HomeNewsBriefBolivia Finalizing Shoot-down Law to Combat Drug Flights
BRIEF

Bolivia Finalizing Shoot-down Law to Combat Drug Flights

BOLIVIA / 31 AUG 2012 BY TRACEY KNOTT EN

Bolivia announced it is finalizing a new law that will allow the security forces to intercept drug trafficking flights, although such "shoot-down" strategies have been implemented in Bolivia before and didn't do much to radically change the dynamics of the drug trade. 

On August 27, the Bolivian Ministry of Defense announced that it was finalizing two new initiatives that will allow the government to intercept and shoot down planes suspected of drug trafficking, as well as helping the country fight other illicit smuggling operations such as weapons and contraband.

According to Los Tiempos, the initiatives include the creation of an "Integrated Aerial Defense System" comprised of a radar system for detecting planes, guard stations, and available airplanes for intercepting unauthorized aircraft. Once the drafts are finished, they will need to be submitted to Bolivia's Congress for approval.

In 2011, President Evo Morales first requested approval from Congress for a law permitting authorities to take down aircraft used in drug trafficking, stating at a public event, "These drug planes do not obey our instructions and continue flying; I feel it is important that we be provided with a law to take down those planes."

InSight Crime Analysis

Bolivia appears to be becoming an increasingly important transit and jump-off point for drug trafficking planes. In 2011, Bolivian authorities discovered ten “narco-planes” used to smuggle drugs between Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) stated that this tri-state route was favored by traffickers.

The US implemented a shoot-down strategy in the Andean region through its "Air Bridge Denial Strategy" in the 1990s, though the move failed to produce notable results in preventing the flow of cocaine through the area. US officials admitted that their efforts at best inconvenienced traffickers, but did not impact the overall amount of cocaine leaving Bolivia and reaching the US.

Venezuela also recently adopted a “shoot-down” policy for suspected drug flights. However, according to a recent New York Times report, the Venezuelan border state of Apure is still plagued by aerial traffickers, partly because security forces have failed to do enough to destroy airstrips, or track the ones that are reported destroyed but are later retaken by drug traffickers. This suggests that instituting a "shoot-down" policy alone will not be enough to discourage drug flights.

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.

Tags

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 / 18 MAY 2015

In a series of contentious but dubious allegations, a former military official from Bolivia has accused the presidents of Bolivia and…

BOLIVIA / 10 AUG 2011

In the one of the first acts of cooperation since Chile and Bolivia had a spat over the arrest of…

BOLIVIA / 21 JUL 2017

A United Nations monitoring program reported a rise in coca cultivation in Bolivia in 2016 after five successive years of…

About InSight Crime

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…

THE ORGANIZATION

Tracking Dirty Money and Tren de Aragua

29 OCT 2021

InSight Crime was delighted to support investigative reporting in the Americas through a workshop with our friends at Connectas, a non-profit journalism initiative that facilitates collaboration…