Wednesday, February 25, 2004
Peru News:

I haven't written much on current events in Peru. I'd like to do that a bit more as it is very interesting. It is hard for me to really understand what is going on when I read the paper because I am still reading at the level of a kindergartner. BUT, I kind of know what is going on by talking to people.

Currently there is what most people would call a political crisis. The president of Peru, Alejandro Toledo has a 7% approval rating. That's right...7% He has been in power since 2001 and is very unpopular for a number of reasons. The global recession hit Peru as well and the economic situation has been pretty bad the last few years. Last year, GDP grew a respectable 4.9% (don't quote me on that number, but I think it is right) but everybody still says economic times are tough. Naturally the sitting president gets his fair share of the blame for this. Also, there has been a ton of alleged corruption in Toledo's government. It is even rumored that the current ambassador to Spain has a tape recording or some other evidence of corruption by Toledo and is the puppetmaster behind the scenes running things because he is blackmailing Toledo. Toledo has sacked his cabinet twice in the last two months. The latest time allegedly only rich people with a lot of integrity were appointed to the cabinet because so many previous ministers were corrupt and lining their pockets. Rumor has it that the only reason the military hasn't done a coup is that they know the US will put in place sanctions and the economy here would tank even more. That is only a rumor though. Toledo's term runs through the end of 2005 but many people think that he will resign by then.

What is very interesting to me is that EVERYBODY here in Peru knows about politics. Everybody talks about it and the papers are completely full of political news. The most well respected paper in Peru has about 15 pages of news on Peru, almost all of it about politics and corruption. Students in high school here take 4 full years of what we would call civics where they learn about economics, politics, and other related material. When I told a friend here that we only had one semester of civics and one semester on current events she couldn't believe it.

Well that is all that I have today. Thanks for reading and feel free to make comments in the link below.


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