The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Monday, March 15, 2004
Bolivia: the narco game has shifted
In the wider lunacy of the War of Drugs, a battle has been won, it seems. (Yipee!)
In the Chapare - homeland of leading bolshie and leader of the cocaleros Evo Morales - of all places, coca eradication is going gangbusters!
How did that happen?
There is the recent State Department Counter Narcotics Report which says that, cultivation in Chapare was down 15% in 2003. Which sounds OK, but not vastly impressive.
But a piece in El Deber of Santa Cruz (March 14), focusing on a visit by Robert Charles, Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs , is more optimistic :
Oficialmente se calcula que en Chapare quedan unas 4.600 hectáreas de coca, cantidad mínima en comparación con los sembradíos de otras épocas.
Charles comes over all Alliance for Progress:
Hace apenas cuatro años, cuando también sobrevolé Chapare, había coca ilegal por todos lados. Hoy, he visto cientos de hectáreas de banana, yuca, maíz, pimentones y animales.
He even suggested that Uncle Sam might provide even more moolah for legal development of the area.
However, the old balloon effect is in operation: if Chapare production is being cut back, that in the Yungas is flourishing . (The law currently allows 12,000 hectares in the Yungas to be grown for the traditional uses - chewing, tea, etc. It doesn't help.)
Strangely, Charles seems to have the time to visit Chapare, but not the Yungas!
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