[Marxism] L.A. Times: Quake aid has pro-Chavez message
walterlx at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 21 10:32:43 MDT 2007
Hugo Blanco: The Earthquake and the Vultures.
Thanks again to Federico Fuentes for translation!
Quake aid has pro-Chavez message
By Patrick J. McDonnell
Los Angeles Times
August 21, 2007
lima, peru -- The appearance of donated cans of tuna with labels
containing the image of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and a
condemnation of the Peruvian government as "heartless" caused a
political storm here Monday in the midst of an already controversial
earthquake relief effort.
"One has to ask who is behind this," President Alan Garcia said after
a Lima newspaper reported that the polemical tins were being
distributed in the quake-ravaged region south of the capital. "This
is not the moment to take advantage of the circumstances to make
The Venezuelan ambassador to Peru denied his government was to blame
and said the whole affair was probably part of a dirty-tricks
campaign to discredit the fiery socialist leader. "This is a damaging
manipulation, a vile manipulation because Venezuela has brought
humanitarian aid, not party politics," Ambassador Jose Armando Laguna
told CPN Radio in Lima. "If they want, they can go and open all the
bags that [Venezuela] brought and verify there is no political
Venezuela and other Latin American nations have shipped tons of food,
medical supplies and other relief to Peru, where Wednesday's quake
left more than 500 dead and tens of thousands homeless. Garcia
publicly thanked Chavez despite their well-known mutual antipathy.
There was no indication how many cans of the tuna had been handed
The tuna-can caper was first reported in the right-wing Lima daily
Expreso, which has an anti-Chavez editorial line. And the heated
exchange reflects what some analysts view as a division of South
America into pro-Chavez and anti-Chavez camps. Peru's Garcia, a
strong ally of Washington, is at the forefront of a U.S.-backed bloc
cool to the Venezuelan leader.
Garcia was elected president last year in a runoff against Ollanta
Humala, a former army officer whom Garcia repeatedly branded a Chavez
During the campaign, Garcia accused Chavez of interference in Peru's
affairs, and the two exchanged a round of nasty insults. The two
presidents have since reconciled to some extent, but Garcia has
remained extremely wary of Chavez.
Humala remains a political force, especially in the impoverished
Humala's image appeared alongside Chavez's on the tuna tins. The
labels also bore the logo of Humala's Nationalist Party.
There was no immediate reaction from Humala. But a Nationalist Party
spokesman, Carlos Tapia, emphatically denied on Peruvian radio that
Humala or Chavez had done anything fishy. He blamed a "dark hand,"
possibly the government itself looking to deflect criticism of its
reaction to the disaster.
The labels' text acclaimed the "solidarity" of Chavez and Humala with
quake victims, while bemoaning the "looting, road blockages,
desperation and chaos" in Peru, according to Expreso, which published
a photo of a can and the text of a label.
"The Peruvian government acts in an inefficient, slow and heartless
manner, notwithstanding the pain of the victims, leaving them to the
mercy of hunger, thirst and delinquency," the label said, according
to the newspaper.
The Garcia government has come under fire at home for what critics
call a slow and chaotic distribution of earthquake relief aid,
especially in rural areas.
Cabinet chief Jorge del Castillo has acknowledged shortcomings but
blamed the problem on the poor state of the region's roads, many of
which were damaged in the magnitude 8 temblor.
Garcia has labeled the criticism "exaggerated" and vowed that no
Peruvian would "die of hunger or thirst" because of a lack of aid.
Thousands still remain without shelter, running water and electricity
in the vast swath of Peru where the quake caused damage. The
government has posted hundreds of extra police officers and troops in
what officials have called a successful effort to reduce looting and
Venezuela sends additional 20 tons in humanitarian aid to Peru
August 20, 2007
The Venezuelan government is to send Monday to Peru another Hercules
cargo aircraft with 20 tons of input for humanitarian aid of the
victims of an earthquake that stroke south Peru, authorities
"Water, tents, blankets, beans, canned food, milk, coffee, pasta,
cereal and other food (?) will be sent in this second outpost for the
earthquake survivors, and also materials to remove the rubble,"
reported Antonio Rivero, the head of the Venezuelan Civil Protection
and Disasters Management.
The official explained that within 15 days, they would complete a
shipment of 120 tons, as promised by the government of President Hugo
Chávez, AFP quoted.
The remaining 100 tons are expected to be sent in chartered aircraft.
Each flight will carry 50 tons.
The cities of Pisco, Ica and Chincha, all of them in southern Peru,
were seriously damaged by an earthquake that hit the country last
Wednesday, resulting in 540 deaths and thousand homeless.
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