The United Nations confirmed Peru’s rise to the top of the global coca and cocaine Peru production rankings in 2013. In a nation that is relatively peaceful and has a thriving economy, how could this occur?
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), which provides annual estimates of coca and cocaine production in the Andes, announced in September that Peru was now capable of producing up to 340 tons of Peruvian cocaine after planting 60,400 hectares of coca last year. The United Nations noted that Colombia only had 48,000 hectares and the capacity to produce 309 tons of cocaine. The UN figures were, in a way, more of a confirmation than a revelation. Peru had, according to the government of the United States, risen to the top spot in 2011.
Peru produced 60% of the world’s cocaine in 1992, so this is actually a return to the bad old days. That all changed when the drug traffickers of the Medellin and Cali Cartels began to promote the sowing of coca in Colombia and former President Alberto Fujimori, who is currently in prison on corruption charges, began shooting down the airplanes that carried coca base to the Peruvian cocaine labs in Colombia. According to UN data, Colombia had an estimated 163,000 hectares of the leaf under cultivation by the year 2000, while Peru had an estimated 43,400 hectares.
Recently, it reversed once more. Here are a few explanations.
Reason 1: Colombian Eradication Efforts
The reasons for the recent shift in coca production south may have less to do with Peru and more to do with Colombia. Colombia, aided by the United States, has expended enormous resources fumigating and eradicating coca, simply pushing the crops back into Peru and, to a lesser extent, Bolivia. It’s a classic example of the “balloon effect”: squeeze one part of the balloon, and the air pushes to the other.
Since the beginning of the US-supported “Plan Colombia” in 1999, Peruvian cocaine
Colombia has served as the focal point of Washington’s war on narcotics. In order to cut off a major source of income for both drug traffickers and leftist guerrillas who operate in the coca-cultivation zones, the strategy called for the destruction of the raw material, the coca bush, from the air.
Reason 2: Inconsistent government policy for Cocaine Peru
The coca production increase in Peru is driven by different factors than it is in Colombia. Like Colombia, Peru forbids the indiscriminate aerial spraying of coca crops
And contends with an insurgency supported by the drug trade. However, unlike Colombia’s Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN),
Which together have over 10,000 fighters spread out across the nation,
Peru’s Shining Path currently has less than 500 fighters and is primarily confined to one region,
The Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro River Valleys, also known as the VRAEM, which is just one of 14 major coca growing areas in Peru.
Admiral Jorge Valencia of the National Commission for Development and Life without Drugs (DEVIDA),
The government’s anti-drug organization, argues that the government is making headway on other aspects of the policy. He claimed that despite money laundering being a key government priority, not much has been accomplished in this area. According to Sonia Medina, the prosecutor in charge of the government’s anti-drug campaign,
up to eight billion dollars in illicit funds may be flowing through the Peruvian economy with no resistance.
Reason 3: Emerging criminal actors in cocaine Peru market
According to police, numerous high-level criminals have established operations in Peru after coming under growing scrutiny in both Mexico and Colombia. It is thought that the Sinaloa Cartel has emissaries in Lima as well as a permanent presence in Cocaine Peru,
Concentrated on the port of Piura. It is not surprising that the Russian mafia has arrived given that Peru now supplies a large portion of the cocaine going to Europe.
In the end, Peru currently provides significantly less opposition than Colombia to global drug trafficking. It may be inevitable that organized crime will pay greater attention to Peru, where the raw materials are available, the court and law enforcement are susceptible to corruption, and money laundering is still a reasonably simple process.