Skip to main content

Peru's Halts Jungle Highway Construction After Investigation Shows Design Wasn't Done

June 9, 2008 (Southern Affairs) -- Peru's Transportation and Communications Minister VerĂ³nica Zavala announced May 27th that Unasur's highest profile project, an inter-oceanic highway connecting the Brazilian Atlantic with the Peruvian Pacific, was being investigated after discovering that it did not have a budget or engineering plans.

The minister told a Congressional Committee that while construction on the highway had already begun, it was unclear how much it would actually cost because engineers had plans for only five of the total 1000 kilometers. The 2004 contract estimated that the highway would cost US$810 million but the contractor has since revised its estimates upwards claiming that it will take an additional US$569 million to complete the project. It is unclear what the figures are based on though, given that engineers have yet to finish designing the project. The revelation raises serious questions about how South America plans to integrate the continents infrastructure. The current plan, called IIRSA (a Spanish acronym for South American Regional Infrastructure Integration), was approved in 2002 and calls for the construction of four strategic continental corridors: Peru-Bolivia-Brazil, Venezuela-Guyana-Surinam-Brazil, Porto Alegre-Asuncion-Jujuy-Antofogasta, and an Amazon River transportation

In October Brazil's Environmental Ministry Executive Secretary Joao Paulo Capobianco said, "It's necessary to examine how [development in the Amazon Rainforest] will be done, on what scale and in what areas. In theory, there are methodologies and technologies that allow this activity without environmental damage." However, Zavala's announcement seems to confirm fears that regional governments are moving forward without considering the environmental impacts associated with their projects.

As the second largest Amazonian country, decisions made in Peru also have an effect on the rest of the world. As more and more of the rainforest is lost, less carbon is removed from the atmosphere, further increasing damage from global warming. The highway is expected to cut across sections of virgin forest and bring further development from colonists, ranchers and loggers who will use the road to reach previously inaccessible land for exploitation.

Peru's Congress has initiated an investigation into Proinversion, the government agency that approved the project.

By Nathan Gill -- www.southernaffairs.org

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Moving to the Suburbs: Reducciones in Recent Latin American Historiography

In 1503, the Spanish monarchy issued its first decree for the resettlement of indigenous groups in the Caribbean so that they would “live together” and “not remain or wander separated from each other in the backcountry.”[1]

As the European conquest spread to North, Central, and South America, these new settlements – known as reducciones and congregaciones in Spanish and descimentos in Portuguese – became sites of forced labor, evangelism, experimental agricultural, and refuge. Through a series of imperial policies decreed over the next decades and centuries of colonial rule, Spanish and Portuguese officials attempted to reshape the New World, including its human and natural landscapes. How colonial historians explain this process and indigenous peoples’ reactions to it is the focus of this essay.

In a review of the recent historiography of reducciones, several trends emerge that signal a shift in our understanding of the practice. As this paper will show, one common element is that …

77-Year-Old Wall Street Favorite to Face Fujimori in Peru Runoff

By Nathan Gill and John Quigley April 12, 2016 (Bloomberg) -- The victory by Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a former finance minister, for second place in Sunday’s Peruvian president elections sets up a showdown between two business-friendly candidates, part of a regional backlash against left-wing politicians.
Kuczynski, a 77-year-old Oxford-trained political economist who’s spent more than 50 years championing debt control and free trade, won 21 percent of vote with 96 percent of the ballots counted, according to the electoral office. He will face Keiko Fujimori, who won 39.8 percent, in a second-round vote on June 5.
Click here to read the full story on Bloomberg News.

Bailout Risk Grows for Ecuador After Worst Earthquake in Decades

By Nathan Gill April 19, 2016 (Bloomberg) -- Before a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Ecuador on Saturday, the South American nation’s finances were already in tatters as the government struggled to meet payments to municipal authorities, oil companies and even cancer hospitals. Cut off from global bond markets, President Rafael Correa must now find enough money to rehouse thousands.
As volunteers continue to rescue victims from the rubble of collapsed homes and buildings on Ecuador’s Pacific coast, doubts are growing about the country’s ability to pay for the reconstruction. The nation is already in its worst recession since the financial system collapsed in the late 1990s, and international reserves are at their lowest levels in almost seven years.
Click hereto read the full story on Bloomberg News.