Bolivia has announced its intention to reform its drug law (Law 1008), which has been criticized for resulting in sentences that are disproportionate to the crimes committed. But nothing has happened.
People like Mario Vargas, featured in this video, are facing disproportionate sentences for minor offenses. Mario, a man from the highlands of Bolivia, used to work as a construction worker, plumber and waiter, but was recruited by friends for a side job “stomping” coca leaves. “Stomping” is the lowest level task involved in cocaine production. One night, there was a raid. Mario remembers being beaten, interrogated on the spot, and eventually sentenced to 10 years for drug trafficking under Law 1008.
After seven years in prison, Mario is trying to negotiate parole to be with his suffering children but the up front price – $900 dollars – is more than he can afford.
Director: Kristel Mucino
Interview and Research: Diego Giacoman
Editor and Material Coordinator: Juan Luis Velazquez
Camera: Paul M. Andia
Translation: Katie Henfrey