Category Archives: Coca

Citizenship or Repression? Coca, Eradication and Development in the Andes – Bolivia

Authors: Thomas Grisaffi and Kathryn Ledebur. (2016)

Abstract: For over two decades the US has funded repressive forced coca eradication in Peru, Colombia and Bolivia to reduce the illegal cocaine trade. These policies have never met their stated goals and have generated violence and poverty. In 2006 Bolivia definitively broke with the US anti-narcotics model, replacing the militarized eradication of coca crops with a community-based coca control strategy. The program substantially reduced the coca crop while simultaneously respecting human rights and allowing farmers to diversify their livelihoods. This article outlines the elements of the Bolivian initiative that ensure its continued successful functioning.It
explores to what extent this model can be translated to other  Andean contexts. To read this paper please click here: Stability Journal- Citizenship or Repression

Invitación Habeas Coca – La Paz

HABEAS INVITACION DIGITAL

El Centro de Investigaciones Sociales (CIS) de la Vicepresidencia tiene el agrado de invitar a usted a la presentación oficial del libro “Habeas  Coca – Control  Social de la  Coca en  Bolivia”, de  las investigadoras Kathryn Ledebur y Linda Farthing. Comentan Marisabel Villagomez y Loreta Tellería.

El evento tendrá lugar en la sala de Videoconferencias “Juana Azurduy” de la Vicepresidencia del Estado. C. Ayacucho y Mercado # 308, este jueves 3 de marzo a las 19.00 Hrs.

Rogamos confirmar su asistencia.

Centro de Investigaciones Sociales
Telf:  2120720
La Paz – Bolivia

The Cato Accord: Bolivia’s Humane and Effective Approach to Controlling Coca Cultivation

Author: Thomas Grisaffi for Andean Information Network.

Abstract: In 2006 President Morales made a radical break with the US-backed antidrug strategy, which focused on the forced eradication of coca leaf and the criminalization of coca growers. The new policy, often referred to as ‘coca yes cocaine no,’ draws on the coca growers’ own distinction between coca leaf (which has been consumed by Indigenous Andeans for millennia) and cocaine, the illicit drug. The strategy legalized the cultivation of a small amount of coca leaf in specific zones, encouraged the coca unions to self-police to ensure growers do not exceed this limit, and envisions the industrialization and export of coca based products. The overriding aim of the policy is to reduce harms to coca grower communities. Drawing on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in the Chapare, one of Bolivia’s two main coca growing regions, this chapter explains how this new policy has been operationalized and demonstrates how coca farmers have made significant sacrifices to implement the new viable, less damaging alterative to the forced eradication of coca crops.

Keywords: coca, cocaine paste, union, sindicato, Evo Morales, Chapare, forced eradication, development, cato, social control.

To read this working paper please click here: The Cato Accord Bolivias Humane and Effective Approach to Controlling Coca Cultivation

El Control Social en Bolivia: Un análisis etnográfico de las políticas de control de la coca en Bolivia

Author: Thomas Grisaffi para Red Andina de Información.

Este artículo presenta un resumen de la política de control de la coca en Bolivia. Dos décadas de erradicación forzosa fracasaron rotundamente, generando pobreza y gruesas violaciones a los derechos humanos sin que cumplieran su objetivo: reducir los cultivos de coca. En 2004 el gobierno Boliviano otorgó derechos para cultivar un cato de coca (1600 metros cuadrados) a cada una de las familias cocaleras registradas en Chapare (una de las dos regiones más importantes de cultivo de coca en Bolivia). Los responsables políticos y los cocaleros acordaron conjuntamente el tamaño de la parcela de coca en un esfuerzo por proveer a cada familia con el equivalente de un salario mínimo como ingreso proveniente de la coca y para reducir la violencia. La administración de Morales ha continuado con esta política y en los últimos seis años uniones de productores cocaleros, funcionarios y miembros de la comunidad internacional han construido un complejo y sustentable sistema de monitoreo, licenciamiento y reducción de la coca. Sobre la base de 30 meses de trabajo etnográfico este artículo describe la nueva aproximación de Bolivia al control de la coca. Evalúa la efectividad del programa como también los importantes desafíos a su implementación. Se argumenta que, al concentrarse en el bienestar social, los derechos humanos y la estabilidad económica de las familias cocaleras la aproximación colaborativa de Bolivia puede ser mucho más efectiva reduciendo la superficie de cultivo de coca en el largo plazo que las estrategias anteriores de erradicación forzada.

Descarga el documento pdf aqui: El control social en Bolivia español

Comunicado de prensa RAI/WOLA: Innovadoras políticas bolivianas de control de coca logran importante reducción en el cultivo de coca

Comunicado de prensa
14 de septiembre de 2015

Innovadoras políticas bolivianas de control de coca logran
importante reducción en el cultivo de coca

Coca plantations in the Yungas of La Paz. Photo by Sara Shahriari.
Coca plantations in the Yungas of La Paz. Photo by Sara Shahriari.

Informe ofrece contexto ante determinación anual
sobre drogas de la Casa Blanca

Washington, D.C. y Cochabamba, Bolivia — Por el cuarto año consecutivo, Bolivia ha experimentado una reducción neta en el cultivo de hoja de coca, según la Oficina de las Naciones Unidas sobre Drogas y el Delito (ONUDD). Un análisis de estos datos, realizado por la Oficina en Washington para Asuntos Latinoamericanos (WOLA) y la Red Andina de Información (RAI), revela que las políticas sobre coca de este país —basadas en la “reducción del cultivo de coca mediante la cooperación” antes que la erradicación forzosa— son responsables por esta reducción. Se estima que en 2014 el cultivo de coca en Bolivia ocupó 20.400 hectáreas, el nivel más bajo alcanzado en el país en más de una década.

INFORME AHORA DISPONIBLE EN ESPAÑOL

Los hallazgos del informe contrarrestan los estimados del cultivo de coca y las determinaciones anuales de la Oficina Nacional de Políticas para el Control de Drogas (Office of National Drug Control Policy, ONDCP) de la Casa Blanca, que identifica los países que, en el criterio de la Administración de Obama, no están cumpliendo sus obligaciones bajo las leyes internacionales de fiscalización de drogas. Se anticipa el anuncio el 15 de septiembre, la fecha límite legalmente estipulado. El Presidente estadounidense ha “descertificado” a Bolivia en los últimos 7 años, a pesar de reducciones en el cultivo de coca, y trabajo sostenido de interdicción. La ONUDD respalda su monitoreo con una metodología sofisticada y transparente. Los autoridades norteamericanos, por su parte, hasta la fecha no brindan una explicación clara de su propia metodología, que produjo un estimado de cultivo de coca en Bolivia que es 40 por ciento mayor que la de la ONUDD.

El informe de la RAI y WOLA, “Consolidando Avances”, muestra claras evidencias de los avances de Bolivia en los últimos años en la reducción del cultivo de coca.

“En su determinación, la Casa Blanca debe considerar los avances del modelo boliviano de enfatizar el desarrollo económico, cooperación con comunidades cocaleras y el respeto por los derechos humanos”, dijo Kathryn Ledebur, Directora Ejecutiva de la RAI y co-autora del informe. “Según nuestra investigación, éstos fueron los principales factores que impulsaron las consistentes reducciones, que suman al 34 por ciento entre 2010 y 2014.”

El caso boliviano contiene lecciones clave para el Perú y Colombia, los dos principales productores de coca en el mundo. Estos dos países andinos siguen aplicando campañas de erradicación forzosa a pesar de los daños que éstas causan y de su ineficacia para lograr reducciones duraderas del cultivo de coca.

“Los éxitos de Bolivia envían un mensaje claro: la erradicación forzosa del cultivo de coca no es efectiva ni justa, y únicamente conduce a ciclos de pobreza y violaciones a los derechos humanos — no a reducciones sostenidas en el cultivo de coca”, dijo Coletta A. Youngers, Asesora Principal de WOLA y co-autora del informe. “Mediante acciones para brindar a los productores de coca alternativas económicas y para permitirles el cultivo de pequeñas cantidades para consumo tradicional, Bolivia ha reducido la oferta de coca que se desvía hacia el mercado ilícito”.

Lea el informe en español aqui (pdf).

###
Contacto:
Kathryn Ledebur
Directora Ejecutiva, RAI
+591 779-69621
kledebur@ain-bolivia.org

Coletta A. Youngers
Asesora Principal, WOLA
+1 (301) 404-1905
coletta.youngers@gmail.com

AIN on WOLA podcast: “BUILDING ON PROGRESS” – Bolivia’s Unheralded Drug Policy Success

Photo by Sara Shahriari
Photo by Sara Shahriari

AIN Executive Director Kathryn Ledebur recently joined Adam Isacson of the Washington Office on Latin America on the ‘Latin America Today’ podcast to discuss Bolivia’s success in decreasing coca cultivation. You can listen to the podcast here.

Coletta Youngers and Kathryn Ledebur’s report discussed in the podcast is available here to read as a pdf; Building on Progress. It covers how Bolivia brought about a 34% drop in coca cultivation over the last four years by using community control and consensus policies, having severed ties with the USA.

UNODC Official Coca Statistics Show Decline In Cultivation for Fourth Year Running

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime today released their latest figures for coca cultivation in Bolivia, showing a reduction in overall cultivation. The figures also reveal that the price of dried coca leaf has gone up, as have confiscations of cocaine. Our translation of the UNODC report follows. It can be viewed as a pdf here: UNODC BOLIVIA Coca monitoring results-August 2015

This table is also available to view as a pdf by clicking the link above.
This table is also available to view as a pdf by clicking the link above.

*Quantification of coca leaf cultivation based on visual interpretation of high resolution satellite images.

**Yield factor from studies carried out in 1993 (DEA) and 2005 (UNODC) determined as upper limits in the current report.

***Yield factor from ‘Study of Average Coca Leaf Cultivation in Bolivia’(EPMHC-­‐B), carried out between 2008-­‐2011, determined as lower limits for the current
report.

****Estimated potential production of coca leaf in 2013 to compare with 2014.

***** Product of multiplying total production of dried coca leaf by nominal price in
authorized markets.

FOOTNOTES

1. In the 2013 Coca Monitoring Report Polygon 7 was the border within the Territorio Indígena and Isiboro Securé National Park. In 2014 the Red Line in Carrasco National Park was used as the border. For this reason, the area of coca cultivation between 2013 and 2-14 is not comparable. The cultivation areas not quantified within protected areas due to the new delimitation form part of coca cultivation at national level.

2. Law 1008 Regulations on the Regime for Coca and Controlled Substances, Supreme Decree 22099, 1988.

3. Yield calculations are based on studies conducted by the DEA in 1993, UNODC in 2005 and ‘Median Coca leaf Production in Bolivia’ carried out in 2010.

4. Potential production of dried coca leaf in the Tropic of Cochabamba [Chapare] and the provinces in northern La Paz was calculated through a brief estimate between the upper and lower limits of annual rendition, and for the Yungas of La Paz, production was estimated using the upper limit.

5. Calculation based on information provided by the Dirección General de la Hoja de Coca e Industrialización (DIGCOIN).

6. This value was calculated using the nominal legal market price for coca leaf in Bolivia.

7. Value calculated from the national GDP of 2013 and 2014, of 30.4 billion USD and 32.8 billion USD respectively.

8. Value calculated from the agricultural GDPs of 2013 and 2014, of 3.0 billion USD and 3.2 billion USD respectively

9. Information provided by the Vice Ministry of Social Defense and Controlled Substances (VDSSC) through ‘Tte. Goronda’, CEO, Strategic Operational Command.

10. The Special Force for the Fight Against Drug Trafficking (FELCN) is responsible for confiscations of coca leaf, cocaine base, cocaine chlorohydrate and chemicals destined for use in drug trafficking.

Building On Progress: Bolivia Consolidates Achievements in Reducing Coca and Looks to Reform Decades-old Drug Law

Coca is dried in the sun in Caranavi, La Paz. Photo by Sara Shahriari.
Coca is dried in the sun in Caranavi, La Paz. Photo by Sara Shahriari.

You can read the full report by Coletta Youngers, WOLA Senior Fellow, and Kathryn Ledebur, executive director of AIN, on Bolivia’s successful community coca control model, by visiting the following link and downloading the pdf of the report or reading it online: Building on Progress

‘Bolivia’s Smarter Approach’ – Open Society Foundations’ Diego Garcia-Devis comments on ‘Habeas Coca’

Diego Garcia-Devis’ comments on Linda Farthing and Kathryn Ledebur’s recent article ‘Habeas Coca‘ are republished here under a Creative Commons license authorising non-commercial reproduction. The original can be found here.

 

Bolivia’s Smarter Approach to Controlling Coca Production

Forced crop eradication using harmful pesticides and without viable livelihood alternatives has put the health and economies of local communities at risk and caused forced displacement.

On May 14, 2015, the government of Colombia announced that it would stop using glyphosate in the aerial fumigation of coca crops. The herbicide was being used as part of a 20-year-old supply-reduction tactic backed technically and financially by the United States. Colombia’s decision followed on the heels of a report published by the International Agency for Research on Cancer and issued by the World Health Organization that labeled glyphosate as a potential carcinogenic herbicide.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, a champion of drug policy reform in the international arena, has announced a moratorium until October 1, 2015, to identify alternatives to the aerial eradication method of controlling the production of cocaine at its source. While advocates of forced eradication are demanding Colombia resume this practice, critics of this model are calling for policies that prioritize human developmentand human rights.

Over the last 30 years, Colombia, Bolivia, and Peru, the world’s largest coca-cocaine producers, have experienced the worst of the War on Drugs, and their poor and marginalized communities have shouldered this burden disproportionately. Forced crop eradication using harmful pesticides and without viable livelihood alternatives has put the health and economies of local communities at risk and caused forced displacement. Increased militarization of the War on Drugs coupled with expanded police authority and corruption has led to social destabilization, the erosion of public safety, and the death of citizens, activists, and journalists.

New evidence of the potential benefits of a more progressive approach offers Colombia the opportunity to distance itself from traditional supply-side coca control mechanisms by placing farmers’ rights at the center of drug policy reform.

Habeas Coca: Bolivia’s Community Coca Control by Kathryn Ledebur and Linda Farthing, is timely in offering alternatives to forced eradication. The most recent contribution to the Lessons for Drug Policy series draws from a process initiated in Bolivia in 2004 when the Cato policy was put into effect allowing farmers to grow 1,600 square meters of subsistence coca per household. Later, in 2009, under the administration of Evo Morales, implementation of the community control model began. Under this scheme, farmers are subjected to monitoring by their peers and where excess coca production is identified, it is voluntarily eradicated, taking forced eradication out of the equation. This model is not necessarily limited to controlling excess coca production. As reported by Ledebur and Farthing, it is a multidimensional and participatory model that promotes the industrialization of coca and improves farmers’ livelihoods.

The Bolivian community control model can be seen as a sequence of replicable public policy actions: decriminalization of coca leaves and coca growers; creation of a coca grower’s participatory mechanism; and support for integral and sustainable socio-economic development projects with respect to the coca plant. As pointed out by Ledebur and Farthing, the community control model “has proven more effective and cost-efficient than forced eradication in controlling coca production and represents a local proposal appropriate to its context.”

The Colombian experience offers evidence of the harmful effects of mechanisms focused exclusively on reducing supply and demonstrates their limitations given that the Andean country remains the main cocaine exporter to the U.S. Habeas Coca offers lessons that other Andean countries can adapt to their own realities. The report shows that is it possible to reduce coca cultivation in a manner that is peaceful and increases the legitimacy of the state. All of these factors are relevant to the current Colombian context.

According to Habeas Coca, coca production in Bolivia has dropped by around 24 percent since 2008 when forced eradication ended and was replaced by a model focused on community control. Since the implementation of this new policy, violent confrontations between police and farmers have almost disappeared. Furthermore, of the almost 12,000 hectares of coca eradicated, less than 2,000 hectares were eradicated by force, whereas almost 10,000 hectares were voluntarily removed.

The potential benefits for Colombia are even greater given the context of the peace process between the government and the insurgent group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). The partial agreement between the two parties on the drug problem has established participatory mechanisms for the coca growing communities to define their own integral development model, avoiding ineffective alternative development projects.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) most recent report on Colombia indicates that coca cultivation increased by 44 percent between 2013 and 2014 and cocaine production rose from 290 to 420 tons. Clearly the policies that maintain the status quo approach to coca control have failed.

Bolivia’s community control model offers many insights into limiting coca production that can be adapted to the Colombian context. Such approaches, combined with state-building policies in historically marginalized territories, can also reduce violence, augment livelihoods, and place human interests at the center of an effective supply-side drug policy.

Later this month, Pope Francis will visit Bolivia and has reportedly requested that coca leaves be available during his visit. Ideally, this event will increase awareness in the international arena of supply-side policies that have been harmful to the human rights and cultures of indigenous communities.