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

BOLIVIA / 26 FEB 2021

While the seizure of 23 tons of cocaine by German, Belgian and Dutch police, the largest-ever haul of the drug…

BOLIVIA / 22 JAN 2021

Drug trafficking routes are starting to appear along rivers and canals in Bolivia, threatening to complicate efforts to stop the…

COLOMBIA / 19 FEB 2021

A special tribunal has stated the number of victims connected to Colombia’s false positives scandal is almost three times higher…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…