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Solvay: Peru's beauty hides ugly truths

[The following is the final part of a three part series on Solvay resident Dr. Charles Mango and his efforts to conserve the Amazon and assist the people of Peru.]

[Malaria and the political scene]

Mango is fighting an uphill battle with the political system in Peru. He believes that corruption and the drug trade have had a negative effect on Peru as a nation.

"The loggers are in cahoots with the drug dealers because they can smuggle their drugs underneath the logs and float them down the river," Mango said. "The loggers are receiving lots of money, protection and lots of payments from the government.

"There are parts of the Peruvian government that are corrupt," Mango continued. "Raina, they're national park service, is corrupt."

Mango mentioned a road from Akidos to Nalta built in 2000 that was recently labeled the third hottest spot for malaria in the world. He claims that engineers with Peru's National Park service in Lima were getting payments from loggers.

"They cut an area on both sides of the road that went for a half-mile or so, and gave all of the trees to the loggers," Mango claims. "Somebody put money in their pocket. It's small compared to the price that will be paid for it {by the Peruvian government}."

Malaria is an infectous disease caused by parasites, and kills one to three million people per-year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. Once infected, parasites infiltrate the red blood cells causing flu and anemia-type symptoms. No vaccine is currently available.

Mango believes that making the area a malaria hotspot will cost the government of Peru a huge amount of money to recover.

"To fix this problem is major. You have to discourage people from moving into the area to stop the spread of Malaria," Mango said. "The more people you infect, the more problems you're going to have. They made the area uninhabitable for people in the area."

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