Peru Eyes Brazil for Anti-Drug Support

Peru is looking to its neighbor and Latin America’s biggest economy, Brazil, to support it in its efforts to combat drug trafficking, a high-level government official said.

Jorge Bayona, the Peruvian ambassador in Brasilia, told state news agency Andina that Peru and Brazil are “strengthening” their ties to combat the illicit trade.

Peru is the world’s biggest producer of cocaine, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. While the world’s top cocaine consuming countries are the United States and in Western Europe, there is also a strong demand for cocaine in Brazil and other emerging markets.

Peru has traditionally received most of its support for anti-drug efforts from the United States. Recently, however, U.S. and Peruvian officials have said that it is necessary that other countries increase aid.

“Peru and Brazil are strengthening their ties on combating illegal drug trafficking, with the aim of deepening the measures for prevention and rehabilitation of drug consumption,” said Bayona.

In February, a Peruvian and Brazilian commission plans to meet in Brasilia to discuss anti-drug efforts, Bayona said. The last meeting was held in Lima.

Meanwhile, the head of Peru’s anti-drug agency Devida said that the country’s five-year counter-drugs plan will include improving security at ports and airports as well as significantly decreasing the amount of area used to grow coca leaves, the raw material required to make cocaine.

Ricardo Soberon said that the government will look to increase security at many of the countries smaller ports, such as Paita and Chimbote. “That means better technology and monitoring capacity,” he said.

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