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The Narco News Bulletin

"The Name of Our Country is América"

-- Simón Bolívar

Today's Press Briefing

October 4, 2000

Generals Said Reluctant to Fight Bolivian People

"Coca or Death," the Battle Cry

US: Coca Farmers "Immoral"

From the daily Los Tiempos, Cochabamba, Bolivia
Wednesday, October 4, 2000

Coca Issue Unites the Resistance

The slogan "Coca or Death" yesterday became the glue of the alliance of resistance that coca-growers, teachers, peasants and the Water Coordination movement of Cochabamba. In spite of the desperate efforts by the government to mine the solidarity of the bloc and the advances in negotiations with the peasants, what clearly has surged in the third week of the crisis was that President Banzer finds himself in a dead end with no visible exit.

Washington had to reiterate its support for the government (for the second time in ten days) over one of its major challenges in the South American drug war.

The uncertainty rose to new levels still with the mysterious appearance of a supposed communiqué of colonels and generals of the Armed Forces who demand a "political solution" to the country's worst crisis. The communiqué was not disowned by the military leadership.

The wave of violence could grow still more in the coming hours. Fifteen tanks advance toward Chapare. The coca-growers await them with slingshots and and have mined the bridges, as in a war.

* * *

War? Coca Growers Mine the Bridges

The peasants of the tropic rejected any government proposal that does not permit them to grow at least a kato (a 40 by 40 meter parcel) of coca. In the photo by the daily Los Tiempos a campfire along the blockade in the Tropic of Cochabamba.

Villa Tunari y Shinahota | Los Tiempos.- As if preparing for a grand battle, the coca growers of Chapare challenge the government, begin to arm themselves with everything available and say that they are ready to resist any intent by the Armed Forces to unblock the roads. Yesterday, police and soldiers, according to the ANF news agency, discovered that below the bridges in Chimoré and Ivirgarzama there are explosives.

The Congressman and coca grower Evo Morales admitted that the rank-and-file is ahead of the leaders. "If this is true, we find ourselves in front of the next civil war, for fault of the government that has not solved the crisis," he said, making it clear that he had not ordered this tactic.

Less than 24 hours after five coca grower leaders sustained a frustrating meeting with three government ministers in Chimoré, the representatives of the six coca growing federations of the the Tropic of Cochabamba shared the results of these meetings with their rank-and-file bases. The response was the same that Evo Morales had earlier said: "Coca or Death." The coca growers began to entrench themselves with everything, the women wove slingshots for their husbands and sons and informed that women and children will also join the feared resistance.

Yesterday in Chapare a rumor said that the government would clean out the blockades with small tanks (lightly armored vehicles similar to tanks). However, nothing happened.

In all cases, the coca growers accept the possibility of a military invasion, and predict that the confrontations wil be in El Castillo. In the morning two helicopters flew over the area and placed the coca growers on guard. The logic is to not show their faces, but to blockade.

There is No Rupture

Morales made clear that the dialogue with the government has not ruptured, although its initial proposal of ceasing all the pressure tactics in exchange for the government accepting a cato of coca per family is maintained. This response was communicated to the Church, mediating the talks, and it is anticipated that the government will respond negatively.

"If the government minister is not convinced, let him send his soldiers," said Morales.

It was also proposed that the dialogue commission defines the case of the cato of coca not in 15 days, as was proposed on Tuesday, but in three. To prolongue it for more time is to prolonge the conflict, he said.

Exodus from Chapare

Employees of Governmental and Non-Governmental organizations linked to "alternative development" projects began a virtual exodus from Chapare in fear of confrontations and assaults.

The employees of these institutions fear that the coca growers will occupy their offices at any moment as a form of protest against the entire project of alternative development, which the peasants consider a trick.

The fleeing functionaries are leaving their belongings and machines in the office of the Rural Patrol Mobile Unit (UMOPAR) and took a helicopter to fly over the blockades. The passage from Chimoré to Cochabamba costs $450 US dollars and has room for four passengers.

* * *

US: "It is immoral to ask for compensation for eradication"

La Paz ANF News Agency.- Bolivia cannot hope that the International Community will compensate it for the approximately $500 million dollars of losses that the eradication of coca has caused. The loss of the money that came from the coca crops of Chapare in the Bolivian economy -- calculated by the government of the US as $250 million dollars -- does not deserve consideration because it is "immoral." This analysis was offered by the US Embassy in Bolivia.

US Ambassador Victor Manuel Rocha declared that "the loss of illicit economy is the loss of a criminal economy, and for this it has no moral validity and does not deserve to be considered in a discussion because no government would respect it."

...Ambassador Rocha said that the deepening of alternative development will "give honorable work to those who are still in the business of coca cultivation in Chapare."

Mysterious Military Communiqué Causes Confusion

La Paz | Los Tiempos.- A group of unidentified generals and colonels of the Army supposedly demanded that the government of general Hugo Banzer assume "political responsibility" for the deaths of more than ten civilians during the violent repression of road blockaders. As of the closing of this edition, the spokesman for the Armed Forces in Miraflores would not comment as to the authenticity or falsity of the document.

According to the PAT TV news, it received the communiqué a little before noon yesterday, and the military officials demand a change in the cabinet. They recommended that the new government team have people who are "capable" to negotiate "with legitimate representation, but above all embody honesty." The criticism of "corruptos" inside the cabinet was underlined.

The worry is centered in the damage to the Army's institutional credibility as a result of the repressive actions. The position was broadcast by PAT TV, noting that the communiqué's sentiment is based on the result of the operations of April when "the military had to take charge" on "Black Saturday," when in Cochabamba and the high plains four civilians and one official died.

For the military, according to the TV station, the current problem is political. Consequently, the solution should be political, not military.

Genuine or apocryphal, the announcement is the first in the name of the military since the crisis exploded two weeks ago.

"The Armed Forces are subordinates of Civil Power and this power should know how to use them, because it would be cowardice to use them and later blame them for bad work," said the document read by the journalist.

Another Bolivia Drug War Story Today:

From The Guardian of London

October 4, 2000:

Alison Spedding Released from Prison

A British anthropologist jailed in La Paz two years ago on drugs charges has been released on bail after reforms in the Bolivian penal code.

Alison Spedding, 38, who is a novelist and a former university lecturer, received a 10-year sentence in 1998 when a judge ruled that 2kg of cannabis found at her home was intended for trafficking. She was allowed to leave jail last Friday on payment of a £1,300 surety and on condition she stays in La Paz until the supreme court makes a final decision on her case.

Speaking from a friend's house yesterday, she said: "I am out but I wouldn't use the word 'free'. I don't know when my case will be heard, so it is not that great."

Ms Spedding's arrest and imprisonment shocked the academic community in Britain, who petitioned the Foreign Office to demand her release. She did not deny possession of the cannabis but said that it was for personal use.

It has been argued that her imprisonment was political since she has been a prominent opponent of the Bolivian government's crackdown on peasant coca farmers. Ms Spedding has lived in Bolivia since 1989 and taught at La Paz's San Andres university, specialising on the Aymara culture, as well as writing the historical-fantasy trilogy The Road and the Hills....

Full Story at,3604,377150,00.html

Yesterday's Press Briefing

October 3, 2000

Last Update at 9:40 p.m. ET (see below)

Banzer's Titanic is Sinking

Plot to Divide Bolivian Social Movements Fails

General Strike Could Begin Thursday

The War on Drugs Meets its Waterloo

The historic drama unfolding in the South American nation of Bolivia deserves the attention and support of all América. It is there that Bolívar's dream is awakening. The impact on the hemisphere, indeed the world, will be felt for years to come.

History is knocking on América's door once again.

But where is the US media? Where are its correspondents, special reporters, camera crews and helicopters? The United States press corps has made a profound error in believing those -- from the US State Department to the Associated Press organization -- who have signaled, blindly and incorrectly, that the social revolt in Bolivia will be quelled by their troops in La Paz, above all, by the dictator-turned-"president" Hugo Banzer.

Let history take note of the words of yet another "unnamed State Department source" quoted by Marcela Sanchez of the Washington post last week:

A senior State Department official, who asked not to be named, recognized the current problem in Bolivia but didn't think it is "all that terrible."

"We have full confidence President [Hugo] Banzer and his government will get through this," he added. The official indicated that he sympathized with the coca growers but added that "We cannot forget that what they are doing is illegal."

Let history also note what could and should be the final report from the "cacique journalist" Peter McFarren of the Associated Press in La Paz, when against all factual record, he wrote this past weekend that the movement is based on "anti-white sentiment." Narco News vows: This will be the last unchecked lie by Mr. McFarren, who has no business posing as a journalist when his multi-million dollar empire in Bolivia is among the powers of the corrupted status quo that seek, desperately, to quell a revolt that will not be stopped. Coming this week on Narco News: The Untold Story of AP's Peter McFarren.

The Banzer-McFarren-Washington strategy had been to divide the social movements: to treat the striking teachers, the water warriors, the coca-growers, the unions and the regional movements as they are treated inside the United States: as "interest groups." They tried to buy off the teachers and other groups and isolate the coca-growers leadership to justify the final bloody solution. Indeed, this beast in its death throes could lash out against the Bolivian people with brutal violence at any moment.

But what Power forgot is that, even in this 21st century, there exists the human spirit, "national conscience," the moral of solidarity, all the values that Power and its mediated armies have tried to stamp out in its thirst to "globalize" the planet under economic dominion with the drug war as its sword.

In recent days, the Banzer government made surgical concessions to various fronts in the movement in its attempt to isolate and ready the coca-growers for destruction. It signed an agreement with the rural teachers union leaders to give them more money. It pledged to respect the April agreements on water policy that it had already broken. It feigned a "suspension" of construction of three new military bases in the Chapare region in an attempt to calm the local public outrage. And Washington's lips did not even move in its ventriloquy when Banzer announced: The coca crop will be totally eradicated, even that which produces coca leaf -- and not cocaine -- for safe peasant consumption.

All the players were in place to crush the movement. And with no other major media present, AP's McFarren was set to control the English-language spin, to dress up even massacres in the perfume of an "anti-drug" victory.

Power's maneuver, however, did not go as planned. The 80,000 striking urban teachers condemned the rural teachers leadership for selling out the movement. The 50,000 rural teachers followed by condemning their own leaders and refusing to go along with the deal. They, and the popular movements to preserve Bolivia's water supplies, announced that there will be no solution until the demands by all the movement's sectors, including the coca-growers, are resolved. The coca-growers and peasants continued the blockades that paralyze the nation and its commerce. The urban populations in La Paz and elsewhere took to the streets yesterday and were repelled by the tear-gasses of the regime.

And then Banzer made his final error. His Air Force had been working overtime to fly food into the capital of La Paz and other cities: road access is already a distant memory. But the food did not go to the popular markets, which are empty. Instead, what food is available has been channeled to the Five Star Hotels, the expensive Supermarkets and the walled neighborhoods of the wealthy.

The great majority of Bolivia's urban population, until now sympathetic to the social demands in the country but unmobilized and irritated by the shortages of basic products, has now seen what the entire regime is based upon: The protection, at all costs, of the super wealthy class and the US-imposed drug policy that keeps the poor and the worker down.

If there is any doubt that all this madness has at its root the US-imposed war on drugs, the report we publish today from correspondent Jim Shultz in Cochabamba, Bolivia, makes clear that this fact is beyond doubt:

The US-backed regime of Banzer in Bolivia has attempted, through trickery and media manipulation, to divide and conquer the social movements. And yet it has only made them stronger, more united, and ready. Coca-growers leader Evo Morales yesterday sounded the battle cry: "Coca or Blood." All popular sectors are now moving against the Banzer regime, now joined by the urban workers to the middle class.

The professional association of market shopkeepers has just delivered the final warning: Meet the social demands of all the sectors, or Thursday they will shut down the markets. In other words; General Strike.

The passengers of Banzer's Titanic will not go down without a fight. The drug war is, by definition, the Titanic as policy: a ship that saves only a few and damns the many.

Do not turn your eyes from the great shaking events of this moment. The 21st Century begins with a bang from below.

The US-imposed War on Drugs meets its Waterloo on the high plains of Bolivia.

Right here, right now, history is in the making.

...from somewhere in a country called América,

Al Giordano


The Narco News Bulletin

Today's Translations and Reports

From wire services

Tuesday, October 3, 2000:

Solidarity Between Coca-Growers, Teachers and Peasants Makes Solution to the Crisis Difficult

LA PAZ (DPA y AFP). The solidarity between coca-growers, teachers and peasants made it difficult to find a solution for the social conflicts that have affected Bolivia for 15 days.

Analysts expressed their concern over this fact because it creates a situation where "all the demands must be solved or the pressure tactics will not cease."

They recalled that the principal leader of the rural teachers, Fredd Núñez, said very clearly that they will accept the official offer of a bonus of 1,500 bolivianos ($238 US dollars) in two payments, but this does not mean that the general strike will be lifted, nor the blockade of roads, until the peasant demands are met.

The professors accepted their two bonuses, but conditioned their return to classes on the suspension of the road blockades by the farmers. In such, the congressman and agricultural leader Evo Morales predicted that they will insist that the government permit the farming of a "cato" (40 by 40 square meter plot) per family, so that the families can survive.

According to Morales, this is the only way that 35,000 coca-producing families can make a living. But they are ready to listen to the offers of the government that could mean a real alternative.

The Executive Branch is disposed to cede some more to the coca-growers who have blocked the roads since September 18 in protest against the eradication of coca and the construction of military bases in the tropical region of Chapare, the major producing center of the bush in Bolivia.

The confrontations in the past two weeks between peasants and combined forces of the Army and the police have caused 10 deaths, 128 wounded and an undetermined number of prisoners, according to the Permanent Assembly of Human Rights of Bolivia (APDHB).

The Assembly said that the most recent victim was found on Saturday in the town of Vinto, near Cochabamba, a distance of 403 kilometers from La Paz, where the peasant Benito Espinoza, 15-years-old, died from a bullet wound. The facts were confirmed by opposition congressman Manuel Suárez, chairman of the Committee on the Constitution.

Another civic organization threatened to hold mass mobilizations in the state of Cochabamba if the government of president Hugo Banzer does not disactivate the social convulsion by Wednesday.

The Coordinator for Defense of Water and Life gave the government 48 hours to attend to the demands of the teachers, coca-growers and peasants, said its spokesman Óscar Olivera.

The Catholic Church, the Public Defender and the APDHB called upon the government and the sectors now on strike in La Paz to begin a dialogue to seek a solution.

Bolivian Tension Mounts As Roadblock Talks Continue

Updated 2:18 PM ET October 3, 2000
By Gilbert Le Gras

LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) - Tension mounted in Bolivia Tuesday as the government repeated threats to deploy troops if coca growers, peasants and teachers do not abandon roadblocks set up 16 days ago that have paralyzed big cities.

"We're talking, we're working on solutions, but if we stop talking and stop seeking solutions then we'll clear the roadblocks," Government Minister Guillermo Fortun said, according to radio news reports.

A government-imposed noon (1400 GMT) deadline came and went as ministers huddled with peasants in La Paz without soldiers being deployed in the stalemate with coca growers and teachers. Fortun said as long as talks continue with one of three protest groups no troops would be sent to clear highways.

Ten protesters died last week in clashes with security forces over their demands for higher teachers' pay, abolition of a water tax and opposition to the eradication of coca -- the raw material used in the production of cocaine.

"As long as the government is unwilling to discuss the coca issue we won't have an agreement," said Congressman Evo Morales, head of the coca growers union.

The situation in Bolivia has become increasingly tense as the blockade of all roads leading into the capital La Paz and the agricultural hubs of Santa Cruz and Cochabamba has caused food prices to skyrocket. The Bolivian air force said it has flown two million pounds of food to La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, San Borja and Cobija to restock supermarket shelves.

"These flights are a guarantee that food stocks in La Paz won't be drawn down," said La Paz Mayor German Velasco.

While coca growers welcomed a government offer not to build three army barracks in the coca-growing Chapare region, they refused to lift roadblocks until the region's 40,000 families are allowed to grow 2.5 acres (1 hectare) each of coca for traditional use.

Andean Indians use the bitter leaf for religious and medicinal purposes, including easing the pangs of hunger and thirst and coping with altitude sickness. Some coca production is legal.

At the height of coca production about five years ago, one in every eight Bolivians made a living off coca. Bolivia is the world's third largest producer of coca after Colombia and Peru.

But Bolivia, one of the Western Hemisphere's poorest nations, has significantly reduced coca production in the past five years in exchange for U.S. aid.

The government of President Hugo Banzer, a military dictator of the 1970s who was elected president in 1997, has vowed to rid the nation of illegal coca fields.

Bolivian government ministers have tried to present a $63 million rural development package to the peasants which includes crop diversification as well as the extension of electrical and telephone services to remote areas.

But coca growers are skeptical of government suggestions they grow pineapples and bananas instead of the bitter leaf.

Meat prices have doubled and the cost of some vegetables quadrupled since the roadblocks began. Some foreign tourists have been stranded by cut-off roads or fear of protesters.

While the government negotiated with coca growers and peasants, talks with teachers failed after an agreement in principle with rural teachers was reversed by about half of the 50,000 union members.

Teachers were the government's best hope of dividing the coalition of strikers but the rejection of the plan by Bolivia's 80,000 urban teachers seemed to turn the tide.

The government offered them a $40 raise for the remainder of this year and a $200 pay hike over all of next year. Teachers earn $150-$200 a month in this Andean nation of eight million people, where average annual income is about $1,000.

From the daily La Razon, La Paz, Bolivia

October 3, 2000:

The Food Doesn't Come to the Markets

Hotels, Supermarkets and Residential Zones are the Beneficiaries of the State Initiative.

In the Popular Markets the Shortages Continue

As of this moment, the aerial food source established by the La Paz state government is stocking supermarkets, hotels and part of the Southern zone of the city. But few products reach the popular markets.

Among the 84,000 kilos of beef and chicken, the almost 50 bags of carrots and onions that arrived yesterday at the Military Air Transport base (TAM), many products were shipped to hotels due to a previous agreement....

The 20,000 kilos of chicken brought yesterday by the Sofía company were delivered to distributors and from there the businessmen brought the foods to the residential zones because there they pay more. The director of the chicken business, Sofía, Rafael Sena, said that his product goes to the markets of La Paz and El Alto, but in the distribution chain there are middlemen who determine where the product will go.


But for the majority of the population, onions and tomatoes, those irreplaceable ingredients of preparing ahogado and chorrellana, have become luxury items in recent days.

The shopkeepers in El Tejar, Rodrígues and Yungas offer their last onions at five bolivianas per pound. The cost of tomatoes, that are brought from Cochabamba, Santa Cruz or Rio Abajo, rose from 1.5 to 5 bolivianos per pound.

Doña Zenobia of Ormachea, housewife in Villa Victoria, sought unsuccesfully yesterday morning to find beef, onion, carrots or tomatoes. "The sellers are proud if they have three or four onions. We discussed with one of them the price and they insulted us."

On Thursday the Food Warehouses Could Close

The Bolivia Federation of Professional Organizations called for a 24 hour strike on Thursday, October 5th, in the entire country, closing all markets. The measure is in support of the teachers and peasants currently in confrontation with the government. The leader of this sector, Francisco Figueroa, made the announcement yesterday, after a march of nearly 3,000 professionals in the Ceja of El Alto.

The principal demand of the professionals is that the government accept talks with the peasant leaders on their turf in Achacachi, as has proposed the principal peasant leader Felipe Quispe....

Allied Press Limited (New Zealand news agency)

October 2, 2000:


La Paz: Bolivian government officials hope talks today with coca growers, teachers and peasants will bring an end to road blocks that have choked food deliveries and led to 10 deaths.

"I think we'll reach an agreement but I think we could have avoided this conflict had the government listened to the peasants' demands," the Roman Catholic archbishop of La Paz, Jesus Juárez, told Reuters.

Bolivia, one of the western hemisphere's poorest nations, has been paralysed for the last 12 days since tens of thousands of coca growers, peasants and teachers laid stones and boulders on highways to force the government to address their demands.

Peasants are against a campaign to eradicate most cultivation of coca leaf, the raw material of cocaine. In addition, teachers want a 50% pay rise and other protesters accuse the government of reneging on promised pay rises to police.

Ten people have been killed in clashes in the past week.

Three were shot at a protest on Thursday at Huarina on the shores of Lake Titicaca.

Witnesses said a Bolivian Air Force plane opened fire on the group. Government officials claimed the plane "only shot in the air" but they were awaiting autopsy results to see if the fatal wounds matched the .50-calibre bullets of the aircraft.

President Hugo Banzer agreed to negotiate with the three groups separately over the weekend, meeting with the coca growers in the lowland city of Santa Cruz, teachers in La Paz and peasants in Pucarani, 30km northwest of La Paz, near Lake Titicaca.

Talks with coca growers are likely to prove to be the toughest of the three because of the government's reluctance to jeopardise $US157 million in US aid over the next two years that is contingent on wiping out coca in the Chapare by 2002.

"The road blocks will continue; we'll change tactics. We'll block roads north of La Paz that lead to other departments," said Tupac Katari peasant leader Felipe Quispe, who held a press briefing in La Paz after hiding for 11 days.

Bolivia has proportionately by far the largest Amerindian population of any nation in the Americas, with more than 55% of its eight million people of native extraction.

Average annual income in Bolivia is $US1000 ($NZ2449) and it has one of the hemisphere's worst infant mortality rates, at 69 per thousand live births.

While all three groups have separate specific demands, they all want the coalition government led by Mr Banzer - a military dictator in the 1970s but who was democratically elected in 1997 - to address the root causes of Bolivia's chronic poverty.

"The church wanted to negotiate everything in one package; that would be fatal. As the president said, we're not going to stop eradicating coca in the Chapare region and we will build military barracks there for surveillance," Information Minister Manfredo Kempff told Reuters.

Mr Kempff estimated coca sales yielded $US250 million to $US500 million to the underground economy in a nation with a gross domestic product of $US8 billion.

"We've proposed that they grow pineapples or bananas instead but those crops just do not pay as well as coca, so that's the challenge we face in Bolivia," Mr Kempff said.

Coca growers say coca pays well, can be harvested three times a year and is easy to transport, compared with pineapples - which spoil easily - and bananas, which fetch only low prices.

From the French Press Agency (AFP)

7:47 p.m. EST October 3, 2000:

Dialogue Between Government and Coca Growers Reaches Dead End

Coca Growers' Leader Rejects the Most Recent Official Proposal to End the Blockade of Bolivian Roads

La Paz, Bolivia 03-OCT-00

The dialogue between the Bolivian Government and the powerful coca growers union that still controls the principal highway of the nation, hit a dead end on Tuesday, after the leader of the coca growers, Congressman Evo Morales, rejected the final official proposal.

"We have rejected a fourth recess of two weeks that calls for the end of the road blockade, proposed by the government," Morales affirmed in a telephone interview from Villa Tunari in the State of Chapare, 600 kilometers east of La Paz.

The leader of 60,000 indigenous families who survive from the cultivation of coca leaf, Morales indicated that the coca growers " will not cede our decision to cultivate a cato (a 40 by 40 meter parcel) of coca" for family consumption.

This position, worked on during the dialogue, was absolutely rejected by the government, whose main claim to fame is the destruction of 90 percent of the coca crops destined to drug trafficking from Chapare.

On another flank, the government is still negotiating to open a dialogue with the peasants of the high plains and valleys who remain in control of the roads in the west and center of the country.

Updated 9:40 PM ET October 3, 2000
By Gilbert Le Gras, Reuters

Bolivian Leader Confident Talks Will End Protests

LA PAZ, Bolivia (Reuters) - Bolivian President Hugo Banzer said Tuesday the government was close to negotiating a deal to end a protest by teachers, peasants and coca growers that has paralyzed Bolivia's major cities with roadblocks for 16 days.

"We're close to solving this," Banzer said in a national radio address. "As long as dialogue exists, there's hope for a peaceful solution without the use of force to take down the roadblocks."

The government had threatened to deploy soldiers to remove the roadblocks, but its noon (EDT) deadline came and went without action despite a stalemate with coca growers as Cabinet ministers huddled with peasants and teachers in La Paz.

Government Minister Guillermo Fortun said as long as talks continued with at least one of the three protest groups, no troops would be sent to clear the highways....

"We are firmly behind the democratic and constitutional government of President Banzer," U.S. Ambassador Manuel Rocha told reporters, calling the crisis a threat to Bolivia's socioeconomic reforms.

Coca growers did not return to the negotiating table on Tuesday. While they welcomed a government offer not to build three army barracks in the key coca-growing Chapare region, they refused to lift the roadblocks until the region's 40,000 families are allowed to grow 2.5 acres (1 hectare) of coca for traditional use.


U.S. diplomats said as long as troop numbers were increased at the barracks along the highway at either end of the Chapare region, they would be reassured that surveillance would be sufficient to prevent the return of coca cultivation there....

Narco News Commentary: Read between the lines of the US and Bolivian government statements. The only way they can end the unrest is to allow peasant families to grow a small amount of coca per family. As US officials micro-manage the situation from afar, insisting that a sovereign nation set up roadblocks against its own people "along the highway at either end of the Chapare region," they are finessing the bottom line: coca growing may be decriminalized for small scale producers. In other words, harm reduction in Bolivia. And yet the governments, rather than trumpet such a move as progress, will instead go to all lengths to claim it didn't happen.

This, of course, is only one possible outcome of these earthshaking events. We will continue translating and publishing the fast-breaking developments for our readers, round the clock.

More Reports As They Come In

Recent Press Briefings

Zero Hour in Bolivia (Sunday-Monday Briefings)

Bolivia, US, "Narco-tize" the Conflict (Friday-Saturday Briefings)

Thursday's Bolivia Press Briefing (Important Background Info)

September 22-27 Press Briefing: Perú Analysis

September 21 Press Briefing on the Closing of the Geopolitical Drug Observatory

Archive of Press Briefings September 19-20

Archive of Press Briefings September 8-18

Archive of Press Briefings September 1-7

Archive of Press Briefings from August 24-30

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The War on Drugs Meets its Waterloo