Peru: New President Kuczynski Is Already Frustrating Environmentalists

On July 28, the new president of Peru, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski (PPK), will move into the House of Pizarro, and the current President Ollanta Humala will be moving out.

Kuczynski was confirmed as the president-elect in Lima, Peru, on June 5.

Kuczynski represents the Alliance for the Great Change Party, also known as Alianza por el Gran Cambio, a center-right party that Kuczynski himself started as he is non-partisan.

The Daily Princetonian provides some background on the politician, who also had his hand in hedge fund and investment firms, along with some history as a member of the Peruvian government’s cabinet.

President of Peru Kaczynski has a lot of work to do.
The new president of Peru Pedro Pablo Kuczynski looks upon the crowd at a rally, after winning the presidency. [Image by Martin Mejia/AP Photo]

The source quotes a partner at Pegasus Capital Advisers — one of the groups he was a strategist for — Alec Machiels, over Kuczynski’s background and his suitability as the country’s leader.

“It’s a very unusual background when you have someone who has both a deep understanding of the structural elements of the country, the political environment, and business in Peru and across Latin America.”

The article continues to form a view that PPK is a more acceptable candidate to both sides of the political spectrum, even though he is on the right.

Much like the recent election candidates in the United States, he’s seen as the lesser of evils.

It’s still left to see if he is going to represent the common people as there are still many problems addressing the issues of the indigenous people there.

TeleSUR says that there are 212 social conflicts in Peru that have yet to be resolved.

The video shows the new President Kuczynski talking about setting up a financial system to help many Peruvians, but also shows some who are skeptical as to whether he will be careful to not put in any policies that are going to harm the environment.

Now Reuters is reporting that the new president wants to loosen up the air standards to expand the refining industry.

According to the report, Kuczynski feels that the current standards set are unrealistic and are blocking investment, which is a similar argument made by the mining industry.

The source quotes him from a broadcast interview he conducted recently.

“Our standards for emissions are more demanding than in Finland, that’s why more smelting and processing plants aren’t built. We have to change that! Let’s get on the same level with the best countries. Who are the best? Countries like Canada or Chile. Let’s not stick to something totally unrealistic.”

The new president wants to reopen polymetallic smelter La Oroya, which was shut down in 2009 for pollution issues; the Blacksmith Institute designated the village of La Oroya one of the 10 most polluted places in the world.

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It would appear that he’s looking to make this a priority as it is facing liquidation if they’re not able to find a buyer by late August, which would have him negotiating with Canadian companies to get it at a bargain price.

Many of the complaints are not always around air pollution but water pollution as well, where mass mining operations release toxins into water sources.

Looks like the new Peruvian president is looking to pollute the country.
Image of La Oroya, a refinery and mining operation pictured in 2005, in Peru which President Kaczynski wants to re-open. [Image by Unknown/AP Photo]

Kuczynski is clearly aware of the environmentalists who, according to Channel News Asia, have already shut down two major mining projects in the country, which has made outside investors a little timid to approach Peru.

The article reports that he’s named Gonzalo Tamayo to be his Energy and Mines minister to manage those deals.

China’s Xinhua News refers to an open-door policy PPK wants to establish with China for investment, but promises that the balance maintained in relationships with other governments, where the environmental standards are not stressed, will remain the same.

He does say that if the environmental standards set by outside companies are not “reasonable,” then they cannot come to Peru.

PPK promises that there will also be improvements with their infrastructure to mimic that from other developed nations.

[Image via Frank Am Main | Flickr | Cropped and resized | CC BY-SA 2.0]