Alan Garcia must go!

If you’ve been reading this blog for some time you know I love Peru. However, the government of Alan Garcia and its implementation of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA/TLC) between Peru and the US has put Peru on the brink of becoming a Police State:

All this because of years of neglect (NY Times) of the indigenous people in Peru combined with Free Trade policies that have zoned 72% of the Peruvian Amazon for development and exploration (Duke University).

Alan Garcia cartoon, protest in Cusco

Alan Garcia cartoon, protest in Cusco

At the Corpus Christi celebrations in Cusco this week we saw this poster as one of many expressions of solidarity with the people of the Amazon. Unfortunately US and European media and governments have been largely quiet on the troubling developments in Peru. I’m convinced if the same kind of things took place in Ecuador, Venezuela or Bolivia – countries with left wing governments – there would be widespread media coverage and political condemnation.

People with different points of view may blame political opposition or foreign influence, but even if only 10% of the independent and eyewitness reports are true, the events at Bagua are still enough to demand Alan Garcia’s resignation.

It’s time to put ideologies aside and demand that Alan Garcia and his entire government resign!

Leader of the Year: Alan Garcia ???

I just stumbled across this article in Latin Business Chronicle:

“What a year it has been for Peru. It managed to post its best economic performance in 14 years (and Latin America’s second-highest growth rate), post another jump in foreign direct investments, achieve investment grade and host key regional summits with Asia and Europe…Much of the credit goes to Alan Garcia…”

My first thoughts were something like “Madre de Dios… Ayude me pues!!!”. Now I have often said life in Peru has been great to me and there are a lot of wonderful opportunities here, but I find it disappointing that both the media and political / business establishment in Peru often view “progress” strictly in macro-economic terms, levels of foreign investment, nr of free trade agreements, etc.

The unfortunate reality is that the macro-economic gains Peru has made in the last 2 decades have not improved the quality of life of all Peruvians proportionately, hence Alan Garcia’s (and before him Toledo’s) low approval ratings. In addition, in light of the collapse in commodities prices I wrote about earlier, anyone who believes Peru won’t be affected by the global recession is dreaming.

The good news, I agree with Umair Haque that “this is no mere recession: it’s a tectonic global shift in savings, consumption, and investment”. There has never been a better time than now to tackle some of the issues that will improve the quality of life for all Peruvians, such as economy in the provinces, environmental protections, occupational safety, corporate culture, cost of home ownership, etc.

Finally, one of the accomplishments touted by Alan Garcia was the free trade agreement (TLC) between Peru and China signed at the APEC summit. Here’s a wildly speculative, yet extremely intriguing question about what will happen to La Oroya now that the Chinese are coming?