HomeNewsBriefWhat Improved Relations With US Would Mean for Bolivia’s Anti-Drug Efforts
BRIEF

What Improved Relations With US Would Mean for Bolivia’s Anti-Drug Efforts

BOLIVIA / 14 AUG 2015 BY ARRON DAUGHERTY EN

Bolivian officials are looking to restore diplomatic ties with the United States, a significant shift that would likely have a major impact on the Andean nation’s ability to combat drug trafficking and organized crime.

“We are here today to get back on course towards good relations with the United States,” Bolivia President Evo Morales said at a recent press briefing. Morales is reportedly seeking to exchange ambassadors once again with the United States.  

Meanwhile, Bolivia’s Deputy Minister of Social Defense and Controlled Substances, Felipe Caceres, said Bolivia is open to receiving counter-narcotics assistance from the United States, reported El Deber.

“Bolivia will accept international cooperation from any country, as long as it respects our sovereignty,” Caceres said.  

Morales kicked out the last US ambassador in 2008, and expelled the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that same year. US counter-narcotics assistance to Bolivia declined from a high of $17 million in 2010 to just $1 million in 2013. The US government provided no anti-drug aid to Bolivia in 2014, according to official figures.

InSight Crime Analysis

The restoration of ties between the two nations would probably have a significant impact on Bolivia’s capacity for combating drug trafficking organizations. Due to Bolivia’s weak drug interdiction resources, the Andean nation has become increasingly vulnerable to transnational criminal groups looking to supply cocaine to growing consumer markets across South America, most notably Brazil. A return of the DEA and increased US anti-narcotics assistance would help Bolivian authorities in their efforts to weaken these criminal organizations, and shed the country’s status as an emerging drug hub. 

SEE ALSO: Evo’s Challenge: Bolivia the Drug Hub

However, Morales’ comments are no guarantee of warmer bilateral relations, and US anti-drug assistance is unlikely to arrive in the near future.

“I believe the intentions are sincere, but there’s a lot they have to work through, and there is not a solid foundation of trust on either side right now,” Kathryn Ledebur, Director of the Andean Information Network (AIN), told InSight Crime. 

Nonetheles, Ledebur noted there are steps the United States could take immediately to assist Bolivia in the fight against drug trafficking. The US government could share its satellite imagery of Bolivia’s coca-growing regions and provide more transparency on how it calculates its coca production estimates, Ledebur said.

Compartir icon icon icon

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.

Related Content

DRUG POLICY / 27 NOV 2013

The US Drug Enforcement Administration's annual report charts evolving market forces in the supply and demand of narcotics, with cocaine…

BOLIVIA / 28 NOV 2013

A Bolivian pilot shot dead while trying to fly cocaine out of Peru was reportedly linked to the Sinaloa Cartel,…

BOLIVIA / 14 JUL 2011

A Bolivian official has highlighted the problem of human trafficking in his country, saying that thousands of children are sold…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

We Have Updated Our Website

4 FEB 2021

Welcome to our new home page. We have revamped the site to create a better display and reader experience.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Events – Border Crime: The Northern Triangle and Tri-Border Area

ARGENTINA / 25 JAN 2021

Through several rounds of extensive field investigations, our researchers have analyzed and mapped out the main illicit economies and criminal groups present in 39 border departments spread across the six countries of study – the Northern Triangle trio of Guatemala, Honduras, and El…

BRIEF

InSight Crime’s ‘Memo Fantasma’ Investigation Wins Simón Bolívar National Journalism Prize

COLOMBIA / 20 NOV 2020

The staff at InSight Crime was awarded the prestigious Simón Bolívar national journalism prize in Colombia for its two-year investigation into the drug trafficker known as “Memo Fantasma,” which was…

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – From Uncovering Organized Crime to Finding What Works

COLOMBIA / 12 NOV 2020

This project began 10 years ago as an effort to address a problem: the lack of daily coverage, investigative stories and analysis of organized crime in the Americas. …

ANALYSIS

InSight Crime – Ten Years of Investigating Organized Crime in the Americas

FEATURED / 2 NOV 2020

In early 2009, Steven Dudley was in Medellín, Colombia. His assignment: speak to a jailed paramilitary leader in the Itagui prison, just south of the city. Following his interview inside…