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Lima | July 27, 2011 [ 18:37 ]

After 6 years, LivinginPeru.com will close on July 27th


LivinginPeru.com

During the past 6 years LivinginPeru worked hard to provide readers with the best information available about Peru. A simple, but important goal, guided them: to make Peru the number 1 country in Latin America.

After 6 years, 25,000 articles, and more than 10 million visitors, LivinginPeru decided it was time to make a change.

On July 28, the anniversary of their launch, LivinginPeru will introduce PeruthisWeek.com and the brand new LivinginPeru.com.

They promise that with the new sites “nothing will be the same and everything will change.”

The LivinginPeru team worked on the new site for 18 months. They surfed the world’s news sites; expat services, event calendars, classifieds and more. They learned from the best before designing and programming their new portal.

All the information that was published on the site will stay put, but in the future there will be two pages. One will be called PeruthisWeek.com and one will be called LivinginPeru.com. They will be distinct from one another, but always connected.

The LivinginPeru team invites all visitors to take a look at the BETA version of the sites, which will be uploaded tomorrow morning, July 28. Readers are also encouraged to email editor@livinginperu.com with comments on the new sites.

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Travel & Tourism | July 27, 2011 [ 15:03 ]

UGM will evaluate plan to solve limited access to Machu Picchu


LivinginPeru.com

peru
Machu Picchu (Photo: Andina/ Percy Hurtado )
The Management Unit of Machu Picchu (UGM) will meet next week in Cusco to evaluate plans to solve the current 2,500 visitors a day restriction.

Regional director of Foreign Trade and Tourism, Carlos Zuñiga reported news of the meeting.

Zuñiga told Andina news agency that the proposed plan would address the capacity restrictions, which would be increased to 5,000 daily visits in the long term. The plan would also address the protection and sustainable development of tourism in the area.

"The Master Plan for Machu Picchu made in 2005 gave the magic number of 2,500 tourists per day, but today everything has changed, there are more trains arriving, the demand of visitors increased and will continue to increase, so we have to see other options," he said.

He stressed that the plan would not affect the conservation of the site, which would provide schedules for visits as well as alternative routes to visit the site.

The regional head of Cusco, Jorge Tito Acurio, district mayor of Machu Picchu, Oscar Valencia, and the Ministry of Culture, among other institutions, chair the UGM.

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Travel & Tourism | July 27, 2011 [ 14:17 ]

130 pct increase in tourists visiting Machu Picchu, Peru


LivinginPeru.com

peru
Machu Picchu (Photo:Andina / Percy Hurtado )
The number of tourists visiting Machu Picchu, grew by nearly 130 percent between January and April 2011 compared to the same period last year, reported the consultancy company Maximixe.

"Between January and April of this year, 244,061 tourists visited Machu Picchu which represented an annual growth rate of 129.1 percent," they said, in an article in Andina.

Of the total tourists, 75.5 percent were foreigners.

Maximixe noted that these figures could have been even if the social conflicts in Puno hadn’t occurred. They noted that the conflict generated the cancellation of several tours in the country.

Other tourist attractions that saw an increase in the flow of visitors were the National Reserve of Paracas, Ica, with 42.4 percent growth and 65.921 visitors, and the Belen Monument Complex in Cajamarca with an increase of 35.5 percent.

Between 2005 and 2010, the tourist site that recorded the most dynamic growth in the number of visitors was the city of Caral, located north of Lima. Caral had 24.7 per cent growth.

The archeological sites of Kuelap in the Amazon saw 15.3 percent growth, Moray Cusco 15 percent, Kotosh Huánuco 14.4 percent, the Colca Valley in Arequipa 11.7 percent and the Quistococha Resort in Loreto had a 11.7 percent increase in the amount of visitors.

Maximixe said that "while the amount of visitors to these places is less than number who go to Machu Picchu, it is a remarkable growth, which will be even greater when you create the appropriate infrastructure and couple it with the network of services that the business requires.”

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Mining & Energy | July 27, 2011 [ 12:33 ]

600,000 new natural gas connections for households in Lima


LivinginPeru.com

peru
Caros Herrera (Photo: El Comercio)
Carlos Herrera Descalzi, Peru’s next Minister of Energy and Mining, has stated that there would be about 600,000 new connections of natural gas in Lima households, in the next five years.

"The implementation of natural gas connections in homes has been very low, there are only 50,000, so the goal is to increase that by ten or twelve times, 500 thousand or 600 thousand household connections in five years," he told Andina news agency.

He explained that in the past weeks the transition committee for the Ministry of Energy and Mining (MEM) has been in contact with Cálidda Gas Natural del Perú, a company that is in charge of the natural gas distribution system in Lima and Callao.

These conversations were to take stock of the amount of natural gas and to evaluate possible alternatives in order to increase household connections.

"It is a coincidence that those with higher consumption of natural gas somehow take over costs that would accrue to those who consume less," he declared.

Herrera argued that the industry should participate more in common costs, in order to ease rates for residential consumers.

He stated that he did not plan on applying a cross-subsidy, but simply a cost allocation methodology, as the issue was about shared networks.

"We need to consider that the benefit for older consumers is very large. Then depending on the method, which need not necessarily be a subsidy, the costs can be spread in terms of benefit," he said.

He noted that one possibility would be that big industries would pay a little more to help the shared infrastructure, so that infrastructure costs for the residential consumers would be lower.

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International Relations | July 27, 2011 [ 11:15 ]

United States greets Peru on 190th independence anniversary


Andina

peru
President-elect Ollanta Humala and US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton (Photo: US Department of State )
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, on behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States, has sent her congratulations to Peru on the occasion of the Andean country's 190th anniversary of independence and noted that both countries share democratic values and stand up for human rights.

“Today, our two countries are standing up for democracy and human rights around the world. These enduring values are the foundation of our partnership,” said Clinton in an official statement.

Clinton went on to add that “earlier this year we witnessed Peru’s commitment to democratic ideals as a new president was elected after free and transparent elections.”

“As you celebrate this special day, know that the United States is a friend and partner. Happy Independence Day and best wishes for a year of peace and prosperity,” she added.

Moreover, the US Secretary of State said that this year's centennial of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu -one of the world's treasures –“reminds us of Peru's rich history and heritage as the home of one of the most influential civilizations of the Western Hemisphere.”

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International Relations | July 27, 2011 [ 10:06 ]

Peru’s next foreign minister, on relations with Chile


LivinginPeru.com

peru
Rafael Roncagliolo (Photo: El Comercio/Archive )
Rafael Roncagliolo, Peru’s next Foreign Minister, has spoken about relations between Peru and Chile.

He was quoted in El Comercio, where he highlighted his meeting with the Chilean Foreign Minister, whom he considers "a concerned person, who has an attitude of dialogue and does not encourage unnecessary antagonism. "

"By going to the Hague, what we are looking for is peaceful understanding, avoid lawsuits and verbal arguments. Peru has taken the position of a modern civilized nation to go to court. Resolve conflicts by means of right reason, not force," he said, regarding the maritime dispute between the two countries, which is currently under arbitration at the International Court of Justice, in The Hague.

Roncagliolo also referred to the Chilean military spending, which he called "disproportionate" in relation to neighboring nations.

"When a country develops a quite disproportionate military capacity compared to their neighbors, others are right to worry. That is the situation we face. Yes, we should worry. Chile's military spending is disproportionate to the neighbors. That is why Peru, in UNASUR [Union of South American Nations] is promoting transparency and a reduction of military spending. There are more important things you must invest in Latin America, "he said.

"All countries must have a credible military defense, and Peru has not maintained one like this," he said.

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Politics | July 27, 2011 [ 9:35 ]

Peru’s Garcia: achievements will be recognized by history


LivinginPeru.com

peru
Alan García (Photo: Serpes)
The day before leaving office President Alan García thanked his ministers, regional presidents and mayors for the perseverance and dedication in their work for the country. García said the achievements of his administration will be recognized by history.

"I wanted to thank all of the ministers, also the regional presidents have put in a great deal of effort into their jobs, and mayors who are those who develop directly and closely with the people," he said, in an article in Andina.

In the last session of the Council of Ministers, the president also said he was satisfied with the achievements of his administration and reiterated that "when you put zeal asside, history will recognize what these ministers achieved with their effort."

"Much will have to be done for our country, but I think that the path chosen was the correct one, and the perseverance and the dedication was necessary" he said.

"A salute to Peru, to the youth of Peru, to the poor of Peru, to the authorities of Peru, and as a follower of (Victor Raul) Haya de La Torre all I wanted to do was make a government that gives bread with freedom . A salute to Peru, to it’s future and success," he concluded.

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Travel & Tourism | July 27, 2011 [ 8:59 ]

12 million passengers expected at Lima’s airport, this year


LivinginPeru.com

peru
Jorge Chavez International Airport (Photo: Andina)
Passenger traffic at Jorge Chavez International Airport could reach 12 million by the end of 2011. The estimate comes from Luis Felipe Vallejo, general manager of the Peruvian Corporation of Airports and Commercial Aviation (Corpac).

"Lima’s airport leads passenger traffic in the country. Last year we had more than 11 million passengers, this year we could reach 12 million," he said.

He said other airports with high passenger traffic were Cusco, Iquitos (Loreto), Arequipa, Puerto Maldonado (Madre de Dios), Piura and Trujillo (La Libertad).

"At the Jorge Chavez airport we made approximately 400 daily operations, taking into account takeoffs and landings, however, some days we exceed that number by a lot," he told Andina news agency.

He emphasized that during the last five years, airport operations increased by nearly 70 percent nationwide, driven by the expansion of new routes and the entry of new airlines.

"Moreover, economic growth has been central to the expansion of this sector, since many people who previously traveled by bus in recent years have preferred to go by plane. This is also because there are now better prices when buying airline tickets," he said.

He said that in 2005 the Piura airport performed two to three operations a day, and 11 operations a day in 2011. A decade ago, the Cusco airport had eight to ten daily flights, now it serves 26 flights a day.

"At that time, the Cusco airport had half a million passengers, currently they have 1.7 million a year," he added.

Vallejo projected that the airport passenger traffic would continue at a growth rate of seven percent annually over the next five years.

"I believe we should get to about 15 or 16 million passengers without any problems by 2016," he said.

He stressed that building the second runway at Jorge Chavez airport would alleviate the increased traffic in the airport’s terminal.

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Politics | July 27, 2011 [ 6:46 ]

Opinion: Will Humala's first cabinet fulfill Peru's expectations?


By Patricia del Río for Perú21
Translated and edited by Jorge Riveros-Cayo


Opinion: Will Humala's first cabinet fullfill Peru's expectations?
Humala seems to follow Lula's path in appointing his cabinet member. "Will it manage to keep the equation between economic growth with a major social inclusion?" asks Del Río. (Cartoon: Carlín)

This week president elect Ollanta Humala announced the names of his first cabinet members. The first reactions have been positive because, in general terms, it seems that Humala has succeeded in gathering a team that will gain consensus: Luis Miguel Castilla as Finance Minister, Kurt Burneo as Minister of Production, and José Luis Silva Martinotti as Minister of Exports and Tourism, are people that transmit stability to those that demanded a responsible management of the economy. On the other side, Aída García Naranjo as minister of Women’s Affairs, and Rafael Roncagliolo as Foreign Minister satisfy the expectations of those who wanted left-wing people in the government that will assure an inclusive administration.

For those that voted for Humala, but with the expectation that Perú Posible – Toledo’s political party – was going to guarantee economic and democratic continuity, some of the ex-president’s men are also in the cabinet, such as Daniel Mora as Minister of Defense, and Alberto Borea [1]. The Prime Minister position has been reserved for the president's right-hand man so far: the entrepreneur Salomón Lerner Ghittis. The right-hand is quite clear that it will be Nadine.
 
We have a really mixed group that gathers people from different ideologies and with distinct technical and political profiles. It all points that the rest of cabinet members will be appointed under the same logic [2]. The question, however, is: Will it be a cabinet that fulfills people’s expectations? Will it manage to keep that difficult equation of keeping economic growth with a major social inclusion? That is Humala’s biggest challenge and his administration will have a hard time to deal with it.
 
If there is something clear about Alan García’s administration is the enormous inequality generated by the development model used during his government. This has also created groups of Peruvians living totally different realities and even extremely opposite. According to a study made by Viceversa Consulting firm, from the ten poorest regions in Peru, seven concentrate all the mining production in the country. Five of these, additionally, have the highest rates of social conflicts. This is not about ignorant villagers confronting soulless investors, but of a permanent tension between groups with absolutely opposite interests.

Have we thought about why an aymara farmer should care if a mining company pays windfall taxes to the State if he has kept being poor all these years? Why should an inhabitant from the most remote village in Cusco be interested in the gas production of Camisea, or if more tourists visit Machu Picchu, if his life remains as miserable as it was when there was crisis and terrorism?

Those of us who have benefited from it have learned the lesson: Without economic growth there is no development. But the damage made by this unequal and disproportionate growth, brought about by the State’s incapacity to distribute resources and the frivolousness of the present and former government administrations, that were pleased with the audience's applause, without caring for the wellbeing of the people, is making us turn into a society without common goals and objectives. We have become a group of citizens that – due to the lack of political parties and representative institutions – is unable to think in what kind of society we want to build for the future and for our children.

The farmer that blocks the highway, the entrepreneur that manages to get a law passed in Congress that only benefits his business, the mining companies that want to convince us – through a commercial aired in the middle of a soccer game – why they shouldn’t pay more taxes: All of them are protecting their square meter of power, defending their own place. No Peruvian today is thinking about what kind of country we should live in, but instead what kind of life they want to have.

The challenge of Humala’s new administration is huge because he is promising to satisfy everybody. Even when that is not an impossible task, let us be reminded that when demands and expectations go through private and particular interests, consensus cannot be reached as simply as by having a mixed group and exotic cabinet. Good luck!

Editor's Notes: [1] At the end, Humala did not appoint Borea as Justice Minister as the press speculated. [2] This op-ed column was written before Humala completed the appointment of all his cabinet.


Patricia del Río hosts a program in Radio Programas del Perú and writes a weekly political column in Perú21. Read her profile of Jaime Bayly in
15 Peruvians of 2010.

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Travel & Tourism | July 26, 2011 [ 18:18 ]

Machu Picchu, Inca Trail can receive over 5400 visitors per day


Andina

peru
Inca citadel of Machu Picchu. (Photo Andina / Percy Hurtado)
Peru’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) announced on Tuesday the results of the Limits of Acceptable Change and the Carrying Capacity Assessment of the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu which found that these tourist attractions can receive some 5479 visitors per day.

The carrying capacity of Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail is the maximum number of people who can visit the site at the same time, without causing significant damage or destruction of natural cultural monument or a reduction of unacceptable quality of visitor satisfaction.

“After a hard technical work we have concluded that Machu Picchu can receive up to 2 million visitors each year,” said Peru's Deputy Tourism Minister Mara Seminario.

However, Seminario noted that a proper management is required to implement the new capacity, and this will allow easing the flow and arrange the time of visits, as well as improving the infrastructure and implement a series of improvements.

The deputy minister added that the survey methodology carried out by consulting firm Candes and financed by World Bank’s Vilcanota project shows that the Effective Carrying Capacity, that is, the maximum number of visits that a monument can have at a specific moment, is 2200 visitors.

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