Drug Policy At The Heart of Peru’s Left Wing Political Shake Up

Ollanta Humala Promised To Tackle Poverty And Corruption During His Election Campaign. Courtesy of Associated Press/Nytimes

Much like every European or North American leader claims to have a magic salve to fix the deficit, every Latin American leader promises to fight corruption. Some have no intention of doing so, some do but are swept up into the system they tried to destroy but some surprise you.

When left-wing Ollanta Humala was swept into power at the beginning of June he, like every other democratically elected President before him, promised to fight poverty and social exclusion by tackling the lingering corruption and cronyism endemic in the Peruvian political and justice systems.

A former army officer who staged a short-lived rebellion against President Alberto Fujimori (who is currently in prison for embezzlement and bribery as well as being the father of Humala’s rival in the election, Keiko Fujimori), many were worried that in power he would follow the interventionist policies of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, especially after his previous election campaign in 2006 where he campaigned for a ‘socialist revolution’. The stock exchange in Lima, the capital, fell 10 per cent on the result.

Humala’s record seemed that he would become a leftist firebrand but previous experience more often than not would indicate that he would go the way of his predecessors and begin to prop up the existing system he campaigned against.

His move to force 30 of the country’s 45 police generals into early retirement last week seems to show he’s going to keep up his interventionist, radical ways. He wants to tackle what he sees as corruption in the police force which helps Peru’s illegal drugs trade to flourish. Peru is one of the world’s largest cocaine producers. One of the chiefs removed was General Raul Becerra who was head of Peru’s anti drugs division, Dirandro.
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