Peru to resume coca eradication today

Peru’s government will resume coca eradication work on Tuesday in the country’s Upper Huallaga Valley, daily La Republica reported, citing President Ollanta Humala.

Humala’s government suspended eradication last week to re-evaluate the country’s current counter-narcotics plan. The Upper Huallaga Valley is Peru’s top coca growing region.

The government came under harsh criticism for the suspension, with some analysts saying that it sent a message to coca growers and drug traffickers to continue their illicit activity.

U.S. Ambassador Rose M. Likins expressed surprise at the government’s decision, commenting that she would have liked to have been advised directly.

Humala said that Peru wants to continue cooperating with the U.S. on eradication. “We want to improve cooperation with the United States, so that this support isn’t just for cultivation eradication,” Humala said.

At the opening of the APEC Advisory Council Summit, being held in Lima this week, President Humala proposed a presidential anti-drug summit to seek solutions jointly as a region. The proposal was welcomed by Jose Miguel Insulza, president of the Organization of American States, OAS, who said it was essential to reduce demand for drugs in order for illegal drug production to be reduced successfuly.

According to sociologist Jaime Antezana, an expert on the drug trade, Peru’s goal is to eradicate 10,000 hectares of coca per year.  By July this year, under the previous administration, 4,000 hectares had been detroyed.

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