Category Archives: Human Rights, Impunity

Malia Obama Visit to Bolivia

Malia Obama visited Bolivia last month. Although unknown to the public until recently, the trip was apparently organized with the approval of Bolivian President Evo Morales.

“In spite of significant political differences with the Obama administration, he accepted the visit, understood the significance of the learning experience and respected Malia’s privacy…It’s really an important precedent,” said AIN’s Kathryn Ledebur in a New York Times editorial.

The “Where there be Dragons” program provides U.S. students the opportunity to learn about political, social, and environmental issues in Bolivia. The program offers talks on the water war, globalization, coca control and drug policy.

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Nuevo documental: “Hoja por Hoja: el control social de la coca en Bolivia”

“Hoja por Hoja: el control social de la coca en Bolivia” sigue la transición en el Tropico de Cochabamba (Chapare) del violento e ineficiente erradicación forzosa de la coca y el desarrollo
alternativo  condicionado a éste hasta el control social y el desarrollo integral. A través de entrevistas con cultivadores de coca, líderes sindicales y expertos en políticas de coca, “Hoja por Hoja” explora cómo el control social de la coca ha reducido el conflicto y la pobreza,  aumentado la diversificación económica, mejorado la infraestructura y acceso a servicios básicos, respetado los derechos humanos e incluso  reducido el cultivo de coca en Bolivia. Esta estrategia única e  innovadora ha cambiado las indicadores de éxito de la erradicación forzosa y detenciones por el del bienestar de las comunidades locales.

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AIN short film explores community coca control in Bolivia

Created by AIN and Bolivian filmmaker Ismael Saavedra, with funding from Open Society Foundations, “Hoja por Hoja: Community Coca Control in Bolivia” traces the transition in the Chapare region from violent, ineffectual forced eradication and conditioned alternative development to collaborative community coca control and integral development. Through interviews with coca grower union leaders and policy experts, “Hoja por Hoja” explores how community coca control has reduced conflict and poverty, increased economic  diversification, improved local infrastructure and basic services, respects human rights, and even decreased coca cultivation itself in  Bolivia. This unique, innovative strategy shifts the yardstick for progress from eradication and arrest indicators to the wellbeing of local communities.

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Bolivia Prison Report: Marginal Progress and Unwieldly Challenges

AIN logoPrison reform: Marginal Progress and Unwieldly Challenges

by Linda Farthing for the Andean Information Network*

Chronic overcrowding, largely created by an overuse of preventive detention, is endemic in Bolivia’s prison system. Most Bolivians support locking up those accused of crimes until their trials take place, believing that it serves to reduce delinquency .[1] The U.S. imposed Drug Law 1008 further exacerbates the congested conditions.

Institutional weakness of the police and judiciary further violate the rights of incarcerated populations, especially the most vulnerable: indigenous peoples, women and juveniles. Efforts by the current government (MAS – Movimiento al Socialismo) at reform have led to declines in pre-trial detention, female incarceration, and drug-related sentences. Nonetheless, police and judicial corruption, insufficient funding, and continuing public opposition to alternatives to incarceration continue to impede any improvement.

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Informe de UNASUR Destaca Control Social de la Coca en Bolivia

Hoy día, el informe: “De la Guerra al Cuidado de las Personas: Políticas de Drogas en Suramérica Después de UNGASS” fue presentado en La Paz. Kathryn Ledebur de la RAI asistió a la presentación.

Este informe explora políticas de drogas desde un enfoque basado en los derechos humanos y la salud publica. En varios momentos el informe destaca la experiencia de Bolivia con el control social de coca como un ejemplo de una estrategia innovadora y comunitaria que ha reducido la cantidad de coca en el país y a la vez ha protegido derechos humanos.

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UNASUR Report Highlights Achievements of Bolivian Coca Control

Today, UNASUR’s report, “From War to Protection of People: Drug Policies in South America Post-UNGASS” was presented in La Paz. AIN’s Kathryn Ledebur attended the presentation.

The report outlines UNASUR’s commitment to human rights and public health-based drug policies on the continent. In numerous instances it draws on Bolivia’s experience with community coca control as an example of an innovative, collaborative strategy that has both reduced coca and upheld human rights.

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Case Study on Bolivia in UNDP Report: “Reflections On Drug Policy And Its Impact On Human Development: Innovative Approaches”

Protecting indigenous rights and promoting sustainable development: The story of Bolivia

“Bolivia is the world’s third largest producer of coca, the plant from which cocaine, as well as the secret ingredient in Coca-Cola, is derived. Coca leaves have been an essential part of Andean economic life and culture for thousands of years. In its natural form, coca is a mild stimulant that suppresses hunger, thirst, pain and fatigue, aids in digestion, provides vitamins and minerals lacking in local staples and has medicinal uses, including treating altitude sickness (Farthing and Kohl, 2014). Coca is an essential part of indigenous rituals and social interactions. Indigenous people have been chewing coca leaf for centuries, and millions of people in the Andean region of South America chew coca and drink coca tea daily.

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