A review of Peru's anti-drug budget by Ojo-Publico.com found that between 2012 and 2017, almost half of the $650 million allocated to anti-narcotic efforts went to the Economy and Finance Department of the National Police, while just 11 percent went to the unit specializing in drug trafficking.
During his successful 2016 electoral campaign, President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski promised he would defeat the “four horsemen of the Apocalypse,” referring to corruption, inflation, poverty and drug trafficking.
Peruvian authorities estimate the drug trade involves the trafficking of some 400 metric tons of cocaine -- worth about $8.5 billion -- each year. In its fight against this particular horseman, the Peruvian government spent 2.1 billion soles (roughly $650 million) between January 2012 and June 2017.
“Early 2012, Peru launched a national anti-narcotic strategy using indicators and targets,” explained Carmen Masías, the president of the National Commission for Development and Life with Drugs (Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo y Vida sin Drogas - DEVIDA).
Using data from the Economy and Finance Ministry (Ministerio de Economía y Finanzas - MEF) stretching back to 2012, when the national budget first presented specific categories for the fight against drug trafficking, Ojo-Publico.com takes a look at how and by whom these resources were spent.
The roughly $650 million was divided into three categories: reduction of drug trafficking, prevention and treatment of drug consumption, and comprehensive drug control.
Nearly 69 percent of this budget (around $430 million) was dedicated to the first category. This included measures aimed at improving the intelligence capabilities of the anti-drug police, carrying out coca eradication and countering the laundering of drug profits.
Over the same period, around $68 million was spent on prevention and addiction rehabilitation programs.
The third category -- reducing the production of illicit drugs and strengthening anti-money laundering efforts -- received a budget of about $135 million.
The Main Actors
Five state entities received the vast majority of these funds. The Economy and Finance Department of the National Police (Dirección de Economía y Finanzas de la Policía - DIRECFIN) took the lead, spending its budget on eradication and reduction of coca cultivation, as well as interdiction efforts.
Next came the National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs (Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo y Vida sin Drogas - DEVIDA), whose budget was sharply increased from 2015 onward. DEVIDA received 20 percent of the total funds over the five-year period. This entity, in charge of designing and carrying out Peru’s anti-narcotic strategy, spent roughly $130 million on security, health and prevention programs.
As for the police Anti-Drug Directorate (Dirección Antidrogas de la Policía - DIRANDRO), its 11 percent share of the budget amounted to some $70 million. The security force, tasked with heading intelligence and operational efforts against local and transnational drug trafficking organizations operating in Peru, spent 77 percent of its budget.
Significant disparities also appeared in the regional attribution of funds. These administrative entities spent their respective budgets on prevention and rehabilitation programs, as illicit drugs and alcohol consumption remain a major challenge at the local level, according to DEVIDA president Masías.
“If we look at the evolution between 2002 and 2015, during the first year not even 20 million soles [about $600,000] were dedicated to this fight,” Masías said concerning national anti-narcotic funds. And while the state spent $650 million in this fight over the past five years, the DEVIDA president herself says that this amount is insufficient.