The head of a congressional commission, set up to combat the spread of "narco-politics" in Peru, has complained that other politicians are not expressing enough interest in the issues.
In statements made during a television interview, Congresswoman Rosa Mavila, who heads a commission meant to investigate ties between politicians and organized crime, lamented what she said was a lack of enthusiasm from her colleagues.
According to Mavila, few other members of Congress have attended hearings related to the commission's work, even if they were asked to testify. She said their absence not only suggests a lack of interest, but also implied there may be some special interests in ensuring the commission is unable to reach conclusions or make recommendations.
Mavila confirmed that her team has developed a proposal of 23 legislative actions meant to lessen the influence of drug trafficking networks over politics. She indicated that the commission hopes to have its work wrapped up by August.
In a preview of what is to come, Mavila stated that she is particularly concerned with finding ways to prevent judges from "systematically freeing" suspected drug traffickers and with tightening controls over seized evidence and documents in drug investigations. These materials also have a tendency to mysteriously disappear during high-profile drug cases, she has said.
Mavila has emerged as a prominent champion for a stronger national response to curb ties between politics and organized crime in Peru. In April of this year, Mavila made headlines by stating that Peru was on the verge of becoming a narco-state. Public opinion seems to be on her side, with some 70 percent of Peruvians reportedly agreeing with her.
InSight Crime Analysis
Congress' response to the commission's proposals will be a key test of Peru's commitment to rooting out narco-corruption. That Mavila's commission plans to move forward with releasing its recommendations in August is a good sign that at least some lawmakers are taking these issues seriously. But the fact that the commission seems to be facing tacit resistance from some members of Congress suggests an uphill battle lies ahead.
The importance of these effort to curtail the spread of narco-politics in Peru cannot be overstated, given the extent of the problem. The 2014 election cycle saw the election of six alleged 'narco-governors' and the widespread prevalence of political candidates suspected of having ties to the drug trade. Peru's status as one of the world's top coca producers only increases the need to get serious about investigating the suspicious relationships between political elites and organized crime.