Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Will Peru Take on the Narco-Traffickers?

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on July 6, 2011

by Latintelligence, published in conjunction with Latin America’s Moment at the Council on Foreign Relations.

As Peruvian President Elect Ollanta Humala prepares to take office at the end of the month, the worries focus on his economic policies. Will he be another Chavez, nationalizing industries, or a Lula, balancing market friendly macroeconomic policies with broader social programs? The fears have led to a rollercoaster month in the stock market, which sank a record-breaking 12.5 percent the day after Humala’s election, only to bounce back one day later. Rumors of Humala’s plans for the mining industry, private pension funds, and even the free trade agreement with Peru and Colombia abound.

Receiving less attention is how Humala will manage security issues— and particularly narco-trafficking.  According to this year’s United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) World Drug Report, Peru is now virtually tied with Colombia as the largest supplier of cocaine in the world. And with skyrocketing cultivation come the more nefarious elements of organized crime. Evidence suggests Mexican cartels are working with local criminal groups and some say moving into Peru themselves, spurring a precipitous rise in drug-related violence in recent years.

Throughout the campaign Humala promised voters a tough on crime, or ‘mano dura,’ approach. He talked about centralizing anti-drug strategies into one agency — a High Commission on Drugs. More controversially, he supported a role for local militias in the fight against narco-traffickers. Recently he met with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to talk about bilateral counternarcotics cooperation.(continue reading… )

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