Peru: Saturday News Roundup – June 2

Morning News Roundup Lima Stock Exchange (BVL) Recap

(LIP-jl) –Lima’s stock exchange (Bolsa de Valores – BVL) closed the week’s trading session with it’s second consecutive gain, this following Thursday’s largest increase in 17 years. The BVL closed Friday’s trading session at 20,732 points, an increase of 3.0% from Thursday’s close. The Selective Index -ISEL (index that groups the 15 leading stocks), closed at 35.848 units, an increase of 2.73%. Some of yesterday’s most active stocks included: Seguros La Positiva comunes (+15.22 %), Minera Raura de inversión (+12.87), Agroindustrial Pomalca comunes (+11.25%), Electronorte comunes (+11.25), Mincor (+11.195), and Record (+11.11).

Peru’s anti-drug efforts lacking bite

President Alan García talked tough two months ago against Peru’s burgeoning drug-trafficking, vowing to send warplanes to strafe clandestine airstrips and bomb cocaine labs. But he has done little to follow through on those threats, say analysts who believe his rhetoric was aimed more at bolstering Peru’s standing with Washington, where Congress is considering a bilateral free-trade agreement. ”García’s tough line has a lot to do with the negotiations for a free-trade agreement,” said Rubén Vargas, a private consultant on anti-drug strategies. “The drug war is a very sensitive subject for the U.S. The [Peruvian] government is making considerable efforts. But it’s absolutely not enough.” Peru is well aware that questions over a side issue in Colombia — allegations the officials in President Alvaro Uribe’s government had links to right-wing paramilitary squads and human rights abuses — has prompted U.S. lawmakers to stall approval of a trade pact with Bogotá. Peru’s drug trade is a major concern for U.S. policy makers. It is the world’s second-largest producer of cocaine after Colombia, although only 10-15 percent of its production goes to the United States. The rest is sent to Europe and neighboring countries. Policy makers fear that easing the drug war here would attract more producers, and perhaps generate new ties between traffickers and remnants of the leftist Shining Path guerrillas. The García government won plaudits from U.S. officials during its early months in office for developing a national anti-drug strategy. But the government’s efforts suddenly seemed wobbly when Agriculture Minister Juan José Salazar in March capitulated on a major demand by coca growers. Salazar signed an agreement to suspend government efforts to forcefully eradicate coca plants near the town of Tocache in the Upper Huallaga Valley. The accord ended protests by the area’s coca growers, who had been blocking an important highway. But the agreement prompted sharp criticism from supporters of the war on drugs and a private demand by U.S. Embassy officials for explanations. García repudiated the agreement and later sacked Salazar. (Miami Herald)

Peru’s Pizarro excited by Chelsea

New Chelsea signing Claudio Pizarro insists he will have no difficulty adapting to life in the Premier League following his move from Bayern Munich. Pizarro, 28, agreed personal terms on a free transfer switch to Stamford Bridge on Friday and is relishing the prospect of plying his trade in England. The Peru international was largely restricted to substitute appearances at Bayern last season behind Roy Makaay and Lukas Podolski, but claims he is not daunted by the prospect of competing for a starting berth alongside Didier Drogba, Andriy Shevchenko and Salomon Kalou. "I think it’s very important for me to win some titles and I have the chance here to win them," he told Chelsea TV. "The most important thing is the Champions League, which I was looking to win with Bayern, but we didn’t have the chance. "I think now we have a good team, a good trainer and the chance to win it. "I had some interesting offers, but the most important thing was that I talked to the coach, I talked to the people here and they were very interested. We have many chances to win titles here and that’s what I want. "I get used very fast to playing with different kinds of players. I did it at Bayern and I don’t think it will be a problem now." The capture of Pizarro is Chelsea’s second free transfer acquisition of the summer with midfielder Steve Sidwell set to move to Stamford Bridge when his Reading contract expires. Meanwhile, the Blues have also landed teenage Oldham Athletic starlet Danny Philliskirk. (4thegame.com)

Peru seeks insurgent killers

A court announced that it will call Peruvian Vice President, Luis Giampietri, to testify in a trial over the execution of an unknown number of insurgent prisoners. The III Anti-Corruption Commission complied with the request of one of the accused, former colonel Roberto Huaman, who alleges that the testimony of Giampietri is necessary to explain what happened after the military occupation of the Japanese ambassador’s home in Lima, in April of 1997. A Japanese diplomat and two police officers explained that three insurgents, who had been holding more than 70 hostages since December of 1996, were taken prisoner alive although the government later reported that 14 insurgents died in the action. The principal defendants in the trial are former presidential advisor to ex president Alberto Fujimori, Vladimiro Montesinos and former head of the Armed Forces, General Nicolas Hermoza, both of whom are serving jail sentences for other crimes. Giampietri was one of the hostages and supplied the intelligence forces information on the situation in the residence, through communication equipment secretly implanted in the residence. The vice president refuses to appear after repeated calls to testify in another trial against a paramilitary group that executed insurgents during the Fujimori government. The III Anti-Corruption Commission also prepares to call members of the armed forces that occupied the diplomatic residence, an action that was accepted this week by the Army head. According to accusations of the Attorney General and news reports, this elite troop took the residence and later elements at the service of Montesinos entered to kill the surviving insurgents. (Prensa Latina)

Poll: Most Peruvians Disapprove of President

Most Peruvians disapprove of the administration of President Alan Garcia, according to a poll published on Friday. The survey, carried out by the private company CPI in major Peruvian cities, showed that for the first time disapproval (45.6 percent) is higher than support (45.3 percent) for the president, thus ratifying a trend reported by other polls. CPI Director Manuel Saavedra pointed out that the government must be worried about the results of the poll, because the "honeymoon" or the citizens’ period of expectation from the new administration is over after ten months in power. People demand results, said Saavedra, adding that the problem for the government is bigger in the interior of the country, where disapproval reached 55 percent. The poll showed that Lima, where more than one-third of Peru’s population lives, continues to be García’s bastion, as he is supported by 50.4 percent of respondents and disapproved by 40.3 percent. Saavedra said that the problems that most concern the people are unemployment, poverty, crime, low educational level, corruption, terrorism and drug trafficking. (Prensa Latina)