Archive for the ‘Peru’ Category

Bolivia Accuses U.S. of Aiding in an American’s Escape

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


LA PAZ, Bolivia — A top Bolivian government minister on Wednesday accused the United States of being behind the escape from house arrest of an American businessman facing money-laundering charges — potentially creating a new strain between the two countries.

The businessman, Jacob Ostreicher, who had spent 18 months in prison and a year under house arrest, apparently sneaked across the border into Peru sometime between Friday morning and Sunday. He flew from Lima to Los Angeles early Monday.

After his arrival, Mr. Ostreicher was in the company of the actor and director Sean Penn, who had visited him in Bolivia and championed his case.

Mr. Ostreicher’s escape was “planned, designed, executed, operationalized by the government of the United States,” Carlos Romero, the minister, told reporters. “We presume,” he added, that the United States Embassy was also involved.

The embassy denied the charges.

“Neither the United States Embassy nor ... Read More

Peru destroys 20 clandestine landing strips

| December 19th, 2013 | 1 Comment »
Article originally appeared in the Associated Press

LIMA, Peru – Peru says special forces troops have destroyed 20 clandestine landing strips used to fly drugs out of the jungle to Bolivia and Brazil.

Military authorities said Wednesday that the landing strips were guarded by leftist Shining Path rebels, who finance their struggle by protecting drug traffickers.

Joint Command chief Adm. Jose Cueto and national police chief Gen. Jorge Flores say the operation in the valley of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers was conducted by 224 security agents using five tons of explosives, 10 helicopters and five hovercrafts.

They say security forces also destroyed 24 wells used to process coca leaves, the base ingredient for making cocaine.

Peru’s government says the destruction of the landing strips and wells will hurt the Shining Path’s finances.

Click here for original ... Read More

Great expectations for Chile’s new president

| December 16th, 2013 | No Comments »


Winning Chile’s presidential election was pretty easy for Michelle Bachelet.

She led the contest from the start and never faced much of a challenge from her bickering centre-right opponents.

The hard part will start in March when she takes office.

Ms Bachelet will inherit a country with an economy that grew by 5.6% last year. Unemployment is low and inflation is under control.

But things are likely to get worse. The growth rate is expected to ease to 4.2% this year and the central bank warns it might drop below 4% in 2014.

The price of copper, Chile’s main export commodity, is seen extending its recent decline and the bank expects the country’s trade surplus to shrink to $600m (£368m) in 2014 from $2.5bn in 2013.

None of this is good news for an incoming president who is promising sweeping and expensive social reforms.

Education first

Ms Bachelet has placed education at the top of ... Read More

Peru’s war on coca production and the European smugglers

| December 6th, 2013 | No Comments »

5 December 2013 Last updated at 19:32 GMT

Peru has become the world’s biggest producer of coca, which is the main component in the production of cocaine.

Most of the drug comes to Europe and many young Europeans are now signing up as drug mules to transport it.

Some of the poorest communities in Peru depend on income generated by the coca business.

Sue Lloyd-Roberts reports.

Click here for video

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Mexican cartels abet heroin and meth surge in U.S., DEA study says

| November 21st, 2013 | No Comments »
From the Los Angeles Times


MEXICO CITY — The availability of heroin and methamphetamine in the U.S. is on the rise, due in part to the ever-evolving entrepreneurial spirit of the Mexican drug cartels, according to a new study released by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The report, which analyzes illicit drug trends through 2012, also notes that cocaine availability was down across the United States. It offered various possible reasons for the decline, including cartel versus cartel fights over drug routes in Mexico, declining production in Colombia and various anti-narcotics strategies that have put more heat on the groups that control production and shipment of the product.

The yearly report, released Monday and known as the National Drug Threat Assessment Summary, is an effort to describe “the threat posed to the United States by the trafficking and abuse of illicit drugs.”

The report is a synthesis of quantitative data and survey feedback from more than 1,300 state and local ... Read More

Remarks on U.S. Policy in the Western Hemisphere

| November 19th, 2013 | No Comments »
Department of State


John Kerry Secretary of State Organization of American States Washington, DC November 18, 2013

Mr. Secretary-General, thank you very, very much. Thank you for a wonderful welcome on this absolutely beautiful, luscious, seductive fall day, as pretty as it gets, and one that’s quickly prompting all of us to ask why we’re at work today. I’m privileged to be here. I want to thank the Inter-American Dialogue. Thank you, Michael Shifter, and thank you, Ambassador Deborah-Mae Lovell for the invitation to be here. I want to thank the Organization of American States for inviting me to speak here this morning. And it’s always wonderful to be in this remarkable, beautiful, historic building.A few minutes ago, we were down below in the atrium and Secretary-General Insulza took me over to see the peace tree that President Taft planted more than 100 years ago. It’s a remarkable tree, and it’s a testimony to the deep roots of ... Read More

PetroChina Buys Petrobras Assets in Peru for $2.6 Billion

| November 14th, 2013 | No Comments »


PetroChina Co. (857) will buy Petroleo Brasileiro SA (PBR)’s Peruvian assets for $2.6 billion, as the nation’s biggest energy company signaled business as usual following a government graft probe launched in August.

The Beijing-based company will take over three blocks of oil and gas fields in Peru from the Brazilian state-run producer known as Petrobras, it said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange yesterday. Petrobras owns two blocks entirely and has a 46 percent stake in the third, according to the statement. PetroChina’s shares rose.

The deal marks the first acquisition by the state-owned company since the government announced graft investigations involving its executives, including former chairman Jiang Jiemin, in late August and early September. It also follows the conclusion this week of the communist party’s plenum in Beijing, which endorsed state dominance of the economy while pledging to boost the role of markets.

“There were concerns that the government ... Read More

HSBC survey: Trade to accelerate in next six months

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


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


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


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


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


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


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 »


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


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


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

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