Archive for the ‘Peru’ Category

HSBC survey: Trade to accelerate in next six months

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

BY MIMI WHITEFIELD

Prospects for trade are looking up.

Sixty-seven percent of U.S. business leaders are expecting to see a rapid increase in the volume of exports and imports over the next six months, according to the HSBC Global Connections Trade Report.

That’s a marked improvement over the second half of 2012, when just 48.3 percent of business leaders said they expected trade would rise.

The reasons for optimism? The business leaders cite improving global economic conditions and stepped-up demand for infrastructure goods.

That sanguine view of trade prospects pushed the HSBC Trade Confidence Index from 107 to 114, highest since the international bank began the index. HSBC’s global survey of 5,800 small and middle-market businesses included about 300 U.S. firms that are engaged in international trade.

Despite a slowdown in emerging markets, in the near term U.S. businesses viewed Latin America as the region with the most promise for growth in exports, followed by China ... Read More

Colombia or Bust: Narcotics Trafficking in Peru and the Road Ahead

| November 12th, 2013 | No Comments »
Southern Pulse

BY PATRICK HERNANDEZ

Is it wise to compare Peru’s ongoing struggle with cocaine production and trafficking with Colombia’s experiences? Patrick Hernandez doesn’t think so. Beyond the differences between the two countries’ domestic politics, he also believes that the US’s falling demand for cocaine makes a ‘Plan Peru’ unlikely.

Even the most cursory analysis of the war on drugs in Latin America reveals that gains in one geographical region tend to be followed by losses in another. The case cited most frequently is Mexico, where a wave of violence since 2006 has been attributed to U.S. efforts that successfully staunched the flow of cocaine through the Caribbean in the early 2000s.

If media reports are to be believed, Peru is next in line. Its increasingly high profile as the number one producer of coca leaf in the world, following U.S. assistance to neighboring Colombia, appear to confirm the pattern. But are the comparisons with ... Read More

A Pacific Trade Deal

| November 6th, 2013 | No Comments »
The New York Times

Officials from the United States and 11 other countries bordering the Pacific are trying to complete a trade agreement by the end of the year that could help all of our economies and strengthen relations between the United States and several important Asian allies. But hard bargaining lies ahead.

The Obama administration said it wants a “next-generation” agreement that, in addition to lowering tariffs, lowers investment restrictions, improves labor rights, encourages environmental protection and reduces government favoritism of state-owned businesses. That is an ambitious agenda considering that more than 150 countries are struggling to complete a much simpler deal at the World Trade Organization.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership, as these talks are known, is seen as a way around the stalled W.T.O. talks, which have been under way since 2001. So, too, are the recently started trade negotiations between the United States and the European Union. The hope among some American officials is that by completing deals ... Read More

Latin America’s ‘bad boy’ leaders enjoy high support, survey finds

| October 15th, 2013 | No Comments »
The News Tribune

BY TIM JOHNSON

MEXICO CITY — Being a “bad boy” in Washington’s eyes can have payoffs for Latin American politicians, while being a “star pupil” can have a downside.

A compilation of polls across Latin America released over the weekend found that the four leaders whom Washington considers the “bad boys” of the region remain among its most popular presidents, even wildly so.

The leaders of Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua and Venezuela routinely lambaste the United States, concentrate power in their own hands and run roughshod over the news media but retain significant, and even strong, support.

In contrast, the pro-U.S. leaders of Chile, Colombia and Peru – countries with more open democracies – have seen their public support fall in the past six months.

That’s the result of a biannual survey of approval ratings for the leaders of the 19 largest countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Compiled by Mexico’s Consulta Mitofsky polling firm, the ... Read More

Peru Now No. 1 in Coca Leaf, Displacing Colombia

| September 25th, 2013 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

BY FRANK BAJAK

Peru has displaced Colombia as the world’s leading producer of coca leaf, although it succeeded for the first time in seven years in cutting output of the illicit plant used to make cocaine, the United Nations said Tuesday.

Peru cut its area under coca cultivation to 241 square miles (62,500 hectares), a decrease of 3.4 percent from 2011, the U.N. Office of Drugs and Crime said.

The agency had already said last month that Colombia’s crop was down 25 percent to 185 square miles (48,000 hectares), but it held off until now with word that Peru had regained the distinction as the world’s No. 1 coca leaf source that it had not held since the mid-1990s.

Peru counterdrug agency chief Carmen Masias said Colombia had the advantage of more than $6 billion in U.S. aid beginning in 2000 in trimming its coca crop. And unlike Colombia, Peru’s ... Read More

How China’s Relations With Peru Explain its Approach to Diplomacy

| September 13th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Atlantic

BY NATHANIEL PARISH FLANNERY

On weekday mornings in small towns high in the mountains of Peru, large trucks owned by Chinese mining companies rumble down the narrow streets. Their presence in Peru is, in a way, a surprise; vociferous and sometimes violent activists have occasionally rebuffed Chinese resource-extraction projects in the country. Many local residents are concerned about negative environmental consequences and worried that they won’t reap any real benefits from the projects. Nevertheless the investment continues: In 2010, the Chinese mining companies Minmetals, Chinalco, Shougang and Zijing Mining Group announced plans to invest more than $7 billion in Peruvian mining projects by 2017. And as each mineral-laden ship chugs out of the harbor in Lima to cross the Pacific, China further solidifies its status as an important strategic partner for Peru.

The two countries are separated by more than 10,000 miles, but China has a long history with Peru. In the mid-1800s, more ... Read More

Peru the global leader in dollar counterfeiting

| September 5th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY CARLA SALAZAR

LIMA, Peru – The police colonel was stunned by the skill of the 13-year-old arrested during a raid on counterfeiters in Lima’s gritty outskirts, how he deftly slid the shiny plastic security strip through a bogus $100 banknote emblazoned with Benjamin Franklin’s face.

The boy demonstrated his technique for police after they arrested him on the street with a sack of $700,000 in false U.S. dollars and euros that he’d received from a co-conspirator and he led them to a squat house where he and others did detail work.

With its meticulous criminal craftsmen, cheap labor and, by some accounts, less effective law enforcement, Peru has in the past two years overtaken Colombia as the No. 1 source of counterfeit U.S. dollars, says the U.S. Secret Service, protector of the world’s most widely traded currency.

In response, the service opened a permanent office in Lima last year, only its fourth in Latin ... Read More

How Peru is dethroning Colombia as cocaine king

| September 5th, 2013 | No Comments »
msn

BY ELI EPSTEIN

Since the late ’90s, Colombia has been the world’s leading producer of cocaine, but that title looks now to be Peru’s.

When the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime releases its full findings later this month, it’s expected to crown a new nation as king of the international cocaine trade: Peru.

For more than a decade, that ignominious distinction has befallen Colombia, where in the past, drug lords easily bought policemen, judges and administrators with bribes, and leftist guerillas controlled large swaths of jungle, where they engaged in kidnapping and drug trafficking to finance their terror objectives. The production statistics for coca, the plant from which the drug is made, are expected to point to Peru as the country with the most land use for production. According to figures, cocaine production in Peru has increased by 40 percent since 2000.

Thanks to ongoing policy reforms, billions of dollars in US aid and sweeping, ... Read More

Pink tide recedes in South America

| September 3rd, 2013 | No Comments »
Financial Times

The economic deceleration that followed the financial crisis has played around the world like a film in slow motion. The first to suffer was the US, the crisis epicentre. The movie then opened in Europe, with a strong showing in its more vulnerable southern countries. The slowdown moved on to China and is now opening in other emerging economies, not least South America’s. Although asset prices there have fallen, there is little sense of a financial crisis. Indeed, the political effects of the slowdown may prove more lasting than its economic ones. The “pink tide” may start to recede.

South America has enjoyed a banner decade largely thanks to a profound improvement in its terms of trade. The take-off in commodity prices that began in 2003 and worried so many elsewhere was a boon for the region’s oil, soya and copper-producing economies. Balances of payments moved into surplus, allowing for greater imports. Capital ... Read More

How China’s Slowdown Will Impact Latin America

| August 23rd, 2013 | No Comments »
Real Clear World-01

BY JAIME DAREMBLUM

It is the end of an era for China, and also for Latin America.

After expanding by at least eight percent, and often by double digits, for more than a decade, the Chinese economy is entering a period of slower growth. In 2012, it grew by only 7.8 percent, and the government’s official growth target for 2013 is even lower (7.5 percent). Those numbers are obviously quite high by U.S. and European standards, but China is still a developing country with widespread rural poverty, and according to theNew York Times, the Communist Party is hoping to relocate another 250 million people from the countryside to towns and cities by 2025. Chinese officials have long believed that eight percent annual GDP growth is the minimum required to ensure “social stability.” Now they are dealing with a severe credit crunch, as years of debt-financed investment spending have left Chinese banks holding a ... Read More

As a Boom Slows, Peru Grows Uneasy

| August 20th, 2013 | No Comments »
The New York Times

BY WILLIAM NEUMAN

LIMA, Peru — From his office window, Henrik Kristensen, the chief executive of the company that runs Peru’s main port, can still look out at rows of newly arrived, shiny Kia automobiles from South Korea and shipping containers stacked four high, full of imported items like television sets and brand-name clothing bound for the growing number of malls that serve this country’s burgeoning middle class.

“This is Peru,” he said. “When you go to the shopping malls they’re full of people, they’re full. That’s a good indicator that people are really spending money.”

Peru’s economy grew an average of 6.4 percent a year from 2002-12 after adjusting for inflation, according to government figures, a remarkable period of sustained expansion that has made it one of the world’s star economies.

But suddenly growth has slowed here, and just beyond the view from Mr. Kristensen’s window, under Lima’s perpetually gray ... Read More

Andres Oppenheimer: U.S. may reassess Iran-Latin American ties

| August 8th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

The U.S. State Department said this week it will reevaluate a recent report in which it downplayed Iran’s links to terrorism in Latin America. But don’t expect an immediate change in U.S. policy

Judging from what I’m told by senior U.S. officials, the Obama administration will continue trying not to over-dramatize this issue, even if there is mounting pressure from Congress to take a more aggressive stand on Iran’s activities in Latin America. In a letter to Sen. Mark Kirk, R-IL., dated Aug. 1, the State Department said that it has asked the U.S. intelligence community to take a new look into Iran’s activities in the region in light of a 500-page report by Argentine prosecutor Alberto Nisman, the lead investigator into the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires. That attack left 85 people dead and about 300 wounded. “We told Sen. Kirk that Mr. Nisman’s report was published ... Read More

Peru: Humala humbled

| August 2nd, 2013 | No Comments »
The Economist

PROTESTS have been something of a way of life in Peru for decades, the lasting product of a collapse in the economy and of trust in the political system in the 1980s. They have continued even as the economy has boomed, with annual average growth of 6.5% since 2003. But the country’s latest demonstrations have an air of modernity about them, a faint whiff of the discontents of an aspirational lower-middle class that have recently shaken Chile and Brazil.

The trigger was a decision by Congress to share out among party hacks important jobs at supposedly independent bodies, such as the ombudsman; six justices of the Constitutional Tribunal, the highest court; and three vacant slots on the Central Bank’s board (though in this case the nominees were unobjectionable). Outrage against what many Peruvians see as a corrupt and self-serving political class was swift, dominating both traditional and social media. When several ... Read More

Andres Oppenheimer: China-Latin America fiesta is over

| July 26th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

BY ANDRES OPPENHEIMER

After more than a decade of booming economic ties between China and Latin America, new headlines that China may be heading for a crisis are starting to draw anxiety in China-dependent countries in the region. And they should.

In recent days, there have been a barrage of alarming reports forecasting what we had suggested in this column on June 1 — that China’s explosive growth of the past three decades will come to an end. That could badly hurt Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Peru and other countries that had thrived in recent years thanks to their commodity exports to the Asian giant.

“The signs are now unmistakable: China is in big trouble,” wrote Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman in The New York Times on July 18. “We’re not talking about some minor setback along the way, but something more fundamental…You could say that the Chinese model is about to hit its ... Read More

El presidente del Perú más Pragmático que Ideológico

| July 25th, 2013 | No Comments »
The Miami Herald

Desde que asumió el poder como presidente del Perú, Ollanta Humala ha estado luchando para satisfacer a los pobres, a la mayoría indígena que lo eligió y a los inversionistas peruanos y extranjeros que son indispensables para mantener el crecimiento económico. En este momento, Humala parece caminar una línea muy delgada hacia el camino correcto. Ayudarlo a lo largo de ese camino debería interesarle a todos los peruanos y a cualquiera que esté apostando por la estabilidad y el crecimiento de ese país.

Ser político en un país donde la mayoría está compuesta por el sector más pobre de la población y que además busca la parte que le corresponde de la prosperidad nacional puede ser un trabajo muy complejo. Las políticas que simplemente transfieren la riqueza del estado a los pobres no son sostenibles, y los programas sociales dirigidos a ayudar a los pobres por medio de educación y formación ... Read More

Peru heads in right direction under President Humala

| July 25th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
The Miami Herald

In the two years since taking power as president of Peru, Ollanta Humala has been struggling to please the poor and indigenous majority that elected him and to placate the economic elite and foreign investors who are indispensable to sustaining robust growth. At this point, Humala appears to be walking a fine line, headed in the right direction.

Helping him along that path is in the interest of every Peruvian and others who are betting on that country’s stability and growth.

Being a national politician in a country whose poor majority is impatient to claim its fair share of prosperity can be very tricky work. Policies that merely transfer wealth are not sustainable, and social programs aimed at empowering the poor with the education and training they need to pull themselves out of poverty take time to bear fruit. Even Brazil, once seen as a model for social empowerment, was shaken last ... Read More

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

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

BY PATRICIA REY MALLEN

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

BY KURT WEYLAND

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

BY MARY O’GRADY

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

BY TIM JOHNSON

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

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