Bolivia Regime Tries
Silence Evo Morales
Denounced Banzer as Narco
They Want to Make Evo Disappear
January 5, 2001
Narco News 2001
The Narco News
of Our Country is América" - Simón Bolívar
the drug war needs censorship
has been evident these days in Bolivia, where a leading member
of Congress charged that Dictator-turned-President Hugo Banzer
and certain Banzer family members ought to go to jail themselves
if they want to show they are serious about combatting drugs...
assistant threatened Congressman Evo Morales in response...
Then the Agriculture
Minister declared that the well-organized unions of coca growers
no longer exist, and that in the eyes of the State, Congressman
Morales doesn't exist either...
Narco News provides
three recent stories that demonstrate the censorious nature of
the war on drugs..
Translated from Los Tiempos
Cochabamba, December 22, 2000
Connects Banzer with Narco-Trafficking and Fortún is Irritated
"Beyond limits" is
how Government Minister Guillermo Fortún Suárez
described the accusation by Evo Morales Ayma that some family
members of Hugo Banzer Suárez should have gone to jail
for drug crimes.
"If the government wants to put us
in jail for having coca, first Banzer and his family would have
to go to prison because in Banzer's hacienda they found cocaine
paste and it is known that is cocaine," said Evo Morales,
referring to a fact that supposedly occured in the 1970s.
At the same time, he recalled that "the
son in law of Hugo Banzer Suárez, Luis Alberto Valle,
'Chito,' was found with cocaine in Montreal, Cananda, something
that the entire Bolivian people know." Thus, he asked: "Why
don't Banzer and his family go to prison? Then we'll see if they
are going to apply the anti-drug law."
"This man has gone too far,
to an intolerable position because he has resorted to disobedience
of authority," responded the government minister
According to Fortún, Evo Morales
is abusing his congressional immunity, a protection that he should
have left a while ago and submitted himself to judicial process
for many violations committed in his position as a leader and
a Congressman. "This is already too much," reacted
the bothered Government Minister.
Translated from La Razón
La Paz, January 5, 2001
Growers Organizations No Longer Exist in Eyes of the Government
have no reason to exist because there is no longer any coca in
the Chapare Region"
The Agriculture Minister reiterated that
the Executive Branch will not sit and negotiate with Evo Morales.
The Congressman and coca growers leader called the move discriminatory
and warned that a new conflict in the Tropic of Cochabamba could
The unions, the six federations, and the
Coca Growers Coordinated Committee of Cochabama no longer exist,
says the government. Thus, the future alternative-development
projects in the Chapare will be coordinated with the local governments,
businesses and non governmental organizations that work in the
zone and with the representatives of legal agricultural products
to replace coca.
"Why won't you negotiate with the
coca growers organizations of the Tropic?" the Minister
of Agriculture, Hugo Carvajal was asked. "Because there
are no coca growers in Chapare. Simply, they already don't exist.
They lost their reason to be. They no longer have legal standing,"
"It would be absurd and contradictory
for us to say there is no coca in the Chapare and still recognize
the coca growers. What's more, whoever dedicates himself to the
production of coca is a delinquent and is breaking the law, and
thus should be prosecuted..."
Carvajal said catagorically that the government
will not sit at the negotiating table with the Congressman and
coca growers leader Evo Morales. "It's not a political position,
but a practical one. We can't dialogue with Evo Morales because
there already is no coca," said the Agriculture Minister.
The response was instant. Morales, in
Cochabamba, said that Carvajal "is in outer space,"
because there is, in fact, coca in the Cochabamba Tropic...
We Have No Coca?"
The Economist Weighs
From The Economist of London
January 4, 2001
other coca war
has been grown for centuries in the Yungas, which makes a
government eradication plan controversial
Bolivian officials admit that at least
300 hectares (740 acres)
of coca survive in the Chapare region of Bolivia's tropical
lowlands. Others put the figure higher. Nevertheless, President
Hugo Banzer's government decided to declare victory in its battle
to wipe out the hardy shrub, from which cocaine is derived, in
what was its main growing area in Bolivia. At a ceremony beside
military base a few days before Christmas, Mr Banzer and Manuel
Rocha, the United States' ambassador, formally ended a campaign
that has seen 40,000 hectares of coca eradicated in the Chapare
That is a rare achievement in the South
American drug war. It has
come at a price in the lives of protesters and police, and in
farmers' livelihoods: although alternative development projects
have carpeted bits of the Chapare with bananas, pineapples and
the like, they have provided much less employment than coca.
During the ceremony, several hundred protesters scattered piles
of coca leaves over a main road nearby.
Mr Banzer can claim to have more or less
fulfilled an election
pledge to end Bolivia's role in the international drug trade.
at American prodding, he is preparing to fight another, and still
harder, coca battle, in the Yungas, an area of tropical valleys
of the capital, La Paz. Unlike the Chapare, where large-scale
production began in the 1970s to supply the drug trade, the
Yungas has seen the cultivation of the shrub since before the
Bolivia's anti-drug law allows 12,000
hectares of Yungas coca, to
satisfy demand for its traditional uses. These include chewing
leaves to mitigate the rigours of Bolivia's bleak Altiplano,
metres (13,100 feet) above sea level, as well as the coca tea
given to tourists on arrival in La Paz.
The government, relying on American satellite-derived
that coca cultivation in the Yungas exceeds the legal limit by
2,000-3,000 hectares. Critics dispute this, arguing that the
include abandonded terracing. In 1999, a land-use survey carried
out for local municipalities by independent consultants found
about 9,000 hectares of coca.
Nevertheless, the government plans to
start eradicating the
presumed surplus in March, and to finish the job before Mr
Banzer's term ends in July 2002. As in the Chapare, villages
"voluntarily" agree to stop growing coca will be paid
hectare, as well as being offered help with alternatives, such
Not enough, say the farmers. In the Chapare,
coca was planted on
flat land and could be harvested in its first year. By contrast,
steep, high valleys of the Yungas, coca cultivation is a slow
back-breaking business, involving building and maintaining terraces
and a three-year wait for a first crop, according to Fidel Ticon,
farmers' leader. "Even if they offered us $10,000 per hectare,
would not be enough," he argues. Neither is it easy to grow
crops in the Yungas, where alternative development has already
been tried, unsuccessfully. Between 1984 and 1993, the UN spent
$32.4m there, with nothing now left to show for it.
In what looks like the first step in its
Yungas campaign, the
government is squeezing the tightly-regulated legal coca market.
By law, all coca produced in the Yungas must be taken to La Paz,
where it is bought by 700-odd registered retailers.
The government recently slashed the maximum
amount the retailers
are allowed to buy, from 500lb (225kg) a month to 300lb. As a
result, the retail price around the country has risen while the
paid to the producers has fallen, and the accumulated surplus
unsold leaves on the farms is being snapped up for cocaine
production, according to Dionicio Nuñez, of the Yungas
Federation. He argues that this is a government ruse to bolster
public support for its coming offensive.
Mr Banzer may be right in saying that
some Yungas coca is
supplying the drug trade. But most is not. Many Bolivians came
accept coca eradication in the Chapare as a necessary attack
organised crime. It will be much harder to persuade them that
same applies in the Yungas.
If They Don't
Exist, Why Wage a War Against Them?