March 21, 2008
In the wake of the recent saber rattling by Hugo Chavez against Colombia, the prime minister of Peru, Jorge del Castillo, warned Venezuela against providing "under the table" funding for leftist groups in Peru. See CNN. To emphasize the point, Peru has announced that it will intensify cooperation with Colombia in the struggle against terrorism. Two presumed rebels belonging to FARC were = detained in the northeastern jungle city of Iquitos two weeks ago, but Defense Minister Antero Flores-Araoz asssured Peruvians that no infiltration by any armed FARC rebels has been detected thus far. (Is that a relief?) See El Comercio Peru (in Spanish). There is little doubt that further incursions will take place, and one might expect that Hugo Chavez will run interference for such subversion, blocking coordinated efforts to contain the menace.
NOTE: Peru is the only country in Latin America with a prime minister, but the title does not carry very much power beyond coordinating the legislative agenda. Peru's constitution is modeled in part on that of France, which has a "semi-presidential" system in which the prime minister plays a secondary role.
It is always gratifying to learn that Latin American countries are taking strong steps to preserve their biodiversity, even though they have pressing social problems. In Mexico, the non-profit organization Pronatura selected six species that are in particular danger. Among the most familiar to Americans is the Monarch Butterfly , which spends the winter in a highly specialized forest zone in the mountains west of the capital. The other endangered species are: Golden Eagle, Gray Whale, Jaguar, Mexican Prairie Dog, and the "Vaquita," a small relative of the porpoise that is found exclusively near the Colorado River delta, in the Gulf of California. See CNN.com.
The date for Bolivia's constitutional referendum has been set: May 4. See CNN.com.