Latin America ranks lowest in security / Venezuela most dangerous (Bolivia & Peru not much better)

Gallup published a study last month that found residents of Latin America/Caribbean, among global regions, the least likely to feel secure. Gallup’s Law and Order Index is based on confidence in local police, feelings of personal safety and self-reported incidence of theft. The region’s most insecure countries after Venezuela were Bolivia then Peru, whose score of 48 was the same as Syria’s.

Gallup image - Venezuela worst

Peru seeks to protect little fish with big impact


CALLAO, Peru (AP) _ The ocean off Peru boasts the world’s richest fishing grounds, but Taurino Querevalu is returning to port empty again after a hunt for Peruvian anchovy, cursing his empty nets and an increasingly stingy sea.

A little more than a decade ago, Querevalu’s 8-ton wooden boat rarely returned with an empty hold as it does on this day motoring back to Lima’s port of Callao, the low-slung clouds above as gray as the sea mirroring them.

“There used to be fish for everybody,” the 48-year-old trawler captain laments, leaning on the rail as a stiff breeze buffets his leathery brow. “You’d run into immense schools.”

Peru Overfishing

Querevalu’s frustrated search for the silvery, stiletto-sized fish reflects a voracious, growing global demand for the protein-rich fish meal, and oil, into which nearly Peru’s entire anchovy catch is converted. It also reflects unremitting cheating by commercial fleets on quotas and other regulations designed to protect the species.

Not only has overfishing of the Peruvian anchovy, or anchoveta, battered the industry that makes Peru far and away the world’s No. 1 fish meal exporter, it has also raised alarm about food security in a nation that had long been accustomed to cheap, abundant seafood.

The drop in the anchoveta population has over the years affected the food chain, as stocks of hundreds of bigger wild fish and marine animals that eat it have also thinned.

Read full story at AP Big Story

Peru’s attempt to protect a little fish with a big global impact

The story Franklin Briceno and I did on the Peruvian government’s attempt to begin to effectively police the world’s biggest fishery _ the anchoveta industry _ against misbehavior by the commercial fishing fleet was published precisely as the Production Ministry announced results of this season’s catch.

The day’s headline: The fleet did not catch the full quota of 810,000 metric tons (it reported catching 732,000 tons). In the seventh week of the 10-week season that ended Jan. 31 it began breaking the rules blatantly by catching too many juveniles, which is illegal and endangers regeneration. They illegally harvested more than 18,000 tons of juveniles.

“They have no social conscience,” said vice minister Paul Phumpiu. He is trying to get the industry to divert more of its catch to human consumption but so far doesn’t seem to have much traction.

A pilot project to promote the anchoveta as table fish, chiefly by distributing free samples at markets in Peru, is about to get under way. It’s budget: about $4 million.

Panchita – Peru on the grill

Credit: Peru 21

If you like grilled Peruvian food (apologies to the vegetarians) you can’t do much better in Lima than Panchita.  It is loosely modeled on an anticucheria. Anticuchos are, principally but not exclusively, cow’s heart kebabs. Other tripes that Peruvians skewer and grill also fall under the category. Done well, they are  surprisingly succulent.

I am not particularly fond of anticuchos, and there is much else to satisfy on the menu of this restaurant created by Gaston Acurio, whose celebrity among living Peruvians is matched perhaps only by that of  Mario Vargas Llosa. (Update: Newest Acurio restaurant reported set to open in Chicago in March).


The yucca stuffed with seco limeño, as a first course, was superb. Accompanied by a rocoto chile sauce. And don’t forget to order huancaina sauce with pretty much whatever you eat. It’s a right  proper partner for the  potato.

Our only compliant: The restaurant’s acoustics. Get a sound designer in there, Gaston. The place gets loud!

Item:  If you’re looking for a good Peruvian food blog (Sp.) check out Cucharas Bravas.  Its Panchita review.  If you’re looking for good ceviche, Panchita is not the place. But then, real Limeños don’t eat ceviche for dinner. I learned that the hard way some years ago ordering it in front of my in-laws after dusk.

Peru’s anti-riot tactics unmatched in lethality

LIMA, Peru (AP) — Sixteen-year-old Cesar Medina was returning home from an Internet cafe, his mother says, and got caught up in a crowd of demonstrators when police and soldiers opened fire. A bullet tore into his head, killing him instantly.

The youth was among five civilians killed in this month’s outbreak of violence over Peru’s biggest mining project, and while authorities have not said who fired the deadly shots, local journalists say it was security forces.

Civilian deaths are disturbingly frequent when protesters in provincial Peru confront police, whose standard means of crowd control appear to be live ammunition, typically fired from Kalashnikov or Galil assault rifles.

Since 2006, bullets fired by Peruvian security forces to quell protests have killed 80 people and wounded more than 800, according to the independent National Coordinator for Human Rights watchdog. Human rights activists say that reflects a disregard for human life unmatched in the region and argue that the government’s routine use of deadly force against protesters could exacerbate violence.

“These numbers would be a scandal abroad. And I’m not talking about a comparison with Europe, but with Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, where there are protests but not so many deaths,” said Jorge Mansilla, investigator for Peru’s national ombudsman’s office.

FILE -  In this March 14, 2012 file photo, a miner is roughed up by riot police during clashes in Puerto Maldonado, Peru. Civilian deaths are disturbingly frequent when protesters in provincial Peru confront police. Peru's crowd control tactics are unmatched in lethality according to the independent National Coordinator for Human Rights watchdog. (AP Photo/Miguel Vizcarra, File)

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