Peru: Morning News Roundup – Monday, June 18


Lead exposure in Peru raises concern

In La Oroya, a U.S.-owned smelter provides livelihoods. But its emissions are said to be stunting children’s development. Angel Jesus Pacotaype is a child of lead, one of hundreds of youngsters in this Andean town suffering from what a U.S. health study has labeled an "epidemic" of exposure to the toxic metal. The 3-year-old is lethargic and exhibits signs of sluggish development, classic symptoms of lead poisoning. "We are desperate," said Luisa Pacotaype, 39, a mother of five who lives with her family in an adobe house in the old part of town, La Oroya Antigua. "We don’t know who to turn to." Looming just across the sullied Mantaro River is the poison’s apparent source: La Oroya’s 85-year-old smelter complex, its smokestack a dark sentinel in the mountain sky. The facility is at the center of a bitter environmental dispute that pits townsfolk against townsfolk and activists against the smelter’s owner, Doe Run Peru, an affiliate of the St. Louis-based Doe Run Resources Corp. In the process, isolated La Oroya has become the unlikely setting for a fiercely polarizing struggle over U.S. corporate responsibility in the Third World. On the twisting streets of the Old Town, air laced with sulfur dioxide spewing from the smokestack irritates the eyes, befouls the mouth and stings the lungs. (By Patrick J McDonnell, read the entire article at the Los Angeles Times)

Peru government hands out checks to communities ravaged by war against Maoist rebels

President Alan Garcia handed out checks on Saturday as compensation to hundreds of communities ravaged by Peru’s 20-year conflict with the Shining Path insurgency. The standoff between the Maoist rebels and the government brought Peru to edge of chaos in the 1980s and early 1990s with a campaign of massacres, assassinations and bombings. Garcia gave checks averaging $32,000 to representatives from 440 communities in Peru’s highland and jungle regions that were affected by the violence. The southern Andean Ayacucho state, where the ceremony was held, was the epicenter of guerrilla violence and the site of the worst atrocities in a brutal state-sponsored counterinsurgency campaign. The payments marked a first step toward fulfilling recommendations of a national truth commission that investigated the conflict, said Salomon Lerner, who was president of the government-appointed commission. The truth commission reported in 2003 that the Shining Path was responsible for 54 percent of an estimated 69,280 deaths between 1980 and 2000, and recommended that the government pay reparations to survivors. “Every day that has passed since August 2003 without the fulfillment of the recommendations has meant … doubts about the future of our democracy in the eyes of the victims,” he said.
The commission held Garcia politically – but not criminally – responsible for military abuses during his 1985-1990 first presidency. The conflict dropped off significantly following the 1992 capture of Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman. But rebel factions continue to operate in the coca-growing jungle region, where several hundred guerrillas provide protection for cocaine traffickers. (SingonSanDiego.com)

T&T Under-17s draw 0-0 with Peru

Trinidad and Tobago’s Under-17 footballers dominated yesterday’s pre-World Cup encounter against Peru, but were unable to force victory with strong pressure against the South Americans. Defender Stephen Campbell had the chance to give T&T a well-deserved win and revenge for the 1-0 loss to their opponents in the first leg of the two-match friendly tour at the Ato Boldon Stadium, Couva, on Thursday, but hit over from within the area in the 89th minute. T&T started brightly, with Leston Paul having an early chance, which he put overbar. The Peruvians had promised a more fiery performance and they endeavoured to do so in the first half, pressuring T&T players in possession of the ball and racing into space looking for openings. What let the visitors down, though, was their finishing. Even though they were able to poke holes in the T&T defence, none of them were able to keep their composure long enough to trouble custodian Jesse Fullerton too much. The standout was striker Reimond Manco and with his quick footwork he kept defenders busy, and if any Peruvian seemed likely to find the net, it was him. Still, T&T, looking earnestly for the counter-attack, had two excellent chances to draw first blood before the halftime whistle, but Sheldon Bateau’s header was slightly off target, and then Daniel Joseph’s attempt whizzed past the right upright in the 34th. Peru’s fire faded somewhat in the second half and, conversely, the home team seemed to improve. The South Americans relied more on their physical play and the young "Soca Warriors" resorted to same, with pushes being traded for free kicks. Micah Lewis, in particular, troubled Peru’s defence with his long runs down the right flank and his speed in collecting playmaker Leston Paul’s diagonal ball through the area were worrying for them, forcing Peruvian goalkeeper Pedro Gallesse to come up with two important saves. Anthony Molina headed over (55th) and then his teammate Yovic de la Cruz (56th) hit over bar as well. But their shots were few and far between as T&T took control of the midfield, but their passing was errant sometimes, and they failed to take advantage. In the 77th, Lewis chipped the ball into the area for Under-17 World Championship qualifying hero Kevin Molino and he missed, before fellow substitute, striker Isiah Ferguson, skimmed the crossbar. Ryan O’Neil was robbed of a shot on goal from close range in the closing stages. Then, with a minute left to play, he tried again and his shot was parried by Gallesse into the path of Campbell, who missed the target. Overall, T&T showed fight and promise in the encounter, but to challenge the likes of Germany, Colombia and Ghana in South Korea come August, they will have to be much more assured in defence and even more clinical up front. (Trinidad and Tobago Express)

Utahns hatch plan to help Peruvians raise chickens

Denise Davis knows better than to get up close and personal with baby chickens, but her Buff Orpington breed chicks, Mabel and Gert, liked to cuddle when she fed them.
This is why Davis had a tiny bandage on her lip at the Eagle-Condor Humanitarian "Gifts of the Heart" fundraising banquet last March. "It was just a little peck," Davis said. "They get so excited when they eat." Today, Mabel and Gert and the other five chicks raised in a child’s wading pool in Denise and Mark Davis’ West Jordan guest room are "big and cute," and have moved outside to a custom-designed pen. "It doesn’t have a roof yet, so they still spend nights in the garage," Davis said. While it is true that Davis loves animals – she fosters puppies until they are adopted and has a cat and a dog – the chickens are part of an animal husbandry project for Eagle-Condor Humanitarian. Founded in 2003 by people who served LDS missions to Peru, the organization supports two others in the South American nation: One helps people establish small businesses; the second handles community projects, building houses, school bathrooms, community wells. Davis’ project is a plan to introduce a more sanitary method of raising chickens in rural Peru, where chickens, guinea pigs and rabbits commonly live in homes that frequently lack electricity and running water.
"The animals are inside to keep them from running away or being eaten by something else," Davis said. "They are all over in the cooking area and under the bed. Everywhere. The challenge is to help people learn how to keep the animals separate without completely changing the way people live." Davis, who has been to Peru four times, feels a personal connection to the country and the people. "The first two visits were on my own. I fell in love with Cuzco and the ‘Sacred Valley.’ When I discovered that is where Eagle-Condor Humanitarian was working, I went on two expeditions with the group," she said, adding, "I believe it is where I am meant to help." In addition to Buff Orpington chicks, Davis’ project involves South American Araucanas, which lay green and blue eggs, rumored to have less cholesterol, and Black Sex-Linked chickens, more easily identified by sex than other breeds. Roosters are mainly food animals, because they are not necessary for egg production, and one rooster can fertilize a lot of eggs if you want to raise chickens. Davis monitors weight and growth, but she also is concerned with temperament. "Egg-gathering usually is done by children," Davis explained. Chickens can be unfriendly about having their eggs taken away. Meanwhile, Mabel still likes to sit on Davis’ lap and all seven follow her around the garden. The only fly in the ointment, so to speak, is that the experimental coop is too elaborate for practical purposes. Mark Davis, an architect, is doing a remodel. "He is making a chicken house that is safe, easy to clean and easy to put together in Peru," Davis said. (By Judy Magid The Salt Lake Tribune)

Peruvians Call for Fujimori’s Extradition

Almost four-in-five Peruvians in Lima expect a Chilean judge to rule in favour of extraditing a former president back into Peru, according to a poll by Universidad Católica de Lima. 78 per cent of respondents in the South American country’s capital think Alberto Fujimori should face trial in Peru. Fujimori administered the Peruvian government from 1990 to 2000. He left office after a series of corruption allegations and settled in Japan. In July 2003, the Peruvian government officially requested Fujimori’s extradition, which was denied. In November 2005, Fujimori was detained in Chile on the basis of an international warrant. The list of Fujimori’s alleged offences includes misuse of public funds, kidnapping and murder. In the early 1990s, Fujimori launched a crackdown on armed groups. A government-backed paramilitary squad known as the Colina Group was involved in two separate operations, which left 25 people dead in 1991 and 1992. Vladimiro Montesinos was Fujimori’s closest advisor and the head of Peru’s National Intelligence Service (SIN) during his decade-long tenure. To this day, Montesinos has been convicted in 13 different trials for crimes such as plotting against national security, arms dealing and embezzlement. He is currently serving a 20-year sentence in Peru and awaiting a verdict on other 50 or so processes against him. On Jun. 6, Mónica Maldonado, a prosecutor at Chile’s Supreme Court, requested that Fujimori be extradited to Peru. Supreme Court judge Urbano Marín will rule on whether Fujimori, currently under house arrest, should be sent to Peru or not. On Jun. 8, Keiko Fujimori—the former president’s daughter and a member of Congress representing the Alliance for the Future (APF)—discussed the current state of affairs, saying, "I think it’s very important to highlight that the prosecutor’s opinion is not binding. (…) If my father is extradited, he’s going to respect the ruling and he’ll come." (Angus Reid Global Monitor)