Thursday, August 15, 2013
The global economic crisis has reached Peru, President Ollanta Humala said Wednesday, pointing to a sharp decline in tax revenue from the key mining sector.
“The world is going through a tremendous economic crisis. The crisis has reached Peru and that’s why we’ve had a big decrease in [mining taxes], which affects the regions,” Humala said in comments reported by El Comercio, Peru’s largest circulation newspaper.
Tax revenue from the mining canon —an important tax on mining companies that is distributed to regional governments where the extractive activity takes place— has fallen more than 3 billion soles (over $1 billion). The sharp decline is the result of lower earnings in the mining sector as a result of falling metal prices.
President Humala came into office in 2011 with high hopes of using mining taxes to boost spending on government social programs aimed at alleviating poverty. Humala said that despite the decline in tax revenue, the government will not paralyze public works. He said the central government will assist regional governments that will have seen their revenue cut significantly.
Metal prices have tanked due to two reasons. The first is slower growth in China, the world’s top consumer of commodities, and the second is the growing possibility that the U.S. Federal Reserve will begin to scale down its quantitative easing program.
This is having an impact on Peru. Exports, which are heavily dependent on copper and gold shipments, have brought in sharply lower revenues so far this year, while economic activity has also started to lose its pace more quickly than many private sector and government economists had originally forecast.
BBVA Banco Continetal, for example, recently lowered its outlook for Peru’s 2013 economic growth to 5.7 percent, from 6.5 percent. It argues that Peru is going to have a “soft landing.” Executives in Peru’s biggest banking and mining companies have also warned about the growing risks to the country as a result of the slowdown in China.
While the growth figure is still strong to many emerging and developed countries, it is lower than Peru’s growth during recent years. Peru’s economy expanded 6.3 percent in 2012, 6.9 percent in 2011 and 8.8 percent in 2010.
Inca Ice Maiden mummy tests false-positive for cocaine
By Rick Vecchio
Did you read how scientists have determined that a 13-year-old girl selected for Inca ritual sacrifice 500 years ago was plied with massive amounts of alcohol and cocaine for up to a year before her death?
Well, technically, yes. But in reality, it was obnoxiously misleading coverage.
The pharmacologically active ingredient of coca is the alkaloid “cocaine” — not to be confused with the highly processed white powder. Yet, it appears that is what a bevy of seasoned journalists and their editors, who should have known better, wanted readers to think when they saw the sensational headlines.
In March 1999, high-altitude archaeologists Johan Reinhard and Constanza Ceruti discovered the “Ice Maiden” and a boy and a girl, between the ages of 4 and 5, entombed near the 6,739-meter summit of Mt. Llullaillaco in Argentina.
You might have watched the great 2007 National Geographic documentary about the work of British researcher Andrew Wilson and his team studying the mummies.
They speculated the children may have been buried alive, given that their internal organs and brains were preserved intact. They verified that the children had been “fattened up” with high protein diets of “elite” foods such as maize and llama meat for months before they were left to freeze to death.
They also confirmed that the Maiden was fed fermented maize beer and chewed coca leaves before her death. A wad of the leaves was still in her mouth.
Wilson and his team conducted biochemical analysis of the mummies’ hair, which showed “escalating coca and alcohol ingestion in the lead-up to death.” That was what prompted the “Cocaine” headlines this week.
The elaborate chemistry to produce cocaine hydrochloride was developed more than 300 years after the fall of the Inca Empire.
Since the 1970s, cocaine production has developed into the illicit process we know today. Carried out in South American jungle settings in toxic maceration pits, tons of coca leaf is soaked in water and sulfuric acid, mixed in calcium oxide or sodium carbonate. The resulting semi processed paste is then mixed with kerosene to remove impurities, and later remixed with ether or acetone and more hydrochloric acid, and finally dried under heat lamps.
The decidedly more innocent laurel-shaped coca leaf is still revered as sacred in Andean religion and is is completely legal for traditional medicinal and ritual uses in Peru and Bolivia. Coca releases alkaloids when chewed, or steeped in an herbal tea, producing a mild stimulant that helps the bloodstream absorb and process oxygen at high altitude, as well as stave off hunger and fatigue.
Some of those same alkaloids are present in cocaine hydrochloride. That is why chewing coca or drinking coca tea can leave incriminating chemical markers that produce a false positive result for cocaine in urine tests.
Advice for athletes or government employees who might be subject to drug testing: avoid coca tea. But for everyone else going to Cusco, Puno, La Paz or other high-altitude destinations, drink up.
Former Congresswoman Obregon to be Held in Maximum Security Prison
Former Congresswoman Nancy Obregon is to be held in the maximum security woman’s prison in Chorrillos as she awaits a trail on charges that she has been running a cocaine trafficking organization, according to daily El Comercio.
Obregon’s lawyer, Pedro Gonzalez, said that the ex lawmaker will probably be held in the prison for at least six months.
Obregon was a well-known lawmaker who represented the San Martin region in 2006 to 2011 for President Ollanta Humala’s
Nationalist party. She has long defended the rights of coca growers but has consistently denied any involvement in drug production or trafficking.
Nationalist party. She has long defended the rights of coca growers but has consistently denied any involvement in drug production or trafficking.
However, in July she was arrested in a pre-dawn raid at her home in Lima’s Pueblo Libre district. She is accused of leading a drug trafficking gang that shipped cocaine from the Upper Huallaga Valley, one of Peru’s top coca growing regions, to Bolivia. From there, Peruvian cocaine is often sent to Brazil and other markets for consumption. Obregon is also accused of owning two coca maceration pits in San Martin and other drug-related businesses.
Obregon allegedly also had frequent contact with members of the Shining Path rebels, who provide protection to drug traffickers. She allegedly was recently negotiating thepossible involvement of rebels from the southern VRAEM valleys to move north to protect Upper Huallaga growers from the government’s new eradication efforts, following the arrest and disbandment of Shining Path rebels in the Upper Huallaga valleys.
During interrogation this week, Obregon has denied operating a coca collection center in the Monzon Valley, or having any links to the Shining Path in Ayacucho. She told the drug police squad, who have been tapping into her conversations for over a year, that she was chosen by President Humala and his wife Nadine to be a congressional candidate. Obregon was detained on at least two occasions prior to Humala’s election, but allegations could not be proven and she was released. Just over two years ago, however, she was asked to leave the party when the allegations became stronger.
“If we made a mistake, I will be the first to recognize it. I will offer the country my apologies if I was fooled,” said Daniel Abugattas, a leading member of the Gana Peru party and former president of Congress. ” Abugattas said the party had made “an enormous mistake” by not investigating into Obregon’s past. ”We brought her to politics and she had our absolute support, and I backed her permanently, while she was in congress and afterwards too.”
She also had strong support from Ricardo Soberon, briefly head of the DeVida drug policy agency in 2011, who tried to implement a process of incorporating coca growers into the economy by creating strong opportunities for crop substitution and income generating alternatives —rather than just forced eradication. At the time of Obregon’s arrest, Soberon told Ideele Radio that it was up to the judge and Obregon’s attorney to prove their case. “If she is found criminally responsible, she will have to pay for the crimes.”
President Humala said Wednesday that the government would not get involved in the judicial process against Obregon. “We are hoping that the issue is resolved as soon as possible and that the truth comes out,” he said.
Peru on Alert for Shining Path Retribution After Top Rebels Killed
Peruvian officials are on alert for retribution from Shining Path remnants after state security forces killed two of its top military strategists, daily La República reported.
Interior Minister Wildredo Pedraza said “it is natural to expect a reaction” from the Shining Path following the killing of Alejandro Borda Casafranca, alias Alipio, and Marco Antonio Quispe Palomino, alias Gabriel, in south central Peru.
Their deaths are seen as a blow to the Shining Path in the VRAEM region —which covers the valleys of the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro rivers— as the rebels were the top two in charge of the its military strategy. Gabriel, for example, was responsible for the kidnapping of some 40 natural gas workers last year and the subsequent killing of about 10 soldiers and police sent to rescue the workers.
“What is left is, we’ll say, half of the high command of the Shining Path in the VRAEM,” said Pedraza. “Fortunately, what is left is the political part because what was hit on Sunday was the military part.”
Analysts point out, however, that there will be an initial confusion in the Shining Path but that there are some 400 rebels in the VRAEM and they will soon find leaders among themselves.
Pedraza added that the military’s offensive against the Shining Path in the VRAEM will continue. “It is natural to expect a reaction. The Armed Forces and Police in the VRAEM are on the alert. So we aren’t going to be over-confident.”
Officials and analysts say the government’s success against the rebels is due to intelligence work. Intelligence, as opposed to military-police bases and troops on the ground, played a key role last year in capturing the head of another Shining Path faction located further north in the Upper Huallaga Valley.
The Shining Path aimed to overthrow the Peruvian state in the 1980s. The conflict, which intensified until the capture of Shining Path’s founding leader, Abimael Guzman, in 1992, resulted in 70,000 deaths, most of them of rural indigenous people caught in the middle of the Shining Path and the military.
The remnants in the VRAEM, however, no longer follow any particular ideology, and instead have played a big role in cocaine trafficking.
Peruvian Special Forces Kill Leading Members of Shining Path’s VRAEM Faction
Peruvian security forces killed two leading members of the Shining Path rebels, President Ollanta Humala said in an interview with RPP RADIO.
The killing of Alejandro Borda Casafranca, alias Alipio, and Marco Antonio Quispe Palomino, alias Gabriel, could be an important blow to the Shining Path remnants in the Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro river valleys, known as the VRAEM.
The joint military-police operation has been praised by former Presidents Alan Garcia and Alejandro Toledo, and also by political analysts. The success of the operation, according to analyst Carlos Tapia, has been the use of intelligence rather than force, including the paying for information in an area dominated by drug trafficking profits.
The rebels were the top two in charge of the Shining Path’s military strategy. A third rebel who goes by the name of Alfonso was also killed by Peruvian security personnel. He was the right-hand man of Alipio, who joined the Shining Path in the early 1980s.
“I’m satisfied with this operation,” said President Humala. ” I congratulate and I believe that we all have to recognize the work of these brave soldiers and police.”
Humala said there will be a crisis within the Shining Path’s leadership following the deaths.
“These criminal terrorists are going to be left with people who they no longer trust absolutely. It is very difficult work under these conditions and in this geography,” said Humala.
Analysts point out, however, that the group led by Gabriel, and his brothers, still has some 400 men operating in five regions of the VRAEM valleys.
The Shining Path has been responsible for several high-profile attacks in recent years, including last year’s kidnapping of 40 natural gas workers. Gabriel took responsibility for that kidnapping, and the subsequent killing of 10 police and soldiers.
The Shining Path aimed to over throw the Peruvian state in the 1980s. The conflict, which intensified until the capture of Shining Path’s founding leader, Abimael Guzman, in 1992, resulted in 70,000 deaths, most of whom were rural indigenous residents caught in the middle of the Shining Path and the military.
The remnants in the VRAEM no longer follow the same ideology, and instead have played a big role in cocaine trafficking.
Friday, August 2, 2013
Tragedia enluta sector turismo en Arequipa.
Propietaria de COMFORT TOURS SAC fallece en trágico accidente de tránsito
La propietaria de la agencia de viajes y turismo COMFORT TOURS SAC YANETH VIDAL GOMEZ falleció de forma trágica el día 31 de Julio a las 17: 30 aprox en el kilómetro 792 en el sector de San Juan de Chorunga, al colisionar violentamente el auto Toyota Yaris en el que viajaba con un camión de marca MACK que había invadido el carril contrario.
La colisión fué frontal y muy violenta, ya que según las informaciones, el auto Toyota Yaris de color rojo fue arrastrado varios metros por el camión dejando como saldo tres muertos: YANETH VIDAL GOMEZ, ALEX VIDAL GOMEZ ,y FLOR DE MARIA ZUÑIGA DE VIDAL pereciendo estos dos últimos instantáneamente. YANETH VIDAL GOMEZ fue rescatada por personal de la Policía Nacional y el Cuerpo de Bomberos con vida, pero debido a las severas fracturas y desangramiento falleció en el momento en que iba a ser trasladada al hospital de Camaná.
YANETH VIDAL GOMEZ era una conocida empresaria del sector turismo en Arequipa asi como en Cusco quien se hizo conocer por ser una madre abnegada así como una empresaria emprendedora muy querida por muchos.
Desde la redacción de The Colca Specialist enviamos nuestras más sinceras condolencias a todos los familiares asi como a todo el personal de la empresa COMFORT TOURS SAC de Arequipa y Cusco esperando que la Divina Gracia acoja en su seno a quien en vida fuera YANETH VIDAL GOMEZ.
The Colca Specialist