Coca Growers' Nancy Obregón Arrested in Peru
Coca Growers' Leader Nancy Obregón Arrested in Peru
December 16, 2005
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In a "legal" action spurred by the coca growers' protests in April and May of 2004, the Peruvian police arrested leader Nancy Obregón yesterday. This is part of a strategy of legal harassment being carried out by the Alejandro Toledo administration against Peru's coca growers' movement. After last year's protests - in which "cocaleros" blocked two highways, clashed with police for days and besieged the city of Lima - a judicial process was initiated against the movement's leaders. This is an urgent, breaking story, so let's go...
It was no coincidence. Pero is in its pre-electoral phase these days and Ollanta Humala, a patriotic soldier who has led several military and social revolts against the state, has become a new hope for the humble people in that country. Especially for the farmers of Peru's coca-growing basins, where Humala enjoys as much as 90 percent support among the people.
Nancy Obregón, Elsa Malpartida and other cocalero leaders have sympathized with Humala's quest, above all because he is one of the few Peruvian political figures to have supported the peasant farmers' right to legally cultivate the sacred leaf of the Andes. And just during the last few days, after a ruling was passed down against them, Both Elsa and Nancy had gone underground, refusing to recognize the Peruvian court's decision.
On December 14, the court presided over by Magistrate Alberto Gonzales Ortiz issued arrest warrants for Obreón and Malpartida, accusing them of the crime of "disturbing the public order" by creating disturbances and publicly defending the commission of crimes.
Yesterday, during the afternoon of December 15, an unusually effective police officer found Nancy in the town of Tingo María, withdrawing money from an ATM machine, and arrested her. In these moments, during which Narco News has been unable to contact any of our allies in Peru, Nancy is in the custody of that town's police department, a town that is the center of one the most organized sectors of the Peruvian cocalero movement.
We have followed Peruvian coca growers in their process of struggle and dignity very closely in Narco News, and we know that this arrest is nothing but another form of criminalizing the social movements, at a time in which both the state and the failed war on drugs are facing major setbacks in that country.
As such, we are merely doing part of our job in denouncing the arbitrary arrest of a recognized social leader... and we advise those behind this act, as well as you our dear readers, that this could become the motivation for a new explosion in Perú... Toledo's followers may have, without thinking, sat down in a powder keg.
From somewhere in a country called América,
The Narco News Bulletin