Pubdate: Tue, 24 Oct 2000
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Copyright: 2000 The Washington Post Company
Contact:  1150 15th Street Northwest, Washington, DC 20071
Author: Howard Kurtz
Cited: Narco News:
Note: A list of links to all the MAP archived items by Peter McFarren is at 
the end of this item, as well as links to some of the more recent items by 
others about Bolivia.


Peter McFarren, the longtime Associated Press correspondent in
Bolivia, recently took a step that has nothing to do with his
journalistic duties:

Lobbying the government.

McFarren made a presentation to the Bolivian senate, on behalf of the
Bolivian Hydro-Resources Corp., for a $78 million water project. The
result, the AP confirmed yesterday, is that McFarren has resigned.

McFarren's extracurricular efforts were disclosed by journalist Al
Giordano, a former Boston Phoenix writer who recently launched "Imagine if a congressional correspondent for a major
Washington daily was found lobbying the U.S. Congress on behalf of a
private industry project," he said. "The problem is, U.S.
correspondents in Latin America receive very little scrutiny."

AP spokesman Jack Stokes said McFarren voluntarily submitted his
resignation last week and that it becomes effective Nov. 1. He
declined to answer questions about the apparent conflict of interest,
saying: "At this point we're still conferring on that. We're not
saying anything publicly."

McFarren, who was born in Bolivia and holds dual U.S. citizenship,
doubles as president of the Quispus Foundation, which has built
museums in that country. He was in Venezuela yesterday and did not
respond to a message left at his hotel.

In an interview with Giordano's Narco News Bulletin, McFarren said he
sees no conflict because he is not being paid for his advocacy of the
water project. But he acknowledged that the project would "set up a
fund for culture, and Quispus would receive the profits."

"I've made a point of never writing about anything that I am involved
with," McFarren told the Web site. He said his "boss"--the AP
correspondent in Chile--was "aware" of his work for the water company.
"As a citizen I have a right to do nonprofit and pro bono work," he

Steve Rendall, a spokesman for the liberal group Fairness and Accuracy
in Media, called for AP to launch an internal investigation. He said
wire service executives should "do what it says in their code of
ethics, which is to report about their own personnel and their own

The ethics code, written by the AP Managing Editors association, says
a news organization should "report matters regarding itself or its
personnel with the same vigor and candor as it would other
institutions or individuals."

Given the nature of his job, McFarren has often reported on the
Bolivian government. In an Oct. 1 dispatch from La Paz, he described a
breakdown in negotiations between the cabinet and Indian farmers whose
protests on behalf of land reform had paralyzed parts of the country
and left at least 10 people dead.

In his Sept. 14 slide-show presentation to the Bolivian senate, Narco
News reports, McFarren said the first phase of the project would pump
water to a copper mine in Chile.

The Web site says McFarren is "a near mythical player in the highest
levels of Bolivian society. It is not unusual for him to be the
subject of press coverage himself as he rubs elbows socially with the
Divine Caste of La Paz."

- --------------------

The following are links to items by McFarren which are in the MAP archives:

Bolivia: Former 'King Of Cocaine' Dies

Bolivia: Government Concessions May End Bolivian Unrest

Bolivia: Bolivian Govt Backs Off Water Hikes

Bolivia: Bolivian Leader Announces Measures

Bolivia: Bolivia Fires Cabinet Minister

Bolivia: Bolivia Weeding Out Its Coca Trade

Bolivia: Bolivian Cocaine Farmers Are Going Bananas -- And

Bolivia: Bolivia Abandons Coca For Legal Crop

Bolivia: Wire: Bolivia Eradicates Coca Leaf Fields

Bolivia's Youngest Prisoners

When dad goes to jail, his toddler goes, too

The following is links to a selection of the recent items about Bolivia by 
other authors:

Bolivia: Bolivia Wiping Out Coca, At A Price

Bolivia: Wire: Bolivia's Coca Museum Divine Or Diabolical?

Bolivia: Bolivia Makes Key Concessions To Indians

Bolivia: Bolivia Buckles Again To Protest Movements

Bolivia: Bolivia's Indians Win Concessions Coca Farmers

Bolivia: Caught In The Eye Of The Leaf Storm

Bolivia: Wire: Bolivian Leader Confident Talks Will End

Bolivia: Wire: Bolivian Tension Mounts As Roadblock Talks

Bolivia: Coca Protest Brings Bolivia To A Halt

Bolivia: Wire: Bolivian Teachers Break Rank With Other

Bolivia: Wire: Four More Dead in Bolivia Coca Protests

Bolivia: Wire: Troops, Coca Leaf Growers Clash In Bolivia

Bolivia: Wire: Bolivian Coca Leaf Growers In Vast Protest Over Anti-Drug

Bolivia: A Half Cut Battle In A Heartless US War

Bolivia: Bolivia Struggling With Price Of Fighting Coca

Bolivia: Bolivia Drug Farmers Demand End To Crop Eradication
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake