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Peru's Garcia Seems Determined to Stoke Conflict With Coca Growers

Submitted by Phillip Smith on
Although the Peruvian government cut a deal with coca growers in San Martin state last month to end a strike, promising a temporary end to forced eradication of coca crops, it has since decided to resume the destruction of crops. Garcia has also vowed loudly to bomb coca crops and maceration pits. It is almost as if he is seeking confrontation with growers. Now he's getting it. Coca growers in Tingo Maria, Aucayacu, and Leoncio Prada announced strikes beginning today. Growers in San Martin's Tocache district are already rumbling over the government's reversal on eradication. And someone has taken more direct action: On Friday, snipers opened fire on an eradication team in Yanajanca, killing one civilian eradicator and wounding five police officers. Garcia is headed for Washington soon for trade talks. Is he attempting to curry favor with the US by taking a tough line on coca and cocaine? And what kind of price in terms of domestic conflict and violence is he willing to pay?

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