Category Archives: Human Rights, Impunity

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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Working Paper by Thomas Grisaffi and Kathryn Ledebur: Supply Control or Social Control

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 providing subsistence and citizenship for farmers and respecting human rights. This article outlines the elements of the Bolivian initiative that ensure its functioning and considers to what extent they can be translated to other contexts. More broadly this paper draws attention to the fundamental inability of supply side control initiatives to slow the illegal drug trade, which is driven by continuing demand and exorbitant profits.

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Huffington Post: ‘Operation Naked King: U.S. Secretly Targeted Bolivia’s Evo Morales In Drug Sting

Authors: Ryan Grim, Washington Bureau Chief, The Huffington Post, and Nick Wing
Senior Viral Editor, The Huffington Post

Original article from the Huffington Post. Reproduced with permission.

The United States has secretly indicted top officials connected to the government of Bolivian President Evo Morales for their alleged involvement in a cocaine trafficking scheme. The indictments, secured in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sting called “Operation Naked King,” have not been previously reported.

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Cultivos de coca en Bolivia siguen bajando según ONUDD: comunicado de prensa


Experiencia boliviana contiene lecciones para países andinos, ofrece alternativa a la erradicación forzosa

Washington, D.C. y Cochabamba, Bolivia — Por cuarto año consecutivo, Bolivia ha experimentado una reducción en el cultivo de hoja de coca, según estadísticas dadas a conocer hoy por 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 (AIN), 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 ocupó 20.400 hectáreas, el nivel más bajo alcanzado en más de una década.El informe de WOLA y AIN, “Consolidando Avances” (solo disponible en inglés) muestra que el cultivo de la hoja de coca en Bolivia ha disminuido un 34 por ciento entre 2010 y 2014. El informe identifica asimismo que el desarrollo económico, la cooperación con comunidades cocaleras y el respeto por los derechos humanos han sido los principales factores que impulsaron estas consistentes reducciones. Esta experiencia contiene lecciones clave para el Perú y Colombia, los dos principales productores de coca en el mundo, los cuales 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, Asociada Principal de WOLA y co-autora del informe. “Mediante acciones para brindar a los agricultores cocaleros 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”.

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Coca Cultivation in Bolivia Continues To Drop: WOLA/AIN Joint Press release


Bolivian Experience Holds Lessons for Andean Countries, Offers Alternative to Forced Eradication

Washington, D.C. and Cochabamba, Bolivia—Bolivia has seen a decline in coca cultivation for the fourth consecutive year, according to data released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). An analysis of this data by the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Andean Information Network (AIN) reveals that the country’s coca policy—which relies on “cooperative coca reduction” rather than forced eradication—is responsible for the drop.Coca cultivation in 2014 is estimated to be 20,400 hectares, the lowest level in over a decade.

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Pope’s Visit to Bolivia Underscores Need for Drug Reform

Reproduced from Washington Office on Latin America, originally published July 8 2015.

By Kathryn Ledebur and Coletta A. Youngers

In a long-anticipated trip, Pope Francis arrives in Bolivia today, almost 30 years after the last papal visit. Bolivia’s president Evo Morales and the Argentine pontiff developed a good rapport during the president’s meeting at the Vatican in October 2014. The Pope’s commitment to the poor resonates well in a country that has prioritized the empowerment of previously excluded peoples under the leadership of Morales, the first indigenous president in the country.

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Bolivian Political and Social Landscape: Primer for Pending Presidential Elections

As the presidential campaigns gain momentum, AIN outlines the political and social landscape in Bolivia to provide background to understand upcoming electoral debates.

President Evo Morales is running for a third term in the October 12, 2014 elections.  Critics argue he is not eligible to run for another consecutive term, but the Plurinational Constitutional Tribunal ruled in his favor, and the opposition across the political spectrum lacks a strong, unifying candidate.  Four candidates have formally registered to run against Morales.

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International Declaration on Tenth Anniversary of Black October

Versión en español abajo

Ten Years of Protecting International Fugitives: It Is Time for President Obama to Extradite Sánchez de Lozada and Sánchez Berzaín to Bolivia

The massacres that devastated the families of Bolivia’s highlands ten years ago this month must not be forgotten.

In October 2003 the families living in El Alto and other villages above the Bolivian capital suffered weeks of extreme violence by the armed forces of the government of then-President Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada and his Defense Minister José Carlos Sánchez Berzaín. Fifty eight Bolivians were killed and another 400 injured when the government sent in troops to repress protests against its despised gas export plans. Those killed included an eight-year old girl, Marlene Rojas, shot by a soldier’s bullet while in her home.  In Bolivia in the decade since, the month has been renamed Black October, to commemorate those killed and to demand justice.

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