from Weekly News Update on the Americas

On May 29 in Tocache province, in the Huallaga valley of San Martin in north central Peru, at least 3,500 campesino coca growers (cocaleros) armed with sticks surrounded a group of 230 police agents charged with carrying out coca leaf eradication operations. According to police, the resulting clash left 17 agents hurt–one by a bullet, the rest by beatings. Twenty cocaleros were injured; Tocache mayor Nancy Zagerra said three of them are in serious condition with bullet wounds. (La Jornada, Mexico, May 31, from DPA)

The 230 anti-drug police agents had arrived in the area on May 26, along with 50 workers from the Control and Reduction of Coca Crops in the Alto Huallaga (CORAH) project. On May 28, the anti-drug forces set up camp in the village of 5 de Diciembre, where according to cocalero leader Nancy Obregon they forced the campesinos from their homes and destroyed their crops, even after the campesinos showed them documents from the state-run National Coca Company (ENACO) demonstrating that the crops were legal. “They said those [documents] were no good and they threw everyone out. The people have had to sleep outside,” said Obregon. Outraged at the incident, Obregon organized nearly 4,000 cocaleros to confront the agents at their camp the next day. (La Republica, Lima, May 30)

On May 31 a representative of the Office of the Defender of the People, Manlio Alvarez Soto, traveled to Tocache from Tingo Maria, in neighboring Huanuco region, to meet with the cocaleros and gather information about the conflict. Alvarez also visited two of the wounded cocaleros in the Tingo Maria hospital, where they were taken for treatment. (LR, June 1) On June 3, some 6,000 cocaleros from Monzon and Alto Huallaga marched in Tingo Maria in support of the Tocache cocaleros. (LR, June 4) Obregon said the cocaleros will start an open-ended strike on June 27. (LR, May 30)

Weekly News Update on the Americas, June 5

Weekly News Update on the Americas

See also WW4 REPORT #110


Reprinted by WORLD WAR 4 REPORT, July 10, 2005
Reprinting permissible with attribution