Peru’s Coca Farmers Threaten to Radicalize National Strike

(LIP-ir) — Peru’s coca growers have been on a national strike since October 29 and are growing restless.

In statements made today, Peru’s cocaleros threatened to "radicalize" measures and defend their crops with sticks and stones if the federal government did not meet their demands.

A request to speak to Peru’s Prime Minister, Jorge del Castillo was made in a press conference today by the General-secretary for the National Confederation of Coca Growers of Peru (CONPACCP), Pedro Pablo Pérez Ballón.

With the hopes of reaching an agreement, Pérez stated that if Peru’s Premier agreed to meet with the cocaleros today or tomorrow, the coca growers would end the strike. On the other hand, the general-secretary affirmed that if Del Castillo refused to meet with them, the farmers would return to their plantations and defend themselves with sticks and stones.

According to Peru’s Council of Ministers, CONPACCP never requested a meeting with Del Castillo, who is traveling to Cerro Verde, Arequipa tomorrow.

The coca growers are protesting the eradication of their coca fields and are demanding that Peru’s war on drugs focus more on getting rid of the chemicals used to produce cocaine than getting rid of the coca fields themselves.