One-fourth of the world’s cocaine supply comes from the Chaparé region of Bolivia. The new Bolivian President is seeking to destroy all illegal coca plants--covering 90,000 acres--by 2002. In return,
grants are being given to communities to improve roads, increase law enforcement, promote economic
development, and to train farmers to grow legal crops like pineapples and bananas.
These efforts are being bolstered by Peru’s decision to shoot down cocaine flights, and the arrest of key
Colombian drug lords. The smaller Colombian drug traffickers are therefore producing more of their own coca, rather than importing it from Bolivia.
The previous Bolivian policy involved paying coca farmers to eradicate their crops. However, coca production decreased little because farmers replaced their former fields with others deeper in the jungle.
There still remain concerns. Drug interdiction is limited due to inadequate patrols and police corruption.
Violence sometimes greets the security forces who are charged with destroying coca plants. Some producers
and police have been killed. Also, legal crops are harder to grow successfully and demand is more variable.
(Updated August 18, 1998)