HomeNewsBrief6 Arrested, 11 Wounded in Bolivia Coca Clashes
BRIEF

6 Arrested, 11 Wounded in Bolivia Coca Clashes

BOLIVIA / 4 JUN 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Ongoing clashes between coca growers and police over coca eradication in northwest Bolivia highlights the strained relationship between the security forces and the coca sector, although officials say they have now reached an agreement.

Six coca growers were arrested and 11 people were injured in clashes registered June 2 in Apolo, northwest of La Paz, as La Razon reports. The tensions come after 250 Joint Task Force (FTC) agents were deployed to Apolo to eradicate illegal coca crops, along with another 100 specially trained police responsible for providing control and surveillance.

As of part of their protests, coca growers reportedly set up a temporary roadblock, demanding that the eradication team withdraw from the area. They also kidnapped three FTC agents over the weekend, who have since been released. 

Similar confrontations were registered at the end of May, when a coca eradication team was met with armed resistance when entering Apolo. The government's top anti-drug official later said the violence was incited by Peruvian drug traffickers.

The government recently said that it had reached an agreement with Apolo's coca growers, in which only those cultivating coca within a designated area -- about 280 hectares -- would have their crops recognized as legal (Bolivian law allows for a certain amount of coca to be legally cultivated each year). Special cards would be given out to those cultivating coca within the designated area. 

InSight Crime Analysis

Bolivia allows coca to be grown legally on some 20,000 hectares, while President Evo Morales' administration has pledged to eradicate all cultivations that exceed that amount. La Paz department is an important hub for coca production, and tensions between growers and eradication teams, often made up of members of the security forces, have long existed. These recent aggressive clashes in Apolo could be one indication that the government faces a serious rift here between its eradication campaign and the coca sector. 

Morales relies on this sector for support and has previously encouraged coca growers to monitor each other in order to stay within legal limits. He also continues to push forward policies for commercializing legal coca products, allegedly as part of a strategy to combat drug trafficking, though there are signs that demand is not great enough to make it a viable industry.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 28 OCT 2020

Six months after a sophisticated robbery where gunmen hijacked gold and silver bars being loaded onto a plane in Mexico,…

MEXICO / 18 JUN 2018

Mexico’s next president will have the opportunity to revamp the country's security policy framework. But just weeks before the election,…

ELITES AND CRIME / 3 FEB 2021

A dozen police officers have been implicated in the massacre of 19 people along the US-Mexico border at the end…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela El Dorado Investigation Makes Headlines

3 DEC 2021

InSight Crime's investigation into the trafficking of illegal gold in Venezuela's Amazon region generated impact on both social media and in the press. Besides being republished and mentioned by several…

THE ORGANIZATION

Gender and Investigative Techniques Focus of Workshops

26 NOV 2021

On November 23-24, InSight Crime conducted a workshop called “How to Cover Organized Crime: Investigation Techniques and A Focus on Gender.” The session convened reporters and investigators from a dozen…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Names Two New Board Members

19 NOV 2021

In recent weeks, InSight Crime added two new members to its board. Joy Olson is the former executive director of the Washington Office on Latin America…

THE ORGANIZATION

Senate Commission in Paraguay Cites InSight Crime

12 NOV 2021

InSight Crime’s reporting and investigations often reach the desks of diplomats, security officials and politicians. The latest example occurred in late October during a commission of Paraguay's Senate that tackled…

THE ORGANIZATION

Backing Investigative Journalism Around the Globe

5 NOV 2021

InSight Crime was a proud supporter of this year's Global Investigative Journalism Conference, which took place November 1 through November 5 and convened nearly 2,000 journalists…