Peru's coca reform chance disappears amid political crisis

Alvaro Palacios, Unsplash - Free to use


Peru's coca reform chance disappears amid political crisis

4 February 2023
Alexander Lekhtman
Filter Mag

A deadly crackdown on political protests in Peru continues, as President Dina Boluarte tries to silence calls for her to resign, and Congress resists demands for new elections this year. Drowned out by the current crisis, which followed the ousting of President Pedro Castillo, is how Peruvians have lost any potential for drug policy reform—in a country where coca is produced in large quanties, and which is almost entirely without sanctioned harm reduction.

Castillo, a school teacher originally from a rural town in the northern Cajamarca region, gained national prominence for his union leadership in a 2017 teachers’ strike. Running in the 2021 presidential election on a leftist platform with the Free Peru party, he won the first round and ultimately achieved a narrow run-off victory over Keiko Fujimori—a right-wing congress member and daughter of former president and dictator Alberto Fujimori.