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Humala Approval Falls First Time in 3 Months, Peru Poll Shows

Peruvian President Ollanta Humala’s approval rating fell for the first time in three months on concern he condoned special treatment for his brother, who’s serving a 19-year prison sentence for the killing of four policemen, a poll shows.

His approval rating slid to 55 percent from 58 percent the month earlier, according to the March 9-12 poll by Datum Internacional, which was published in the Lima-based newspaper Gestion today.

Antauro Humala, a former army major, was moved from a maximum security prison to a military lock-up March 4. Justice Minister Juan Jimenez told legislators this week the transfer was for safety reasons and said the government will investigate press reports he had obtained an iPhone and internet access in the penitentiary. According to Datum’s survey, 68 percent of those surveyed said Antauro Humala had received privileges in prison with the knowledge of the president.

Lima-based America Television on March 11 aired an image of Antauro Humala with his arm wrapped around a woman while he took their photo with an iPhone. Jimenez told lawmakers the president was “very worried” by the report, which also published e-mails his brother had sent to a member of staff in Congress and an employee at Newmont Mining Corp.’s local unit.

Antauro Humala was jailed in September 2009 for killing the officers during the takeover of a police station in the southern Andean town of Andahuaylas in 2005. He led a group of army reservists who opposed foreign investment and sought to renationalize state industries. The Supreme Court shortened his sentence from 25 years on Sept. 8.

The survey showed 41 percent of Peruvians are in favor of Newmont’s Minas Conga gold project, which was halted following local protests in November, while 40 percent are opposed to the $4.8 billion investment. Of those surveyed, 55 percent said mining investment in Peru will stall or decline if the project is canceled.

Datum questioned 1,206 people and the poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.

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