Peru: Morning News Roundup – Wednesday January 23

Peru president rebukes Venezuelan efforts to spread revolution

Peru’s rightist President Alan Garcia condemned Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’ efforts to spread his socialist revolution throughout Latin America, saying it was doomed to failure. "My friend Hugo is convinced that he has more truth than others and wants to export his ideas. The worst thing that can happen when you are president is to want to export your ideas," he said during an official visit to Spain. Garcia said there was "no threat" that the sweeping reforms introduced by Chavez since he won power in an election in 1988, which include the redistribution of land, would win favour beyond Venezuela’s borders. (AFP – click here to read complete article)

Peru: no evidence of Fujimori’s involvement in two massacres, journalist tells court

Journalist Ricardo Uceda, the head of the Press and Society Institute (IPYS), yesterday told a court trying former President Alberto Fujimori that there is no evidence of his involvment in massacres in Barrios Altos and La Cantuta in 1991 and 1992 by a paramilitary group known as Colina that was fighting the Shining Path guerrillas. Uceda, who covered the two incidents that left total of 25 dead, said death squads of this kind already existed before Fujimori came to power and they often acted without the agreement of their superiors. Fujimori, 69, is facing a possible sentence of 35 years in prison. (Reporters Without Borders – click here to see article)

Peru, Canada Are Close to Agreement on Free Trade

Peru and Canada are slated to reach a trade agreement this weekend that seeks to eliminate trade barriers between the countries, Peruvian Foreign Trade Minister Mercedes Araoz said. Peru, which signed a free-trade agreement with the U.S. last year, aims to finish trade talks with Canadian Trade Minister David Emerson at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Araoz told Lima-based Radioprogramas today. Peru, which began negotiations with Canada in July 2007, aims to sign trade accords with China, Thailand, Singapore and Scandinavia in a bid to diversify export markets as the U.S. economy slows. Trade with Canada rose 8.5 percent to $1.9 billion in the first 11 months of last year, according to Peru’s Foreign Trade Ministry. (Bloomberg – click here to read complete article by Alex Emery)

Catholics line up against mining operations in Peru

On a rainy morning in August, dozens of men and women crowded into the tiny church in the farming community of El Carmen de la Frontera, in the mountains of northern Peru. Foremost among their worries was a mining company prospecting for copper high in the cloud forest near the border with Ecuador. The farmers feared that the mine would cut off water supplies to their crops, or affect the certification of the shade-grown organic coffee that they grow for export. A month later, they voted overwhelmingly against allowing mining in their district. As international metals prices rise, the Andes have become a prime target for investment by foreign companies. Communities often fight back, fearing that open-pit mines will pollute their water and land. (National Catholic Reporter – click here to read complete article by Barbara J. Fraser)

Yzaga confident about Peru’s chances

Peru’s Davis Cup captain Jamie Yzaga is upbeat about his side’s chances against Spain for their first round tie to be held at Lima’s Jockey Club from February 8-10. "They have an excellent team, like Nadal and Emilio Sanchez. Everybody will go to see them, because such strong players are rarely seen in Lima, but I want to change the situation and I want fans to back us," said Yzaga. "I am optimistic, we are the match’s protagonists." 4,000 tickets have already been sold for the tie, with many more expected to be bought in the next few days. (Davis Cup Official Website – click here to see article)