Peru New Model for Drug Strategy

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WASHINGTON – Last week, the Organization of American States (OAS) adopted a new strategy to combat drug production and use, identifying Peru as a model for the hemisphere. According to the report published by Washington Hispanic, 130,000 acres of Peruvian farmland was used to cultivate coca leaf intended for illegal cocaine production in the 1990’s. Today, the total number of acres used to cultivate coca for illegal as well as traditional purposes is just 60,000. The OAS attributes the reduction in Peruvian coca cultivation to entrepreneurial programs for small farmers that promote the replacement of coca with sustainable and legally marketable crops like cacao and organic coffee. The “San Martin Plan” also emphasizes respect for human rights in the fight against drugs, and considers the environmental impacts of illegal drug cultivation. OAS leaders claim that over 2 billion hectares of Amazon rainforest have been deforested due to drug cultivation, and the use of over 10 billion liters of harmful agricultural chemicals have led to a severely contaminated ecosystem. The adoption of the OAS plan for Latin America comes just days before Barack Obama is expected to unveil his strategy to fight illegal drugs in the hemisphere.