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LatinNews Daily - 10 August 2020

Peru complains of miscalculations in the White House coca report

Peru: On 31 July Peru’s foreign ministry released a statement denouncing as inaccurate the report by the US Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a component of the Executive Office of the US President, on coca cultivation and production in Peru, published on the same day. The ONDCP report claims that coca cultivation expanded in Peru by 38% between 2018 and 2019, with potential pure cocaine production rising by 40%. According to Peru’s foreign ministry, the ONDCP report ignores the fact that 9,079 hectares (ha) of coca plantations in Peru are dedicated to the traditional cultivation of coca leaves used by the people in the Andes to ease altitude sickness; and to the industrial production of legal coca derivative products such as sweets and coca tea. Meanwhile the head of Peru’s national anti-drugs agency (Devida), Rubén Vargas Céspedes, has highlighted that the ONDCP also did not take into account the 18,000ha of illegal coca plantations eradicated by the Peruvian government over the course of 2019. Devida calculates that there were 53,000ha of illegal coca plantations in 2019, which could produce up to 306 metric tonnes (t) of cocaine, much lower than the 72,000ha and 705t calculated by the ONDCP. Vargas noted that these oversights were flagged up to the ONDCP on 24 and 27 July, but the ONDCP did not correct them in the final report. Devida is due to release its own illegal coca cultivation monitoring report, produced in with collaboration with the United Nations and the European Union, in October.   

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