Date of Graduation
This research focuses on the resistance of coca farmers to government policies regarding coca production in Peru. Since the 1980s, the Peruvian government has criminalized the actions of numerous agricultural communities and conducted eradication campaigns that destroyed hundreds of thousands of hectares of Peruvian coca. Although eradication is intended to reduce the volume of coca leaves destined for black markets (cocaine production), it has had the unintended consequence of mobilizing peasant coca producing populations against such policies. Mobilization is reflected in protests, strikes, marches, and occasionally violent confrontations. Some coca farmers (cocaleros) are following a cultural heritage of producing a benign crop fundamental to Andean Peruvian society. Most, however, are contributing to the global drug trade and claim that there are no viable agricultural alternatives to coca. The objectives of the study are to isolate the primary factors contributing to coca farmer resistance to government policies regarding coca production in two Peruvian coca basins and to analyze regional variations of this resistance. Field research was conducted in Lima, the Department of Cuzco, and the Huallaga Valley in 2011. A total of 80 surveys were collected from cocaleros in the two coca basins and 44 interviews were conducted with government and non-government representatives in Washington DC, Lima, and the two coca basins. The results empirically and conceptually illustrate why some Peruvian peasants grow coca, how they respond to perceived threats to their livelihoods, and how these responses differ from basin to basin.
Pruett, Timothy Scott, "Coca or death! The political ecology of cocalero resistance A comparative analysis of the coca farmer social movement in Andean Peru." (2012). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 9603.