US Drug War Money Behind Peruvian Violence

The Narcosphere's Kristen Bricker reports that U.S. aid to Peru to fight the Drug War can be directly linked to the violence in the Amazon that has resulted in the deaths of police and indigenous people, as well as the disappearance of at least 60 more indigenous people. As we reported earlier this month, indigenous groups mobilized throughout the north of Peru in protest of legislation that opened the region to oil and timber exploration without the approval of those living there (who are majority indigenous). The protests turned violent, with numerous activist videos showing what turned into a war zone. After weeks of protests, violence and stand-offs, the president, Alan Garcia, rescinded the legislation - a seeming victory for the indigenous.

Bricker reports "that US drug war money is all over the massacre. The US government has not only spent the past two decades funding the helicopters used in the massacre, it also trained the Peruvian National Police in 'riot control.'" She further details:
Of particular interest is the participation of the anti-drugs police force, known as DINANDRO in its Spanish abbreviation. Between 2002 and 2007, the United States spent over $79 million on the PNP. 2002-2004 funds were for "training and field exercises to enhance the capabilities of DIRANDRO to conduct basic road and riverine exercises, as well as to provide security for eradication teams in outlying areas. These enhanced law enforcement efforts will require additional vehicles, communications, field gear, emergency/safety reaction gear, and drug detector canines." In 2007, the US government's funding for the DIRANDRO was expanded to "enhance the capabilities of DIRANDRO to conduct advanced road interdiction, riot control, greater security for eradication teams, and interdiction in hard-core areas." [emphasis added]. In 2007 the US government also debuted the first of at least four "Pre-Police Schools" for students that have completed secondary school education (that is, these schools are an alternative to high school). The "Pre-Police Schools" are free and designed to recruit and train young people to be members of the PNP.
Billions of dollars of U.S. taxpayer money has been spent on the Drug War, and many would argue that this is with good reason. However, with the skyrocketing number of people in U.S. prisons for non-violent drug charges, continuing and even escalating drug-related violence throughout the Americas, and the extreme militarization of a number of Latin American countries, Drug War money continues to be put to other uses. Should the U.S. government be held responsible for these events? Maybe the U.S. taxpayer?

Photo Courtesy of AIDESEP

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1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:46 PM

    Thanks for this post. This is yet another reason why we need to rethink the Drug War NOW!


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