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Sunday, December 30

The Independent Peru's rebels stage drug-fuelled revival: "Police in the Upper Huallaga Valley, Peru's principal coca-growing region, claim Colombian entrepreneurs have begun to supply farmers with poppy seed, arrange start-up credits for new planters and furnish weapons to protect the lucrative new fields. Sticky opium gum sells for twice the price of coca base, incentive enough for most subsistence farmers to begin cultivation. Guerrillas exploit the trade by demanding protection money from opium farmers and traffickers." This has been the pattern of the past 30 years. Trafficking outfits tend to be better agricultural extension workers than the government. But the correspondent's view that Sendero is only now picking up on exploiting the cocaine trade. SL has used coca-growing environment since the late 1970s. Fortunes were made in Ayacucho because of crops and refining in the Apurimac valley.

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