There’s a reason why historical grounds are considered sacred. Ancient areas in the world are part of our history. They are a glimpse of what life was like thousands of years before. For avid travelers that seek to visit these historical areas, they understand the value and privilege of what it’s like to be there. As such, we try to protect it for future generations to come. That’s what makes what is happening near Machu Picchu so frustrating for the international community.
Peru is constructing the Chinchero International Airport near the Andes mountains, which is packed with Incan relics.
The government broke ground on the ancient grounds earlier this year. According to KUNC, the airport will be built in the “mouth of the Sacred Valley” and will be a multi-billion-dollar project.
The airport is expected to transport more than 7 million people a year, but some are wondering how the traffic and pollution will affect these parts that are valuable to history.
“The airport planned to be built in Chinchero, Cusco, endangers the conservation of one of the most important historical and archaeological sites in the world,” a petition on Change.org states. “An airport in the surroundings of the Sacred Valley will affect the integrity of a complex Inca landscape and will cause irreparable damage due to noise, traffic, and uncontrolled urbanization.”
Peruvian officials claim there are no Incan artifacts located in the construction area.
The main problem is Machu Picchu is already getting more tourists than it should. The Guardian reports that “more than 1.5 million visitors in 2017, almost double the limit recommended by UNESCO, putting a huge strain on the fragile ruins and local ecology.”
We recently saw the devastating effects from Mt. Everest, which shows what happens when people go to a tourist area thinking anyone can handle it. More people are dying as they climb Mt. Everest and they’re also leaving massive amounts of trash behind.
If the government wants to make travel easier to Machu Picchu why couldn’t they think of a better alternative instead of damaging their main money-making tourist spot?
The government reiterates that the reason it has taken so long to get this airport approved is that they have conducted several studies to make sure the area is not hurt by the construction.
“It is a project of many years, for which all the studies have been carried out, it will solve the problem that now exists with the Velasco Astete Airport and projects an important growth of the tourist activity of Cusco, ” Guillermo Cortés, Vice Minister of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Industries of the Ministry of Culture, told a Spanish news outlet in Peru. He added, “that the Chinchero Airport is also a project that is developed in an area for which all the precautions and precautions have been taken so as not to affect the heritage.”
Click here for more information on what is happening and how you can get involved.
It is no secret that Latin American governments have forever been involved in the muddy waters of corruption and political scandals. It is pan de todos los dias to see governors, secretaries of state, diplomats and even presidents arrested, accused of either stealing citizens’ money or receiving bribes from companies or organized crime. Whole political apparatuses have fallen, as witnessed in Brazil, where two ex presidents, the iconic Lula and his successor, Dilma Rousseff, have been found guilty of corruption at the highest levels of government. It doesn’t matter on what end of the political spectrum a government: both leftists and conservatives
The former Peruvian president Alejandro Toledo is the latest high profile Latin American politician to have been arrested for corruption charges. He was arrested on July 18 in the United States, and the process for his extradition has started.
First things first: so who is Alejandro Toledo?
Alejandro Celestino Toledo Manrique served as the 63rd President of Peru from 2001 to 2006. He won the election in April 2001, defeating former President Alan García. He was born in 1946 and like many Latin American politicians he did his postgrad studies in the United States. He is a graduate of Harvard University and the University of San Francisco. The beginning of his administration was met with enthusiasm by Peruvians. As Knowledge @ Wharton recalls: “Amidst great expectations, Alejandro Toledo became President of Peru in June 2001. His arrival in power put an end to 10 years of Alberto Fujimori’s authoritarian government and marked the beginning of a new democratic era”.
And second, you gotta know some facts about the company Odebrecht.
Odebrecht S.A. is a Brazilian conglomerate founded by Norberto Odebrecht, from Salvador in the State of Bahia. The company’s portfolio includes a list of diversified businesses in the fields of engineering, construction, chemicals and petrochemicals. The company has been facing legal problems since 2015, when it was revealed that Brazilian politicians had been receiving “irregular donations” also known as bribes, or mordidas pa los cuates. This led to a wider investigation that has involved politicians in Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Venezuela and, obviously, Peru.
In short, this company has bribed politicians that range from state ministers to legislators, mayors, governors and even presidents, as is the case of Alejandro Toledo.
As reported by The Times UK, the company has admitted guilt: “In 2016 Odebrecht, once one of the world’s biggest construction companies, admitted to the US justice department that it had paid about $800 million in bribes to politicians, officials and business figures in 12 countries.”
And this is why Toledo has been arrested
According to The Times UK, Toledo”is accused of receiving $20 million as part of a huge bribery scandal involving the Brazilian construction company Odebrecht”. Toledo was acting as a visiting scholar in Stanford University and he has appeared before a judge in San Francisco. The Peruvian government has requested an extradition. Toledo had fled to the United States in 2017 after being accused of receiving bribes. Toledo was accused by Odebrecht’s executive director in Peru, Jorge Barata, of receiving $20 million for hiring the company to build a motorway to Brazil. Todas unas joyitas los gobernantes.
So what now? Well, things will move slowly
Judicial processes are very, very slow. According to the Xinhua News Agency, Peruvian Foreign Minister Nestor Popolizio considers that the extradition process could take a year: “The official said he was basing the estimation on a similar case, in which Panama’s ex-president Ricardo Martinelli fled to Miami, U.S. state of Florida, to avoid facing justice”. In the meantime, Toledo will remain under the custody of United States authorities.
Toledo denies the charges against him and, as reported by CE Noticias Financieras , he has “stated on several occasions that everything is an attack by his enemies and is the victim of political persecution”. One of Toledo’s lawyers, Heriberto Benítez, told the N-Channel Toledo is the victim of “political persecution”. The Peruvian government will move cielo y tierra to get Toledo back to his home country. As CNN reports, Peruvian Justice Minister Vicente Zeballos has said: ““The government is engaged in a full-on fight against corruption.”
Four Peruvian ex presidents are now in jail or arrested: it takes a second to take that in! Another former president killed himself.
Imagine being a Peruvian and dealing with the fact that four of your most recent ex presidents of your country are in jail. The usual suspects are Alberto Fujimori, Toledo, Francisco Morales Bermúdez (a dictator), and Ollanta Humala, the country’s first indigenous president. It must be a tough pill to swallow: millions of people actually voted for these people, only to be betrayed.
The country has had to face one political shakeup after another, which makes foreign and local investors hesitant about spending money and generating jobs, which stalls the economy (this process is much more complex than this, of course, but we are putting it con peras y manzanas).
Another former president, Alan Garcia, died by suicide in April. CNN remembered his death covering the Toledo arrest: “Another former president, Alan Garcia, shot himself in the head to avoid arrest in April, in connection with alleged bribes from the Brazilian builder”
Are these arrests actually a sign of political and social progress?
However, it is not all bad news. The fact that justice is served even in the highest echelons of power speaks of a strong judiciary system, something that is rare in Latin America. In an opinion piece written by Sonia Golenberg for The New York Times she writes: “Peru is not more corrupt than other Latin American states. Nor are its courts a model of fairness and efficiency. But as overwhelming evidence of bribes taken by presidents across the political spectrum is emerging from abroad, Peruvian judges are under extreme pressure to react. As a consequence, the country’s discredited justice system is, for a change, gaining some credibility and independence”.
Social media users from other Latin American countries are demanding that their politicians also be arrested.
This Ecuadorian is asking when the former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, will follow a similar fate. Some of Correa’s closest collaborators, such as the former Vice President, Jorge Glass, was recently sentenced to six years in prison.
Mexicans are also asking nosotros cuando?
Enrique Pena Nieto, Mexico’s most recent former president, has been implicated with Odebrecht. And the previous two presidents, Vicente Fox and Felipe Calderon, also have cola que les pisen according to various media reports. The Mexican government has made some high profile arrests of former state governors, but expresidentes remain largely untouched.
Even Chileans are demanding justice.
This user is asking when former president Michelle Bachelet will be summoned by a court. When she was president, questions surrounded her family, particularly her son Sebastian Davalos and some allegedly shady real estate deals.
More Americans have died while on vacation in the Dominican Republic. News agencies have been reporting on the increasing number of American deaths in the Dominican Republic and now one more death has come forward from March after being ignored.
A Georgia man’s death and under investigation months after dying in the Dominican Republic.
Tracy Jerome Jester Jr., of Forsyth County, Georgia died in March while vacationing in the Dominican Republic with his sister. Allegedly, Jester started to complain of not being able to breathe after a day of sightseeing with his sister.
Jester Jr.’s mother told ABC News that his death certificate references “respiratory illness” as the cause of death.
Jester Jr.’s mom told ABC News that he did have lupus. Yet, the man’s mother remembers her son telling her about a “nasty” Sprite he drank in the Caribbean country shortly before his death.
According to ABC7, Jester’s mother got a call from her son the night before his death and he told her about his activities, including the questionable taste of the soft drink he purchased at the hotel. While she told him that it might be a different flavor in the country, he insisted that something was odd about the drink.
At 4:40 a.m., she got a call from her daughter and the conversation was troubling.
At this point, Jester Jr. was vomiting blood and telling his sister that he wasn’t able to breathe. Their mother instructed her daughter to call emergency services but there was a delay in someone assisting, according to ABC7.
There was no toxicology performed because of when the young man died in connection to the increase in tourist deaths.
It wasn’t until there was increased media attention to the deaths and three deaths at one hotel that toxicology screenings started to happen. So far, the FBI is performing toxicology screenings on the three victims from the same hotel.
Officials in both the U.S. and the Dominican Republic claim that there has been no significant increase in deaths.
People are trying to calm down the fears of everyone talking about the deaths in the Dominican Republic. While it is not abnormal for tourists to die while on vacation, the deaths of those in the Dominican Republic have left Americans stunned.