Peru: Morning News Roundup – Friday March 21

Peru denies presence of Colombian rebels on its soil

Peruvian Defense Minister Antero Flores Araoz on Thursday denied the presence of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on its land. Peru and Colombia need to carry out more smooth communication along their 1,600 km border, Araoz said, adding the communication is necessary to avoid terrorism. He said Peru has not detected FARC infiltration into its territory, but accepted it would be difficult to define FARC rebels if they enter without uniforms. Araoz’s remarks came after a recent severe border crisis between Colombia and its neighbor Ecuador as well as Venezuela and Nicaragua. Colombian troops entered Ecuadorian territory on March 1 to attack an FARC camp and killed over 20 guerillas, including a top rebel leader. (Xinhua – click here to read complete article)

China, Peru issue joint press communique after meetings

China and Peru issued a joint press communique marking Peruvian President Alan Garcia’s state visit to China, vowing to continuously promote their bilateral partnership. The communique said that Garcia and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao pledged to continuously enrich the comprehensive bilateral partnership to strengthen and expand strategic cooperation. The Peruvian government reiterated its firm adherence to the one-China policy and believed that the Taiwan authorities’ plan to hold a "UN membership referendum" violated Resolution 2758, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, said the communique. (Xinhua – click here to read complete article)

Association with China generates investments, tourism in Peru

China and Peru will accomplish a free trade agreement (FTA) and become strategic associates, which would bring more investments and tourism to this South American country, Peruvian Foreign Minister Jose Garcia Belaunde said Thursday. "We have obtained from China the commitment to accomplish the FTA soon, which will create for us a strategic associate status and will also energize the economic and trade relation," he said when accompanying Peruvian President Alan Garcia on an official visit to China. The FTA with China is "a lot closer" to be accomplished than the one with Japan, he added. Garcia Belaunde said Peru attaches the greatest importance to China’s strategic associate status. (Xinhua – click here to read complete article)

Peru: Coca Advocates Protest Suggested UN Ban

On March 19th, a group of protestors and various indigenous activist groups gathered near the central square in Lima to raise awareness about the spiritual and cultural uses of the coca leaf, roughly two weeks after the International Narcotics Control Board of the United Nations urged the Peruvian government to consider banning the use and sale of the leaf. The protest, lead by Peruvian congresswoman Hilaria Supa, called for the government and the world to consider the medicinal, cultural, and traditional uses of the leaf and urged the population to continue the fight for awareness and defense of the plant. "For our people it is nourishment," Supa said. "It gives us nourishment of peace, nourishment of tranquility, of wisdom, of conscience, and of culture." (Upside Down World – click here to read complete article by Jenessa Stark)

President García Hits New Low in Peru

Roughly three-in-ten people in Peru back the performance of Alan García, according to a poll by Ipsos, Apoyo, Opinión y Mercado published in El Comercio. 68 per cent of respondents disapprove of the president’s performance in leading the country, up four points since February. 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). (Angus Reid – click here to read complete article)