European Union to help Peru with “war on drugs” as of 2010

As of 2010, the European Union will help Peru with its “war on drugs” by funding alternative crops and reforestation projects as well as by providing police training,  according to the President of Peru’s National Commission for the Development of Life without Drugs, or Devida.

Romulo Pizarro told The Associated Press that more than 70 percent of the cocaine produced in Peru is shipped to Europe, and more than 60 percent of drug mules, or ‘burriers’ as they are called in Peru — a fusion of “courier” and “burro,” mules or donkey – are foreigners, of which approximately half are European.

Trapped by a snail-paced legal system, most accused drug couriers are locked up for years awaiting trial, facing drug trafficking sentences that range anywhere between five and 15 years. There they face, like all local prisoners, horrific conditions of overcrowding and few basic facilities, exposed to corruption, drugs, prostitution, and often rat-infested cells.

The financial help made available to Peru by the U.S. has “decreased over the years,” said Pizarro. “In 2009, we calculated $65 million in aid, when in 2004 we received $140 million.”

Since January 2009, more than 10 tons of drugs – mainly cocaine, coca paste, marijuana and opium destined for the Spanish market – have been seized by Peru’s National Police.

But, according to Pizarro, “dealing with drugs isn’t easy, especially when dealing with very limited resources.”

Peru was, until 1996, the world’s largest coca leaf producer, and is now the world’s second largest producer of coca leaf, though it still lags behind Colombia.

Peru slashed its production by 70 percent between 1995 and 2001 primarily because of low coca prices, interdiction, forced eradication of coca fields and programs that encourage farmers to grow alternative crops.

But by 2002, the number of hectares used to illegally grow coca in Peru increased as efforts to eradicate the crop in Colombia forced production southward.

This can be explained, in part, by the balloon effect, or the drug fields’ tendency to shift elsewhere and sometimes to smaller and harder-to-reach plots in response to local eradication campaigns, and the fact that for farmers, the coca harvest provides more money than any other crop: up to five times as much can be earned for a kilogram of coca than for a kilogram of coffee.

In June 2008, a study conducted by Devida and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime indicated that coca crops had increased by 4.5 percent in 2007 and that approximately 92 percent of Peruvian coca production is destined for the fabrication of cocaine paste and cocaine hydrochloride.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *