LETTER : Out-of-date picture of Peru

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From Mr George Nicholson

Sir: I am writing to you concerning Virginia Ironside's "Dilemmas" in Section Two (5 October) which unfortunately misleads readers into believing that Peru is "a country fraught with danger".

I would like to inform Virginia Ironside, "horrified" Christine and Dominique Young that an estimated 500,000 foreign people will visit Peru this year. Last year alone, according to the British consulate in Lima, Peru hosted an estimated 1,500 British visitors, among them 120 students. Apart from occasional minor problems such as lost property and thefts - common to all major cities - none has reported any of the problems one would fear after reading today's "Dilemmas", neither to the British consulate nor to the British Council.

As well-informed readers have realised, the image portrayed does not match present-day Peru at all. Government policies and drastic legislation passed in Peru since 1990 have dramatically curbed terrorism, drug trafficking and crime. Consequently, the number of foreign visitors has increased in comparison with 1994 and various projects recruiting young foreigners are being implemented.

Yours faithfully,

George Nicholson

Consul General

Embassy of Peru

London, SW1