Peru: Morning News Roundup – Wednesday February 27

Flooding affects 0.5m in Bolivia, Peru

More than 500,000 people have been affected by flooding across Peru and Bolivia as the Bolivian government declared a national disaster. Flooding across Bolivia’s eastern lowlands has killed at least 61 people and forced the evacuation of some 43,000 families since last November, according to Bolivian officials. The damage is estimated to be over £18 million. Meanwhile, in Peru, at least 15 people in small villages near the border with Ecuador have died, following a number of climatic calamities including the overflow of a river, landslides and continued downpours, authorities said. The torrential rains have left 61,079 houses flooded and another 278 completely destroyed in the country’s 21 states. (Press TV – click here to see article)

Discontent with García Grows in Peru

People in Peru are growing disappointed with Alan García’s performance, according to a poll by Ipsos, Apoyo, Opinión y Mercado published in El Comercio. 64 per cent of respondents disapprove of the president’s work so far, up five points since January. In June 2006, García—a member of the American Revolutionary People’s Alliance (APRA)—won Peru’s presidential election in a run-off against nationalist Ollanta Humala of the Union for Peru (UP). In July, García officially took over as president. He had previously served as Peru’s head of state from 1985 to 1990, when he oversaw a major economic crisis. On Jan. 25, García referred to Peru’s economic outlook, and assured that this year the country will "reaffirm its supremacy in South America," adding, "Peru will be the fastest, the most developed, but also the one that most swiftly eradicates misery and poverty." (Angus Reid – click here to see complete article)

Prosecutor: Peru military protects ex-death squad members testifying at Fujimori trial

Peru’s military is protecting alleged members of a military death squad who are now testifying in the murder and kidnapping trial of ex-President Alberto Fujimori, the chief prosecutor said Tuesday. Jose Pelaez told Peru’s CPN radio that former members of the so-called Colina Group are receiving «official protection from the armed forces» during court appearances at Fujimori’s trial. Maj. Santiago Martin Rivas, the alleged Colina ringleader, «is also receiving protection in prison,» the prosecutor said. No one at Peru’s Joint Armed Forces Command was available to comment on the charge late Tuesday night. Martin Rivas, who has denied his role atop the death squad in court, testifies Wednesday in Fujimori’s trial. The ex-president is accused of authorizing operations by the Colina Group, formed to battle subversives in Peru’s war against Maoist Shining Path rebels. The group killed 25 people in two massacres in 1991 and 1992. (AP – click here to read complete article)

Kiva’s Microloans Underwriting Cockfighting in Peru

At Kiva’s Web site (www.kiva.org), you can plunk down a loan of $25 to spot a farmer for pineapple seeds in Nicaragua, or help a fish seller buy cooking oil in Kenya. Started by a Bay Area couple inspired by Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize–winning pioneer of microcredit loans, the San Francisco–based site even has Bill Clinton touting it as a way to lift entrepreneurs in developing countries out of poverty for a minimal amount of money. But one entrepreneur who hit the Kiva block on Feb. 15 has gotten some people squawking: Sara Alva Vasquez Rodriguez was asking for a $700 loan to buy a freezer for her cockfighting ring in the Peruvian jungle. The posting features a smiling woman (whom we presume to be Rodriguez herself) cradling a doomed rooster in the coliseum she and her husband built behind their home. In three days, she had her loan. Complaining e-mails plunked into Kiva’s customer service inbox, and an anonymous posting on www.indybay.org denounced the nonprofit’s lack of an animal rights policy. (SF Weekly – click here to read complete article by Lauren Smiley)

Copa Libertadores: Chile’s Universidad Catolica beats Peru’s San Martin 1-0

Dario Buttinelli’s 30th-minute goal gave Chile’s Universidad La Catolica all it needed to beat Peruvian club Universidad de San Martin in Copa Libertadores Group 5 on Tuesday. Catolica’s strong defense kept the local team subdued, despite several close calls at Monumental Stadium before 20,000 fans. Catolica will next face River Plate in Santiago on March 12, and San Martin will play America in Mexico City on March 13. (AP – click here to see article)