September 15, 2007

Bolivia, the US and Drug Policy

MABB © ®

Reuters and AP, and by now the rest of the world, are reporting the US government's decision to continue giving Bolivia foreign aid. The press is talking about a report, due to be published within the next days, on the drug trafficking and production in the world. In this report, Bolivia, along with other countries, is listed as drug producing country. However, the US government says that because the Bolivian government has met some conditions in the drug production fighting efforts, it will not be listed as "having failed demonstrably", which would result in the cutting of foreign aid funds.

AP says: "But, it finds that Bolivia, which has long been a concern, has taken adequate steps to stave off the sanctions. Last year, there was heated debate about whether the government in La Paz deserved a pass and Washington delayed a decision." While Reuters writes: "U.S. officials cited two reasons for the decision. First, Bolivia met a U.S. target of eradicating at least 5,000 hectares (12,360 acres) of coca crop. Second, U.S. officials believe placing it on the list could undercut counter-narcotics cooperation. The presidential determination will likely paint a mixed picture of counter-narcotics work in Bolivia, showing increased drug seizures but suggesting those reflected higher cocaine production."

If I remember correctly, not a week ago, the US Ambassador in Bolivia, was making commentaries about the current Bolivian government having to work harder on the drug eradication problem. I am paraphrasing now.

The thing is, the current Bolivian government has become very important for the US administration. Not only the government, but the situation in Bolivia. The US is afraid or does not want to destabilize Bolivia further. Also, it does not want to push the Bolivian government towards Chavez even more. In addition, it serves better the US government to stay in Bolivia and monitor things from near, than with spy drones from Washington or even interceptions from Asuncion.

I haven't seen any Bolivian government with such power, until now.