2012-08-17

The Illegal Economy and its Repercussions in Peru

According to the World Bank, illegal logging in 2011 caused the Peruvian government more than $250 million in losses from tax earnings, unpaid taxes and environmental damage. (Photo: AFP/Dan Collyns)

According to the World Bank, illegal logging in 2011 caused the Peruvian government more than $250 million in losses from tax earnings, unpaid taxes and environmental damage. (Photo: AFP/Dan Collyns)

Brigadier General Leonardo José Longa López, Peruvian Army

Terrorism in Peru is a threat to national intelligence and national security, which threatens the country’s stability and development. This transnational problem, which evolved over time, began as a threat to the nation’s system of government. However, now terrorists have switched focus to illegal economic activity, strategically allying themselves with drug traffickers, and acquiring political, economic, social and military resources, with the goal of becoming a logical step for the country’s poorest inhabitants.

Terrorism, drug trafficking, and poverty share a symbiotic relationship and objective -to promote an illegal economy based on the production of cocaine hydrochloride, through smuggling, illegally cutting down trees, and informal mining practices.

The danger lies in the fact that it has proven effective in solving the problems of the majority of the poor population. Still, the fact that this is generating greater levels of corruption in Peruvian society is is going unnoticed. Similarly, in order to cover their modus operandi they are fostering the increase in social contradictions and what is more dangerous: consolidating the creation of a mixed economy, based on legal and illegal resources, mainly the offset of narcotrafficking through money laundering. It is in this context that established strategies to substitute coca leaf plantations with alternate crops don’t have a fruitful outlook.

Perú is still trying to decide which enemy to confront: drug trafficking?, terrorism?, or both combined? Perú established a comprehensive strategy, which encompasses political, economic, social, and military arenas, as well as a special body to coordinate actions between the country’s ministries. Their ultimate goal is to restore peace and establish sustainable development in the Huallaga and VRAEM (Apurimac, Ene and Mantaro) river valleys.

From my point of view, the enemy is the illegal economy, which resulted from drug trafficking and its allies. The aforementioned strategy cannot be formally integrated and established unless we recognize that we are facing threats that are not only political, economic, social and military in nature, but also have a transnational capability which exceeds the Peruvian state’s best intentions.

Keep in mind, there are different aspects that must be addressed with a single strategy (national and international); there are countries that produce cocaine hydrochloride (a social priority), trading countries (social and economic priority), and consumer countries (economic priority).

As previously stated, the beliefs and motivations behind terrorism and drug trafficking have evolved in Peru and in the world. They are quickly learning from our successes and our failures in order to protect themselves. The current reality requires a change in our perception that they only represent a threat to police forces, and that they are an easy to confront. We must learn to confront them with established legal frameworks in a multi-agency setting. These threats have begun to socialize, take control of the legal economy, and gain political control and military capabilities that should make us realize the danger they represent for our country, our region and our hemisphere.

It is necessary to think about these threats so we can get to work to defeat them with ingenuity, creativity and innovation to ensure that these threats do not adversely affect Peru’s sustainable development.

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9 Comments

  • Ibaceta | 2013-07-23

    Up to what levels has the corruption generated by illegal economy gotten to? A former congressman has already been captured. Why doesn't the political class face this economy, that is ultimately harmful for Peru? This article is important and interesting. CONGRATULATIONS..

  • Jose Loayza N | 2012-10-17

    Narco-terrorism is a new threat that Colombia and Peru have defined to refer to the union of drug trafficking and terrorism. Narco-terrorism in Peru is different than in other countries, so it is necessary to analyze it correctly. I congratulate the efforts of the author to make Peruvian society understand the dangerous threats it is facing. I'd like that "Abel Montes" (if that is his real name) could show me what bibliography he would use to be able to conceptualize the phenomenon or to list the articles that as a person with a high intellectual level has written. [email protected]

  • Esteban Loayza | 2012-10-17

    It seems to me that there are people who don't want to accept that the illegal economy is the main source of conflict in the country. Equity has not arrived and until that happens the situation will be aggravated. That is why I think that it is correct the position of General Longa about proposing to control that parallel economy, that at low levels is beneficial, but at high levels as those that we currently have is harmful.

  • Manuel Flores | 2012-10-16

    Abel Montes, in order to say that this article is a mess and is poorly written it would be good that you list the articles authored by you. I consider yours should be clearly stated and well written, thus showing your superior intellectual ability. By what I see regarding your comment, it says the opposite, an intellectual person doesn´t do nor expresses what you are doing. An intellectual person refutes, denies, issues a theory. You must not insult a person that I know, and I admire. I am witness of his moral and intellectual capacity and more than all his leadership. IDEAS ARE EXPOSED, THEY ARE NOT IMPOSED. Express your ideas and at least write your comments well in order to think that you are an intellectual and hopefully you are using your real name. I do not think that you also hide in anonymity and that you're not military and probably a retired one. My General LONGA, I congratulate you for your article and continue exposing your knowledge gained on the battlefield not from a desktop.

  • Eddy Yalan | 2012-09-18

    For Abel Montes, I am surprised that an intellectual of his stature is expressed in little harmonious terms. Please, I would like you to illustrate me with your wisdom and send me a link of the articles that you have written in order to assess your cultural level as to make such tremendous criticism. My email is [email protected] Kind regards, Eddy Yalán.

  • abel montes | 2012-09-01

    This “article” is crap. It is not well written and shows low intellectual level of Gral. Longa. In the end, it does not have a bibliography and it is an opinion, not a serious article. What a low level of the Peruvian Generals. They do not know how to write!

  • Fernando Zegarra | 2012-08-21

    Wouldn't it be great if the Peruvian Government could pay attention to what was written by his General. Remember that long ago Thucydides said that "the nation that makes a great distinction between its ‘experts’ (politicians) and its warriors, will have its policies made by cowards and its wars fought by fools"

  • Ivo Bernal | 2012-08-20

    Threats of a hemispheric nature, as the alliance between drug and terrorism, must be fought with strategies of inter-agency character between the countries involved that address this complex problem.

  • [email protected] | 2012-08-19

    To create groups of former military paid by the Government and destroy the narcos. To create agent information groups who live near where the drug dealers prepare their products. To check the ones that report all through satellite.