Archive for the ‘Peru’ Category

Latin American geoeconomics: A continental divide

| May 23rd, 2013 | No Comments »
The Economist

The region is falling in behind two alternative blocks: the market-led Pacific Alliance and the more statist Mercosur

ON MAY 23rd in the Colombian city of Cali the presidents of four Latin American countries—Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru—will sign an agreement removing tariffs on 90% of their merchandise trade. They will also agree on a timetable of no more than seven years for eliminating tariffs on the remaining 10%. They have already removed visa requirements for each other’s citizens and will proclaim their aspiration to move swiftly towards setting up a common market.

The Pacific Alliance, as the group calls itself, is “the most exciting thing going on in Latin America today”, according to Felipe Larraín, Chile’s finance minister. Some outsiders think so, too. Costa Rica and Panama want to join; Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper, and his Spanish counterpart, Mariano Rajoy, have said they will attend the Cali meeting as observers.

Behind ... Read More

In bloc-happy Latin America, the Pacific Alliance hopes to stand out

| May 23rd, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


Latin America is fond of carving itself up into an alphabet soup of regional trading blocs and political configurations. There’s the CELAC, UNASUR, Mercosur, ALBA and the Andean Community, just to name a few.

But the two-year old Pacific Alliance is already something of a standout. On Thursday, the presidents of Colombia, Mexico, Peru and Chile, which form the Alliance, will be meeting in Cali, Colombia.

The group is hoping to tear down business barriers and allow the free flow of goods, services and labor. It also wants to be the regional nexus for trade with Asia.

Unlike other regional blocs, which are essentially “political talk shops,” the Pacific Alliance can boast results, said Eric Farnsworth, of the Council of the Americas.

Already, Mexico has dropped visa requirements for Colombians and Peruvians, the four nations share investment and commercial offices in some nations, and are ready to begin sharing some embassies in ... Read More

Humala’s approval rating in Peru slips to 6-month low

| May 20th, 2013 | No Comments »
Yahoo News-01

LIMA (Reuters) – President Ollanta Humala’s approval rating fell 5 points to a six-month low of 46 percent, reflecting the unpopularity of his proposal to buy an oil refinery owned by Spain’s Repsol and his support for Venezuela’s new government, an Ipsos poll showed on Sunday.

The nationwide poll was published by the newspaper El Comercio.

Humala abandoned his idea of buying the Repsol oil refinery after business leaders complained it would hurt the private sector and put one of the country’s main refineries in the hands of an inefficient state-run firm.

Although Humala has drifted to the right since running for office in 2011 as a moderate leftist, his critics have hammered him over his friendship with late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and Peru’s diplomatic support for his successor, Nicolas Maduro, who won a disputed election in April promising to push ahead with Chavez’s socialist drive.

El Comercio reported that three-quarters of Peruvians polled said they did not approve of the way Maduro ... Read More

Latin America’s Free Trade Champions

| May 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
PJ Media

Chilean finance minister Felipe Larraín has called it “the most exciting thing going on today in Latin America.” Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos believes it is “perhaps the most significant and profound integration process in the history of Latin America.” A recent headline said it has created “a new Latin American superpower.” It has also been hailed as a “bridge to Asia” and “a promising yardstick of Latin America’s prosperity.”

“It” is the so-called Pacific Alliance, a free-trade bloc that was first outlined in the April 2011 Lima Declaration and was officially established in June 2012. Its four members are Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru — four countries with a long record of supporting free markets and open commerce. Over the past year, these countries have abolished tariffs on 90 percent of all goods they trade with each other, and have also taken many other steps (such as eliminating visa requirements, merging stock exchanges, and launching a scholarship program) to integrate their economies. ... Read More

Peru foreign minister quits over health after Venezuela spat

| May 16th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in Reuters

(Reuters) – Peru’s foreign minister has resigned, the government said on Wednesday, days after he was criticised for contributing to a diplomatic spat with Venezuela.

Rafael Roncagliolo, 68, resigned “strictly because of health reasons,” the office of President Ollanta Humala said in a statement.

Justice Minister Eda Rivas will be Peru’s new foreign minister, the government said. Daniel Figallo, a deputy minister of human rights, will replace Rivas as justice minister.

“He has done an impeccable job with the foreign relations of our country,” the statement said of Roncagliolo.

Roncagliolo, appointed by Humala in 2011, faced increasing criticism from the left and right in recent weeks over his handling of diplomatic tussles.

In early May, Roncagliolo called for “tolerance” in Venezuela and urged the South American bloc Unasur to mediate political tensions in Caracas after a disputed election there won by President Nicolas Maduro.

Maduro complained that Roncagliolo was giving voice to opposition leaders.

“You may be Peru’s foreign minister, ... Read More

Where does Latin America stand?

| May 15th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


How’s your wife? It depends — compared to whom?

That’s a frequent dialogue among witty Spaniards. I imagine that women could respond the same way. We husbands fare badly when compared with Brad Pitt, much better if contrasted with Eduardo Gómez, the super-ugly doorman’s father in the comedy series Nobody Can Live Here on Spanish TV.

The same happens with countries and regions. To understand where we stand, we have to know where the others are and at what pace we move.

All this becomes relevant apropos the recent report on the most successful countries in Latin America. According to the news, the three wealthiest economies in Latin America are Chile, Panama (which has been growing at the rate of 8 percent for almost a decade) and Uruguay.

Argentina is relegated to fourth place, a fact perhaps explained by its lack of transparency. The government of Cristina Kirchner adulterates the rate of inflation ... Read More

Bloom is off Chicago’s Ecuador connection

| May 15th, 2013 | No Comments »
Chicago Business


The expiration of trade incentives for Ecuador this summer could wilt a new flower distribution center at O’Hare International Airport just as it’s about to get off the ground.

The joint venture developing the nearly $2 million refrigerated processing center expects to have it ready by July, and a rose exporter from Ecuador has been lined up to start bringing two flights a week into Chicago.

But on July 31, the cost of importing cut roses from Ecuador will jump 7 percent when duty-free treatment under the Andean Trade Preference Act expires, reinstating the U.S. tariff in that amount.

Ecuador has expressed great interest in the O’Hare center, and “their support on the project is very crucial,” said Shlomo Danieli, a flower grower in Wilmette and one of three partners in the O’Hare flower distribution center. “If we have to pay a tax, it will put a burden on the project, but it ... Read More

What Obama didn’t say about Latin America

| May 9th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


I’ve read with great attention President Barack Obama’s article in The Miami Herald earlier this week on how to improve U.S. relations with Latin America. It was pretty disappointing.

The article, headlined “Improving our Partnership” and published after Obama’s return from a trip to Mexico and Costa Rica, says that “this is a moment of great promise for our hemisphere” and is full of feel-good talk about the future of the Americas.

But, sadly, it showed the absence of any U.S. plans to drastically expand trade ties with Latin America — like the Obama administration has done with Asia and Europe — or any sign that, in his second term, Obama will pay greater attention to this hemisphere.

Before we get into what Obama should do, let’s take a quick look at the facts. In his article, Obama stated that about 40 percent of U.S. exports are currently going to Latin ... Read More

Peru, Chile leaders to visit White House; Biden to visit Brazil, Colombia, Trinidad and Tobago

| May 9th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Keeping a keen eye south of the border, the Obama administration is intensifying its engagement with Latin America, hosting leaders from a pair of presidents at the White House and sending Vice President Joe Biden to visit two others.

Peru’s President Ollanta Humala and Chile’s President Sebastian Pinera will travel to Washington in June to meet with President Barack Obama, the White House said Wednesday. And next week, Biden will make stops in Brazil and Colombia, plus the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago.

Dovetailing on Obama’s trip last week to Mexico and Costa Rica, the visits reflect the administration’s desire to show the U.S. relationship with its neighbors to the south is about much more than drugs, crime and illegal immigration. The need for closer economic ties topped Obama’s agenda during the three-day trip.

“All told, we will have the most active stretch of high-level engagement on Latin America in ... Read More

Colombia’s S&P Rating Raised on Economic Growth, Peace Talks

| April 25th, 2013 | No Comments »


Colombia’s foreign debt rating was raised to the second-lowest investment grade by Standard & Poor’s as economic growth increased tax revenue and peace talks with rebels boosted investor confidence.

Yields on benchmark local bonds fell to a record low as S&P lifted Colombia one step to BBB with a stable outlook. The rating is in line with Brazil, Mexico and Peru. Colombia’s peso appreciated 0.1 percent to 1,836.60 per U.S. dollar at the close of trading in Bogota.

“A stronger fiscal profile, growing domestic capital markets, and favorable long-term prospects for GDP growth have strengthened Colombia’s creditworthiness,” S&P credit analyst Joydeep Mukherji wrote in a statement today. “Negotiations between the government and the country’s main guerrilla group could lead to a significant reduction in violence.”

Colombia was given an investment-grade credit rating in 2011 for the first time in a decade as improved security bolstered economic growth and attracted record foreign investment. Congress passed legislation that year known as the ... Read More

Conceding to opposition, election council to audit Venezuela vote

| April 19th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela –  Venezuela’s electoral council says it will audit the 46 percent of the vote not scrutinized on election night, a surprise concession that opposition candidate Henrique Capriles says will prove that he won the presidency.

“We are where we want to be,” a satisfied but cautious-looking Capriles told a news conference after the Thursday night announcement. “I think I will have the universe of voters needed to get where I want to be.”

Capriles had demanded a full vote-by-vote recount but said he accepted the National Electoral Council’s ruling, which marked a surprising turnabout for President-elect Nicolas Maduro, whose socialist government had a day earlier looked to be digging in its heels.

The late President Hugo Chavez’s heir is being inaugurated on Friday and was in Lima, Peru, on Thursday night for an emergency meeting of South American leaders to discuss his country’s electoral crisis.

The meeting began late and it was ... Read More

Venezuela crackdown deemed worst in years

| April 19th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela — National Guard troops beat dozens of opposition supporters inside a barracks for refusing to accept the government-certified electoral victory of Hugo Chavez’s heir, a leading human rights lawyer charged Thursday in what he called Venezuela’s worst political repression in six years.

Alfredo Romero said his group’s lawyers also compiled evidence supporting opposition activists’ claims that National Guard troops had used excessive force against protesters, including shooting some point-blank with plastic shotgun pellets.

As details of the crackdown emerged, Nicolas Maduro prepared to be sworn in as president and the speaker of the National Assembly again threatened to bar the opposition from its only remaining political platform, the legislature, unless it recognized Maduro’s legitimacy.

Romero said the beatings occurred at National Guard barracks No. 47 in the western city of Barquisimeto after at least 300 protesters were arrested across Venezuela for backing opposition candidate Henrique Capriles’ demand for a recount of ... Read More

Humala touts Peru as China’s “bridge” to LatAm

| April 9th, 2013 | No Comments »

Beijing – Peruvian President Ollanta Humala met here Monday with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, to whom he expressed the important role the Andean nation can play as a “bridge” of understanding between Latin America and China.

The two leaders met in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on the fourth day of Humala’s visit to China after participating in the Boao Forum for Asia on the Chinese island of Hainan.

In Boao, the Peruvian president had already met with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to sign 11 cooperation accords.

“As events are developing, Peru can be the (primary) center for (Chinese) investments in Latin America,” Humala said.

As part of that strategy, after the meeting with Li Humala held a working breakfast with businessmen who are members of the Chinese Council for the Promotion of International Trade, accompanied by several of his Cabinet ministers.

There, the Peruvian government presented to the Chinese investment opportunities on a score of priority infrastructure projects ... Read More

China’s exploitation of Latin American natural resources raises concern

| April 9th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Guardian UK


Amazonian forest cleared in Ecuador, a mountain levelled in Peru, the Cerrado savannah converted to soy fields in Brazil and oil fields under development in Venezuela’s Orinoco belt.

These recent reports of environmental degradation in Latin America may be thousands of miles apart in different countries and for different products, but they have a common cause: growing Chinese demand for regional commodities.

The world’s most populous nation has joined the ranks of wealthy countries in Europe, North America and east Asia that have long consumed and polluted unsustainably. This has led to what author Michael T Klare calls “a race for what’s left” and its impact is particularly evident in the continent with much of the untapped, unspoiled natural resources.

Even more than Africa, Latin America has become a major focus of Beijing’s drive for commodities. A study last year by Enrique Dussel Peters, a professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, found that the region has ... Read More

Why is less cocaine coming from Colombia?

| April 3rd, 2013 | No Comments »
The Economist

COLOMBIAN police poking around a shipment of bricks bound for Honduras last month discovered half a tonne of cocaine hidden within the cargo. Such discoveries were once commonplace: in 2000 Colombia grew 74% of the world’s coca leaves, the raw ingredient for cocaine. But these days it has fallen behind. The UN believes that in 2011 Colombia produced about 42% of the world’s coca, only slightly more than Peru. And last year a White House report concluded that when it comes to the production of cocaine itself, Colombia has now fallen behind both Peru and Bolivia. How were Colombia’s coke kings dethroned?

Virtually all coca comes from three countries: Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. The slopes of the Andes provide perfect conditions for the coca bush, whose leaves Andean people were chewing long before the arrival of European explorers. Chomped or boiled up as tea, the leaves provide a mild, caffeine-like buzz which dulls hunger ... Read More

‘Sin Chávez habrá mayor integración’

| March 26th, 2013 | No Comments »

Rafael Mathus Ruiz/Enviado

Massachusetts  (26 marzo 2013).- Alejandro Toledo cree que América Latina es la región más prometedora de los próximos 40 años.

Y ahora, tras la muerte de Hugo Chávez, a quien se enfrentó y criticó, cree que ha llegado el momento de la verdadera integración.

Toledo, el ex Presidente peruano, dialogó con REFORMA en la Universidad de Harvard, cuatro días después de la muerte de Chávez.

Aquí, el peruano es visto como uno de los integrantes de la “izquierda buena”, la que encarnan Lula o Michelle Bachelet, líderes que abrazaron políticas económicas amables, a diferencia de otros Mandatarios, como Evo Morales o Chávez, máximo ícono de esa polarización en el continente.

A sabiendas de esa división, Toledo cree que el fortalecimiento de la democracia es el punto de partida para avanzar en la integración.

¿Cual es su visión para la región?

Un fuerte optimismo, acompañado de desafíos sin precedentes. Para que ese optimismo se vuelva realidad, ... Read More

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights must be protected

| March 20th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald


When Maria da Penha’s husband shot her in the back, leaving her paraplegic, it was the culmination of years of domestic abuse. In her battle for justice, she was fortunate to have an ally in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), a respected independent body, established in 1959 to protect the rights of all individuals throughout the Americas.

Following the commission’s inquiry into her case, the Brazilian government took decisive steps — Maria’s ex-husband went to jail, and in 2006 Brazil adopted landmark legislation on violence against women.

Today, it is the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights itself that is under assault and must be defended. Over the past year, a determined minority of governments has tried to undermine the autonomy and integrity of this institution.

Their motivations vary, but they add up to a significant threat to human rights and dignity. In some countries, populist leaders impatient with or ... Read More

WILLIAM J. BURNS: En apoyo a la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos

| March 20th, 2013 | No Comments »
El Nuevo Herald


Cuando el esposo de Maria da Penha le disparó en la espalda, dejándola parapléjica, ese fue el momento culminante de años de violencia doméstica. En su lucha por encontrar justicia, Maria tuvo la suerte de encontrar un aliado en la Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos (CIDH), un respetado organismo independiente fundado en 1959 para proteger los derechos de las personas en todas las Américas. Luego de las averiguaciones de la Comisión sobre el caso, el gobierno de Brasil tomó medidas decisivas: el ex esposo de Maria fue a la cárcel y, en el año 2006, Brasil promulgó una ley ejemplar sobre la violencia contra la mujer. Se la nombró la Ley Maria da Penha.

Hoy es la propia Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos la que está bajo ataque y debe ser defendida. A lo largo del año transcurrido, una determinada minoría de gobiernos ha intentado socavar la autonomía e ... Read More

Peru’s capital markets “scarcely liquid” say finance minister

| March 20th, 2013 | No Comments »
Beyond Brics


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Peru is typically grouped with Mexico, Panama, Colombia and Chile as one of Latin America’s high-growth economies, a darling of international investors. But how easy is it to invest in? Not easy at all, says Luis Miguel Castilla, Peru’s finance minister.

“Our diagnosis is that our own capital market is poorly developed; not deep; scarcely liquid,” he tells beyondbrics.

That is why by June this year, the minister says, Peru will overhaul its capital market with a new law designed to make it easier for local companies to use the market as a source of finance, and to create a level playing field in terms of taxation.

“For our level of development we think we should have a deeper, more ... Read More

Argentina’s bedeviled pact with Iran

| March 1st, 2013 | No Comments »
Global Post


LIMA, Peru — Nearly two decades after the bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires, Latin America’s deadliest terrorist atrocity is roiling Argentina once again.

Eighty-five people were killed and hundreds injured in the 1994 attack, when a van loaded with 600 pounds of fertilizer detonated in front of the Argentine-Israeli Mutual Society (AMIA by its Spanish initials).

Prosecutors long ago blamed Iran. At 200,000, Argentina’s Jewish community is the largest in Latin America and the region’s most obvious target for anti-Jewish terrorism.

Yet Tehran denies any involvement and refuses to allow investigators to interrogate suspected members of its security services — including Ahmad Vahidi, currently Iran’s defense minister.

Now, despite the impasse, the latest effort by Argentina President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to get to the bottom of the mass murder mystery has triggered widespread outrage.

Her foreign minister, Hector Timerman, has negotiated a bilateral agreement with Tehran to set ... Read More

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