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.

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 / 9 AUG 2022

Politicians are pushing for the Chilean government to declare a state of emergency in the northern regions including Tarapacá…

COCAINE / 29 MAR 2023

The DEA faces criticisms for a review into its foreign operations following corruption scandals.

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

InSight Crime Contributes Expertise Across the Board 

22 SEP 2023

This week InSight Crime investigators Sara García and María Fernanda Ramírez led a discussion of the challenges posed by Colombian President Gustavo Petro’s “Total Peace” plan within urban contexts. The…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Cited in New Colombia Drug Policy Plan

15 SEP 2023

InSight Crime’s work on emerging coca cultivation in Honduras, Guatemala, and Venezuela was cited in the Colombian government’s…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Discusses Honduran Women's Prison Investigation

8 SEP 2023

Investigators Victoria Dittmar and María Fernanda Ramírez discussed InSight Crime’s recent investigation of a massacre in Honduras’ only women’s prison in a Twitter Spaces event on…

THE ORGANIZATION

Human Trafficking Investigation Published in Leading Mexican Newspaper

1 SEP 2023

Leading Mexican media outlet El Universal featured our most recent investigation, “The Geography of Human Trafficking on the US-Mexico Border,” on the front page of its August 30…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime's Coverage of Ecuador Leads International Debate

25 AUG 2023

This week, Jeremy McDermott, co-director of InSight Crime, was interviewed by La Sexta, a Spanish television channel, about the situation of extreme violence and insecurity in Ecuador…