Peru’s Carmen Masías Outlines Agency’s Efforts to Combat Drug Scourge

first_img WASHINGTON — The Humala government vows to step up coca eradication efforts and adapt new strategies to help Peru’s estimated 100,000 drug addicts kick the habit — even as it battles severe budget constraints and continuing violence by Shining Path terrorists. So says Carmen Masías, director of Peru’s National Commission for Development and Life Without Drugs (Comisión Nacional para el Desarrollo y Vida Sin Drogas). “President Ollanta Humala, in his inauguration speech, was abundantly clear when he said that Peru would continue its struggle against drugs and associated violence. At this moment, we are completing the mandates of the president and his ministries,” Masías told several dozen experts during a presentation at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. Masías, a psychologist and family therapist, took over as Peru’s drug czar in January following the resignation of her predecessor, Ricardo Soberón Garrido. Her May 11 presentation at CSIS came less than a week after a fire swept through a Lima drug rehabilitation center, killing 14 people in the second such blaze this year. A similar fire in late January claimed 29 lives, prompting Masías to acknowledge that the state has limited capacity for treating drug addicts. A 2010 DEVIDA study found that Peru has 222 private rehab centers containing 700 beds. But 80 percent of those centers are unlicensed, and many lack doctors and psychologists. This is one reason the Humala government is seeking additional help from Washington. “My visit to the United States is first, to thank a brother country for its constant support over the years in our struggle against drugs. This is a global problem and the U.S. is our principal partner in this fight,” she said, noting that “this is a very important moment for Peru. We have the political will, our economy is increasing by 7 percent a year and our government is committed to this struggle.” DEVIDA boosts spending on anti-drug programs Before her current position, Masías represented Partners of the Americas, the Pan American Health Organization and other regional bodies, and developed courses for the Peruvian National Police. A renowned social development expert, she’s also written extensively on gangs and organized crime. Masías, who adamantly opposes the legalization of drugs — a subject raised during last month’s Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia — said Peru’s anti-drug budget has jumped from $13.4 million in 2002 to $101.9 million in 2011. This year, despite a substantial drop in international assistance, the government will spend more than double that amount ($223 million) and is projected to further increase anti-drug expenditures to $278.3 million in 2013, $284.9 million in 2014 and $291.5 million in 2015. Yet over roughly that same time frame, global production of cocaine has skyrocketed, from 140 metric tons in 2000 to 325 tons in 2010. Colombia accounts for roughly 42 percent of that total, followed by Peru (39 percent) and Bolivia (19 percent), according to UNODC statistics. In Peru, some 61,200 hectares of land in 14 distinct regions are devoted to the coca crop, led by three regions: Valle Río Apurímac-Ene (19,723 hectares, or 32 percent); La Convención-Lares (13,330 hectares, or 22 percent) and Alto Huallaga (13,025 hectares, or 21 percent). Drug use increasing The number of Peruvians who use illegal drugs continues to rise. In 2010, the country reported some 168,000 marijuana smokers, 143,000 users of coca paste and cocaine, 14,300 inhalant abusers and 5,800 ecstasy addicts. In addition, some 30,000 Peruvians get hooked on cocaine every year, she said, and 47 percent of those new users are younger than 25. “Peru produces cocaine but we also consume it, and we’re a transit country. The United States has reduced cocaine consumption by 50 percent, but Brazil has increased substantially, so the panorama is changing,” said Masías. In fact, only 4 percent of Peru’s coca production ends up being snorted by Americans; the “vast majority” of it is smuggled to neighboring Brazil. “There is no real possibility of having success unless we eradicate the crop,” she said. Last year, authorities destroyed 10,290 hectares of coca, down from a peak of 12,033 hectares in 2010, and 10,025 hectares the year before. “Eradication is absolutely necessary,” she said.“Positive results have been found where eradication was accompanied by alternative development programs. Negative results have been found where there was no eradication.” Masías said DEVIDA’s goal this year is to eradicate 14,000 hectares of coca, a 40 increase over last year’s figures. That would increase to 18,000 hectares in 2013, 22,000 hectares in 2014, 26,000 hectares in 2015 and 30,000 hectares in 2016 — a total of 30 percent over the next five years. Masías: Eradication can’t succeed without alternative development DEVIDA also aims to provide alternative development programs to 68,000 Peruvian families this year, increasing that by 4,000 families annually to reach 84,000 families by 2016. Among the most successful alternative development programs are those involving cash crops like coffee, cacao and winter vegetables. Some 1,000 former cocaleros are now harvesting palm oil, she said, with annual profits of about $17,000 a year per family. In 2000, total revenues of the 14 agricultural entities in DEVIDA’s alternative development program came to $15 million. By 2009, total sales of those 14 entities had jumped to $72 million — rising further to $101 million in 2010 and an impressive $140 million last year, thanks to excellent prices for coffee and cacao, the main ingredient in chocolate. “This involves the active participation of small agricultural producers who leave illicit crops, as well as a change of attitude toward the problem,” she said, emphasizing that only sustainable crops with access to domestic and foreign markets are likely to remain viable over the long term. One of the biggest drawbacks, however, remains Peru’s long-running war against the Shining Path. That conflict has killed some 70,000 people since 1980, when the group was established. “The Sendero Luminoso is definitely financed by the narcotraffickers,” Masías said. “The worst thing is that they are capturing children as young as 8 or 9 years old. This is unconscionable.” The Shining Path is a shadow of the Maoist rebel group that once terrorized the country 20 years ago, with only 300 to 500 hard-core fighters believed to remain in the Ene and Apurimac Valley region, where most of Peru’s coca is cultivated. Yet the group has enjoyed somewhat of a resurgence in recent months. In April, the rebels kidnapped 36 natural-gas workers and in the past two months have killed nine police officers and soldiers. Empowering women is key to success Peru, which next month hosts an anti-drug summit for 80 countries, has also stepped up confiscation of chemical products and controlled substances used in the manufacture of drugs. The average seizure of chemical products is now 2,500 metric tons — up 400 percent from 2007. Masías said that while much emphasis has been placed on alternative development and interdiction and punishment of narcotics smugglers, the third part of DEVIDA’s three-pronged strategy — prevention and rehabilitation of drug abusers — is equally important. That means boosting educational programs and advertising campaigns that warn about the dangers of drug abuse; strengthening programs to help drug users quit the habit, and generating job opportunities for young people — particularly women with limited education who are often the most vulnerable members of society. It is precisely these women who live in coca-growing regions that play a key role in getting their families to switch from coca to other crops like coffee and cacao. A number of DEVIDA programs offer technical training and management advice for Peruvian women who want to get out of the coca business once and for all. “We don’t want to see women only as victims, but also as agents of change,” Masías told her audience. “Stigmatization is not the answer.” By Dialogo May 21, 2012last_img read more

The Gold Coast’s top five houses for New Year’s Eve parties

first_imgBuy one of these houses and be known as the person who threw the best New Year’s Eve party.STOCK up on the glow sticks and get ready for a big night, it’s almost time to celebrate the start of a new year.Heading to the beach or the heart of the city on New Year’s Eve can be great fun, but navigating the big crowds and fighting for a spot to watch the fireworks can ruin the night.While it’s too late for this year, there are plenty of luxury Gold Coast’s homes that would easily double as a party house to bring in 2021. Party like the rich and famous in this house.Party the night away in old school luxury style at this lavish house.Gold fixtures and fittings, marble and polished concrete as well as feature lighting give it a sense of Hollywood glamour.Its glass wine display, double-sided fireplace and extravagant dressing room will make you feel like you’re living the life of the rich and famous.It has five bedrooms so there is plenty of space for everyone to crash in the early hours of the morning while the large kitchen will make it easy to cook up a greasy hangover breakfast.The best part is, it’s being sold as a display home until November 2020 so it’ll be as good as new when you move in. Retreat to an island for the night.Splash out for the biggest party night of the year and invite all your friends to an island retreat.Arrive by boat, which is just one of the many impressive inclusions that come with the house, and get ready to relax and unwind.It has an expansive outdoor entertainment area with private beach and has an indoor/outdoor pool.It will also be sold fully furnished with plenty of items to make the most of the island life, including a Pajero 4WD, jetski, boat, wakeboarding and tube riding gear and bikes. 16 Clover Way, Helensvale 15 Cleland Cres, Broadbeach Waters 42/11 Peak Ave, Main Beach RELATED: Gold Coast mansion sets a benchmark for luxury living Enjoy the fireworks and twinkling lights of the city skyline.Who are we kidding, anyone who loves entertaining year-round will enjoy this waterfront home.Whether it be a lavish soiree, summer pool party or the ultimate New Year’s Eve gathering with champagne and front seat views of the fireworks, it is suitable for any occasion.The modern industrial-style home blends indoor and outdoor living seamlessly and offers unparalleled views of the city skyline.The 2000-bottle wine cellar will mean you’ll never run out of alcohol either. 14 King James Court, Sovereign Islands 21 Casuarina Court, South Stradbroke RELATED: Ultimate island getaway hits the market on South Stradbroke You won’t even need to be outside to see the fireworks from this house.No need to panic if you’re topping up your glass as the countdown begins.This waterfront mansions’s wall of wide windows, which frame envious Broadwater views, will ensure you still get to watch the fireworks go off.It is just one of the standout features inside the mansion, which epitomises opulence.There are also two additional balconies upstairs if you can’t fit all your guests on the terrace.More from news02:37International architect Desmond Brooks selling luxury beach villa9 hours ago02:37Gold Coast property: Sovereign Islands mega mansion hits market with $16m price tag1 day ago You can’t beat the views of the fireworks from this penthouse.Don’t strain your neck to watch the fireworks when you can enjoy them at eye level from this four-level penthouse.The extravagant apartment topping the Marquis on Main building has 360 degree views of the ocean, Broadwater, Hinterland and skyline so you won’t miss anything.Party the night away on the top-floor terrace or sip a cocktail by the pool on the third level, which also has a wraparound terrace.You’ll have the best seats in the house to see in the new year.last_img read more

Former Scribe, Fahmy Eyes CAF Presidency

first_imgAmr Fahmy, who was removed as general secretary of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) in April, has entered the race to be the governing body’s next president.His announcement comes despite the next elections for the top position, currently held by Ahmad, are set for 2021.“I will start my campaign by visiting Sudan and Ethiopia in February, I am beginning in those two countries because they along with Egypt were the first three members of CAF,” he told BBC Sport. “My grandfather Mourad Fahmy was one of the founding members of the Caf and he was general secretary just like my father was too.“They served African football and it’s my time to do the same but this time from the president’s chair.“My campaign will focus on pro-Africa, pro-football and anti-corruption.”He was appointed in November 2017 and then he was replaced by Moroccan Hajji Mouad in April, without CAF officially explaining why the Egyptian was dismissed.Fahmy’s grandfather Mourad served as General Secretary of African football’s governing body from 1961-1982.Mourad was replaced by his son Mustapha, who held the post until 2010 before being appointed as the director of competitions at FIFA. “Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

Hearts set to appoint Japanese as coach

first_imgJapanese-American coach Kenichi Yatsuhashi has arrived in the country to finalize his proposed move to Hearts of OakYatsuhashi,who was born in America, touched down in the country late last night has entered into advanced talks with management of the Phobians.Hearts seem to have settled on the relatively unknown Japanese after attempts to lure Swedish Tom Strand proved futile.He will replace veteran Hebert Addo who parted ways with the club midway through the season after a string of poor results.The Phobians will be hoping Yatsuhasi will lead the club to league glory after six years without a league title.– Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @Joy997FM. Our hashtag is #JoySports.last_img