Monday, May 08, 2006

Garcia holds comfortable lead, Apoyo poll shows permanent link   0 comments
click to enlargeIf the more than 16 million Peruvian voters had to go to the ballot boxes today, APRA party candidate Alan Garcia Perez would prevail with 57% of the valid votes compared to 43% by his rival Ollanta Humala.

In the first Apoyo survey published today and conducted between May 3-5, four weeks before the runoff, Garcia holds a comfortable lead. Apoyo made also the most accurate prediction for the first round.
The survey showed a strong support for Garcia in Peru’s capital Lima (49%) wheras Humala only holds 27%. Limean voters are crucial, since most of them voted for Lourdes Flores in the first round.
The survey also revealed that 61% of the peruvian population have a negative image of Hugo Chavez, his expressions of endorsement for Humala seem to be counter-productive.

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Tags:

Friday, May 05, 2006

Peru Election: Second Run-off Survey permanent link   4 comments

May 6, 2006: (Update)

Tyler Bridges wrote an interesting article in the Miami Heald last Thursday, analyzing why Alan Garcia is such a skipjack.

Ex-president earns shot at redemption in Peru

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May 5, 2006

Alan Garcia widened his lead against Ollanta Humala ahead of a June 4 presidential runoff race, according to a poll by Datum published today.
The survey of 1,118 people, conducted between April 29 and May 1, showed Garcia with 56% support compared with 44% for Humala. A previous poll by Datum 10 days earlier gave Garcia 54 percent, with 46 percent for Humala.
It seems that the latest headlining news from Bolivia's naturalization of oil- and natural gas recources - a measure that Humala is planning to do as well, although with a different approach - and the latest verbal tug-of-war between Humala's "mentor", Hugo Chavez, Alan Garcia and President Alejandro Toledo, have an overall negative effect on Humala's campaign.

When asked about the two contestants major strengths, 26% said that Humala doesn't have any and 18% acknowledged Garcia's verbal skills and forms of expression. Humala's major weakness seems to be the perception of being too violent and aggressive (15%), Garcia's image takes a major hit from his previous presidential performance (1985-1990). 32% believe this to be his major weakness and 16% think he's a liar.

45% perceived Humala's campaign as too aggressive, contrary to Garcia's campaign which is considered by 58% as creative, ingenious and witty.
39% said that they liked 'none' of Humala's proposals and plans for government, wheras Garcia received the same answer from 25%. Not a good outlook for both and it gives us another example for Garcia's titulation of being "the lesser evil" of the two.

(chart provided by El Comercio, click on pic to enlarge)


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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Peru Election: Official Results permanent link   1 comments
This is the official result of the first round from April 9th, published yesterday by ONPE:

(source: La Republica)


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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Peru Election: It's Official ! permanent link   0 comments
FINALLY! Well... not exactly. There are still ballots to be counted but Peru's National Election Board, JNE, officially announced the second winner today. What everyone knew for over a week has become reality: Alan Garcia, Social Democrat, and not particularly successful in his previous tenure as president, will advance to a run-off with nationalist Ollanta Humala o June 4th, 2006.


"The remaining ballots will not produce any variation in the final results," said Enrique Mendoza, head of Peru's electoral board. In addition he informed that this resolution will be published at some future date, Thursday, in official Peruvian newspapers. Mendoza reiterated that this decision is for giving tranquillity to the population and so that both candidates and their supporting politic groupings can begin with their campaign for the second round.

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related news:

(by eluniversal.com)

Tensions between Lima and Caracas reached a climax following Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo's announcement that he would denounce his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chávez at the Organization of American States for meddling in Peruvian elections.
Last April 28th, Peru suggested it would resort to OAS, but they would not indicate whether they would actually denounce Chávez for his alleged violation of the Inter American Democratic Charter.
This case may be addressed on Wednesday at the OAS headquarters in Washington, when Peruvian ambassador the hemispheric organization Fernando de la Flor formally files a complaint with the OAS Permanent Council, AFP reported.

On Monday, Toledo further escalated tensions with Chávez, as the Peruvian ruler threatened to expel the Venezuelan ambassador from Lima. Last April 30th, Peru recalled its envoy in Caracas, Carlos Urrutia.
Toledo explained he made the decision to take this issue to OAS for this organization to urge Chávez to cease his comments on the Peruvian electoral process.

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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Peru Election: A debate ... or not permanent link   0 comments
Latest results as of 11.00am, Tuesday, 99.980% of counted votes:

Ollanta Humala: 30.624%
Alan Garcia: 24.325%
Lourdes Flores: 23.800%

The current difference between Garcia and Flores is 64,512 votes or 0.525%.

Meanwhile, the ridiculous wait for 100% continues. ONPE announced today that the official results of the first electoral round will be published "later today or tomorrow". Also, the results of the election for Congress will be known in about 10 days.
My advice: Don't take it for granted.
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After many roundtrip missiles have been fired between Ollanta Humala and Alan Garcia regarding the modalities of a televised presidential debate, it seems that we are finally approaching a solution.
Garcia abandoned his original proposal yesterday and accepted the terms raised by Humala, that a debate would have to include a controversy between the political advisors from both candidates.
Garcia previously insisted on a one-on-one debate between the presidential candidates only, since they are the central actors.

"Tell me what day and have Mr. Humala sit next to me. I will come with my future cabinet members and advisors and Mr. Humala with his. Perfect, then we are all satisfied. Just tell me the date", he declared in an interview with "RPP Noticias" which, by the way, is one of the possible broadcasters for that encounter.

Furthermore, although he intended to no longer speak on the subject of his verbal tug-of-war with Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez, he revealed that Venezuelan delegates had invited him on more than one occasion to meet with Chávez in Caracas.
However, he declined. "I did not accept because I don't need to meet with the godfathers of a person who politically depends on them because I believe he doesn't have a sufficient preparation", he said, alluding to his assumption that Chávez would maintain a 'padrino' role for Humala. In addition, he objected to the lukewarm attitude of the UPP candidate towards the latest verbal excesses of Hugo Chávez, indicating that Humala behaved in "an absolutely complacient" way.
In spite of the tense diplomatic situation, Garcia was optimistic in respect to the future of the bilateral relations with Venezuela: "the bands of friendship will not be affected by these excesses, the indiscretion of words and bar language of president Chávez, who will eventually go away from power, when there are elections".

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Bolivia nationalizes oil- and gas resources permanent link   8 comments
May 4th, 2006 - Update:
This is today's cover of Peruvian news magazine 'Caretas':




May 2nd, 2006 - Update:

After directing the military to take control of natural gas fields and oil refineries, Evo Morales declared last night at the Labor Day festivities in La Paz that the "transformation towards democracy" in Bolivia has begun.
"This is only the beginning. The mining industry, our forrests, all our natural recources will be next."
"We are responsible for the Bolivian people, for the international community. For that reason we have decided, with pertinacity and also with humility, courage, with rebelliousness, to recover our natural resources", he added when presenting what he called "the best gift for this year's Labor Day".
Historically, the mining sector was the backbone of the Bolivian economy until the end of the 20th century, when the boom of the the natural gas industry took over.

In response to the events in Bolivia, Peru's president Alejandro Toledo said that the nationalization of all hydrocarbon assets was a "sovereign decision by Bolivia's elected leader Evo Morales" but as for Peru, the stimulation of private and foreign investment is vital to secure economic growth.
"If president Morales has decided to nationalize the hydrocarbon industry, it is a sovereign decision of the president who was chosen by the people. I am not going to comment on that, but in Peru I believe that we must stimulate private and foreign investment to grow and to make sure that the growth reaches the poorest", he said. Toledo indicated that each country chooses its own destiny, in reference to the course that Bolivia and Venezuela have taken, and added that as head of the Peruvian State he respects the decisions of other countries.
He added that in order to reduce poverty, which is his government's main objective, it is necessary that the economy continues to grow, because in his view this is the only way to generate more jobs and more resources for the state, with the purpose of dedicating them towards health, education and nutrition.
"Those are the most powerful weapons to face poverty", he said.
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related coverage:

Alvaro Ruiz-Navajas' "Off Topic" blog
Miguel A. Buitrago's "MABB" blog
Peru Election 2006
Spain hints at retaliation over Bolivia energy seizure (Financial Times, registration required)
Nationalisation fuels fears over Morales’ power (Hal Weitzman, Financial Times)
South America's New Hero: Indian, Coca Farmer, Bolivian President (Spiegel Online International)

Picture Gallery
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May 1st, 2006:
Today, on Labor Day, Bolivia's president Evo Morales has nationalized all of his country's natural oil- and gas resources by decree. The leftist politician announced that all foreign energy companies have to leave the country if they don't follow the new rules.
All international companies are obligated to hand over production to the national association 'YPFB' which will then take over all export related businesses. For those who don't comply with the new conditions their only alternative is to leave the country.
Morales put the army in charge of controlling the production fields to secure the oil facilities' operabilities so that the supply chain will not be interrupted.

Morales did not go into details during his speech. In previous announcements he repeatedly expressed that the nationalization of recources would not mean the confiscation or the condemnation of foreign industries. However, today he announced that the privatization process that began during the 1990's would be rescinded and the state will take over all shares currently held by international companies.
According to Morales, all foreign energy companies now have 180 days to negotiate new contracts with the national "YPFB".
The relatively small Andean nation of Bolivia holds the fifth largest proven crude oil reserves in South America, with 441 million barrels while proven natural gas reserves total close to 27.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) as of January 2004. When potential gas reserves are included, the nation has close to 53.3 Tcf, therefore bestowing upon the nation bragging rights to owning the second-largest gas reserves in South America, second only to gas-rich Venezuela.
Currently there are about 20 foreign companies actively involved in the energy production. The most important ones are the Brazilian 'Petrobras', the spanish/argentinean 'Repsol YPF', the 'British Gas' and 'BP', the French 'Total' and the US company 'Exxon'.

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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Peru recalls ambassador from Venezuela permanent link   8 comments
The Peruvian government will withdraw his ambassador from Venezuela, due to the constant interferences by president Hugo Chávez in Peruvian politics, officials from the Ministry of Foreign Relations announced. This decision will become official in the next hours.
In the evening, Peru emitted a note of protest regarding the declarations of Chávez in relation to the ongoing electoral process.
Today, the Venezuelan president continued with his insults and described current president Alexander Toledo and Alan Garcia as "caymans from the same swamp".
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related articles:

Peru yanks ambassador to Venezuela (by CNN)

Peru withdraws ambassador to Venezuela (by Reuters)


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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Little Mermaid starts walking permanent link   4 comments
Since ONPE and JNE are changing their minds on a daily basis in regard to the completion of the vote count for the first electoral round - today's announcement says probably May 10th, which results in a probable date of either May 28th or June 4th for the second round - I decided to take a little break from my daily newscasting routines and pick up on a truly inspiring, hopeful and joyous story instead.

Read this article published at CNN.com today.
Smiling, blowing kisses and taking small assisted steps, Peru's "miracle baby" celebrated her second birthday Thursday, nearly a year after doctors successfully performed risky surgery to separate her fused legs.

Milagros Cerron, whose name means "miracles" in Spanish, was born with a rare congenital defect known as sirenomelia, or "mermaid syndrome."

The condition is almost always fatal, but Milagros has not only survived but also grown into an alert, vivacious little girl who can pull herself from a seated to a standing position.
Here's to wishing young Milagros a happy second birthday and a normal, healthy, prosperous life as she continues on her miraculous path to a happy future.

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Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Peru Election: First Punches permanent link   0 comments
Latest results as of 9.30pm, Wednesday, 99.45% of counted votes:

Ollanta Humala: 30.67%
Alan Garcia: 24.33%
Lourdes Flores: 23.73%

The wait for 100% continues. ONPE announced today that it will take until the weekend. The current difference between Garcia and Flores is 73,731 votes or 0.60%.

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The first punches were thrown yesterday in the campaign for president of Peru.
Ollanta Humala threw what many (especially APRA supporters) considered a low-blow. While campaigning in Trujillo, Peru's third largest city located in the north, he went to visit the grave of Víctor Raúl Haya de la Torre, the founder, father and grey eminence of Alan Garcia's APRA party.
No matter how hard he tried to say that his intentions were only a simple gesture of paying his respects to the Aprista leader, the followers of the star, Apra's party symbol, took it as a provocation leading to an inevitable interchange of insults and pushes with Humalistas. 'El Comandante' himself was greeted by a rough crowd with flying objects, mostly lemons.
Jorge del Castillo, Secretary General of APRA, accused Humala of being the provoker. "His intention was to generate this kind of reaction. I am not surprised at all that he infiltrates people who throw things at him, only to later blame us.", he said while adding that the UPP candidate conveniently forgot to pronounce when their supporters attacked Lourdes Flores in Huancavelica before April 9.
It is understandable that an election so polarized generates a tense climate that easily unleashes violence, yet inexcusable. On the other hand, Humala had to know this was coming and should have taken necessary precautions.

Alan Garcia today asked the militants of his party not to fall for the provocations of his contendor, Ollanta Humala, who is campaigning in towns in northern Peru since last Saturday, an area historically known as bastions of the Aprismo.
"I ask them not to pay attention to these provocations because that only contributes to what I have called the 'whitening' or cleaning of the candidate. Before the first electoral round he had a radical, threatening and violent message, and he is now showing his other, softer side to which it is not necessary to respond with acts of violence", he said. "Humala already showed his face of terrorism during the first round and now he is wearing his pacifistic mask for the run-off. We all know it was him who caused the violence when he placed his flowers at the tomb of the founder of APRA, though he never even read a book of this author", Garcia added.

The candidate of APRA also maintained that "surely" Humala is hoping to be attacked and then appear in front of the public as a victim, using that condition for the benefit of his electoral campaign.
"They (the Humalistas) have all hoped that there would be a bloody confrontation, they love when he presents himself as a victim of rock throwers. His own conduct of walking towards the people who reject and booed him had only the intention to generate an act of personal violence", he emphasized.

Doing !!!!!!!!!! Off to round number two.
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APRA wants presidential TV debate
Mercedes Cabanillas, congresswoman of Apra, insisted on a debate between the presidential candidates and not between official spokesmen or other representatives, as proposed by Humala's UPP. She said that the latter already have debated their proposals during the whole electoral campaign.
During an interview granted to Radio RPP, Cabanillas suggested that there should be several debates of the presidential candidates "because the people are going to define their vote between those two and not some party or other campaign officials".
She added that the second electoral round requires a comparison of governmental proposals and plans of government offered by each candidate for this country.
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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Peru Election: The calm before the storm permanent link   3 comments
Latest results as of 5.00pm, Tuesday, 99.17% of counted votes:

Ollanta Humala: 30.69%
Alan Garcia: 24.32%
Lourdes Flores: 23.70%

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Even though it is now clear that Garcia will face Humala in the second round on May 28th, none of them has thrown a punch yet and the light sabres have remained in the closet.
'El Comandante' and 'Mr. Second Chance' are going through their respective warm-up routines while waiting for the 100-percent result which, according to ONPE, will be accomplished by tomorrow.
So again we are experiencing the calm before the storm. Protective measures for a threatening volcano eruption create the headlines and the actual sabre-rattling happens elsewhere. In yet another showcase of a lingering latin american divide, the ever ambitious Hugo and his little brother Evo are spinning their knife grinders.

Peru signed a Free-Trade agreement with the USA a couple of weeks ago. Although widely considered (including myself) as a sneaky move by president Toledo and his legislation and criticized for bad timing 3 months before his abdication, it was a legally proper act. Peru had every right to sign this treaty, just like other countries have done the exact same. The deal still awaits ratification by Congress (in both countries) and follows the rules of the economic pact of the Andean Community of Nations (CAN).
Of course this prompted a rather childish reaction by Chavez, culminating in Venezuela's withdrawl from the Andean Community of Nations. His Bolivian puppy then went ahead calling peruvian president Toledo a traitor.
The peruvian response didn't take long. Alan Garcia, among other officials, already gave their 2 centimos during the last couple of days, and last night Alejandro Toledo strongly rejected any accusations by saying that he will not accept any kind of blackmail by foreign chief executives as a response on Peru's decisions and that the leaders of Venezuela and Bolivia should not look for excuses to resign from the 'CAN'.
"I understand that there are countries that do not need to open new markets because they have a strong income in petroleum, but countries of Latin America that are importers of petroleum have the obligation to generate work for their country. We are all responsible for our own destiny and shouldn't impose the decisions of each country by means of extortion." he said.
Toledo added that he will respect the decisions of Venezuela and Bolivia to leave the CAN but they should speak clearly and not making any excuses. "If they decide to move away from the Community then they should say it with clarity, without giving aloof excuses and evading their responsibility. Evo Morales is trying to handle a country in difficult situations. I respect that he's the head of state but will not respond to his statement. If Evo decides to follow Chávez, it is his option. I will continue working for the integration of Peru and Latin America".

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today's related articles:

Evo Morales' letter to Hugo Chávez (source: La Republica. In Spanish)

Presidential rivals do battle over Peru's history (source: Financial Times, Hal Weitzman)
At a recent rally in the northern coastal city, Mr García's speech was replete with references to Haya de la Torre (Apra's founder) and Apra's history. Rejecting the stark choice between completely open markets and nationalising industry, as threatened by his challenger in the elections, he told an ecstatic crowd: "Just as Victor Raul said: 'Neither Washington nor Moscow - only Apra will save Peru'."

Alan Garcia Leads in Peru Presidential Runoff Poll, Datum Says (by Bloomberg)
Peru's former President Alan Garcia would beat Nationalist Party candidate Ollanta Humala in a run-off vote for the presidency, according to the first poll to be published since the April 9 election.
Garcia had 54 percent of voter support, while Humala had 46 percent, according to a survey by Lima-based polling firm Datum Internacional.
Preliminary Comments to this poll by Max Cameron ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Humala again incriminated of Human Rights Violations permanent link   0 comments
According to an exclusive report by the Peruvian magazine 'Caretas', a former army sergeant, whose identity is not revealed, has given testimony in front of the investigating public procecutor which directly implicates Ollanta Humala, a.k.a. Captain Carlos, and his alleged involvement in murders and disappearances.

translated excerpt from the article:
The district attorney of Tocache, Arturo Campos, is known for his meticulous and patient work. In the last weeks he has interrogated witnesses, reviewed documents and carried out excavations to determine the veracity of the denunciations of human rights violations against Ollanta Humala.
His work is not simple. He has received multiple leads, but the public prosecutor has decided to follow any track no matter how improbable they seem.
This past March 28th (two weeks before the first election round) a distant military man offered his testimony to him. He is a sergeant of the Army and assures to have toiled with Ollanta at the counter-subversive military base (BACs) in Madre Mia in 1992. The retired army subordinate, now 35 years old, related ferocious episodes that, according to him, compromises 'Captain Carlos' in murders and disappearances. A judicial source said that the military man tries to take refuge in the effective collaboration, which will be only granted if his testimony is properly verified.
He has requested that his identity is not being revealed. The sergeant alleges that he was stationed at Madre Mia's BACs between May and August of 1992. It is officially known that Ollanta was the head of that unit from January until the end of July of that year. He was later assigned to other bases of the Batallón Contrasubversivo (BCS) 313 in Huallaga, and returned to Madre Mia in November. By the end of January of 1993, he went to the Artillery school of the Army (EAE) in Lima, according to his service record.
In June 1992, according to the aspiring collaborator, his patrol catched 18 terrorists in the Alto Huamuco area. But back at Madre Mia, he alleges, Captain Carlos ordered to execute them and to bury them in common graves. Some of the episodes that he related are frankly unusual. The sergeant continued with another instance that happened by the end of May 1992. Four terrorists were catched during an ambush. They were armed. When asked where they obtained their weapons, they mentioned "madrederos" or wood dealers and, in an act of revenge, the retired military man Ollanta planned a massacre. According to his testimony, Captain Carlos had the 62 wood dealers murdered. Among them, he insists, were kids, women and elders. He related that Ollanta made them dig a great grave in an area of the small village La Morada. "Once they did, they killed them all and they buried them right there", he says.
see this free excerpt (pdf file) here
(you need a Caretas subscription to read the whole article)

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Monday, April 24, 2006

Peru Election: The agony of defeat permanent link   1 comments
Latest results as of 5.00pm, Monday, 98.461% of counted votes:

Ollanta Humala: 30.702%
Alan Garcia: 24.334%
Lourdes Flores: 23.675%

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Losing is tough, we all know that. Losing two in a row is even tougher.
Lourdes Flores hasn't picked up the phone yet to to concede defeat, but members of her alliance have.
Congressman Rafael Rey is the first member of 'Unidad Nacional' to publicly recognize the defeat of his alliance in the electoral battle for a run-off. The virtual member of the Andean Parliament also suggested vote for Alan Garcia because he is "the most viable option".
"I personally recognize the defeat and hopefully I am wrong and the final result will say the opposite, but no longer should we give the impression of not knowing how to lose", he said.

Meanwhile, political analysts are debating on the best strategy to defeat Humala. Mario Vargas Llosa, renowned book author known for his staunch market liberal views and APRA opponent, wrote an essay yesterday in EL Comercio suggesting the only possible way would be an alliance of APRA (Garcia) and Unidad Nacional (Flores).
"If the political forces that represent Garcia and Flores not unite, either one of them will be defeated by the military man who claims that Venezuelan commander Hugo Chávez and the ex-dictator of Peru, General Juan Velasco Alvarado are his mentors and role models.
The victory of Ollanta Humala would be a catastrophe for Peru and Latin America, a brutal regression in a continent that seemed on its way to democratization and away from the worst plagues of our past: 'caudillismo', militarism, populism and authoritarianism."
He indicated that, at this point, personal affections or political antipathies should not be the priority, but the defense of the democracy in Peru.
"Ollanta must be stopped in the second electoral round by means of a great agreement of all democratic forces."
Most other analysts however disagree. They warn that an alliance of such kind would only play into Humala's hands and reinforce his successful "everybody hates me", anti-establishment strategy.

I agree with the latter.
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rici provided a nice chart based on the ONPE snapshot of this morning (Monday), and
shows the projected votes for each candidate from each region: Lima, rest of peru, rest of the world. It predicts that Lourdes will close the gap by a bit more than 30,000 votes, leaving her some 50,000 votes behind.

(click to enlarge)

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today's related articles:

- Garcia looks set to face Humala in Peru runoff (by Reuters)
- Divided Peru set for tough election (by Hal Weitzman, Financial Times)
- Humala to face Garcia in Peru run-off (by Forbes)

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Saturday, April 22, 2006

Peru Election: Do we have a runner-up? permanent link   3 comments
Latest results as of 8.00pm, Sunday, 97.66% of counted votes:

Ollanta Humala: 30.73%
Alan Garcia: 24.33%
Lourdes Flores: 23.64%

Alan Garcia leads Lourdes Flores by 83,154 votes, or 0.69%.


The race for second place which qualifies for an electoral one-on-one on May 28th is all but decided. Since there are no extraterrestrial voters to expect who could change the outcome significantly, it will take Lourdes Flores a major miracle or a couple of rocket boosters to catapult her halfway to the promised land.
Humala and Garcia are already putting on their punching gloves and have resumed their campaigns by invading hostile territory trying to steal voters in each others backyard. Humala was in Trujillo yesterday, APRA country in Northern Peru, and Garcia tried to woo voters away from his nemesis in Puno, Humala's stronghold in Southern Peru.
The National Jury of Elections (JNE) will finish off the subject of solving 'actas' under observation, which would allow the National Office of Electoral Processes (ONPE) to reach the vote count of 99.80 percent between today and tomorrow.

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today's featured links and related articles:

Max Cameron going out on a limb, then stopping short :-) :
How I predicted the peruvian election

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news in brief:

- The evacuation of settlers living in close proximity to the 'Ubinas' volcano continues. Farmers in the nearest town of Querapi offered their livestock to buyers at half price and boarded buses to the city of Arequipa, six hours away on poorly maintained roads. "There are no more cars, we need more vehicles so people can come here," an agitated woman balancing luggage and an infant said upon arriving in Arequipa.
"We have been in bad shape for days. The water and the corn, everything is contaminated," she told local TV. Livestock have been poisoned by eating grass coated with volcanic ash and some 20 llamas have died.
Regional officials said another 250 villagers and nearly 500 animals would be evacuated from Querapi on Saturday to a safer area nearby.

see video (in Spanish, MS IE and media player only)

- Today marks the 9-year anniversary of the end of the hostage crisis in the Japanese ambassador's official residence in Lima when on April 22, 1997, troops stormed in and freed all but one of 72 hostages held inside, ending a four-month siege of the building by anti-government 'Tupac Amaru' rebels.

read a recount of the events here (BBC.com)
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Friday, April 21, 2006

Peru Election: Foggy Friday permanent link   7 comments
Latest results as of 9.05pm, Friday, 96.04% of counted votes:

Ollanta Humala: 30.82%
Alan Garcia: 24.34%
Lourdes Flores: 23.56%

Alan Garcia leads Lourdes Flores by 92,227 votes, or 0,78%.

Lima is covered by a dense fog this Friday morning but contrary to the weather forecast , the fog that hung over the presidential election results is slowly lifting and the picture of who will advance to the second round is getting clearer.
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I Am The Sum Of All Fears

Interview with Ollanta Humala, by German Newspaper "Die Welt", April 19th, 2006:

Q: Mr. Humala, how do you feel when you are mentioned in one breath with Evo Moráles and Hugo Chávez?
A: I am just a simple candidate and feel honored to be compared with such leaders who are highly regarded in their countries. We should not forget that Latin America is in a process of decay that its peoples slowly begin to detain, for example by finding solutions for the collapse of the neoliberal model. A new leadership has emerged from this situation and I feel as being a part of this latinamerican family.
Q: You identify with Chávez and his bolivarian revolution. What connects you with Venezuela's president?
A: If you listen to the current peruvian administration then I am financed by Chávez. Others say the drug cartells are paying me. I am the sum of all fears. I will not make Peru a Chávez subsidiary. We are a nationalistic movement, depending on no one. My paradigm is peruvian ex-president Gen. Velasco Alvarado because I am also military, nationalist, and my politics are aimed against the traditional regime that betrays the people.
Q: Is there really a "new left" in Latin America?
A: One can say there is a new left or an indigenous streaming or, as in Peru, a nationalism. The name is discussible. The important thing is, it is a movement against neoliberalism that searches for alternatives to solve the problems of the majority and to solve structural problems like foreign indebtedness, poverty, the level of education, the issues of energie and coca cultivation.
Q: Do you see the coca cultivation as a integral part of your culture, like Evo Moráles does?
A: Coca cultivation is really an important part of the Andean-american culture and fundamental for our identity. Thats why a forced, violent eradication cannot be the solution because it destroys the basis of income of 200.000 farming families. Instead we should seek profitable alternatives, formulas and mechanisms for a healthy exploitation of the coca plant.
Q: Your politics wants to combine social justice and nationalism. How does your nationalism look like?
A: Nationalism is the defense of the nation and an answer to the de-nationalization process, which is a result of the globalization that followed the victory of imperialism after the cold war. In this process some countries are globalizing other countries, just like we Peruvians are being globalized. Furthermore nationalism is a reassurance of democracy and its institutions, the fortification of the citizen.
Q: Globalization has no advantages?
A: Of course. For instance in communication potentials, health, education. But at the same time it is softening our sovereignty and destroys the cultural identity of peoples. In Peru it enriches those who control the economy and to impose their power by politicians to protect their interests.
Q: Do you want to nationlize foreign companies?
A: No. We respect private property and investment, we want for them to come and pay their taxes. We are in favor of international investment. However, in regard to strategic activities the state cannot renounce its ownership role. In the case of coal and gas the state has to able to co-manage. With 49, 50 or 51 percent. We will not give Repsol or Telefonica the chop, but we want the state to be a co-shareholder.

(conversation lead by Gonzalo Caceres for Deutsche Welle TV)

read the interview (written in German) here
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news in brief:

- The 'virtual' congressman of Lourdes Flores' alliance 'Unidad National', Walter Menchola, clarified that his party 'Solidaridad Nacional' has not split from the electoral alliance with 'Partido Popular Cristiano' and 'Renovación Nacional'. In talking to the press, he indicated that the future of this coalition will be analyzed after the results of the presidential elections are known.
(my take: sounds like a reprieve to me...)

- The ex-candidate of "National Restoration", Humberto Lay Sun, insisted that several anomalies and irregularities in the vote count to the Congress were discovered, which would exclude his party of a representation in the coming legislative. "We have found 50 errors in 50 'actos', this seems suspicious", he said in press conference.
Lay stopped short from describing the irregularities as fraud but he reiterated that the number of faults in the vote count are suspect. In addition he said that they are working on a revision of the count and that they hope that this will be concluded as rapidly as possible. "We are implementing personal computers to accelerate the process".
(my take: The evangelist minster Ley was one of the big surprises in this election, no one expected he would get that many votes. I truly hope his obections are well founded, otherwise it sounds kinda funny how people react when their party falls a couple of votes short. Well, I guess we've seen it before...)

- On Monday, April 24, the 'week of vaccination in the Américas' begins. Parents will be able to take their children to diverse supermarkets like Wong and Metro to be immunized against diseases like the polio, tetanus and hepatitis B, among others.
(my take: no word yet on how/where this this is handled in rural areas outside Lima. Inquiring minds want to know...)

(photo by National Geographic)-The 'Ubinas' volcano, located in the region of Moquegua 900 kilometers south of Lima, continues to send clouds of poisonous ash and acidic smoke up to 800 meters high into the air and raining ash covers towns in an 8 kilometer radius.
Locals have been wearing face masks to keep from breathing ashes and fumes, and some have even bestowed the protection on their livestock, as seen in the above image of a calf taken on Wednesday.
The first evacuations are under way.

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today's featured links:

a very interesting discovery by Max Cameron:
Peru’s New Cleavage: North versus South

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Quote of the day permanent link   8 comments
"I will defeat Humala at the ballot boxes. With Maradona or without him."
- Peruvian presidential candidate Alan Garcia, after learning that Maradona will come to a campaign rally in Lima in May to endorse and support his nationalist opponent Ollanta Humala (April 26, 2006)

"Are we an Andean Community or are we not? At least I'd call it bigamy - in our culture you cannot be married twice, you have to divorce first or at least be separarted."
- Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, after Peru signed a Free-Trade agreement with the USA, hoping that Humala will become peruvian president and nullify the treaty (April 26, 2006)

"I ask comrade and brother Hugo Chavez to save the CAN in the name of the peoples' struggle."
"I'm obliged to consider it out of solidarity with our friend Evo. I will reconsider if Peru and Colombia reconsider, too"

- Bolivian president Evo Morales on Venezuala's withdrawl from the 'Community of Andean Nations'. And Hugo Chavez' response (April 23/24, 2006)

"For years I've been saying that the Andean Community is dead. Right now, I'm president of the Andean Community. And what am I president of? Of a big lie. Above all now that Colombia and Peru have signed a free trade agreement with the United States, in this it's true that they finished killing it."
- Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez (April 20, 2006)

"No. I have never used the word admiration. I admire the life of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King."
- Ollanta Humala, when asked if he's an admirer of Hugo Chavez (April 15, 2006)

"To achieve the country′s dream, Peru needs twenty more years of growth combined with a strong emphasis on educational programs that are multilingual and multicultural."
- Eliane Karp de Toledo, First Lady of Peru (April 17, 2006)

"A woman who does not have children is an incomplete woman."
- Nadine Heredia, wife of presidential candidate Ollanta Humala (April 2, 2006)

Note: Someone read this post and had the idea of creating a 'quote of the day' section in the sidebar. Since I value my readers' input and suggestions immensely, I happily obey. :-)

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