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December 3, 2001

First Announcement of our "Live

from the Andes" Project Appears Below

Narco News 2001

Blockades Begin

Anew on Tuesday

The Chapare Region is Occupied by 4,000 Troops

Bolivian Prez Quiroga to

Meet With George W. Bush

Doctors and Police Join

National Protest Wave

Narco News Commentary: Bolivian President Jorge Quiroga stepped off American Airlines Flight 628 at 7:31 p.m. last night at Washington´s Reagan National Airport for four days of meetings, including a scheduled session with President George W. Bush on Thursday, December 6th. Today he meets with the Organization of American States. Later, with DEA boss Asa Hutchinson, and high functionaries of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

He leaves behind a country completely destroyed by his own surrender of national sovereignty to the demands of the US government. As the Milenio Foundation reported this week, the US-imposed "zero coca" policy has already caused Bolivia annual losses of $655 million dollars and 59,000 jobs.

Last Thursday, transport workers paralyzed the country with a 24 hour blockade and strike, and threatened to escalate to a 48 hour strike soon, and then an indefinite national strike. The clock ticks on the deadline of early December posed by business leaders who are threatening, too, a national strike and boycott of federal taxes. Now, according to reports we translate today, other social sectors from the nation's doctors to even the rank-and-file police are threatening to join the blockades and strikes.

Tomorrow, the social sector that has been the spark of this chain of events, the 35,000 coca growing families of the Chapare region, will begin anew their campaign of highway blockades that have twice paralyzed the country. The Quiroga regime has sent 4,000 troops to try and keep the major highway unblocked. The regime's policy is reduced to its last refuge: Brute force.

The U.S. press has been silent throughout the tumult of recent weeks; the hard news is inconvenient, because it disproves years of propaganda stating that Bolivia is a "success story" in the US-imposed "war on drugs."

Even Washington Post columnist Marcela Sanchez, in a Friday puff piece about President Quiroga, chose to withhold the hard news of what is really happening in Bolivia from her readers. Tomorrow, Narco News will offer a detailed response to Sanchez's error-laden column, and we will detail an announcement that we make today:

The United States press is not doing its job. US correspondents in Latin America remain mute before the social upheaval that has profound consequences for the war on drugs.

Thus, beginning this week, Narco News will launch a new project: "Live from the Andes." The newsroom is heading to South America, to break the information blockade and offer direct live reports at on the immediate history shaking our América.

From somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano, publisher

The Narco News Bulletin

Blockades Begin

Anew on Tuesday

4,000 Soldiers Along Highway

To Try and Break the Blockades

From the daily Opinion, Cochabamba, Bolivia

December 3, 2001

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin

The Six Federations of coca producers in the state of Cochabamba yesterday ratified their plan to blockade highways beginning Tuesday, December 4th, reported the growers' leader Luis Cutipa. "The compañeros totally rejected the government plan because we don't want to be employees of the United States Embassy," he said.

He explained that to guarantee the effectiveness of the blockades, self-defense committees will be formed. "In some sectors, surprise blockades began on Saturday night," he added. The blockades are planned for the principal highway that connects Cochabamba with Santa Cruz, and others that connect different areas of the Chapare.

The leader explained that in the emergency assembly held Saturday that the Six Federations, local civil committees, transport workers and other organizations rejected the final government proposal. He said that the organizations consider that the 500 Bolivianos offered by the government for 15 months to compensate for eradicated coca will not solve the problem. "They say that it's a trick because there is no money in the government, nor a serious project on this issue," he said…

The leader said that the coca growers are ready to suspend the blockades when and only when the government suspends the policy of forced eradication… He warned that the coca growers and other sectors involved are studying how a Coca Growers' Army will be formed.

From the daily Los Tiempos, Cochabamba, Bolivia

December 3, 2001

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin

Blockade Threats "Won't

Detain" the Eradication of Coca

President Jorge Quiroga said yesterday that the eradication of coca crops will continue, in response to the decision made by the coca growers to resume attempts to blockade the Cochabamba-Santa Cruz highway and reactivate their self-defense committees.

Before traveling to the United States, the President lamented that the growers had rejected the government's offer… and said, categorically, that Plan Dignity will continue being enforced "because the Bolivian people don't want cocaine or blockades, but dignity and work."

However, although their top leader Evo Morales left the country on Sunday until December 8th, the growers will attempt, beginning Tuesday, to block highways…

According to reports obtained by Los Tiempos, yesterday the highway in the conflict zone was heavily guarded by thousands of soldiers and police officers who have the mission of keeping traffic flowing….

The vice minister of social defense, Oswaldo Antezana, said that the coca growers "have entered a line of subversion and incitation with a series of terrorist criminal acts."

Budget Would Be Taken

from Employment Fund

From the ANF News Agency, Bolivia

December 3, 2001

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin

The government does have the resources to make its offer of 500 Bolivianos per month for 15 months to the coca growers in compensation for the eradication of their farms, said the Interior Minister Leopoldo Fernández.

…It's that the resources will come from the Employment Fund. "The resources of the Employment Fund are what we want to apply in the Chapare and other regions of the country," said Fernández… "We have all the sources defined."

Weekend Press Clips

Anatomy of a

Civil Revolt

From the daily Opinion, Cochabamba, Bolivia

December 2, 2001

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin

Coca Growers Reject

Government's Proposal

The future of the state of Cochabamba turns uncertain and darker every day. In an assembly of the Six Federations of coca growers held yesterday in the town of Lauca Ñ, located 180 kilometers from Cochabamba's capital city, the growers responded to the improved proposal for Alternative Development with a rotund "NO," and announced the resumption of the blockades of the Cochabamba-Santa Cruz highway.

The local self-defense committees will also be reactivated by the coca growers to stop the forced eradication of the ancient leaf that the government deploys in the premise of "zero coca" by August 6, 2002. The leaders of the Six Federations say they are more united and stronger than ever to face the confrontations they see coming.

They also rejected any possibility of dialogue or talks with the government while the forced eradication is not suspended in the Chapare. They also made it known that the only possible talks would take place in the Chapare region, since the negotiations in La Paz or in Cochabamba limit participation by coca growers.

The second-in-charge among the growers, Luis Cutipa, spoke with Opinion from the town of Lauca Ñ, seat of yesterday's assembly. He reported that the base communities were emphatic and convincing in their rejection of the 500 Bolivianos offered by the government as a salary in exchange for not growing coca in the Chapare. "The compañeros of the communities indicated that they don't want to be employees of the United States Embassy or of other countries, because the money that they want to pay us is not from Bolivia, but from outside," he added.

According to the leader, the first measure to be taken is the blockade of roads such as the Cochabamba-Santa Cruz highway. The action has no date or hour set, but Cutipa made it known that at very least this important transport route will be interrupted by barricades or by the famous little nails that have provoked flat tires among vehicles along the route. "All this is because the government has not accepted to suspend its forced eradication of coca crops," said the growers' leader.


Regarding the concrete proposal of Alternative Development presented by the government last Monday in this city, during the Coca Summit, Cutipo said that there are points that continue to be interesting, but that shamefully the proposal was not backed by any law that would allow them to believe that the promise would be kept or made reality. "There is no project, no profile, much less any law or money. That's why the compañeros say that every time they sign agreements, the government never complies," he said.

The Attack on Evo

Another of the issues considered by the Assembly yesterday was the proposed expulsion of Evo Morales from the federal congress. "The communities concluded that the Chapare will heat up, there will be Civil War if that proposal is approved," said Cutipa. In that sense he said that the communities of the Six Federations of the tropic of Cochabamba are going to defend Evo Morales' parliamentary immunity to the maximum, just as they defend the coca, because he has not committed any crime other than defending the rights and the leadership that the voters of the Chapare placed in him….


By the daily Opinión

Foreign Domination

Annuls Domestic Govt.

It seems obsessive to write frequent criticisms of the ruling political order. But it's not. It's not an intentional campaign led against the dominant groups. What we do is interpret reality. We are prisoners of what happens each day. There where we look we find faults and crimes. Currently, for example, the population of Santa Cruz has made critiques and called for ancient petitions to be granted. The private businessmen, who are apparently the beneficiaries of the ruling neoliberal system, have given a deadline of ten days for the government to stop the economic collapse. The coca growers blockade and obstruct when they want. The language of interaction between the regime and society is that of force. Everyone blockades in order to be heard. What cannot be obtained through legal routes because corruption has destroyed or blocked them, is achieved by force.

The government cannot order the country nor push it toward development because it is weak, incoherent and is a prisoner of a foreign power. This is the illegitimate continuance of a regime installed four years ago. It doesn't dominate or control every part of its system. It carries the blame and the impossibilities of a discredited regime. The worst obstacle or perhaps the works enemy of the regime comes from inside its own house. The partners of the coalition are not loyal to the new president. Their loyalty is measured not only in their unconditional phrases, nor in their silent attendance of official acts, but, rather, in their deeds, in their conduct. Obviously, it's a reckless, corrupt, exacting behavior that although it doesn't directly damage the regime, it discredits it and makes it impossible to regenerate, at every least, the most visible parts of the public administration.

Today, nothing happens without ridiculous maneuvers in which the people pay more than they should pay. In respect to the true power, the government, by its own will, has little or nothing of this factor that, obviously, serves to negotiate, orient, conduct and, in its case, to impose. When it attended the dialogue with the coca growers, it did it withough any margin of flexibility because the formulas are imposed from other places of decision, and the same happens with its relations with the businessmen because the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are those who are in charge.

A decisive factor in the generation of the chaos, of the social convulsion, is the lack of authority, of initiative, of ability in the fundamental centers of national government. The government doesn't have a speech nor means to confront the different sectors of the population, and when it does, it simply can not comply with what it offered or with the agreed upon solution. The cause of the major part of violent actions is the noncompliance and the ineptitude of the public administration.

from the daily Opinión

December 2, 2001

Translated by The Narco News Bulletin

"Zero Coca"

By Amalia Decker M.

I don't understand why the government has such an obsession to find imaginative solutions to an issue that is so recurrent it is already truly damaging to the image of the country. I have not seen any other project to which the government has dedicated so much attention, to the point of breaking its head to propose to the farmers of the Chapare every kind of solution or alternative to their demand of a cato of coca. The situation of the country, everybody knows, is not any better: the transport workers are abusive and committing beatings in full public view. The businessmen of Santa Cruz, in spite of having always been the largest beneficiaries, once more hit the government with demands that are impossible to satisfy. The same occurs with other sectors of labor that have seen their income shrink by a truly drastic manner. It is seen that the huge problems, accumulated over years by the inability of each government, by the corruption and certainly by the global crisis will not be resolved with the stroke of a pen nor with good will nor with more work hours.

I believe that what is lacked is to make priorities to save the country. The biggest clamor of the population is to find sources of work. How can this be achieved? I don't see any other alternative that protecting the few factories that still exist and the push the creation of others. For that, the population, in place of holding strikes, marches and blockades, must demand of the government - but in a more intelligent manner, without damaging the country, our few highways, without hurting the citizenry - support for the productive sector, so punished in these times.

A few days ago I listened to a representative of the industrialists ask loudly for help, and he did not do it with marches or empty casseroles Santa Cruz style, but rather he asked the Bolivian people to buy national products so the factories won't close and the workers won't be cast into the streets to enlarge the army of the unoccupied.
I ask myself: Wouldn't it be more useful for the government to break its head impeding that contraband products don't continue as always, burying our industry? Wouldn't it be easier for the government to launch campaigns to promote our products, open markets, in place of its obsession with don Cato? These are some of the worries that are not only mine, but also belong to a population that is tired of marches, blockades, useless deaths, impossible demands and certainly the lack of vision or governmental incapacity to face what is truly important.

From the daily Los Tiempos

December 2, 2001

Businessmen Are Disgusted

The businessmen of Cochabamba are bothered by the stories of recent days that government authorities have promoted, and they affirm that their petition for refinancing based on the elevated number of defaults today in the financial and social systems doesn't constitute a refusal to pay their debts. In a press release, the businessmen assured that what they are proposing is a provisional period of relief for their obligations to pay, made necessary by the constant deteriorating state of the national economy.

At the same time, they report that the measures proposed would permit businesses with difficulties to have a solution in paying their obligations, and also contribute to the national treasury with income that they currently do not receive and that they need. "We are not accomplices in the crisis because for three years the private sector has warned that the country was heading toward a deep economic crisis. We proposed timely, necessary and effective actions to the government in order to reactivate the economy, which were only partially taken into account," said the document.

They said that neither are they "opportunists," because to plea for the reactivation of the productive sector means fighting to save stable jobs that benefit all the Bolivian people, as a real form to combat poverty and social conflict. They added that historically they have shown that the only form to generate social development is to generate economic development and that can only occur with a stable productive sector in a country that is in the same condition.

From the ANF News Agency

December 1, 2001

Congressman Accuses Government

of Confusing Dialogue with Weakness

The High Chief of the MIR Party in Santa Cruz Criticizes the Apparent Contradiction by Tuto Quiroga's Ministers and Their Reluctance to Dialogue

"By leaving the issue of congressional redistricting to Congress, the government has washed its hands. It doesn't listen to the regions and it confuses dialogue with weakness," said the president of the Constitutional Commission, a Santa Cruz resident and leader of the MIR party, Guido Añez Moscoso.

From the daily Los Tiempos

December 1, 2001

Doctors Threaten to Strike

The Bolivian Medical Association resolved to begin pressure tactics against the government for noncompliance with the agreement signed with this sector last January. The protest by the doctors betweens with a "March of the White Aprons" and a national strike of 24 hours that could be prolonged indefinitely….

"We already gave them their chance. The government wants to institutionalize the corruption to favor professionals who don't have the capacity to occupy management posts," said Association President Ramiro Castellón, in rejection of the government's broken promises to this sector…

From the daily La Razon

December 1, 2001

State Tried to Prevent

Coca Growers Meeting

...The Assembly began in a tense environment, after police and military soldiers occupied the assembly hall. However, the presence of Congressional members of the Social Defense Commission made the uniformed soldiers leave the place.

…For strategic reasons, the coca growers did not say when they will begin their pressure tactics, but that they, above all the blockade of the highway, the vigils and the self-defense committees, could begin at any moment.

From the daily Los Tiempos

December 1, 2001

New Problem: Police

Give 15-Day Deadline

A new front surges in the panorama of social conflicts. Now, even the police are in rebellion. It was the low ranking officers who yesterday declared a state of emergency and gave the National Police Command 15 days to deliver their uniforms and other supplies to the police.

The president of the Officer's Association, Daniel Cahuana, said that the agreement made by the police with the National Command in April 2000 has not been kept. The low ranking offiers have not received their uniforms nor the supplies that should be renewed every six months.

From the daily Opinion

November 30, 2001

24 Hour Paralysis from

Transport Workers Strike

After the national strike of transport workers succeeded yesterday, the drivers warned that if the government doesn't attend to its demands, they will realize another national strike, this time for 48 hours, and next hold a general strike without end….

The streets and avenues of the city remained blockaded with hundreds of microbuses, taxis and buses. The majority of the public had to travel by foot to get to work. A considerable number of travelers was stuck at the Bus Terminal due to the paralyzation of urban and interstate transit.

Coca Policy Destroyed

National Economy

Milenio Foundation Finds Root

Cause of Government's Problems

From the daily Opinion

November 30, 2001

The execution of the governmental "zero coca" program has lowered the Gross National Product (GNP) by $655 million dollars and led to the disappearance of 59,000 jobs, according to the analysis of the private Milenio Foundation.

The annual policy report of this institution is based on statistics from the Coca Conversion Board (DIRECO, in its Spanish initials) and from the Vice Minister of Alternative Development. The statistics correspond to fiscal year 2000…
The report indicated that the eradication of coca leaf in the Yungas region of La Paz presented a different scenario than the policy in the Chapare. Information obtained from US satellites and released by the US Anti-Drug Board, said that 1,700 hectares of coca were detected beyond the 12,000 permitted by Law 1008…

Due to the rotund rejection by the producers to eradication in los Yungas, militarization was chosen by the government, but later had to be withdrawn after signs of violence in the region…

The report concludes that the management of the eradication policy waged by the government, in the Chapare and in the Yungas region, lacked coordination… It added that this was fundamentally a policy created from the dependent condition of the country on the US government's drug war…

"The dependent character of the eradication policy revealed, simultaneously, a vacuum in the Government's own criteria to make national interests prevail, because of the small amount of maneuvering room would have permitted a negotiation process to have developed in better conditions," said the Foundation.

Coming Tomorrow on Narco News:

Tuto in Washington:

Tyranny as Stardom?

A Public Response to Post

Columnist Marcela Sanchez

Background Info

Nov. 29, 2001: The "Terrorist"

is Ambassador Manuel Rocha

Nov. 28, 2001: Regime Arrests

Labor Leader Oscar Olivera

Nov. 27, 2001: Coca Growers

Study Government Proposal

Nov. 25, 2001: Bolivia Suspends

Coca Eradication; Talks Begin

Nov. 22, 2001: US Congress

"Disturbed" by Events

Nov. 16, 2001: Bolivia Burning

Archives of Last Year's Press Briefings on Bolivia:

10/5-10/2000: Five Days That Shook Bolivia

10/3-4/2000: Generals Don't Want to Fight Bolivian People

10/1-2/2000: Zero Hour in Bolivia

9/29-30/2000: Bolivia, US, "Narco-tize" the Conflict

9/28/2000: Spotlight on Bolivia, in Context of Perú and Colombia

The Fall of AP's Bolivia Correspondent:

McFarren Part I

McFarren Part II

Washington Post Report on McFarren's Fall

For More Narco News, Click Here

"Live from the Andes" Coverage Begins This Week