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Cablegate: Ondcp Director Walters Sees Progress in Peru's War

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C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 003673

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHITE HOUSE FOR ONDCP; DEPT. FOR WHA/AND, INL, AND INR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/20/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER SNAR PE
SUBJECT: ONDCP DIRECTOR WALTERS SEES PROGRESS IN PERU'S WAR
ON DRUG...

id: 130835 DROGAS 2
date: 11/20/2007 13:37
refid: 07LIMA3673
origin: Embassy Lima
classification: CONFIDENTIAL
destination: 07LIMA3638
header:
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DE RUEHPE #3673/01 3241337
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7349
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA PRIORITY 5285
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA PRIORITY 7672
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES PRIORITY 3196
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 0930
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C O N F I D E N T I A L LIMA 003673

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

WHITE HOUSE FOR ONDCP; DEPT. FOR WHA/AND, INL, AND INR

E.O. 12958: DECL: 11/20/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL PTER SNAR PE
SUBJECT: ONDCP DIRECTOR WALTERS SEES PROGRESS IN PERU'S WAR
ON DRUGS

REF: LIMA 3638

Classified By: DCM JAMES D. NEALON. REASONS 1.4 (B) AND (D)

1. (C) Summary: ONDCP Director Walters met with Interior
Minister Luis Alva Castro and Drug Policy Agency (DEVIDA)
head Romulo Pizarro during a November 5-6 visit to Lima.
Alva Castro characterized Peru's anti-drug efforts as an
urgent fight to which U.S. assistance was critical. Pizarro
credited USG assistance in helping to achieve Peru's
counter-narcotics goals, but worried that Peru could become a
platform for international cartels unless the GOP continued
its fight in earnest. Director Walters recognized Peru's
achievements in combating the production and trafficking of
illegal narcotics and pledged continued U.S. assistance in
facing these shared problems. Later, a panel of leading
Peruvian narco-trafficking analysts and opinion makers told
Director Walters that international cooperation was key to
combating drugs in Peru and that GOP counter-narcotics
efforts lacked cohesion. End Summary.

2. (C) Director of the White House Office of National Drug
Control Policy John P. Walters visited Peru November 5-6.
Director Walters, Ambassador P. Michael McKinley, NAS
Director Susan Keogh, ONDCP COS Patrick Ward, ONDCP OSR
Bradley Hittle, and poloff met with Peruvian Minister of
Interior Luis Alva Castro. Romulo Pizarro, head of Peru's
drug policy directorate, DEVIDA, later hosted a lunch for
Director Walters and his staff. NAS Director Susan Keogh,
AID Mission Director Paul Weisenfeld, ONDCP COS Patrick Ward,
ONDCP OSR Bradley Hittle, and poloff attended.

--------------------------------------------- -
MEETING WITH INTERIOR MINISTER LUIS ALVA CASTRO
--------------------------------------------- --

3. (C) Alva Castro opened the meeting by noting ongoing
confrontations between police and striking coca growers in
the jungle town of Aguaytia. He reviewed GOP efforts to
disrupt cocaine production, confront traffickers, and halt
the laundering of drug profits in Peru. Alva Castro
described Peru's fight against drugs as "not negotiable" and
pointed to U.S. assistance as crucial to the effort. He
noted specifically aviation support to the Police (PNP),
funding for Peru's coca eradication corps, and the
construction of three PNP Basic Training Academies for
anti-drug officers. Alva Castro noted that President Garcia
would attend the opening of the academy in Ayacucho,
scheduled for January 2008. He reported that the President
had held a press conference earlier that morning, in which he
announced the disruption of three organizations that had
laundered over USD 174 million in suspected drug funds during
the last decade. Alva Castro opined that the action would
serve as a sign of Peru's seriousness in preventing the
transit of drug money. He announced the planned opening of a
base for special operations units in Ocabamba in the Apurimac
region, the site of a fatal attack on a police station on
October 31. Alva Castro characterized Peru's anti-drug
efforts as a continuing fight that was important to Peru and
to the world.

4. (C) Director Walters thanked Minister Alva Castro for his
efforts. He noted that it was his first visit to Peru in 15
years and remarked that the country's progress since that
time and its commitment to the war on drugs were clear. He
said that security and prosperity required hard work and
applauded GOP efforts to increase police presence in drug
zones. Director Walters hoped that the pending free trade
agreement would create new opportunities and prosperity for
all Peruvians. Minister Alva Castro responded that Peru was
blessed with abundant natural resources, but that security
was key to attracting investment. He said that U.S. and
European markets were very important for Peruvian products
and that increased trade would bring greater stability and
rule of law to Peru, helping to force out drug production and
trafficking. He saw an open road to prosperity for Peru and
would consider it an enormous privilege to enter into a
formal free trade agreement with the U.S.

5. (C) Director Walters noted reduced demand for drugs in the

U.S. and reduced production in Peru as compared to the
1990's. He observed that Peruvian cocaine found its way to
other countries such as Brazil, and inquired about Peru's
experience working with those governments. Alva Castro
replied that Peru was working to improve its legal anti-drug
framework, but noted that international drug cartels had vast
economic resources. He claimed that corruption in Peru was
decreasing, thanks largely to professional, dedicated staff.
He noted U.S. assistance in Peru's efforts to control
precursor chemicals and cited increasing amounts seized in
recent years, and thanked the Embassy's Narcotics Affairs
Section for providing a new, environmentally friendly
incinerator to dispose of such waste. He pointed to
continued success of Peru's coca eradication program -- which
he described as a "noble cause" despite increasing crop
densities. Alva Castro noted that drug producers reacted
quickly to movements of eradication teams and mentioned the
surge during 2007 of improvised explosive devices planted in
coca fields, which had caused a sharp spike in the number of
injuries among eradication workers.

6. (C) Director Walters assured Minister Alva Castro that the
U.S. understands Peru was on the front lines of the war on
drugs and that the U.S. took seriously its responsibility to
reduce domestic demand and help other countries in the
hemisphere in their efforts. He remarked that leadership and
commitment were keys to success and recognized those
Peruvians who had given their lives in the fight against
narcotrafficking. He expressed satisfaction with Peru's
comprehensive strategy to combat drugs and his optimism that
our combined efforts would ultimately prevail. He assured
the Minister that the U.S. would continue to stand by Peru in
its fight against illegal drugs.

--------------------------------------------
MEETING WITH DEVIDA DIRECTOR ROMULO PIZARRO
--------------------------------------------

7. (C) DEVIDA Director Pizarro remarked that he saw the visit
as an opportunity to demonstrate Peru's achievements in
combating illegal drugs and, by extension, serve as a model
for other countries. He said "some countries, especially
Bolivia", had their "own ideas" about how to fight drugs, but
that it was a complex issue because the countries were
neighbors.

8. (C) Pizarro explained that he began his work at DEVIDA by
studying how Colombia had conducted its anti-drug efforts,
and had concluded that being too much "in the forefront"
could hinder progress. He noted that coca's status as a
"traditional" crop complicated the situation, but dismissed
talk that is was commercially viable. Pizarro said the
"carrot and stick" approach, referring to the need for both
alternative development and coca eradication, was the only
way to go, and that USAID's development assistance was
essential in achieving Peru's counter-narcotics goals. He
noted Peru's success in the last two decades in reducing the
total area under coca cultivation and efforts to increase
public awareness of the dangers of drug use, but worried that
Peru could become a platform for international cartels given
the country's vast coastline and borders with Ecuador, Brazil
and Colombia. He solicited USG support for a dedicated,
full-time police force for Peru's seaports.

9. (C) In response to Pizarro's comment on Peru's need for
regional partners, Director Walters expressed surprise that
Brazil had not done more to help. Pizarro replied that the
construction of two new transcontinental highways between
Peru and Brazil, scheduled to be finished in 2009, would
provide increased mobility to traffickers -- a big challenge
for which all must be ready, he warned. He discussed the
need for increased and more rapid information sharing,
especially among Peru, Mexico, and Colombia, on the movements
of known traffickers. "Mexicans aren't coming here to see
Machu Picchu", he said, and reported that as a result,
Colombians and Mexicans now must obtain visas before entering
Peru.

10. (C) In a formal slide presentation, Pizarro noted that
Peru currently produced less than half of the cocaine it

could, based on estimates of areas suitable for coca
cultivation, and highlighted the link between drug
trafficking and acts of terrorism. He reviewed the GOP's
security and development plans for Peru's drug-affected
regions and efforts to control precursor chemicals and money
laundering. Director Walters commented that he saw a
remarkable change in Peru's fight against illegal drugs. He
reviewed encouraging signs, such as the reduction in U.S.
demand and the steady drop in the area under cultivation of
coca in Peru. He challenged all to respond not just to
individual threats, but to the network of drug production,
transport, and consumption throughout the hemisphere.

11. (C) Director Walters and Pizarro discussed briefly the
growing production in Peru of synthetic drugs, often using
generic legal over-the-counter medications from India and
China. Pizarro related that the GOP was quietly combating
the practice, which may involve large and otherwise
legitimate pharmaceutical interests. In general, he said,
Peru could not afford to let narco-traffickers take advantage
of the country's economic growth, lest Peru become like
Mexico.

------------------------------
ROUNDTABLE WITH OPINION MAKERS
------------------------------

12. (C) Director Walters attended a roundtable discussion at
the Embassy with leading Peruvian narco-trafficking analysts
and opinion makers. The speakers highlighted:

-- narco-trafficking in Peru as an impediment to economic
growth and national security;
-- lack of cohesion in GOP counter-narcotics efforts;
-- corruption and institutional weakness as hindrances to GOP
counter-narcotics efforts;
-- involvement of Mexican and Colombian cartels as well as
the Venezuelan government; and
-- the need for international cooperation
(Peru-Mexico-Colombia-U.S and others) to combat
narco-trafficking.

13. (U) ONDCP has not cleared this message.
MCKINLEY

=======================CABLE ENDS============================

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