- The Washington Times - Monday, February 2, 2004


Further turmoil bedevils Toledo

LIMA — President Alejandro Toledo fought early Sunday to save his government as the resignation of his vice president and the arrest of a close adviser plunged the country into turmoil.

In a midnight speech broadcast nationwide, Mr. Toledo sought to distance himself from the latest accusations of corruption involving those around him.

“I am not an accomplice in the corruption, and the hour has arrived to distinguish between those who are against corruption and those who support it,” he declared.

Mr. Toledo denied any link between his government and the arrest on Saturday of Cesar Almeyda, his close friend and former spy master, saying Mr. Almeyda had betrayed him by becoming corrupt. The arrest came a day after Vice President Raul Diez Canseco resigned and a month after Mr. Toledo fired his entire Cabinet over a sex scandal.


Song on abduction hits a raw nerve

PORT OF SPAIN — A calypso song that proposes kidnapping corrupt politicians and drug-dealing businessmen and using the ransom money to fill the state coffers has struck a raw nerve in an area where abductions are a big problem.

In the latest controversy over hard-hitting lyrics, many in Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean country known as calypso’s birthplace, are outraged by “Face Reality.” Some say it should be banned.

Calypso performer Weston Rawlins, whose stage name is Cro Cro, warns sharp-dressing “thieves” to make amends and urges bandits to kidnap those who don’t. “Dey dress with jacket and tie, dey thief and living a lie, dey better pay back all the wrong things they do, or the bandits coming for you,” the lyrics go.


Lawyer returns stolen carvings

TORONTO — Five rare ivory carvings worth U.S. $1.1 million, stolen from a Toronto museum this month, were recovered during the weekend after images of three persons wanted by police for questioning in the case were broadcast on television news.

The palm-size, 18th-century carvings, on loan to the Art Gallery of Ontario from Canadian media baron Ken Thomson, were turned over to Toronto police by a lawyer who on Friday “was contacted by somebody who wanted to arrange for the return of the statues,” said police Detective Peter Karpow.

Created by sculptor David Le Marchand, the carvings were stolen Jan. 17 from a locked display case in the downtown Toronto gallery.

Weekly notes …

Brazilian officials are ratcheting up an investigation into the recent deaths of three slave-labor inspectors. News reports said yesterday that federal investigators will analyze the way the inspectors were killed and try to trace the gun used in the execution-style slayings. The three were killed Wednesday while following a tip that a farm in Minas Gerais state was using illegal slave labor. … Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, grappling with the likelihood of a battle at the ballot box this year, got a fiery pep talk Sunday from U.S. boxing promoter Don King, who praised Mr. Chavez’s social policies for the poor and promised to help smooth over Venezuela’s rocky relations with the U.S. government. “Your magic lies in your people ties. You are one that is concerned with the poor, the underprivileged, the downtrodden and denied,” Mr. King said on Mr. Chavez’s weekly “Hello President” television program. “I am going to talk to President Bush and make sure that he knows my relationship with you, so we can straighten out a lot of things,” the outspoken ring promoter said before shouting “Viva Chavez.”

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