- The Washington Times - Monday, February 13, 2006

PERU

Lawyer keeps lead in presidential poll

LIMA — Presidential candidate Lourdes Flores retained a 10-point lead in a top opinion poll over rival Ollanta Humala, a former military officer who has the backing of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Leading polling company Apoyo said on Sunday that Mrs. Flores, a conservative, would win 35 percent of the vote — two percentage points less than two weeks ago and short of the 50 percent needed to win outright in the first round of the election on April 9.

The poll indicated that in a second round in May, Mrs. Flores would beat Mr. Humala 61 percent to 39 percent to become Peru’s first female president. The 46-year-old lawyer, favored by Wall Street to continue healthy economic growth, has the most support in the upper and middle classes.

She came from a family of Mexican migrants to Peru, and she and an older sister were the first in the family to attend college. She earned a bachelor’s degree at Stanford University in California and went on to Syracuse University, where she received a master’s degree.

VENEZUELA

Major drug lord taken into custody

CARACAS — Police have arrested Colombian-born Carlos Ojeda, on wanted lists in Colombia and the United States as one of Latin America’s biggest drug lords, the government has announced.

Ojeda, in his early 50s and sought by the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration, was arrested Thursday by agents of the counternarcotics squad in a commercial district in the east of this capital.

HAITI

Spain to withdraw its U.N. contingent

MADRID — The Spanish Defense Ministry said Sunday that the government would withdraw its troops from the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.

Ministry spokesmen told Spanish national radio that the decision has been made for the 200-strong contingent to return by “the end of March.” Spanish Defense Minister Jose Bono has criticized the reluctance of other countries to provide sufficient financial backing to Haiti.

Weekly notes …

Bolivian President Evo Morales wants to “refound” his country by rewriting its constitution. In a speech late Saturday formally renouncing his leadership of the coca farmers union, Mr. Morales told fellow American Indians, who make up a majority of the country’s population: “This fight does not stop here; we may be the government, but … we are not the power, yet. If we want to be the power, that will happen through the Constituent Assembly.” … Canadians have given their new Conservative government a tentative seal of approval, but they are wary of some of the choices made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, a poll published Saturday shows. Mr. Harper, who took office last week, has the support of 54 percent of voters, well above the 36 percent where his party had polled in the election.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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