Archive for the ‘Peru’ Category

Colombia overtakes Peru to become the region’s fastest-growing big economy

| August 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

AS HE prepared to begin a second term as Colombia’s president on August 7th, the first name that Juan Manuel Santos inked in for his cabinet was Mauricio Cardenas, who keeps his job as finance minister. That was no surprise: helped by an investment boom, the country’s economy grew by 6.4% in the first quarter compared with the same period last year. Mr Cardenas says the second quarter was strong, too. The government will be raising its growth forecast for this year from 4.7%.

This is a welcome exception to a regional trend: Latin America as a whole looks likely to grow by less than 2% this year, the worst figure since 2009. The end of the commodity boom that lifted the region for more than a decade, the fading of the era of cheap money as central banks in the rich world prepare to raise interest ... Read More

Bolivia, Peru Aim to Set Up Radar for Drug Flights

| August 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

BY ROBERT KOZAK

Bolivia and Peru are working on a plan to install radar stations on their border, aiming to use the information to help authorities intercept airplanes smuggling drugs and to possibly shoot them down, if both governments move ahead to set up flight interdiction programs, an official said.

Bolivia’s Deputy Minister for Social Defense and Controlled Substances, Felipe Caceres, said on a ministry Web page Wednesday that the governments are studying a proposal for Peru to run five or six radar stations on the border, while Bolivia would run three or four radar stations.

“The radars provide accurate information on the flights that occur at the border and on their legal status,” Mr. Caceres said.

The chief of Peru’s Interior Ministry antidrug branch recently said half of the cocaine that leaves Peru now goes out on small airplanes, with 95% of that moving through Bolivia, mainly to Brazil. The U.S. State Department’s ... Read More

Peru’s New Cocaine

| August 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
ViceNews-01

BY MICHAEL MULLADY

Peru has the second-largest amount of rain forest in the world, but swaths of it are rapidly disappearing. Illegal gold mining — farmers digging up ore and selling it on the black market, so that it may eventually end up wrapped around your fiancée’s finger — is one major cause. According to former environmental minister Antonio Brack Egg, gold mining has devastated nearly 370,000 acres of the Peruvian Amazon. That’s an elevenfold increase since 2000. Because of the devastation, criminality, and profits that have risen in tandem with the illicit trade, some analysts have started calling gold South America’s “new cocaine.”

This April, during a turbulent thunderstorm, I arrived in the city of Puerto Maldonado, a hub of the industry located in the southwestern Amazon jungle. With no taxis in sight, I asked a woman selling snacks outside the airport for directions. She pointed east, toward the city. I ... Read More

Menor demanda externa reduce crecimiento de América Latina

| August 5th, 2014 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald

AFP

SANTIAGO – La menor demanda externa de materias primas por parte de los socios de América Latina y el Caribe, principalmente China, llevó a Cepal a reducir su estimación del crecimiento de la región de 2.7% a 2.2% en el 2014.

A la menor demanda externa se suma “un bajo dinamismo de la demanda interna, insuficiente inversión y un limitado espacio para la implementación de políticas que impulsen la reactivación”, sostuvo la Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (Cepal) en un informe económico presentado este lunes.

El menor crecimiento de China es “el principal riesgo” en lo que queda de año para los países de la región exportadores de materias primas.

En tanto, el crecimiento de Europa y Japón, otros importantes socios comerciales de Latinoamérica, caerá de 0.5% a 0.2% y de 1.7% a 1.4% respectivamente, lo que también significará una menor demanda de las ... Read More

Peru’s Economy Continues to Slow

| July 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal By RYAN DUBE LIMA, Peru—Peru’s gross domestic product expanded by 1.84% in May from the same month last year, the government said on Tuesday, as the country’s economic activity continues to slow.

National statistics agency INEI said May experienced the slowest monthly expansion since 2009.

Analysts had expected weak growth for the month, but the figure came in slightly below some forecasts. GDP grew 2.0% in April, 4.9% in March and 5.7% in February.

INEI said the country’s accumulated economic growth between January and May was 3.57%.

In May, activity in the mining and hydrocarbons sector contracted 4.49%, while in the manufacturing sector it fell 2.53%. The construction sector, however, grew 4.75% and the finance and insurance sector expanded 12.59%.

Peru’s economy has been hurt by a decline in exports due to lower commodity prices for products such as copper and by lower-than-expected mining output. The country’s gold production in May fell 24.6% compared with a year ... Read More

Peru Looks to Restart Aerial Interdiction Program, Antidrug Chief Says

| July 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

By RYAN DUBE

LIMA, Peru—Peru’s antidrug chief says the government is working on restarting an aerial interdiction program that was abandoned over a decade ago when an air force fighter accidentally shot down a civilian aircraft, killing two American citizens.

The move comes as Peru, the world’s top exporter of cocaine, is ratcheting up its war on drug traffickers. Peru significantly decreased the area used to grow coca last year through the forced manual removal of crops by teams of government workers, but has struggled to stop drug-laden planes in its top cocaine-producing region.

Luis Alberto Otárola, the head of Peru’s antidrug agency, the National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs, or Devida, says the government is in the process of acquiring radars to track small airplanes that currently enter Peru undetected from countries like Bolivia to smuggle cocaine to markets in Brazil, Argentina and Europe.

“There should be aerial interdiction, as an issue ... Read More

Citizens’ security is Latin America’s biggest problem

| July 14th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

PEDRO RODRÍGUEZ, head of Nicaragua’s youth-affairs police, grabs the shoulder of 17-year-old Axel Matus and gives it a shake. “He was one of our worst cases,” he says. In most of Latin America, a youth with Axel’s background—gangs, drugs, knife-fights, joblessness—would cringe at such attention from a burly police commander. But Axel stands bolt upright and admits: “My life was utter chaos.”

Not any more. Axel now attends the Juvenile Affairs police headquarters in Managua, where he is given free meals and tuition every day. Besides subjects like maths and English, he is learning how to be a barber (his blade skills now applied with scissors). Hundreds of troubled kids voluntarily study with him, and the police chief knows most of them by name. They are neatly dressed and ooze self-esteem.

Nicaragua’s police force is in danger of giving socialism a good name. The country is one of the poorest in the ... Read More

Peru Cut Coca Plantings by 17.5% Last Year

| June 12th, 2014 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01

BY ROBERT KOZAK

Peru reduced the size of its coca plantings, the crop used to make cocaine, by 17.5% last year, the second straight annual decline as the Andean country stepped up its coca-eradication efforts, according to a report from the United Nations and the Peruvian government released on Wednesday.

Across the Andes, the epicenter of coca-leaf production, the size of coca crops has been reduced: Colombia is using fumigation, Bolivia is working with coca farmers, and Peru is relying mainly on forced manual eradication by brigades supervised by the police.

The efforts haven’t dented drug smuggling to key markets in Brazil, the U.S. and Europe, experts say, in part because coca growers are becoming more efficient in boosting crop productivity.

Peru’s government plans to eradicate even more crops this year, seeking to enhance programs that wean farmers off coca and urge them to cultivate legal crops. Peru is the world’s second-largest coca-leaf producer after ... Read More

Remittances to Latin America and the Caribbean in 2013 still not back to pre-global-crisis levels

| June 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

By Mimi Whitefield

A study released Tuesday shows that the money sent home by migrants from Latin American and the Caribbean reached $61.3 billion last year, with three-quarters of those remittances coming from the United States.

The report by the Multilateral Investment Fund, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank Group, found that remittances to the Caribbean and Central America increased, but money flows to Mexico, which received $21.6 billion in remittances, and South America were down.

Overall, remittances — considered an economic lifeline for many families in the region — still haven’t recovered to the levels before the 2008-2009 global economic crisis. Remittances reached a high of $64.9 billion in 2008 before plummeting by more than 10 percent the next year.

Remittances began to grow again in 2011 but have remained fairly flat since then. There was virtually no growth between 2012 and 2013

The strengthening of the economies of European nations and the ... Read More

Peru Steps Up Cocaine Production Crackdown

| June 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

Interior Minister Outlines Increased Efforts

By ROBERT KOZAK

LIMA, Peru—Police have sharply increased the amount of cocaine and cocaine paste seized this year as part of a wider crackdown on narcotics production in Peru.

Interior Minister Walter Alban said in a meeting with the foreign press that Peru has seized 5.3 tons of cocaine paste and 4.7 tons of processed cocaine in the first six months of this year, up 27% compared with the first half of last year.

Peru is the world’s largest exporter of cocaine, Peru’s antidrug agency has said. Colombia and Bolivia are also large scale producers of coca leaf, used to make cocaine.

In one highly-publicized case on Friday, police said they had broken up a ring of smugglers who switched ordinary suitcases that had already cleared security at Peru’s main airport for suitcases full of cocaine that were set to be placed inside an airplane destined for Mexico.

Police detained a number ... Read More

Pacific Alliance and Mercosur moving closer

| June 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

The members of the Pacific Alliance (PA) have agreed to hold a round of ministerial talks with the Mercado Común del Sur (Mercosur, the Southern Cone customs union), its associates and other countries in Latin America. The move comes amid increased interest from the Mercosur members in the potential of the PA and may open the way for intra-bloc trade liberalisation in the medium term. This in turn could provide a major boost to regional trade and export diversification. However given the significant differences in the two blocs’ trade policies (the PA is very open, whereas Mercosur is more protectionist), many obstacles would need to be overcome for this to happen.

The initiative was announced following a closed meeting of the foreign affairs ministers of Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru on May 30th to prepare the agenda for the next PA summit, to be held on June 19th-20th in Mexico. The ... Read More

Peru Drug Police Break up Cocaine Ring at Airport

| June 6th, 2014 | No Comments »
ABC News

By FRANKLIN BRICENO Associated Press

Peru’s counter-narcotics police broke up a ring that shipped cocaine from Lima’s international airport to Mexico on commercial flights by swapping out unsuspecting passengers’ luggage with identical suitcases, their commander announced Thursday.

The passengers’ real bags would be put on later flights.

The arrest of eight employees at airport services companies through Wednesday followed the April and May detention of five police officers assigned to the airport, also for alleged cocaine smuggling.

Gen. Vicente Romero told reporters that the latest arrests arose from a tip from Mexican police that led to the discovery last month of a suitcase holding 24 kilos (50 pounds) of cocaine on a LAN flight.

The suspects worked for three different concessionaires at Jorge Chavez airport, including Transber SAC, which loads cargo on planes.

Romero said authorities don’t know how long the suitcase-switching ring operated. But he said one suspect had ... Read More

Peru Postpones Coca Crop Destruction

| June 3rd, 2014 | No Comments »
From Time

BY FRANKLIN BRICENO

(LIMA, Peru) — Peru’s president says he is indefinitely postponing plans to forcibly eradicate coca fields in the world’s top cocaine-producing valley.

President Ollanta Humala’s announcement in a televised interview Sunday night came a week after he fired his drug czar, Carmen Masias.

She had announced in January that a militarized eradication effort — half-funded by the United States — would begin this year in the Apurimac, Ene and Mantauro river valley.

Critics said that strategy would only help drug-funded Shining Path rebels based in the region turn its coca-growers against authorities, with violent results. Coca is the remote valley’s lone cash crop and growers have already mounted protests and threatened resistance.

Humala said that while he is not ruling out forced eradication in the valley, he wants to first try crop substitution, led by the Agriculture Ministry.

An estimated 12,000 families live off coca in the valley, where authorities say more than ... Read More

In 2013 (FDI) flows to Latin America reached a new historical high

| June 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

According to a report released by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on May 29th, foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to Latin America in 2013 reached a new historical high of US$184.9bn. This is welcome news, given weakening growth rates and softening commodity prices, and is testament to the continued attractiveness of the region’s expanding domestic markets and copious natural resources. However, the outlook is not all positive. Growth in FDI inflows is slowing, the region’s share of global FDI remains relatively low, and there is still a long way to go for the region to diversify away from services and natural resources.

FDI flows to Latin America have been increasing steadily since 2003, with the exception of 2006 and 2009, boosted by booming domestic demand (crucial for market-seeking investment) and high prices for commodities exports. In 2013 FDI to the region continued on an upward trend. ... Read More

Latin Americans are embracing globalization and their former colonial masters

| June 2nd, 2014 | No Comments »
From the Washington Post

By Andy Baker

Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano recently renounced his 1971 classic, “Open Veins of Latin America,” one of a few books in the Latin American left’s pantheon. In the book, Galeano argued that colonial masters drained Latin America of natural resources for three centuries, Britain took advantage of the region’s underpriced labor and exports via unequal international trade, and the United States violated its southern neighbors’ sovereignty with military incursions and the economic impositions of its multinational corporations and the International Monetary Fund.

As reported in the New York Times, Galeano disavowed these arguments, saying reality has changed. In actuality, Latin American citizens already had disavowed such claims. All evidence shows them to be surprisingly enthusiastic about globalization and incredibly forgiving of their colonial and neo-colonial tormentors.

This is surely unexpected. After all, Latin America is the region that spawned dependency theory, which was the neo-Marxist body of scholarly thought that informed Galeano’s ... Read More

Divided Latin America Favors Fast-Growing Pacific Region

| May 28th, 2014 | No Comments »
Bloomberg

By Raymond Colitt

The end of a decade-long boom driven by cheap money and strong commodity prices has deeply divided Latin America between fast-growth countries along the Pacific coast and stragglers on the Atlantic.

Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina, which make up 98 percent of the combined economies of the Mercosur trade bloc, will grow an average of 0.6 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund’s latest World Economic Outlook. Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico, which formed the Pacific Alliance trade group in 2011, will grow 4.2 percent.

The divide has little to do with western Latin America facing a dynamic Asia and China or the eastern region’s exposure to a Europe still recovering from crisis. The countries faring better have opened their economies, adopted market-friendly policies and generate more productivity and investment prospects, said Ramon Aracena, chief Latin America economist at the Washington-based Institute of International Finance, or IIF.

“Some countries partied ... Read More

China’s Latin American Empire

| May 9th, 2014 | No Comments »
World Crunch-01

SANTIAGO – The recent tour of four Latin American states by China‘s Foreign Minister Wang Yi was hailed as a success in each place he visited: Cuba, Venezuela, Brazil and Argentina. Back in Beijing, it was largely seen as a rehearsal for a planned visit by the Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is expected to watch the World Cup final in July in the legendary Maracaná stadium, as a guest of Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff.

That will be the Chinese President’s second trip to the region since he took office a little over a year ago, after a 2013 visit to Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad, where he met with half a dozen Caribbean leaders. After the World Cup, the Chinese President will attend a meeting of BRICS countries in Fortaleza in Brazil and next January, China’s first summit with CELAC, the grouping of all regional states bar the United States and Canada.

Xi is showing more interest in ... Read More

Peru’s Economic Rebound Makes It a Top Regional Performer

| April 16th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal

GDP Expanded 5.72% in February

By RYAN DUBE AND ROBERT KOZAK

LIMA, Peru—After a slight slowdown last year, Peru’s economy is rebounding, leading to forecasts that it could be a star performer in Latin America this year.

Peru’s government said Tuesday that gross domestic product expanded 5.72% in February, led by strong gains in mining, fishing, banking, and construction.

Finance Minister Luis Miguel Castilla forecasts 2014 growth between 5.5% and 6.0%, with the pace picking up during the year as various base metals mines boost output.

The World Bank says Peru will be the second-best-performing economy in Latin America this year, following only Panama, even as growth weakens in neighboring nations such as Brazil and Chile.

“The macroeconomics in Peru have been very well managed, and fiscal policy has been very good,” said Andrew Powell, Inter-American Development Bank’s principal adviser in the research department.

He said that during the boom of the last few years the government didn’t ... Read More

Latin America the World’s Most Violent Region

| April 15th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Washington Free Beacon

BY DANIEL WISER

Latin America is now the world’s most violent region but is receiving less U.S. military and financial assistance, according to a recent report and other figures.

Latin America surpassed Africa as the region with the most murders per 100,000 people, according to the new report from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. Several countries in the Western Hemisphere had murder rates that eclipsed 25 per 100,000 people in 2012, compared to the global average of about six.

The report said 30 percent of the homicides in the Americas could be attributed to a proliferation of organized crime and gang-related violence.

For example, Honduras had one of the world’s highest murder rates with 90.4 per 100,000 people. Mexican drug cartels and transnational criminal groups such as the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) and 18th Street gangs have infiltrated the country in recent years.

Some of the violence is fueled by those groups’ drug smuggling operations into the United States. ... Read More

Peru’s Italian job

| April 11th, 2014 | No Comments »
The Economist

WHEN Bello reported on the latter years of Carlos Menem’s rule in Argentina, he would sometimes be enjoined to take no notice of the political scandals lapping around the regime. The important thing, he was told, was that the economy was run by responsible technocrats, as in “the Italian model” of the post-war decades. He heard something rather similar when Ollanta Humala was poised to win Peru’s presidency in 2011. Politics was a mess, a prominent banker confided, but what really mattered was that the economy was well managed.

Almost three years into Mr Humala’s presidency, both of those things remain true. But far from being a reassurance, Peru’s adherence to the Italian model is actually a cause for concern.

Mr Humala, a former army officer and a political chameleon, first ran for president in 2006 as a supporter of Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez. He lost that election and in 2011 reinvented himself ... Read More

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