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Homeland Security

05 April 2005

U.S. Outlines Counternarcotics Assistance to Bolivia

Programs aim to reduce coca cultivation, boost democratic system

The United States is providing counternarcotics assistance to Bolivia in order to help stem what the U.S. State Department describes as "the unconstrained expansion of coca cultivation" within Bolivia's Yungas region and surrounding areas, according to a State Department fact sheet issued April 5.

Key U.S. counternarcotics goals for Bolivia, says the State Department, include disrupting the transportation and export/transshipment of illegal coca leaf and precursor chemicals, helping the Bolivian government develop and maintain programs that reduce coca production, and helping Bolivian authorities develop and maintain strong counternarcotics and anti-crime policies, among other objectives.

U.S. support also promotes strengthened democratic institutions in Bolivia and enhances Bolivia's capacity to provide viable income-generating alternatives to the cultivation of coca in the country's Chapare and Yungas regions.

Following is the text of the State Department fact sheet, with further details:

(begin fact sheet)

U.S. Department of State
Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
Washington, D.C.
April 5, 2005

Fact Sheet

Counternarcotics and Law Enforcement Country Program: Bolivia

Problem

Bolivia remains the world's third-largest producer of cocaine. Despite exceeding its international commitment to eradicate 8,000 hectares of coca in 2004, Bolivia coca cultivation increased 6 percent overall. The principal challenge facing Bolivia today remains the unconstrained expansion of coca cultivation in the Yungas and surrounding areas. In 2004 the Government of Bolivia (GOB) failed to give political support to programs advocating drug prevention and to undertake an effective social communication program to explain the dangers that excess coca production, drug production, and consumption pose to Bolivian society. Bolivia remains a transit country for a significant amount of Peruvian cocaine and increasing amounts of Colombian cocaine destined for Brazil, Argentina, Europe, Chile, and Paraguay.

Key U.S. Counternarcotics Goals

-- Disrupt the transportation and export/transshipment of illegal coca leaf and precursor chemicals;

-- Help GOB develop and maintain programs that reduce coca production and control marketing of licit coca leaf;

-- Help develop and maintain strong counternarcotics and anti-crime policies and programs within the GOB; support GOB initiatives to strengthen and secure its own borders against transnational crime; develop the professional capabilities of counternarcotics forces within the GOB's judiciary and police;

-- Encourage public awareness of the drug-trafficking threat and greater domestic support for counternarcotics policies and programs;

-- Promote development of a stable, representative government characterized by political and social order, citizen confidence in the political system, and strengthened democratic institutions; and

-- Provide viable, licit employment and income-generating alternatives to the cultivation of coca in the Chapare and Yungas regions.

U.S. Programs

The Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) continues to pursue an integrated strategy in Bolivia that combines eradication of coca, alternative development efforts to encourage coca growers to engage in legal and economically viable alternatives, and a vigorous law enforcement and interdiction program. Justice-sector reform is also a key component in our goal of democratic institution-building.

Bolivia eradicated over 8,000 hectares of coca in the Chapare during 2004. As of 2004, Alternative Development (AD) in the Chapare has assisted a cumulative total of 28,290 families -- and 144,000 hectares, previously devoted to illegal coca, now produce licit crops. The average income of families assisted by AD projects increased to $2,390 in 2004 and the number of licit jobs rose to 62,304. The record-breaking seizures of both drugs and precursor chemicals in 2003 and the GOB's continuing strong interdiction performance in 2004 demonstrate the value of long-term investments made in developing special counternarcotics police units (FELCN). In 2004 FELCN destroyed 2,254 cocaine base labs and made 4,138 arrests in 5,836 operations. Cocaine seizures rose 11.8 percent over the same period in 2003 (not counting the "Luz de Luna" seizure in August 2003 of 5.1 metric tons of cocaine); and seizures of liquid and solid precursor chemicals rose 24.3 percent and 210.8 percent, respectively. Total potential cocaine production in Bolivia decreased from an estimated 240 metric tons in 1995 to 65 metric tons in 2004. The FELCN and the Bolivian National Police both created Offices of Professional Responsibility that have already resolved numerous cases of alleged corruption among the police. U.S. Government support has enabled the GOB to institute greater control over coca licensing procedures in the Yungas, reducing the diversion of coca to cocaine production. With assistance from USAID and OAS/CICAD (funded by INL), the GOB has focused increasing attention on delivering land titles in the Chapare and the Yungas. New AD activities in the Yungas are beginning to show their value, with demand for support exceeding available funding. In September 2004, President Mesa approved a new National Drug Strategy for 2004-08 that included a Plan of Action for the Yungas; its effective implementation will require considerable donor support.

(end fact sheet)

(Distributed by the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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