Coca Farmers Protest at Forced Crop Eradication
30 November 2004
At the beginning of this month massive protests broke out in San Gaban, Puno. 'Cocaleros' were protesting at the forced eradication of their crops and tried to occupy a hydroelectric dam. They have accused the police of taking advantage of the situation and setting fire to their camps while they were protesting.
Three campesinos were killed in a stand off between the protesters and police.
The government has decided to create a forum for dialogue in the search for a solution to the demands made by campesinos/as who resist forced eradication of their coca crops in San Gaban.
Javier Reate Gui, of the ministry for the interior, said that narco-traffickers were behind the protests, and that they are only interested in finding new areas for illegal coca cultivation.
A sociologist, Jaime Antezana said "San Gaban has become a new zone for the production of coca because the narco-traffickers need more land for cultivation since 100,000 hectares were eradicated in Colombia."