November 27, 2001
Narco News 2001
Bolivia Coca Summit
Threatens to Begin
Eradication Again Today
Coca Growers Vigil
Outside of Coca Summit in Cochabamba
Narco News Analysis: During two days of talks with coca
growers, the Bolivian government made an offer, not yet well-defined,
to compensate coca growers to develop alternate crops. The coca
growers agreed to bring the proposal to the communities, but
the government, publicly prodded by US Ambassador Manuel Rocha
to ignore the talks, threatens to resume eradication today; an
act of aggression that would make it impossible for the growers
to discuss the proposal in the communities because it will spark,
instead, resistance and more blockades.
Whether the "Coca
Summit" and the new government proposal were serious ventures,
or simply publicity stunts attempting to break the blockades
of highways by the coca growers and other popular citizen movements,
will be determined by the government. An act of aggression -
the resumption of forced eradication by military and paramilitary
troops - would merely return Bolivia to the social unrest it
experienced last week; a tumult that has placed the regime of
President Jorge Quiroga in danger of losing any claim on legitimacy.
Meanwhile, the clock counts
down to Quiroga's scheduled December 6th meeting in Washington
with US President George W. Bush.
Tensions are high in the
Chapare region of Bolivia. Below, are translations from today's
press accounts in Bolivia, explaining the details of the government
proposal, the response of the coca growers, and the meddlesome
behavior by US Ambassador Manuel Rocha, who like a pompous viceroy
from colonial times, publicly insists that the "Coca Summit"
meant nothing, that democracy be damned, that Bolivia must comply
with US orders... or else.
Growers Study Proposal
From the daily La Razon,
La Paz, Bolivia
November 27, 2001
Translated by The Narco
improved proposal for alternative development
made yesterday by the national government was received by the
coca growers leaders in a climate of total distrust, during the
second day of the Coca Talks in the Don Bosco Coliseum.
Although some coca growers' leaders rejected
the plan upon its proposal, others guarded their silence and
Congressman Evo Morales declared that the proposal "will
have to be studied and debated in the next two weeks. While the
debate lasts, the government must suspend the eradication of
Morales said that the government proposal
will be explained to the base communities and it is them who
will decide. "In my personal opinion, this type of proposal
can not be analyzed in an hour or a day. It is necessary to debate
it while the eradication of coca is suspended and, also, they
cannot ask for 'zero coca' (the US Embassy's slogan) in exchange,"
The government's proposal, according to
Agriculture Secretary Walter Nuñez, not only attempts
to protect the economy of the farmers of the Chapare while they
dedicate themselves to the production of alternative crops, but
also cares for the sale of the crops.
The proposal has two phases: The Compensation
Plan and the creation of a Stabilization Fund for the prices
of alternative products. The requirement to give both is 'zero
coca' in the Chapare.
As substitute crops to coca, the farmers
must choose one, two or three products from the five recommended
by the Alternative Development Program (banana, palm, maracuya
fruit, pepper and pineapple). If the grower wants, he can add
other products to the five recommended ones, but he must first
demonstrate the technical, economic and social viability of them.
The only condition to widen the line of products is that the
land will be cultivated with the new product as the next crop,
that it must show results of an income equivalent or more than
425 Bolivianos a month.
According to data of the coca growers'
federations, the cato of coca that the farmers of Chapare are
seeking generates an income of 425 Bolivianos a month, or $62
dollars and 30 cents. The proposal calls for the growers to receive
between 71 dollars and 80 cents to 81 dollars and 70 cents per
month dedicated to the planting and harvesting of between 0.3
and 1.5 hectares of one of the alternative products. Between
the planning and the harvest, there is a period of growth of
the crops in which the farmers will not receive income for the
eradication of coca. To compensate for the cut in income, the
government, through the Alternative Development Program, will
pay the family 500 Bolivianos monthly, equivalent to the days
worked. This payment will be made for 15 consecutive months and
according to the Agriculture Secretary it will "avoid that
the farmer has problems due to the lowering of his income because
of the loss of the cato of coca, because he will receive a monthly
salary until the first harvest of the new product." During
the planting and harvesting of the alternative products (over
15 months), the farmers will also receive seeds, labor, genetic
material, compost, tools and technical assistance valued between
$2,331 and $2,959 dollars. "For example, if he is dedicated
to only 1.5 acres of maracuya, the farmer will receive the equivalent
of $2,959.50 dollars in labor, seeds, technical assistance and
The second phase of the proposal is the
Stabilization Fund for the prices of alternative products. "Taking
into account that the producers of alternative crops confront
cyclical falls in the price of the products, the government proposes
the creation of a mechanism of stabilization that will allow
the compensation for low prices that the market sometimes pays
for legal products," said Nuñez. For example, if
a quantity of bananas costs $1.50 but the market prices fall
and pay only 70 cents, the government will pay the difference
of 80 cents so that the grower obtains the fair price of $1.50,"
he assured. To set the prices of alternative products in the
national and international markets, a price fixing mechanism
will be created
Congressman Evo Morales said that the
government proposal inspires distrust because to think of 500
Bolivianos monthly that it hopes to pay per family, more than
$40 million dollars will be needed to sustain 40,000 coca growing
families. "How can we believe that this money will be there
when they already promised us $80 million dollars to begin the
alternative development program, but those funds still don't
exist," he recalled.
He said that the proposal doesn't seem
very sustainable but admitted that it is necessary to debate
it. "With so many promises broken, to think in terms of
$7,500 bolivianos per family over 15 months is difficult to believe."
The receipt of this money from the international community will
cause it to arrive late, and the insecurity in achieving its
distribution, puts the proposal in question among the coca growing
sectors. "It would be irresponsible to accept this proposal
in exchange for 'zero coca' because there is a legal commerce
for the coca plant, nationally and internationally," he
If the government doesn't suspend the
eradication of coca in the Chapare while this proposal is debated,
violence will once again invade the region, "although I
am disposed to continue dialoguing," said Morales.
From the daily La Prensa,
Santa Cruz, Bolivia
November 27, 2001
Translated by The Narco
Insists that the Coca
Won't Change Anything
United States government is certain
that the Coca Summit won't change the course of the eradication
of crops in the Chapare and the fight against drug trafficking.
The Quiroga administration opened talks with the coca growers
of that region in which the Law of the Regime on Coca and Controlled
Substances is being debated. To speak with the farmers, the government
suspended eradication of the crops until today, Tuesday.
"We don't have the slightest worry
because everything is going to remain in march as we, the governments
of Bolivia and the United States, agreed in the cooperation established
to be complied with under the Dignity Plan," said the US
Ambassador in La Paz, Manuel Rocha.
The representative applauded the position
of President Jorge Quiroga and of Cardinal Julio Terrazas because
they said that a cato of coca is the same as a kilo of cocaine.
"We see in the opinions of important
people, like the President of the Republic and Cardinal Terrazas
that there is a consensus that what coca represents in the Chapare
is nothing more or less than cocaine."
The diplomat's criteria, behind the proposal
of the coca producers and their reluctance to accept alternative
products, there are "created interests" of narco-trafficking.
"We have brought a very generous support to alternative
development that has been frustrated by the Number One Opponents
who insist on conducting blockades."
From the daily Los
Tiempos, Cochabamba, Bolivia
November 27, 2001
Translated by The Narco
Refuses it All
government tested a new and tentative
offer to the coca producers yesterday during the meeting over
the bush that occurred in Cochabamba: to pay each family 500
Bolivianos per month and to create a system of compensation to
the producers who participate in alternative development programs
if the market doesn't pay a referential price.
But the "deep distrust" of the
coca growers is evident. The Archbishop of Cochabamba, Monsignor
Tito Solari recognizes it, and it is confirmed by the statements
of leader and congressman Evo Morales Ayma: "If the government
wants to pay this amount, it will need at least $40 million Bolivianos
at present," he said.
Later, he said that the proposal must
be analyzed in the communities, and to come to an agreement more
time will be needed, at least two or three weeks, a period in
which the eradication of coca will have to remain suspended.
But the government doesn't see that possibility as likely.
These were the positions exchanged at
the conclusion of the second day of the Coca and Alternative
Development talks in the Tropic, that occurred at Don Bosco college
in Cochabamba behind closed doors. Meanwhile, outside of the
building, hundreds of coca growers were awaiting the results.
In the morning, they marched throughout the city, slowing the
circulation of traffic
And even if the proposal would be
accepted, there still won't be "zero coca," said Morales.
"Each family (with five members) consumes a pound of coca
a week as a food. In Chapare, there are 40,000 families and in
all of Cochabamba state there are 150,000 families, for which
at least 200,000 pounds per week will be needed," said Morales,
trying to demonstrate the legality of the production of coca
just for the consumption by the peasant farmers.
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