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From Freedom to Repression and Violence: The Evolution of Drug Policy in Peru

Abstract

This chapter assesses the evolution of drug policy in Peru; It takes into account past and current initiatives to reform the repressive drug policy in the country. Also, it discusses how several key determinants—such as foreign pressures, the rise of subversive groups, and the type of economic model implemented—have influenced the evolution of drug policy in Peru. Its development is systematized into phases that consider the influence and effects of these different determinants. The chapter argues that drug policy has become increasingly repressive in Peru, and concludes that the Peruvian state has been unable to implement innovative and non-repressive initiatives on drug policy because of its institutional weakness, foreign pressures from the United States, and security concerns due to the growth of subversive groups.

Keywords

  • Organize Crime
  • Free Trade Agreement
  • Drug Policy
  • Drug Trafficker
  • International Capital Market

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Fig. 8.1
Fig. 8.2
Fig. 8.3
Fig. 8.4

Notes

  1. 1.

    Richard Nixon’s administration declared a “War on Drugs” in 1971. In 1986, President Ronald Reagan officially declared that drugs constituted a threat to national security (Ramírez and Youngers 2011).

  2. 2.

    For instance, estimations indicate that there were only 16,000 ha of coca in 1963 (Parra y Guerra 2014).

  3. 3.

    The number of hectares dedicated to cultivate coca grew from 56,000 in 1982 to 196,000 in 1993 (Cotler 1999). Approximately, 81 % of these areas were located in specific areas of the Peruvian jungle: in the Department of Huánuco, in the Department of San Martín, and in the Huallaga Valley (Ossio et al. 1989). This expansion, translated into increases in the production of coca and its derivatives, coincided with both an increase in the price of coca (de Rementería 1995) and an increasing migration to the production areas to take advantage of greater income (Alvarez 1999).

  4. 4.

    The Peruvian economy contracted 9.44 % in 1988, 12.31 % in 1989, and 4.98 % in 1990 (World Bank Database 2015). It also experienced hyper-inflation: 1722.3 % in 1988, 2775.3 % in 1989, and 7649.6 % in 2000 (National Institute of Statistics and Informatics Database).

  5. 5.

    CORAH was the Proyecto Especial de Control y Reducción del Cultivo de la Coca en el Alto Huallaga (Special Project for the Control and Reduction of Coca Crops in the Upper Huallaga). This program is under the jurisdiction of Ministerio del Interior (Ministry of the Interior) and executes the eradication of coca crops throughout the Peruvian territory.

  6. 6.

    Fujimori’s government has been repeatedly categorized as “semi-democratic,” “semi-authoritarian” or “competitive authoritarian.” For instance, during this period, the executive manipulated election results, organized a “self-coup,” and then took control of congress through a solid majority; the pro-Fujimori congress expelled three members of the Constitutional Tribunal in 1997 after their attempt to block an unconstitutional third presidential term, and took control over some privately owned television stations through legal stratagems and bribery (Levitsky and Way 2002).

  7. 7.

    The ATPA was approved on December 4th, 1991. The ATPA became effective on August, 1993.

  8. 8.

    This decreasing trend clearly changed in 1998, when the War on Drugs intensified in Colombia. Appendix 1 shows how the prices of a kilogram of coca leaves evolved over time in Peru.

  9. 9.

    See Supreme Decree 158-90-PCM.

  10. 10.

    Once the Fujimori’s government ended, the involvement of civilians in the military fights against Sendero Luminoso was declared illegal (van Dun 2012).

  11. 11.

    DEVIDA is currently in charge of designing and implementing policies to control the production and trafficking of illicit drugs. This institution also cooperates with the UNODC to identify the development of coca crops in the Peruvian territory. CORAH, instead, focuses on executing the eradication of coca crops.

  12. 12.

    For instance, consult: http://goo.gl/325Dm9. In addition, the Peruvian government removed Gen. Carlos Morán as the chief of the Anti-Drug Directorate of the National Police or DIRANDRO (Koven and McClintock 2015).

  13. 13.

    Another episode occurred in 2007. Alan García’s Minister of Agriculture promised both stopping the forced eradication of coca crops and abrogating the Peruvian signature of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The Minister soon after had to resign (Ramírez and Youngers 2011).

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Appendix 1: Prices of Coca Leaves in Peru (US$/kg)

Appendix 1: Prices of Coca Leaves in Peru (US$/kg)

figure a

Source: UNODC; Author’s elaboration.

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Ponce, A.F. (2016). From Freedom to Repression and Violence: The Evolution of Drug Policy in Peru. In: Labate, B., Cavnar, C., Rodrigues, T. (eds) Drug Policies and the Politics of Drugs in the Americas. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-29082-9_8

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