Archive for the ‘Peru’ Category

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


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


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


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


(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 »

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


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


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

Peru: President Humala Should Push for More Economic Freedom

| April 10th, 2014 | No Comments »
Heritage Foundation


When Peruvian president Ollanta Humala took office three years ago, some feared the worst. After all, during his first presidential run in 2006, Humala (a former Peruvian army officer) had donned the fire-breathing mantle of the populist, “Bolivarian” left that was personified by Venezuela’s then-president (and also ex-army officer) Hugo Chávez.

So although Humala lost the 2006 election and then moved to the center and won as a more moderate-sounding candidate when he ran again in 2011, no one knew for sure how he would govern. Would he remain a centrist (à la Lula in Brazil) or veer hard left? Now the world knows the answer.

Humala Has Stayed the Course for Economic Freedom

When Humala took office in 2011, the country was ranked 41st out of 178 countries worldwide in The Heritage Foundation/Wall Street Journal 2011 Index of Economic Freedom[1] and had made steady progress, up from 45th ... Read More

Peru Congress Backs Humala’s Fifth Cabinet to End Impasse

| March 18th, 2014 | No Comments »


Peruvian President Ollanta Humala’s fifth cabinet in 2 1/2 years won a vote of confidence in Congress, ending a political crisis stemming from accusations that first lady Nadine Heredia is interfering in the government.

Lawmakers voted 66-52 in favor with nine abstentions, according to images broadcast on state television. The cabinet failed to win lawmakers’ approval in two votes March 14, leading Humala’s 19 ministers to offer their resignations. Cabinet chief Rene Cornejo moved to reassure Congress that he won’t allow “any intromission” in the cabinet’s workings.

“We’re marking the boundaries of the executive, there’s going to be a more active participation by ministers,” Cornejo said in a statement posted on the cabinet chief’s website before the vote.

Speaking to Panamericana Television last night, Cornejo said the government will work to eliminate the perception of a “co-government” between Humala and his wife, who’s co-founder and president of the ruling Nationalist party. Cornejo was appointed ... Read More

Will Peru start shooting down suspected drug planes (again)?

| March 13th, 2014 | No Comments »
Article originally appeared in The Christian Science Monitor

Peruvian police officers recently pulled off a major drug bust, seizing 325 kilograms (715 pounds) of cocaine ready for shipment out of the central jungle.

The Mar. 7 operation was significant, representing nearly one-third of the cocaine seized so far this year in Peru. But authorities were even more pleased with the capture of a small plane for smuggling the drugs to neighboring Bolivia and, from there, to parts unknown.

In the 1980s and 1990s, cocaine-ferrying planes dotted Peru’s skies. Now they’re back: the US State Department says small planes are now the “primary method of transporting cocaine” out of the country, replacing sea transport. In its annual report on narcotics released earlier this month, the State Department estimated that upward of 180 metric tons were exported this way in 2013.

But how to stop these flights is a vexed issue. A significant number of countries in Latin America, most recently Venezuela in late 2013 and Honduras in ... Read More

La OEA ausente en Venezuela

| March 5th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
The American

La Organización de Estados Americanos (OEA) se mantiene inerte en Venezuela, y la inestabilidad política, la crisis económica y la violencia del gobierno contra los manifestantes estudiantiles son hechos que están apunto de colapsar al país sudamericano. Desde hace años la OEA fue secuestrada por la petro-diplomacia de Venezuela y ha sido atada y amordazada.

El “consejo permanente”, compuesto por los embajadores de la región, tenía previsto reunirse la semana pasada para revisar los eventos en Venezuela a solicitud del presidente de Panamá, Ricardo Martinelli. La reunión fue abruptamente “pospuesta” después de que el presidente de la Republica Dominicana, Danilo Medina,  le pidiera a su representante ante la OEA, quien preside el consejo permanente, que no regresara a Washington para postergar la reunión. Medina siguió las instrucciones de Venezuela. El embajador dominicano regresó a Washington ayer y convocará al consejo con la venia del gobierno venezolano.

Los estados miembros de la OEA ... Read More

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