero told reporters that traffickers pay local villagers up to $100 each to fill the holes blasted into the landing strips that dot the flood plain of the vast and verdant Apurimac and Ene river valley.

Two of the landing strips targeted in the latest operation have each been repaired four times this year, Romero said on Friday. Sometimes, the 500-meter airstrips are fixed overnight.

An average of about four or five small planes fly daily into Peru from Bolivia, picking up about 300 kilograms each of coca paste worth about a third of a million dollars in Bolivia, where ... Read More

Peru’s economy: Replacing the pilot

| September 18th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

FOR a long time, the job of being Peru’s finance minister involved taking plaudits. Thanks largely to commodities exports, the country has been Latin America’s stand-out economic performer. Growth has averaged 6.4% annually over the past decade. Alonso Segura (pictured), who was named as a replacement for his long-serving boss, Luis Miguel Castilla, on September 14th, faces a less enjoyable sojourn in the role.

The new minister began work on the same day that Peru’s GDP numbers for July were released. They showed the economy expanding by 1.2% that month compared to the same month last year—better than the dismal June figure of 0.3%, but still well below forecasts. Mr Segura, a US-trained economist who had served as chief of staff at the ministry since early 2013, admitted in his first interview with the national media that growth this year would probably be below 4% (down from an already ... Read More

Peru’s Humala abruptly replaces his finance minister with key adviser

| September 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

By Marco Aquino

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s President Ollanta Humala replaced his influential finance minister with the ministry’s chief adviser late on Sunday in a surprise shake-up that comes amid the worst economic slowdown in five years.

Incoming Finance Minister Alonso Segura said his priority would be to consolidate reforms already underway in Humala’s government, with an eye toward jump-starting economic growth.

Segura said the global minerals exporter’s economy would likely expand by less than 4 percent this year – lower than the government’s last official forecast of 4.2 percent and far below the annual average of 6.4 percent in the past decade.

However, Segura, who previously worked as an economist with the International Monetary Fund and with Banco de Credito, Peru’s biggest bank, called the economic lull “transitory” and said he would evaluate new measures to stimulate growth.

“It is very important that we do all we can to reactivate expectations,” Segura said in ... Read More

Peru’s Modern Economy Clashes With Its Past

| September 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

 

By Ryan Dube

LIMA, Peru—For 4,000 years, the pyramids at an archaeological site on the edge of Lima survived earthquakes, Spanish conquistadors and a bloody revolution. But they were no match for developers cashing in on Peru’s economic boom.

Prosecutors in August filed charges against a developer that Peruvian officials said used a front-loading tractor last year to level a 20-foot pyramid at El Paraíso, and planned to flatten three others to make way for housing construction.

Archaeologists say such incidents are increasingly plaguing Peru’s cultural patrimony, which includes one of the world’s great empires, the Incas, and several other notable civilizations. The quick rise of Peru’s modern economy, they say, is colliding with the remains of ancient societies in a way that dwarfs the artifact looting that has long afflicted Peru’s ruins.

“This is now a much bigger problem than looting,” said Walter Alva, a Peruvian archaeologist who has made some of the ... Read More

Mexican drug cartels are expanding their reach in Peru

| September 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Global Post

LIMA, Peru — When police here unearthed nearly 8 tons of cocaine — a national record — hidden inside lumps of coal late last month, it was little surprise that two Mexican citizens were also arrested.

The brutal Mexican cartels that control the drug routes from remote Andean villages where raw coca plants grow to the world’s largest consumer market, the United States, are known to have been present in Peru since the 1990s.

Nevertheless, the haul found in a small seafront warehouse in Huanchaco, a fishing village known for its surfing on Peru’s northern coast, stood out for another reason: It was bound not for the US but, in two separate shipments, for Spain and Belgium.

“What is surprising is that this implies a change in the criminal map,” said Peru’s former anti-drug czar Ricardo Soberon. “For Mexicans to be running drugs from Peru to Europe, ... Read More

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