Discrepant views on Peru - is Alice in Wonderland?

11 October 2015

The challenges for the Peruvian population as the election draws nearer are highlighted by the kaleidoscope of news as the IMF/World Bank annual meeting ends in Lima.

The gathering of top officials from these organisations produced upbeat and striking statements. According to the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, "Peru continues to be one of the most vibrant economies in the world. Economic performance over the past decade has been exceptionally strong - nurtured by positive fundamentals, a sound policy framework, and prudent macroeconomic policies....although there is always more to do." The President of the World Bank spoke of "an impressive and improving track record." The European Union representative highlighted the EU grant of 40 million euros to Peru for work in the Amazon region, focusing on children's welfare and improvement of public sector management. And, as we mention elsewhere in this issue, the World Bank Director for the Andean region applauded Peru as the first country to legislate for prior consultation as an obligation on companies.

We might be forgiven for thinking that Alice had indeed arrived in Wonderland.

Meanwhile, and perhaps through the Looking Glass, the state of siege has been maintained in Apurímac following riots and three deaths at the hands of the police, a move that seriously restricts civil liberties. Talks have taken place between community representatives and the government over concerns at Las Bambas, but without participation by the Frente de Defensa. The government is now promising to organise workshops to persuade locals of the virtues of the project. Human Rights Watch International has made a statement of deep concern at the deaths last week and has urged an enquiry. Readers of this site will know well that Peru's much-commended legislation on prior consultation has so far left very much to be desired in terms of implementation, with disastrous results in a number of cases.

Meanwhile, at the international level, Glencore has this week suspended operations at Iscaycruz, its zinc and lead mine in the highlands of Lima region, reportedly in an effort to boost the price of these commodities as the firm faces sharp declines in its market value. Since 2011, 21 billion dollars worth of projects are reported by the Instituto Peruano de Economίa to have been lost or delayed ‘whether as a result of bureaucratic hassles or social conflict’. And our article of October 2nd exposed the bad news for Peru in the present international downturn -- a story enhanced at the international level by this week's events and analysis (see for example Lawrence Summers in the Financial Times).

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  • PSG Aims

    The Peru Support Group exists to promote social inclusion, sustainable development and the observance of human rights in Peru. To that end the PSG highlights shortcomings in observance of established norms, whether international or local in nature, in its research, advocacy and publications. In so doing, it underscores the relationships that exist within the political system, how institutions work, and the effectiveness of policies that aim to reduce poverty and inequality within the context of sustainable development.

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    Over the past century Peru has suffered a series of autocratic governments and a civil war in which nearly 70,000 people died. Many of the country's ongoing political and social problems are a legacy of its somewhat turbulent past. 

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