Peru is not the only South American country where drives against drug trafficking sponsored by the United States have run into trouble.
In both Bolivia and Colombia, enforcement programs encouraged and partially funded by the Reagan administration frequently have provoked violent resistance and drawn U.S. officials into confrontations with traffickers.
In Bolivia, a U.S.-sponsored effort to eradicate coca cultivation, modeled on the Peruvian program, has been stymied by resistance from farmers and powerful political groups, including some sectors of the armed forces. The image of a U.S.-trained police force was also tarnished when some members participated in a failed coup attempt.
Earlier this month, Bolivian officials said they had uncovered a plot by drug traffickers to murder U.S. Ambassador Edwin Corr.
The U.S. ambassador to Colombia, Lewis Tambs, also has received death threats that recently obliged him to leave the country with his family. U.S. officials say Tambs will return, but will be replaced as ambassador soon. As many as 10 other embassy officials also reportedly left Colombia after a car bomb exploded earlier this month.
The United States does not sponsor a large-scale eradication program in Colombia but has sought the extradition of more than 40 accused traffickers. Some drug dealers, who command widespread influence there, have responded by threatening to kill U.S. diplomats and citizens in retaliation.
U.S. officials in Washington reported Friday that the Colombian Supreme Court has approved the extradition of nine alleged traffickers. Twelve more have been arrested and await court action.
President Belisario Betancur has approved sending six of them to the United States and has rejected one such order. The six have requested reconsideration of his decision; Betancur has up to 60 days to rule.
U.S. officials in Colombia say the potential for retaliation is particularly serious because of links between traffickers and leftist guerrilla movements. Communist insurgents have been known to guard drug-processing installations.
Colombia embarked on a drug offensive following the May assassination of Justice Minister Rodrigo Lara Bonilla, who had waged a crusade against smuggling.