Peru would accept U.S. troops in order to fight drug trafficking: Alan García

By Dialogo
September 08, 2010

Ten months before leaving office, Peruvian president Alan García told U.S. broadcaster CNN’s Spanish-language channel that he would accept U.S. military trainers in his country as help in the fight against drug trafficking.

“In all areas that are human and universal, I don’t make an issue out of sovereignty and patriotism, that is, if the Americans would like to send military trainers, in the same way that they have helicopters and satellite trainers and communications trainers here, they would be welcome,” García said.

The local press had access to an advance copy of the interview, which is expected to be broadcast in full by CNN en español next Tuesday and the content of which became public Sunday.

The Peruvian president also mentioned his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, and criticized the small amount of economic aid Washington has given to Peru in comparison to what Colombia receives.

“I told President Obama one time, ‘It’s your fault, because you put all your money into Colombia with Plan Colombia, while you’ve put zero into Peru,’” García recalled.

“In Peru we’re at a level of 37 million (dollars) a year in aid for the United States’ shared responsibility in the fight against drug trafficking,” the Andean president noted.

“Closing the new European and Asian markets, which are demanding more drugs, has not been achieved, and aid has been focused on Colombia,” García insisted.

“We’re fighting against a universal plague. It’s like trying to go after a dictator without borders or someone who raids public assets,” García added as he graphically described the struggle facing Peru, one of the world’s largest producers of cocaine and coca leaf after Colombia.

García, a social democrat in origin, whose five-year term will end in July 2011, is one of the United States’ main allies in South America.

Drug trafficking in Peru generates 22 billion dollars in profits, a figure that represents an increase of between 3 and 4 billion dollars in the last five years, according to the government agency Development and Life without Drugs.