HomeNewsBriefMore Bolivia Coca Growers Push to Classify Crops as 'Legal'
BRIEF

More Bolivia Coca Growers Push to Classify Crops as 'Legal'

BOLIVIA / 13 JUN 2013 BY JAMES BARGENT EN

Coca growers in west Bolivia have demanded the government halt eradication and reclassify their crops as "legal," highlighting the delicate balancing act required of President Evo Morales if he is to find success with his "coca yes, cocaine no" policy.

For the last week, coca farmers have been manning road blocks in the north of the department of La Paz in protest against government eradication efforts, which began at the end of May.

Under Bolivia's coca regulation law 1008, five cultivation areas in the province of Bautista Saavedra are classified as "zones of surplus production in transition," marking them out for destruction. The coca growers argue the areas are instead zones of traditional cultivation that predate the law and so should be classified as part of Bolivia's legal coca crop, reported La Razon.

The local coca growers union said they would continue the blockade to prevent eradication and planned to launch protests against the government policy.

InSight Crime Analysis

Bolivia currently allows 20,000 hectares of coca to be grown legally and has stepped up efforts to eradicate the rest of the country's crop as part of President Evo Morales push for policies that differentiate between the coca leaf and cocaine. 

For the Morales government, the policy presents serious logistical challenges in determining which crops should be considered legal and which illegal -- a process which at times is likely to be fairly arbitrary due to the difficulties in classifying plantations and the necessity of not exceeding the set targets for the number of legal hectares.

The president is also walking a fine line politically, as he searches to prove the country is capable of addressing its role in the drug trade without the help of the United States -- which no longer cooperates with Bolivia in anti-narcotics operations in any meaningful way -- while at the same time tries to retain the political support of the coca growers that represent a significant part of his political base.

The policy has already led to protests and violent clashes with security forces.

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 / 5 FEB 2021

The seizure of a cocaine-laced package, bound for Thailand, at an airport in Bolivia, shines light on the little-known drug…

BOLIVIA / 8 NOV 2022

The Amazon is one of the world’s most biodiverse regions, where wildlife trafficking threatens hundreds of thousands of species.

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…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…

WORK WITH US

Work With Us: Research Internship and Editorial Internship

31 OCT 2022

InSight Crime, a think tank dedicated to the study of organized crime and citizen security in the Americas, is seeking interns and investigators to join its dynamic, multinational team.