Peru Ups Anti-Drug Budget, But Is It Enough?

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Peru plans to dedicate $300 million to anti-drug efforts in 2014, showing the country’s commitment to diminishing its role in the cocaine trade, though the sum is small when compared with the amount of money that has been poured into similar efforts in neighboring Colombia over past years.

Peruvian Prime Minister Rene Cornejo noted that the budget represented an increase on the $278 million set aside for counternarcotics efforts in 2013, reported El Comercio.

The European Union (EU), meanwhile, has pledged $44 million in anti-drug assistance to Peru over the next four and a half years, reported RPP. The money will be used to provide technical assistance to Peruvian bodies dedicated to combating the drug trade. Additionally, EU experts will help improve controls at the country’s ports and airports.

During the signing of the agreement with the EU, Cornejo said that as Peru’s illegal drug trade “largely exceeds” the country’s capacities to combat it, the government will rely on international support for anti-narcotics efforts.

Cornejo also reiterated that this year the country hopes to eradicate 30,000 hectares of coca, up from the record 23,600 hectares of coca crop eradicated in 2013.

While Peru’s anti-drug budget is increasing and the EU is stepping in, US aid is on the decline. According to Just the Facts data, the White House cut narcotics control and law enforcement assistance to Peru by 10 percent in 2014 compared with 2013.

InSight Crime Analysis

Though eradication efforts in Peru have shown success over the past few years, the country remains the world’s primary producer of both coca and cocaine. Total illegal coca cultivation rose from 46,200 hectares to 62,500 hectares between 2001 and 2011, according to a 2013 report by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Coca

While Peru’s increasing anti-drug budget, as well as its optimistic coca eradication goals, shows a growing commitment to combat this problem, this funding is still relatively low when compared to the billions of dollars poured into regional efforts by the US in past years, much of which has been directed to Colombia and Mexico. Peru’s coca-growing neighbor, Colombia, has received over 31 percent of US military and police aid to the region over the past six years, according to Just the Facts.

US aid has been tapering off in Latin America, with the United States planning to cut anti-drug funds to the region by a further $285 million for 2015. Various Latin American countries have begun turning to other sources of technical assistance and equipment, such as the EU and China, while Colombia has stepped up as a regional provider of police training and support.

US efforts have largely shifted to the Central American drug trafficking corridor, as that region’s importance to the transnational drug trade continues to increase.

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