Tag Archive | "peru"

Trans-Pacific Partnership Due to be Signed in February 2016

The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will be signed in New Zealand on 4th February 2016, it was announced today, after leaders from the 12 participating countries met in Manila to discuss the timeline for the comprehensive free trade agreement.

TPP countries. In dark green: currently in negotiations; in light green: announced interest (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

TPP countries. In dark green: currently in negotiations; in light green: announced interest (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

Leaders also agreed on a two-year period for each country’s parliament to approve the deal, meaning it will likely come into force in 2018.

The presidents of Chile, Peru and Mexico, who are in the Philippines for the 13th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit (APEC), joined US president Barack Obama and eight other heads of state to finalise the deal after the conclusion of five year-long negotiations in October.

The TPP, which will cover 40% of the global economy, is set to create the largest economic block in history by reducing around 18,000 customs duties between the 12 countries and establishing common rules on issues like intellectual property, labour regulations and environmental standards.

Supporters of the deal say that the new block will act as a counterweight to China’s growing dominance in the global economy.

However, NGOs and politicians across the Pacific countries have raised concerns over the secrecy in which negotiations were conducted, the deal’s environmental implications, its impact on internet freedoms and healthcare costs, and powers given to transnational corporations.

President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, which recorded US$45.8bn in trade with the countries involved in 2014, may face problems in ratifying the TPP in a congress where many opposition politicians have expressed concerns. Earlier this year Senator Francisco Chahuán publicly demanded a review of the negotiations with greater “transparency”.

Bachelet responded to criticism of the deal on Monday, saying, “We understand that we have to strengthen democracies and human rights […] but we also need to improve social policies and the economy.”

“We have very good arguments with which to explain to people why the TPP is good for us. We’ll be defending it wherever [we need to],” she concluded.

The full text of the agreement was made public on 5th November. However, Chile is Better Without the TPP, a campaign group made up of 58 social and environmental organisations, continues to condemn the lack of public participation in the negotiations, extensive concessions to the US on trade issues, and the potential loss of national sovereignty.

“The late release of these texts confirms the fears sparked by pages leaked by Wikileaks and which organisations across the world have raised. This deal is not good for citizens, even less for countries like Chile, and it is the expression of what happens when governments make deals without social nor political participation,” the group said in a statement.

Some have highlighted the unequal opportunities of countries within the agreement. Out of the 12 countries involved Peru, Mexico and Chile come 12th, 11th and 9th respectively in the World Bank’s Logistics Performance Index, which measures the challenges and advantages affecting different countries’ ability to benefit from international trade.

The TPP includes: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, the US, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

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Agreement Reached in Trans-Pacific Partnership Negotiations

Trade ministers from 12 countries —including three Latin America ones— have reached an agreement in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations, creating a new economic block which will include 40% of the world’s economy and the countries’ 800 million people.

TPP countries. In dark green: currently in negotiations; in light green: announced interest (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

TPP countries. In dark green: currently in negotiations; in light green: announced interest (image courtesy of Wikipedia)

The TPP, which still has to be ratified by lawmakers in each country, will reduce trade barriers between the US, Japan, and nine other Pacific countries and affect prices of goods and services all over the world. Supporters estimate that it will increase global economic activity by US$200 billion per year.

Mexico, Peru, and Chile have signed up to the deal, hoping to increase exports and attract investment, particularly from Asian markets. The TPP is expected to form an integral part of the three countries’ economic strategy in future.

Mexican Economy Minister, Joaquín López-Doriga, hailed the TPP’s potential effects on his country’s automotive industry, saying that Mexico was among the most active in negotiations because it is one of the countries “with the greatest capacity for automotive production in the world.” Previous free trade partnerships, such as NAFTA, have been credited with recent booms in auto-related investment in the country and it has been estimated that the TPP could increase the size of its US$397 billion industry by 37% over the next five years.

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala, said today that the deal would offer advantages for small and medium-sized businesses in his country thanks to a special chapter designed to allow them to “enter into global chains of value”. He also highlighted the potential increase in “non-traditional” exports such as agro-industry, fishing, manufacturing, and cotton and alpaca wool products.

The final agreement– which also included Australia, Brunei, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and Vietnam – was reached in Atlanta yesterday after five days of talks, but negotiations have been going on for the last five years.

A sticking point had been the issue of the length of the monopolies that biological drug companies should have over new patents. The US had pushed for up to 12 years, but many countries have expressed fears that such a period would significantly increase the cost of health-care by impeding the creation of generic medicines.

Chilean Foreign Affairs Minister Heraldo Muñoz expressed satisfaction at the agreement of a five-year limit, – the same as the existing rule under a bilateral trade agreement between the US and Chile. “This is a valuable deal for Chile, and one which protects our interests,” he said. “The TPP will be one of the defining trade agreements of the 21st century. We’ll be part of the largest and most modern economic scheme in the world.”


Critics of the deal, however, say it does not go far enough to protect the rights of citizens, particularly in developing countries.

Protestors against the TPP in the US (photo courtesy of Public Citizen)

Protestors against the TPP in the US (photo courtesy of Public Citizen)

On the issue of pharmaceutical patents, a statement released by Doctors Without Borders said, “Although the text has improved over the initial demands, the TPP will still go down in history as the worst trade agreement for access to medicines in developing countries, which will be forced to change their laws to incorporate abusive intellectual property protections for pharmaceutical companies.”

Further criticism has stemmed from the secrecy in which the TPP – which also affects issues such as internet legislation, digital rights, and environmental protection measures – has been negotiated. The public has had no access to drafts of the bill – aside from a few leaked chapters – and even some of the countries involved have complained of being kept in the dark about the contents of the agreement. The full text of the agreement has yet to be released to the public, though a summary has been published.

Chilean activist group, Chile is Better Without the TPP (PCCMST) denounced the “absolute secrecy and lack of effective citizen participation” in the agreement, expressing their “profound rejection for the irresponsible actions of Michelle Bachelet’s government”.

One controversial point included in the deal is its investor-state dispute settlement provisions (ISDS), which enable companies to take legal action against governments whose decisions negatively affect their investments in a country. This has been a particular issue for countries with involvement in extractive industries, such as Peru.

Peruvian economist Felix Moreno told RT that, “the secrecy is a result of the deal’s content, which the public is not going to like.” He says the TPP is “an agreement with a lot of small print, which has been very intensely negotiated and in which various special interest groups and large companies have applied a lot of pressure to ensure certain advantages”.

The agreement will now be put before the parliaments of the 12 countries involved.

The absence of China from the TPP has lead many to label the deal a US challenge to China’s growing dominance in the Pacific region. China refused to join the new economic block due to restrictions the TPP would place on its financial sector.

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Peru: State of Emergency After Four Killed in Anti-Mining Protests

The Peruvian government has declared a state of emergency in six provinces in the country’s southeast in response to violent protests that have left at least four people dead.

For six days thousands of protesters have gathered to oppose a mining project in Las Bambas, Peru. Residents of Apurímac, in the province of Cotabambas in Southeast Peru, allege irregular modifications in the mining company’s environmental impact assessment, made and approved without the consultation of local communities.

protests mine peru

The protest against the Las Bambas mining project (Photo via Observatory of Mining Conflicts in Peru)

Protests first broke out Friday 25th September but turned violent on Monday when police moved in, leaving two dead and at least ten injured after police shot at the crowd. The number of casualties has now been raised to four deaths and at least 20 injured as conflicts continue.

“A state of emergency is declared for 30 days in the provinces of Catabambas, Grau, Andahuaylas, Chincheros, Chumbivilcas y Espinar. The police will maintain internal control with the help of the Armed Forces,” the government declared yesterday.

The decree suppresses constitutional rights related to personal liberty and security, the inviolability of the home, and freedom of protest and movement.

The Frente de Defensas de Cotabambas, which is leading the protests, said that it would call a ‘truce’ for 48 hours in an effort to establish a dialogue with local and national authorities.

Las Bambas is a large, long-life copper development project that, according to the primary operator MMG, is 90% constructed. It is the largest mining project in Peru, and in its first full year of operation is expected to be one of the top three copper producing mines in the world.

Peru relies heavily on its mineral production and is one of the foremost producers in the world. According to Peru’s Interior Minister, Pérez Guadalupe, mineral production accounts for 1.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Project.

He commented that the government has “sent additional police to protect a huge investment that will benefit all Peruvians.”

According the The Observatory of Mining Conflicts in Peru, there are more than 200 active social conflicts due to mining in the country.

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Peru: One Dead and Two Injured in Anti-Mining Protest

Interior Minister José Luis Pérez Guadalupe (photo: Wikipedia)

Interior Minister José Luis Pérez Guadalupe (photo: Wikipedia)

A 35-year-old man was shot dead as protesters clashed with police during a manifestation against a mining project in the Arequipa region, in south-western Peru.

Interior Minister José Luis Pérez Guadalupe confirmed the death of construction worker Henry Checya Chura and said that two other people were injured, apparently by gunshots, and taken to the hospital in Arequipa.

The National Police informed today the results of the autopsy, which revealed that Checya Chura’s death was caused by two lead bullets that entered his body through his back, destroying his lungs.

Residents of the city of Mollendo have been protesting against the Tía María copper mining project for weeks. The clashes occurred at midnight on Tuesday, as the National Police attempted to evict the protesters who were blocking a road.

The conflict over the mining project began in 2009, when the mining company, Southern Peru, launched an information campaign about Tía María. Local farmers complained their livelihood would be threatened as they would lose access to underground water reservoirs, necessary for watering their crops, as they would be used to satisfy the mine’s massive water needs.

In April 2011, three protesters died in clashes with the police and then-president Alan García cancelled the project. However, the company presented a new Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in 2013, which was approved the following year by the Energy and Mining Ministry, and the project was re-launched.

Protests began again this year as farmers demanded that the EIA be audited by an international organisation —despite Southern Peru changing their plans to use seawater, residents are concerned about the pollution a project of that size would cause in the area.

Two people have died this year as a result of the conflict —farmer Victoriano Huayna on 22nd April and Checya Chura last night.


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Peru: New Prime Minister to Seek Parliamentary Support

New Peruvian Prime Minister Pedro Cateriano (photo: Wikipedia)

New Peruvian Prime Minister Pedro Cateriano (photo: Wikipedia)

The newly appointed Peruvian Prime Minister, Pedro Cateriano, will begin today a round of talks with opposition parties in order to garner parliamentary support.

President Ollanta Humala appointed Cateriano last Thursday, after former prime minister Ana Jara lost a confidence vote in Congress amid a scandal over alleged espionage on political opponents.

Cateriano’s first talk today will be with the founder of the Partido Popular Cristiano (PPC), Luis Bedoya Reyes, and on Wednesday he will speak with former President and founder of Perú Posible, Alejandro Toledo. According to Diario Correo, he also hopes to engage in dialogue with Keiko Fujimori and the Alianza Popular Revolucionaria Americana (APRA), but has not given specific dates.

When discussing his upcoming meetings, Cateriano, a former Defence Minister, expressed the need for efficient communication.

“We must use dialogue which is a democratic mechanism and I have argued that my obligation as president of the Council of Ministers is to establish a communication mechanism, not just with political parties, but also with unions and society in general,” he said in a televised interview with Cuarto Poder.

Lawmaker Julia Teves (Gana Perú) has stated that she believes Cateriano will receive the vote of confidence in Congress -which he needs to be ratified in his position- because he has demonstrated “a fairly tolerant attitude [about] initiating a dialogue with democratic leaders who are committed to the country”. However, although supportive, legislator Rosa Mavila (Acción Popular – Frente Amplio) pointed out that the vote of confidence will also depend on Cateriano’s performance in his new role.

According to Diario Correo, however, some opposition legislators have voiced that it will be difficult for Cateriano to get the vote of confidence because of his “confrontational temperament”. Cateriano has responded assuring that he will change.

“I am constitutionally obliged to change because I am the spokesman of the government, I will have to temper my political and personal opinions, but that does not mean I have put on a face mask; my principles and convictions remain the same as always,” he said.

The new Council of Ministers has 30 days after taking office to request a vote of confidence by Congress. They will need a simple majority of 66 legislators to obtain it.

Former Primer Minister Jara was found to be politically responsible for more than 100,000 cases of spying allegedly conducted by the National Intelligence Office (DINI) on politicians, journalists, and business leaders. Cateriano has pledged to introduce a bill to prevent cases like this one from occurring again.


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Peru: Prime Minister Ousted Amid Spying Scandal

Prime Minsiter Ana Jara was ousted by Congress amid a spying scandal (Photo: Wikipedia)

Prime Minsiter Ana Jara was ousted by Congress amid a spying scandal (Photo: Wikipedia)

Peruvian Prime Minister Ana Jara was forced to resign yesterday after losing a confidence vote in Congress amid a scandal over alleged espionage on political opponents.

The National Congress held Jara politically responsible for more than 100,000 cases of spying allegedly conducted by the National Intelligence Office (DINI) on politicians – including vice-president Marisol Espinoza – journalists, and business leaders.

The vote of no confidence was passed with 72 votes in support, 42 against, and two abstentions.

President Ollanta Humala, who must accept Jara’s resignation, must now appoint a new prime minister, his seventh since taking office in 2011. The ousting of Jara, the first such deposition since 1963, is considered a blow to the president’s support with elections due next year.

Government supporters said the move by opposition parties Congress was designed to destabilise the country.

First lady and head of the Partido Nacionalista (PN) Nadine Heredia said on Twitter that the no-confidence vote was a “sorry demonstration of political blackmail and electoral opportunism with no thought of the consequences for the country.”


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Peru: One Dead in Pluspetrol Protests

Pichina is locaed in Peru's Junín department (map: Wikipedia)

Pichanqui is located in Peru’s Junín department (map: Wikipedia)

One person has died after violent clashes between the police and protestors opposed to natural gas exploration by Argentina’s Pluspetrol in Pichanaqui, Junín, 270km east of Lima in the Peruvian rainforest. At least eight others were reported injured in the confrontation.

Interior Minister Daniel Urresti said that police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of protestors on Tuesday, but according to Peru’s ombudsman, 25-year-old Ever Pérez Huamán died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Urresti said that the incident began when protesters blocked a stretch of highway and tried to gain entry into a site where Pluspetrol stores explosives and machinery.

Reinforcements are being sent for the 1,700 police officers in the area and ministers are traveling from Lima to start talks with the local population.

Pluspetrol, the country’s biggest oil and gas producer, received permits to begin exploration of the Camisea fields in Junín last year.

Earlier today, Peru’s mines and energy minister, Eleodoro Mayorga, said that he would request Pluspetrol withdraw from the project in Pichanqui.

Mayorga said: “I know you’re calling for Pluspetrol to leave. I’ll ask it to do so within three days.” He later confirmed in an interview with state television station TVPeru that the Argentine company will withdraw its equipment from the area.

Pluspetrol, for its part, expressed surprise at the protests and said it has merely been conducting exploration work and caused no damage to the environment or the provinces of Oxapampa, Satipo or Chanchamayo, where Pichanqui is located. The company began operating in the area in March 2014 and has already completed 90% of its planned exploration, which was to be concluded within a month.



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Peru to Take Legal Action over Greenpeace Stunt at Nazca Lines

Peru’s vice-minister for culture Luis Jaime Castillo has accused Greenpeace of “extreme environmentalism” and ignoring what Peruvian people consider to be sacred after a protest at the Nazca lines, a UNESCO world heritage site.

Activists entered a prohibited area next to the figure of a hummingbird and laid down big yellow cloth letters reading ‘Time for Change! The Future is Renewable’ as part of a stunt to highlight climate change as world leaders gathered at the COP20 UN climate summit in Lima.

The hummingbird is one of the most well-known of Peru's Nazca lines (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The hummingbird is one of the most well-known of Peru’s Nazca lines (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Castillo said the government was seeking to prevent those responsible from leaving the country while it asked prosecutors to file charges of attacking archaeological monuments, a crime punishable by up to six years in prison.

Peruvian authorities are also seeking the identity of the archaeologist who led the activists to the site and the plane from which the photos of the stunt were taken, he said. “It was thoughtless, insensitive, illegal, irresponsible, and absolutely pre-meditated. Greenpeace has said it was planning this action for months.”

However, Castillo added that “Peru has nothing against the message of Greenpeace. We are all concerned about climate change. But the means don’t justify the ends.”

Greenpeace has responded saying that those involved were “absolutely careful to protect the Nazca lines”, adding that the group was taking the incident very seriously. The organisation also issued a public apology, saying: “Without reservation Greenpeace apologises to the people of Peru for the offence caused by our recent activity laying a message of hope at the site of the historic Nazca lines. We are deeply sorry for this.

“Rather than relay an urgent message of hope and possibility to the leaders gathering at the Lima UN climate talks, we came across as careless and crass.”

A week earlier, Greenpeace projected a message promoting solar energy on to Huayna Picchu, the mountain that overlooks the ancient city of Machu Picchu, another protected ancient site in Peru.

The Nazca lines are a series of geoglyphs drawn into the Nazca Desert, an arid plateau located around 400km south of Lima. The lines, which depict dozens of animals and motifs, as well as hundreds of simple lines and shapes, are believed to have been created between 1500 and 2000 years ago.


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Peru: Report Condemns Activist Killings Ahead of UN Climate Talks

Edwin Chota was one of four Ashaninka leaders killed in September 2014

Edwin Chota was one of four Ashaninka leaders killed in September 2014

A new report from Global Witness has condemned the killing of environmental activists in Peru, just two weeks before the country hosts the 2014 UN Climate Conference.

The report, called ‘Peru’s Deadly Environment‘ highlights how at least 57 activists had been killed defending land or the environment since 2002. 60% of these killings occurred in the last four years, with the majority caused by conflicts over mining projects and with police suspected of being the perpetrators.

This makes Peru the fourth most dangerous country to be an environmental or land defender, according to the report.

The report was released two months after four tribal leaders were shot dead as they travelled to a meeting to discuss how to combat illegal logging on their territories.

It also comes six months after another report by Global Witness revealed how 80% of environmental activist killings occur in Latin America, with Brazil topping the world rankings of the most dangerous states.

The latest report concluded that in Peru, “the government’s recent legislative measures aimed at kick-starting investment in the extractives sector have weakened key environmental safeguards and threaten to stoke the fires of discontent yet further.”

It called on the government and international community to take urgent action to protect those on the front line of environmental defence.

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Peru: Eight Dead after Cusco Earthquake

Many of the adobe houses collapsed or were left uninhabitable after Saturday's earthquake (photo courtesy of Presidencia Peru)

Many of the adobe houses collapsed or were left uninhabitable after Saturday’s earthquake (photo courtesy of Presidencia Perú)

Peru’s government has declared a state of emergency in the Cusco region after an earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale killed eight people and injured around a dozen on Saturday night.

A further 500 have been affected after more than a hundred houses collapsed or were rendered uninhabitable.

The worst hit area was the Quechua community of Misca around two hours south of the city of Cusco, the country’s biggest tourism centre. Residents were also affected in the nearby community of Cusi Bamba Bajo due to building collapses, but there were no reports of fatalities or injuries.

After visiting the affected area on Sunday, President Ollanta Humala said that the national government would help the rebuilding of the region, with aid promised for 90 days. Around ten tonnes of aid have already been sent by the National Civil Defence offices in Cusco and Lima.

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