HomeNewsBriefBolivia Hits Record Coca Eradication As Cocaine Seizures Fall
BRIEF

Bolivia Hits Record Coca Eradication As Cocaine Seizures Fall

BOLIVIA / 17 DEC 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

Bolivia has destroyed 11,407 hectares of coca in 2013, surpassing its previous record by over 300 hectares, indicating that eradication has continued apace despite illicit coca growers' attempts to slow the process.

Deputy Minister for Social Defense Felipe Caceres said the increase was achieved with the help of an additional $36 million put towards the eradication of illegal coca in 2013. The bulk of operations were carried out in the coca-growing regions of Los Yungas, La Paz; Chapare, Cochabamba; and Yapacani, Santa Cruz, reported La Razon. The country achieved record eradication in 2012, destroying 11,035 hectares.

bolivia cocaachievements

While eradication is up, seizures of cocaine and coca base fell 42 percent compared to 2012, from 36.3 tons to 20.9 tons, according to the director of anti-narcotics police unit FELCN, Mario Centellas.

According to Centellas, the FELCN prioritized the detection of laboratories in the 13,264 operations carried out over the course of 2013, destroying 62 cocaine laboratories and 48 laboratories dedicated to the recycling of precursor chemicals.

InSight Crime Analysis

Earlier this year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that coca production in Bolivia dropped seven percent between 2011 and 2012, partly due to eradication efforts and partly to a drop in yield. The 2013 figures indicate that this trend is set to continue, despite anti-eradication uprisings by coca growers this year in the Apolo region of La Paz.

Much of the credit for this must lie with the President Evo Morales, who remains head of a major coca growers union. In contrast to eradication efforts in other coca producing countries, Morales has achieved reductions through negotiating with coca growers and working on establishing a legal market.  

SEE ALSO: Coverage of Coca

However, the limitations of this approach were demonstrated by a recently published Bolivian government study, which found only 14,705 hectares of coca were needed to satisfy the country's legal demand -- some way below the 25,300 hectares produced in 2012.

The simultaneous drop in seizures is unsurprising, considering the country's lack of radar technology to interdict rising drug flights. Former FELCN head Colonel Gonzalo Quezada, who was replaced earlier this year, tempered supply-side disadvantages by targeting production; an approach that appears to be continuing under Centellas.

Bolivia's mixed successes come as Colombia has missed its 2013 coca eradication goals by half, sparking concerns of a renewed rise in production. Peru, meanwhile reported breaking its eradication record in 2013, but simultaneously emerged as the world's biggest coca producer.

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 / 22 SEP 2021

A heist of Brazilian planes that were later discovered in Bolivia has offered a unique look into how drug planes…

COCA / 29 SEP 2021

The presence of corrupt actors who have a vested interest in allowing environmental crime to happen coupled with an overall…

COCA / 27 SEP 2022

Increased coca cultivation in Peru provides the raw ingredient cocaine traffickers use when pushing into developing markets like Australia.

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Escaping Barrio 18

27 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an investigation charting the story of Desafío, a 28-year-old Barrio 18 gang member who is desperate to escape gang life. But there’s one problem: he’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

Europe Coverage Makes a Splash

20 JAN 2023

Last week, InSight Crime published an analysis of the role of Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport as an arrival hub for cocaine and methamphetamine from Mexico.  The article was picked up by…

THE ORGANIZATION

World Looks to InSight Crime for Mexico Expertise

13 JAN 2023

Our coverage of the arrest of Chapitos’ co-founder Ovidio Guzmán López in Mexico has received worldwide attention.In the UK, outlets including The Independent and BBC…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Shares Expertise with US State Department

16 DEC 2022

Last week, InSight Crime Co-founder Steven Dudley took part in the International Anti-Corruption Conference organized by the US State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, & Labor and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Immediate Response to US-Mexico Marijuana Investigation

9 DEC 2022

InSight Crime’s investigation into how the legalization of marijuana in many US states has changed Mexico’s criminal dynamics made a splash this week appearing on the front page of…