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Peru's next president urges vigilantes to fight drug trafficking

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Marcos Brindicci/Reuters

(Read caption) Peru's President-elect Ollanta Humala speaks during a news conference at the Olivos Presidential residence on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, on Tuesday, June 14.

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President-elect Ollanta Humala has worked hard to build his image as a moderate, moving away from the more nationalist and left-wing positions he had been associated with in the past. His stances on drugs and security policy fit with those backed by Washington, and he has called for greater cooperation on drug policy with the US, as well as with Peru's neighbors.

In another key move, he rejected a recent paper on drug policy that argued for decriminalization, stating that such a policy would be very dangerous for a country that is the world’s second-biggest exporter of cocaine.

Mr. Humala seems keen to acknowledge the scale of the challenges posed by drug trafficking in Peru, saying that he will create a ministerial post to head a presidential commission, charged with drafting an anti-drugs strategy. He has also called for a "mano dura" or "iron fist" approach to crime.

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So far, relatively uncontroversial. Similar points and promises were made by rival Keiko Fujimori, as well as by other competitors knocked out in the first round of voting.

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