Archive for the ‘Peru’ Category

Latin America’s Wave Of Protests Reaches Peru; Middle Class Takes To Streets Against Corruption

| July 25th, 2013 | No Comments »
International Business Times


The social upheaval movement that is doing the rounds of Latin America has reached Peru. Two different protests have disrupted the streets of Lima this week, prompted by the government’s decision to appoint well-connected but unqualified people as new judges on the Supreme Court, as directors of the Central Bank, and as Ombudsman.

More than 3,000 people marched through the capital in a peaceful manner on Monday, and sat down in front of Congress for over an hour. Police made them leave using tear gas, in a much-criticized show of force.

In response, the Peruvian Congress held an emergency meeting to annul the new appointments, as reported by Peruvian newspaper La Republica. Initially, the idea was to just annul the appointments of the Supreme Court judges and Ombudsman, since there were no specific complaints about the directors of the Central Bank. However, Congressman Javier Velásquez Quesquén announced that since the ten ... Read More

Why Latin America Is Becoming Less Democratic

| July 17th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Atlantic


Around the turn of the millennium, prominent Latin America special­ist Scott Mainwaring highlighted the surprising endurance of democracy in that region after the transition wave of the late 1970s and 1980s. Dur­ing that interval, no democracy had permanently succumbed to a mili­tary coup or slid back into authoritarian rule. After decades marked by instability in numerous countries, especially Argentina, Bolivia, and Ec­uador, this newfound democratic resilience came as a welcome surprise.

But at about the time Mainwaring was writing, onetime coupmaker Hugo Chávez was winning election to the Venezuelan presidency and beginning to move his country away from democratic rule. Venezuela had survived the rash of military coups that swept the region in the 1960s and 1970s to become a byword for democratic stability in Latin America. Economic deterioration, political ossification, and rampant corruption had brought sustained decay, however, and paved the way for this radical populist, former army ... Read More

The Next Big Free-Trade Breakthrough

| July 15th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal


Villa de Leyva, Colombia

This quaint colonial town, nestled in the mountains three hours north of Bogotá by car, is a favorite retreat for city slickers who want to slow down. Ubiquitous red-tile roofs peek over high, white-washed walls as local women in ponchos and fedoras tread across ancient cobblestone streets. Time seems to stand still.

But on the last weekend in June this was the site of the eighth ministerial meeting of the Pacific Alliance, the most important trade liberalization effort in the Americas that you’ve never heard of.

While the world’s largest media outlets focused on civil unrest in Brazil and the Russian outpost of U.S. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, trade and foreign ministers and their deputies from Colombia, Chile, Peru and Mexico were here, negotiating the final chapters of an economic and trade integration pact that is likely to be the most effective catalyst for growth in ... Read More

Latin American complaints over U.S. spying ignore their own wiretap programs

| July 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


MEXICO CITY – Several Latin American presidents have complained bitterly following recent revelations about U.S. electronic surveillance, but there’s a bit of hypocrisy in some of their griping.

At least four Latin countries have requested, and received, U.S. help in setting up eavesdropping programs of their own, ostensibly designed to fight organized crime. But the programs are easily diverted to political ends, and with weak rule of law in parts of the region, wiretapping scandals erupt every few months.

The latest brouhaha occurred six weeks ago in Panama, where a leading presidential candidate complained of wiretapping by the government.

“All Panamanians know that illegal recordings are done by the government every day. The only party able to record and tap telephones is the state, not anyone else,” said Juan Carlos Navarro, a center-left presidential candidate.

Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli told Navarro to watch his mouth because some “beauts” were about to leak out ... Read More

Ilan Berman Testimony: Threat to the Homeland: Iran’s Extending Influence in the Western Hemisphere

| July 10th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
US House of Representatives

Chairman Duncan, Ranking Member Barber, distinguished members of the Subcommittee:

Thank you for inviting me to appear before you today to address the issue of Iran’s presence in the Western Hemisphere. I strongly believe that it represents an issue of high importance to the safety and security of the United States. Over the past two years, my organization, the American Foreign Policy Council, has extensively studied Iran’s presence and activities in Latin America. This has entailed three separate fact-finding missions to Central and South America to date, the most recent in May 2013. What follows are my observations and conclusions gleaned from those visits.


To properly grasp the challenge posed by Iran’s activities in the Western Hemisphere, they need to be understood in proper geopolitical context: as part of a larger “peripheral strategy” on the part of the Iranian regime. To a significant degree, they are a response to growing diplomatic ... Read More

Ecuador’s exports to USA at risk if Snowden gets asylum

| June 28th, 2013 | No Comments »


PIFO, Ecuador — At a flower farm about 19 miles outside Quito, Ecuador’s capital, sales manager Juan Pablo Ponce shows off the produce and logistics required to package bouquets, 80% of which are exported to the United States.

“We try to keep on working hard, doing what we do best,” says Ponce, 33, who has worked at the Valleflor site for seven years. “That’s all we can do.”

While Ecuador’s government makes its decision on whether to grant U.S. fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum, colleagues of Ponce here who export flowers to the USA worry that fallout from the political decision may harm their business, especially with the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) pact up for renewal by the U.S. Congress next month.

Ecuador said Thursday it is renouncing the trade pact because it had become a “new instrument of blackmail” involving the fate of the NSA leaker ... Read More

Subcommittee Hearing: Threat to the Homeland: Iran’s Extending Influence in the Western Hemisphere

| June 27th, 2013 | No Comments »
US House of Representatives

Subcommittee on Oversight and Management Efficiency | 311 Cannon House Office Building Washington, DC 20515 | Jul 9, 2013 2:00pm

Opening Statements

Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Chairman


To Be Announced

Click here to watch live video.

Read More

As China’s Economy Cools, Peru’s Growth Outlook Sours

| June 26th, 2013 | No Comments »


On June 20, 2013 Peru’s Central Bank revised its economic growth outlook for 2013 to 6.1 percent from 6.3 percent due to concerns about weak global growth and slowing demand for the South American nation’s mineral exports. Central Bank President Julio Velarde explained “slower global growth will be reflected in lower gains for exports in 2013.” The big concern is slowing growth in China. After all, China’s manufacturing sector contracted for the second month in a row. Overall, Chinese manufacturing growth slowed to the lowest level reported for nine months.

In Peru, while domestic demand continues to fuel economic growth, the weakening external environment is taking some of the vitality out of exports. In the first quarter of 2013 Peru’s economy expanded at 4.8 percent compared to the same period the previous year, the slowest first quarter growth rate recorded more than three years. In the first quarter, Peru’s exports fell ... Read More

Bolivia will hold double membership of Mercosur and the Andean Community

| June 24th, 2013 | No Comments »

The announcement was made following a meeting of the two ministers together with Mercosur high commissioner, Ivan Ramalho from Brazil.

“The simultaneous negotiation will ensure Bolivia double belonging to the Andean Community, CAN and to Mercosur”, said Almagro who added that Mercosur respects La Paz association negotiations with the EU, since they were started before Bolivia announced its intention of upgrading from associate to full member of Mercosur.

Originally when Bolivia was pondering its request for full Mercosur membership it was established that the country would have to choose between one and the other. However, the Bolivians insisted that since their economy was one of the most underdeveloped in the continent it needed all the aid and support possible, plus sufficient consideration for the vulnerable areas of its economy.

In support of that position and addressing a forum of Bolivian business people in La Paz to outline the benefits of incorporation to Mercosur, ... Read More

Smaller companies urged to break into the markets of the Americas

| June 21st, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


Latin American and Caribbean trade conferences held in Miami often concentrate on the big players – the multinationals – and global economic trends. But Trade Américas Expo, which began Thursday, is shifting the focus to small- and medium-sized businesses and creating more business opportunities for them in the hemisphere.

More than 200 business executives, government officials, lawyers and other professionals are attending the two-day event, which features panel discussions, case studies, keynote speakers and the opportunity for executives from smaller enterprises to meet one-on-one with colleagues and representatives from multinationals and trade promotion agencies.

Some 250 private match-making meetings have been set for Thursday and Friday, said Richard Burns, chairman of the Latin Trade Group, an information and business services company that is hosting the event in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank.

“Small- and medium-sized businesses are, in my opinion, the centerpiece of development strategy in the future,” Enrique García, ... Read More

Peru Humala’s approval rating slips for fourth straight month

| June 17th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

LIMA - Peruvian President Ollanta Humala’s approval rating fell in June for the fourth straight month to nearly the lowest level of his term, due in part to his refusal to pardon jailed former President Alberto Fujimori, according to a poll released on Sunday.

The popularity of Humala, who has been in office nearly two years, slipped to 41 percent in June from 46 percent in May, pollster Ipsos said.

His approval rating was also hurt by verbal sparring with former President Alan Garcia, who has said Humala is working to ensure his wife, first lady Nadine Heredia, can run for president in 2016, according to the Ipsos study published by the newspaper El Comercio.

Humala’s charismatic wife is widely seen as a potential candidate, but current election rules would prohibit her from running to lead one of Latin America’s fastest-growing economies.

According to the poll, 48 percent of respondents disagreed with Humala’s decision to reject a humanitarian ... Read More

Argentina or Venezuela: Which One Will Get a U.S. Reset?

| June 14th, 2013 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01


BUENOS AIRES – The meeting between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and his Venezuelan counterpart, Elias Jaua, was certainly one of the most significant during the recent annual assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Guatemala.

During their 40-minute encounter, the two top diplomats agreed to reopen a dialogue at the highest level despite the profound differences that continue to separate the two countries.

Following this first step of rapprochement between Washington and Caracas, might something similar occur with Argentina in the near future? In conversations with various specialists from the U.S., Clarín found a consensus that the answer is a clear “No.”

Why is there more hope for warming of Washington’s relations with Venezuela than with Argentina?

The reasons can be divided into three categories. In the first place, the Venezuelan President, Nicolás Maduro, was the one who asked for the meeting with the American Secretary of State. It is ... Read More

Remarks by President Obama and President Humala of Peru After Bilateral Meeting

| June 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
White House-01

Oval Office

12:16 P.M. EDT

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  I’m very happy to welcome President Humala and his delegation to the Oval Office.  We’ve been able to work together and interact in a wide range of multilateral forums, but this is the first time that I’ve been able to have the President here in Washington.

Peru is one of our strongest and most reliable partners in the hemisphere.  We have a strong commercial and trading relationship.  We cooperate on a wide range of security issues, including our counter-narcotics efforts.  And we spent most of our discussion focused on how we can further deepen this important bilateral relationship.

I want to congratulate President Humala on being able to sustain strong growth rates in Peru, and his focus on broad-based economic growth that includes all people.  As a consequence, Peru has been able to see not only increased growth but also reduced poverty and steps ... Read More

White House Fact Sheet: U.S. – Peru Economic Relations

| June 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
White House-01

The United States and Peru share a strong commitment to expanding economic growth, job creation and inclusion through integration into global markets.  Our close cooperation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiation and our high standard United States – Peru Trade Promotion Agreement (the Agreement) are recent examples of efforts to strengthen trade and investment ties bilaterally and to expand economic links between the Americas and growing markets of the Pacific Rim.  Additionally, Peru is a partner in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum and the Pathways to Prosperity in the Americas initiative.

Leaders in the Trans-Pacific Partnership

The United States and Peru are two of the original members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).  TPP is a comprehensive, high-standard, 21st century trade agreement that will increase exports and jobs in both the United States and Peru, and address the issues that U.S. and Peruvian businesses and workers are facing in the 21st century.   The United ... Read More

Peru Leader Surprises Critics With Free-Market Policies

| June 11th, 2013 | No Comments »
Wall Street Journal WSJ-01


Many in Peru and on Wall Street once feared that Ollanta Humala might be the second coming of Hugo Chávez in South America. Like the late Venezuelan strongman, Mr. Humala was a former lieutenant colonel who had led a failed uprising and advocated a bigger state role in the economy to help the poor.

But nearly two years into his presidency, the 50-year-old meets with PresidentBarack Obama on Tuesday as a leader who has moved closer to Peru’s business sector and aligned the economy with free-market stalwarts like Chile, even as some neighbors like Bolivia and Ecuador tilt toward socialism.

Late Monday, Mr. Humala, whose close-cropped hair and demeanor still give him the air of a military man, met with members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and with academics. On Tuesday, he and Mr. Obama are expected to discuss trade, the fight against drug trafficking and other issues.

Mr. Humala campaigned partly ... Read More

Joe Biden’s Free-Trade Epiphany

| June 10th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal


Vice President Joe Biden returned from his trip to Latin America last month a convert to free-trade and an enthusiast for the peace that former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe brought to his country. Or so said the veep in an op-ed he penned for this newspaper last week.

If Mr. Biden now sees the connection between prosperity and free trade, I say huzzah. The U.S. is part of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed free-trade agreement among a group of Asian countries and the democracies of Canada, Chile, Peru and Mexico. If TPP talks are to succeed, U.S. commitment is a must.

But count me a skeptic. The protectionist, anti-development and collectivist agendas of Big Labor, green radicals and the ideological left are woven into Obama administration policy. Democrats rely heavily on these groups for financing, and the Obama administration can’t afford to offend them. It’s hard to believe that it ... Read More

Peru’s Shining Path leader jailed for life for terrorism

| June 10th, 2013 | No Comments »

A court in Peru has sentenced the last of the original leaders of the Shining Path rebels to life in prison.

Judges in the Peruvian capital, Lima, found Florindo Flores, who’s known as Comrade Artemio, guilty of terrorism, drug trafficking and money laundering.

He was also ordered to pay a fine of $183m (£117m).

The Shining Path rebels were severely weakened in the 1990s after failing to install a Communist state, but some remain active in southern Peru.

After hours of sentencing, Judge Clotilde Cavero said: “It was proven that he (Artemio) ordered the execution of a number of civilians, police and soldiers.

“It was proven that he belonged to the Central Committee of the Shining Path.

“It was proven that he was the top leader in the (Alto) Huallaga (Valley),” she said.

Cocaine link

During the trial which lasted six months, Artemio, 51, had denied the terrorism charges but referred to himself as a “revolutionary”.

He was ... Read More

Why Bolivia Needs the United States

| June 6th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article appeared in The Weekly Standard


Socialists around the world have their own traditions for celebrating “International Workers’ Day,” and Evo Morales is no exception. Each year, the Bolivian leader uses May 1 to make a big announcement, typically regarding the military-backed seizure of a given industry or company. In 2006, during his first May Day as president, he nationalized his country’s enormous natural gas reserves. Since then, he has grabbed control of telecom companies, energy companies, and more. On May 1, 2012, he had Bolivian troops seize an electricity firm (owned by the Spanish multinational REE) that operates most of his nation’s power lines.

This year, Morales took a different approach: Instead of announcing the confiscation of economic assets, he announced the expulsion of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Without citing any evidence, Morales accused the agency of having conspired “against our people and especially the national government.” He also denounced Secretary of State John Kerry for referring to Latin America as ... Read More

Iran On Our Back Porch

| June 5th, 2013 | No Comments »


Last week, Argentine state prosecutor Alberto Nisman dropped a bombshell when he issued his long-awaited indictment in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Israel Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. The 502-page report pins the blame for the attack — which killed 85 and wounded hundreds more in what experts call Latin America’s 9/11 — squarely on the Islamic Republic of Iran. In doing so, it provides a timely reminder that Iran’s radical regime is active in the Western Hemisphere and that its presence here is far broader than is commonly understood.

Just how much is still a matter of considerable debate. Iran’s activities in the Americas have exploded over the past eight years, propelled in large part by the warm personal ties between outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and recently-deceased Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez. Using Venezuela as a gateway into the region, Tehran succeeded in forging strategic partnerships with like-minded governments in ... Read More

Opinion Andres Oppenheimer: While Pacific Alliance thrives, Mercosur wither

| May 28th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos may not have been hallucinating when he said last week that the Pacific Alliance — the bloc made up of Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile — “is the new economic and development engine of Latin America and the Caribbean.”

Indeed, the Pacific Alliance, which was officially launched only one year ago, is growing rapidly and becoming a serious economic bloc, while Mercosur — the common market made up of Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay and temporarily-suspended Paraguay — is turning into a political club increasingly weakened by internal infighting.

The four Pacific Alliance member countries had a combined economic growth of 5 percent last year, while members of Mercosur grew by a combined 2.9 percent, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC).

Furthermore, amid a general slowdown in global commerce, trade among Pacific Alliance countries grew by 1.3 percent last year, while trade among Mercosur ... Read More

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