• Live
    • Audio Only
  • google plus
  • facebook
  • twitter
News > Peru

Many Peruvians in Denial About Country's Drug Trafficking Role

  • Military base in the VRAEM valley to fight drug trafficking.

    Military base in the VRAEM valley to fight drug trafficking. | Photo: Agencia AndinaAgencia Andina

  • Coca field in VRAEM valley, Peru.

    Coca field in VRAEM valley, Peru. | Photo: Agencia Andina

  • Anti-drug trafficking military operation in VRAEM valley.

    Anti-drug trafficking military operation in VRAEM valley. | Photo: Agencia Andina

Published 19 April 2016

Peru has been the number one exporter of cocaine since 2012 despite efforts to the contrary.

As the 13th U.N. High Session on the World Drug Problem begins and Peru maintains its status as the largest exporter of cocaine, local media and political leaders portray the issue as a problem connected to a terrorist movement that no longer exists.

The U.N. Session is taking place from the April 19-21 and seeks to be a milestone in achieving the goals set in the 2009, “Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem.”

Although Peru has actively participated of the planning and has dedicated significant amounts of resources to the issue, it has become the world’s leading producer of cocaine since 2012.

Two recent events serve to portray the situation of drug trafficking in the country. The first one took place this past March 30, when Victor Crespo, a leading figure among drug traffickers was captured in the Amazonian valley known as VRAEM where most of the world’s cocaine comes from. Crespo was captured with three kilos of cocaine.

However, as the armed forces were finishing searching the area to move him into custody, around 300 people from the local population approached the officers and started insulting them and throwing rocks at them. Seeing themselves outnumbered and confronting a physical risk, they let Crespo go. A helicopter had to be sent to pick up the officers. The willingness of the local population to protect the drug traffickers shows how much a part of society and the economy the drug industry is in VRAEM.

The second event took place days later on April 9, a day before the elections. A group of armed drug traffickers attacked an army convoy of 6 vehicles that were transporting voting ballots through VRAEM. The traffickers were able to steal the army’s weapons and killed 10 people in the heist. Major media outlets used headlines of the event to portray it as an action of Shining Path the violent terrorist group that was responsible for thousands of murders starting in the 80’s but were defeated in the mid 90’s.

Presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori and members of her party condemned the events as a terrorist attack. However, there are no signs that Shining Path continues to exist and no political motives shown by those who attacked the convoy. The only link between the drug traffickers and Shining Path is that some former members of the terrorist group are now in the illegal drug trade business.   

President Ollanta Humala qualified the declarations by Fujimori’s party as “irresponsible acts to try to politicize and capture electoral benefits by criticizing the armed forces. They are lying when they say that we are allowing a setback in the fight against terrorism when it is completely the opposite.”

Retired Armed Forces Commandant and former Minister of Defense, Roberto Chiabra, added, “they talk about terrorists and remnants of Shining Path but I believe that what is correct is that we don’t want to accept the fact of being the number one world exporter of cocaine and that the events took place in the valley that is the number one producer of cocaine, what Peru suffers from is drug trafficking.” 

Post with no comments.